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Old 18-10-2020, 13:08   #1
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ICW Fixed Bridge Update

We are sitting in St Augustine on a Ft Lauderdale to South Carolina delivery and wanted to share a fixed bridge update.

Since leaving Ft. Lauderdale we have not seen ANY bridges with 65' of clearance. All have been between 62 and 64.

Also the temp drawbridge in West Palm is 65' when lifted as measured from MLW- to be clear mean LOW water, per bridge tender. No there is no clearance board for vertical lift section.

Fortunately, this delivery is a powerboat, but you guys with tall sailboats may want to ponder outside.
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Old 18-10-2020, 13:48   #2
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

You are reading the boards on the bridge fenders which typically depict clearance at fenders,but there is more clearance at the center of the bridge
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Old 18-10-2020, 14:48   #3
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

I have heard that many of the Florida east coast bridges were slowly sinking and there are some that are well below 64 feet. Can’t remember the name but one is just south of Cape Canaveral area.
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Old 19-10-2020, 12:57   #4
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingfin View Post
You are reading the boards on the bridge fenders which typically depict clearance at fenders,but there is more clearance at the center of the bridge


No I am reading boards that state clearance. Sometimes max sometimes min clearance.

Of course if it 63’ min, how the heck do you know max? Most of my customers prefer to have their antenna and wind inst attached, and pointing up, when I deliver the boat.

So while you point is partially valid, it is not actionable without a laser measurement device.
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Old 20-10-2020, 08:19   #5
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
No I am reading boards that state clearance. Sometimes max sometimes min clearance.

Of course if it 63’ min, how the heck do you know max? Most of my customers prefer to have their antenna and wind inst attached, and pointing up, when I deliver the boat.

So while you point is partially valid, it is not actionable without a laser measurement device.
although I can suggest that the clearance is dubious, and often installed by state employees (I have reported boards numbered in reverse) the law actually says airdraft is lowest point of bridge above MHHW. Therefore, if bridge is arched then it may have additional clearance at apex of arch.
But...credit to your observations, this is often theory vs reality....
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Old 20-10-2020, 09:59   #6
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

I had a Hunter 40.5 with a tall mast. 63.3' for the hard stuff and about 65' to the tip of the VHF. I made it under all bridges on the Intra Coastal with the VHF antenna occasionally scraping. Many FL bridges give you clearance at the edges ; but, are OK in the center. One bridge in Georgia I shed my tri-color masthead light and wind transducer. I also had problems on the St Johns river bridge on the way to Green Cove Springs. I also found that the navigation lights at the center of the bridges don't move. My solution was to move the wind transducer to the front of the mast mount the tri-color on a flexible spring.
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Old 20-10-2020, 10:13   #7
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

You know to this day I still don't know my mast height... where can I find that info? I have a 2011 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409.

I don't plan on going on the ICW any time soon, but it would be nice if I could in the future.
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Old 20-10-2020, 10:31   #8
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

I have done this many times for Melbourne to Ft Pierce and the Wabbasso Bridge is a definite problem. I was trapped last year till January waiting for the water level to drop. The boards reflect the max bridge height and I NEVER cheat. I once passed under the same bridge (Wabbasso) twice in an hour ( once N-S, once S-N and on the second pass knocked off my tri Color. Believe the water boards. They aren't perfect but.....
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Old 20-10-2020, 10:41   #9
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

I use this web site for tides all around the state:

WWW Tide/Current Predictor - Site Selection

You can pick, almost, your exact location. Then get a graphic plot, you can also change the date range to show tides for different time periods.

The area you are currently in seems to be showing tidal ranges almost two feet above normal. Currently, here on the west coast we are experiencing lower than normal low and high tides. Just guessing, but maybe tides on the east coast will be higher than normal.

