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Don’t Get Unabridged

Steve Weingart, one of our frequent visitors, sends the following comments and related story after reading the tip on “Navigating Bridges.” Capt. Matt

One comment, I was reading the section on bridges and had a thought. Everything that you said was correct, well put and useful. But some places aren’t as kind as the notes seem.

We were on our way from Boca Raton to the Keys and stayed inside on the ICW due to rough seas. From about the middle of Ft. Lauderdale until Miami, it was common for the bridges to completely ignore all hails until about a minute before scheduled opening, and the opening times were on a sign with 2″ high lettering that could barely be read.

You might want to add that if the bridge doesn’t answer, carefully approach the bridge and read the sign, then wait until about 3 minutes before the scheduled time to hail the bridge again.

I can’t agree enough about being careful about currents around bridges. In Boca Raton where we live, there are two bridges that have 5+ kts currents underneath them at full tidal bore. Some boats can’t even pass during the peaks, and since the bridge narrows the channel between the fenders, you can be partly under the bridge before you realize that you have a bronco by the tiller. One of these bridges even crosses the current at an angle for more excitement 🙂 Add to this the uninformed and often uncaring folks and it can be really dangerous!

We have had an impatient sport fisherman pass us under a bridge in 5 kts current conditions (in the same direction). He started to lose control as he came abreast of us under the bridge due to the currents and applied heavy throttle. We slipped into the resulting hole in the water left by him clawing out and nearly lost our mast on the steel bridge overhang. This same guy was later seen going down the wrong side of the channel that same day.

Thanks again for a great site!

Thank you, Steve!
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