Join Date: Jun 2004
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C&D Canal RR Bridge -Be Aware
All - Last Friday night, we entered the E end of the Canal at 1915 and called the Canal Controller on 13 and announced that the sailing vessel Taronga had entered the E end and was transiting Westbound. We received no reply although did hear the Controller speaking to commercial traffic. At 1950 the C&D Railroad Bridge issued a call on 13 that the bridge would be coming down in 30 minutes. I called the Bridge and notified him that we were 1.5 miles from the bridge and would pass under in 16 minutes. I received no reply. I have 2 VHF's and used them both.
As we approached the bridge it looked slightly down in the dusk, but there had been no siren or horn and no flashing lights to indicate a lowering bridge. We passed under the bridge and simultaneously got an unidentified transmission on 13 - "that's a good way to loose your mast." At that point a siren went off - AFTER we had passed under AND after the gentleman, whom I assume to be the bridge operator, offered his comment.
1 - we were at the bridge 16 minutes following the announcement of closing in 30 minutes.
2 - apparently the bridge was in the process of coming down 16 minutes after the announcement.
3 - there had been no siren or indication of lowering (via light or sound) until we had passed under.
The pilot books say that yachts are not required to check in. I don't know if this was an operator issue or simply a lack of concern about non-commercial traffic, but it was potentially a very dangerous situation that may happen again.
I pulled into Summit North Marina, just after the bridge, and asked the security guard if there is usually a siren or horn on bridge lowering. I also asked him to confirm reception from my radios. He confirmed that there is a siren prior to the bridge coming down and that both of my radios were transmitting.
I will be sending a note to the C&D Authority. Just the kind of thing you need after 24 hours of dodging the tugs and large vessels plying the waters of the NJ Coast and the Delaware Bay.
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