I don't know if this link will work, but tides for Matanzas River are showing a swing of about 5 feet. If you then change the date range, to something like the end of Nov. the range is about three feet:

Edit: sorry the link to the exact location will not show up. But if you go to the website, find Matanzas River, look at today's tidal range and then change it to a date in the future the range will be less.
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Old 20-10-2020, 12:19   #10
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

The area between NC and thru FL are experiencing King Tides, normal for the alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth.
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Old 20-10-2020, 13:08   #11
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

We are in Stuart where we have a combination of the King Tide and a strong onshore wind. Hopefully it will set us free soon.
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Old 20-10-2020, 13:35   #12
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post
You know to this day I still don't know my mast height... where can I find that info? I have a 2011 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409.

I don't plan on going on the ICW any time soon, but it would be nice if I could in the future.
If you are willing to believe a random internet site, 60'5" from design waterline:

https://www.boat-specs.com/sailing/s...409-deep-draft

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/su...y-409-jeanneau list I as 50', so that seems about right between the two sites.
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Old 20-10-2020, 16:51   #13
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

During the last 6 days we’ve come down the ICW from St Augustine to Vero Beach. With the exception of 1 bridge that had tide boards reading above 65, all the others were between 62.5 and 64. What the actual height is at center span, I have no idea. We only air draft 61 so was not an issue for us. I’m just reporting what we saw, so those coming down or up the ICW, just be aware and proceed with caution if you have a “tall ICW rig”. Stay safe all!
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Old 21-10-2020, 15:16   #14
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool Hand Luke View Post
You know to this day I still don't know my mast height... where can I find that info? I have a 2011 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409.

I don't plan on going on the ICW any time soon, but it would be nice if I could in the future.

Quick internet search shows varying mast heights on Sun Odyssey 409 of between 59'-63', depending. The only really accurate way to know is to measure it yourself. Easiest way is when the boat is on the hard. The masthead to the deck is relatively easy in the water, but the deck to water line is more difficult.

While at the masthead remember to measure your antennae, anchor light, wind instruments and anything else that sticks above your masthead plate. This added info will allow you to decide whether or not to chance going under a given bridge as you will know what loss you are risking. This was especially important to us this past season as we passed under the Wilkerson Creek Bridge at the end of the Alligator River-Pungo Canal bridge which is notorius for not being 65' air clearance. Because of Ocracoke being non-operational due to hurricane damage, virtually all southbound traffic was taking the Alligator River Canal out of Pamlico sound. With traffic stacked up behind us I had to decide in a matter of minutes whether or not to go under the bridge when the ledger board showed about 63' 6", not 64' as was reported by a vessel about 20 mins ahead of us. Knowing that I had a measured 62'6" clearance at the masthead (NOT the 64' 6" as spec'd by the mfgr), and 63' 7" clearance over my highest instrument cluster, I decided to risk it. The VHF and AIS antennas bent 90 degrees without damage and the other instruments cleared with about 3" to spare so all was well. Had I not actually measured those distances I never would have chanced it and would have bailed out the moment we got within binoc range of the ledger boards. Which would have been veerrry interesting with all that oncoming traffic.

I highly advise knowing exactly how tall you are before transiting the ICW. Makes for a much less stressful cruise.
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Old 21-10-2020, 15:29   #15
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Re: ICW Fixed Bridge Update

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davy J View Post
I use this web site for tides all around the state:

WWW Tide/Current Predictor - Site Selection

You can pick, almost, your exact location. Then get a graphic plot, you can also change the date range to show tides for different time periods.

.....
Excellent reference chart DavyJ. Thanks. Important to note that there are bridges on the ICW that do not experience any water level change due to tidal variations, the Washington Baum bridge and the Wilkerson Creek bridge among the most infamous. These bridges do experience water level change relative to wind direction, intensity and duration. Very important to get that local knowledge before passing underneath these bridges in particular. If I remember correctly water under the WB bridge gets shallow after strong Northerly winds and the Wilkerson Bridge shallows after strong Easterly winds. Wrote it in my log book which isn't at hand, but I believe that is correct.
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