Tuesday, May 3, 2011

April 30, 2011.

The vast majority of the fixed bridges on the ICW have a height of 65 feet. Our mast height is only 52 feet so it’s a non-issue for us. But we have friends whose mastheads depend on the tide boards found near the approach to most bridges. I’m thinkin’ someone’s butt is gonna clench when they come across this one.

Lets talk about the Coast Guard for a minute. We are lucky to live in a country that can afford to field a professional force as dedicated as the US Coast Guard. If your life is in danger they’ll risks theirs to save yours. Its that simple. But no matter how professional any organization is theres always some room for improvement.

If a boater makes a report about something unsafe that they’ve seen the Coast Guard broadcasts a Notice to Mariners. The Notice to Mariners contains all the info you need to transit the area safely. Terrific. The problem is when somebody reports a floating log or deadhead and the Coast Guard starts broadcasting the Notice to Mariners.

We just spent 4 days transiting North Carolina and every couple of hours for 4 days straight they warned any and all of us about a deadhead in the Pungo Canal. It’s a LOG, they float, they move with the tide, a beaver ate it, its not there anymore. Stop talking about it.

Its not just one broadcast; there have been several running for days now. Theres a sunken barge in the channel just north of the Gilmerton Bridge in Virginia. The US Navy has determined that its highest point is 24 feet under the water and its marked with a special wreck buoy. They’ve been telling me about this thing for days.

We draw 5 ½ feet, coupled with the 24 feet of water available we should be able to squeak by with 18 feet of water to spare. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that every pleasure boat on the water will easily slip by this sunken barge. The only boats in these waters that might come close to having an issue with the barge are large commercial ships. Those ships all travel with a Pilot aboard when inshore so why not make a call down to the Norfolk Pilots and make sure they know about the wreck. Seems to me like it would save a lot of unnecessary radio chatter. When we arrived at the sunken barge not only was it marked with a wreck buoy it had another barge anchored over it.

Its like they hand a stack of paper to the radio guy or girl and tell em” “read this every 2 or 3 hours”. Its not unusual to have a special adverse weather report broadcast. One I enjoyed this week was a tornado watch “in effect until 1600 hours”. Its great to get the info but its already 1730, is the watch still in effect, do you know, do you care, do you even comprehend what you read?


suky at sea said...

love reading your blog...and your take on life on the water ! Tried to figure out where you are about now... are you returning to Annapolis ? Maybe you're here already. I'm living aboard Pearson 35 and coaching sailing in Deale til October when I'll head south on this boat for the Abacos and points south in Bahamas..Had a fantastic trip from Jamaica to Bay Islands of Honduras in February on Vision.
I hope to see you sometime this season. Fairwinds, Suky

anne lloyd said...

Looking forward to seeing you in Naptown SOON. Per usual, the Big Man and I will likely be traveling. Give us your ETA and we'll leave Golf and house keys under the mat. And beer.

S/V Veranda said...

Suki, It sounds like we're on the same schedule and I'm sure we'll see you sooner or later...

Ann, Great to here from you. We'll be in touch......