Umm...not to sound too negative, but you might want to take some boater education courses... the problems you had at the bridge could probably have been avoided if you knew the proper sound signals for requesting a bridge opening
I would also recommend you get a copy of the Rules of Navigation and read them. All of the information regarding light and sound signal are in there, as well as protocol for a lot of different situations.
It sounds like the problems you had on Saturday morning were primarily self-inflicted. Better planning and anticipation of the weather and what kind of winds it would bring would have allowed you to avoid that. Why did you leave the marina knowing that there was a storm sitting there that morning.
Sailing in the ICW is often now possible, and motoring is often your only feasible option. Did you check out the outboard after you got to the boat on Saturday? Do you carry a spare fuel filter, impeller, and the tools to make basic repairs to the outboard on board your boat?
Do the locks require that you have a certain number of docklines of a given length? Many locks do. You might want to check before heading back to your boat. Also, do you have sufficient fenders and fender boards to protect your boat while the lock is filling/emptying? If not, get them and bring them with you.
Being prepared and proper planning make a cruise much more enjoyable, and far less dangerous. BTW, for what it is worth.
Requesting a bridge opening via sound signals:
A long blast followed by a short blast*
is the proper signal to request a bridge opening. If the bridge is closed, and the bridge tender will be opening for your request, he will reply with a long and short blast of the horn
. If the bridge is already open, you are required to signal with a long and short blast, as if requesting an opening
, and if you do not receive a reply, it is considered permission to proceed. If the bridge tender will not be opening (in the case of a closed bridge) or it is not safe for you to proceed (in the case of an open bridge), the bridge tender will respond with five (5) short blasts. This is the danger signal, and indicates you should not attempt to proceed
*A long blast is 4-6 seconds in duration, and a short blast is about one second in duration.