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?