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Bridge Openings

498 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Frank Martinez
Sometimes I find it difficult to get a bridge opened. I have two antennaes and outriggers that need 26 feet of clearance. At TI bridge in particular, I've had occasions when the bridge didn't even acknowledge my opening request.
Does anyone know the rules for requesting an opening? I thought that all equipment not essential for navagation needed to be lowered. I was under the impression that my antennaes qualify as essential for navagation (maybe I'm wrong).
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Dave, I was hoping you were right...but I don't think so. When we put the radar arch on the boat last year I was going to put a new longer antenna up so I would not have to lower the outriggers but after some research I wasn't sure it would work so I didn't do it.
The last trip we made under the Two Mile bridge last November we asked for and got a lift. I told him that I had to do some work on the new arch over the winter so I would be able to get the outriggers down. He gave us the lift but said next year they were going to be more strict in enforcing the law.
According to an article in this month's (March) "Boat US Magazine" it says: if you can modify your boat to make items flexible, hinged, collapsible, or telescopic, you should. Furthermore, if you don't make that modification, it's just as bad as not lowering your outriggers. The only exceptions were radar antennae, flying bridges, or sailboat masts.
And it went on to say if you argue that you don't have adequate crew to safely accomplish this it could bring on a larger penalty from the Coast Guard for handling a boat unsafely.
Looks like I will be making some modifications so I can more easily get the outriggers down. Especially since most of the time there are only two of us on the boat.
It's almost that time! Look forward to seeing you at te shore.
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If that's the case, looks like I'll have to modify my riggers and antenna somehow. Like you, my problem is only near or at high tide.

Hopefully Hereford is as good as it sounds. I'll mark the inlet w/the waverunner again and share the numbers.

Looking forward to seeing you guys - I'm really tired of winter. The boat will be in last week of April.

TI bridge has been notorious.
I've heard a few tuna steaks can help!
But there is no doubt that 'bridge tickets' are a source of revenue down south, NJ is sure to catch up.
Antennas and outriggers are a must to be lowered. That is unless you cannot due to extreme situations. Like when I am towing a vessel with no one on board and it's stuff is up...situations like that they will open...otherwise lower everything that can be lowered.

It even states in the navigation rules that if your running lights are on a mast and you lower re temporarily exempt from showing not much is condidered "essential" for navigation.

In my experience...TI bridge is good about opening...but in the last few years the radios have been a problem for them...they don't always hear.

The have a phone number you can call...if it's not in the phone book...try calling Sea Tow and get the number there as they are always willing to help out.
Thanks for the responses. In my experience, TI has been the most difficult, but radio problems would explain what I've encountered - I've had times when they wouldn't even respond to my request.

Good idea on using Sea Tow to get the number.

Some of the other bridge operators, especially at 96th street bridge, have gone out of their way to help me, including sending someone to Great Channel bridge to open it for me when it wasn't staffed.

Now if only I could catch those tuna to give them steaks... Maybe a couple of cases of beer instead.
Cape May County Bridge Commission 465-1035
Office located at foot of 96th St Bridge in SH

Weekends/Holidays 368-4591

Give 'em hell and tell 'em you have Steve O'Connor on the boat (Ex. Director of the Bridge Commission).
Thanks for the info Eric - I'll keep the number on the boat.
Ed, Hope you are right. They were always good about giving us an opening when we asked. And of course we never forgot to say please and thank you. But he did make a point on our last opening, we asked for last November, to tell us that this year they were told they had to be more strict with the rules. Also that article in Boat US magazine this month seemed to reinforce what he said. Hope things don't change but I am going to make my outriggers easier to get down, just in case.
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