CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Sailboat nearly runs over divers - WPEC - SailNet Community

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CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Sailboat nearly runs over divers - WPEC
by NewsReader 08-26-2011



CAUGHT ON VIDEO: Sailboat nearly runs over divers
WPEC
Some scuba divers under the Blue Heron Bridge had a close call with a sailboat, and the whole thing was caught on video by people on a nearby dive boat who happened to have a camera. You can hear reaction from onlookers who were on Jim Abernethy's ...




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Old 08-30-2011
 
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The Rest of the Story

The close call of divers in the water with boats passing under the Blue Heron Bridge happens frequently. It has been reported to the USCG and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission asking for help.

The Blue Heron bridge is specified to provide 65 ft clearance at MHT. It is published on nautical charts and USCG bridge clearance documents to provide 65 ft clearance. 65 ft bridge clearance is the "standard" for fixed Atlantic intracoastal bridges. The bridge construction from the east side provides the 65 ft. The construction from the west side provides only 63 ft. From mid tide to high tide, sailboats needing the 65 ft use the east opening.
In the east opening diver down flags are shaded by the bridge piers during vessel approach. Flags behind bridge piles are not always visible. Boats navigating the opening cannot safely stop and turn around. The FL statues require vessel operators make a reasonable effort to maintain at least 100 ft from diver down flags, and if approaching flags, must slow to idle speed. Looks like this sailboat only drifted along, not under power.
Fl statues do not restrict divers from vessel navigation areas. At this location vessels trying to stay more than 100 ft away from flags would mean vessels could not use the bridge main channel. To avoid continuing with this unsafe condition, this area should at least be marked and identified with signage to let divers know it is also used as a navigation channel. An alternative safer law would be that diver down flags should try to stay away more than 100 ft away from the ICW or other marked channels.
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Old 08-30-2011
 
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Hate to say it, but it seems like the divers chose a very bad place to dive. Not saying that the sailboat was right, but come on, diving in an area with very restricted navigation. Some time common sense has to kick in
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