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Old 15-11-2008, 14:25   #1
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Draw bridge Incedent ICW

Yesterday (14 Nov) we went throught the Skidaway river draw bridge on the 0700 opening after calling the bridge tender on VHF Ch 9. I was the second boat through and a Catalina was a few hundred feet behind me. As soon as I cleared the Bridge the tender dropped the span causing the Catalina to make an emergency U turn at the last second. Way too close!

No horn, wistle or warning bell sounded on closing!

He had not called the bridge and checked in but was clearly visable (Three ducks in a row). Do you think not checking in was the issue? Bad day for the Tender? Anyone see this before?
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Old 15-11-2008, 14:37   #2
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Doesn't hurt to tell them you're coming even if there's five or six in a line.
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Old 15-11-2008, 15:39   #3
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Most of these bridge tenders are not very bright and are watching TV or reading or who knows what while on duty. It is imperative that each boat checks in with the tenders, relays their position in the line and then clears with the tender once through the bridge. It is the safest passage and not dependent on the tender being alert. The Alligator bridge closed on a sail boat a few weeks ago and did substantial damage.
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Old 15-11-2008, 16:28   #4
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If you don't call, you are taking your chances. I think it is wise to err on the side of caution when dealing with bridge tenders...
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Old 15-11-2008, 20:11   #5
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I always like talking to the bridge tender, besides what has already been discussed, he or she may have something they need to tell you. I think its also a lot more friendlier to say hello to the person opening the bridge for you.
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Old 15-11-2008, 20:43   #6
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I always like talking to the bridge tender, besides what has already been discussed, he or she may have something they need to tell you. I think its also a lot more friendlier to say hello to the person opening the bridge for you.

Cant have a better friend then the bridge tender. The tenders down here on the Mosquito Point Bridge (Texas/Louisiana) would stay over an hour or two for us if we were going to come in late. As they shut down at 9:00 PM all we had to do was give em a call. Nice people.
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Old 15-11-2008, 23:49   #7
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One of the bridge tenders here always yells into the mike and talks really fast. We have no idea what he is saying, but its always good for a some humor on board.
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Old 16-11-2008, 04:57   #8
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A good tip!

I would hate to be on a boat where the bridge came down on top of the mast. Oy! I am glad I read this and will definetely let them know I'm 'also' coming through.
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Old 16-11-2008, 07:52   #9
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One of the bridge tenders here always yells into the mike and talks really fast. We have no idea what he is saying, but its always good for a some humor on board.
Must have got his radio training from the USCG. The Navy was no problem, but the coast guard were impossible to understand.... Different training schools????
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Old 16-11-2008, 07:57   #10
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they sound a long loud horn here before lowering the drawbridge. i like to have an air horn handy in case i need to get somebody's attention.
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Old 16-11-2008, 13:39   #11
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Yeah you should have announced yourself...but the Skidaway bridge is notoriously slow to answer and respond. One of the worst ICW bridges in my opinion.
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Old 16-11-2008, 14:35   #12
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have absolutely seen the same. We were on the FL. westcoast and cleared with the tender, but a trawler with radio mast had not contacted and down the bridge came. QUick U-turn for the trawler. Bridge plainly told him "you should had contacted me"
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Old 16-11-2008, 15:36   #13
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Most of these bridge tenders are not very bright and are watching TV or reading or who knows what while on duty..
Yeah, he probably dropped his beer... and was resentful cause the Gator game was on and the picture gets all fuzzy when the bridge is up.
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Old 16-11-2008, 17:58   #14
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I've been up and down the ditch more than a few times and have found that most bridge tenders are friendly and helpful. A lot turns on how you treat them. Always be courteous, call them when you approach and thank them for the opening when you get through . I've seen them hold bridges for slow boats and I've seen the odd one shut a bridge without warning. On the whole they are a good bunch. Occasionally one of them has a bad day like the one who wouldn't open the Ben Sawyer for me because he claimed the winds were too high. When the shift changed the new guy opened it for me. But, again, anyone can have a bad day. The ones at Daytona are marvelous, the old guy at Titusville is very helpful, even the ones south of Lake Worth are nice even though it gets a tad busy on this stretch in south Florida. So if you're going down the ditch in the next month, as many of us will be doing, wish them a Merry Christmas.
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Old 16-11-2008, 18:28   #15
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speaking of tenders, first I agree with Vasco, vast majority are friendly folks doing a boring job.
But why do some ask for hailing port and others do not. I figured that they were keeping some kind of journal or something.
And a quick story. I was going in New River, in Ft. Lauderdale. Kept hailing the bridges, over and over, got upset with them for not answering, come to find out my radio was turned down and I could not hear them responding
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