Watching the Chicago River Boat runs - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-15-2018 Thread Starter
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Watching the Chicago River Boat runs

Good evening,
So this last Wednesday I was watching the Chicago river boat run/bridge lift during my lunch break. I noticed that most of the Sailors don't mind when curious on lookers on the river walk go and talk to them. Has anyone on this forum ever done the boat runs/river trips, if so what do you think? Finally if you were to make a playlist/mix CD for the river trip/boat runs what songs would you have on it? Thanks
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-15-2018
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Re: Watching the Chicago River Boat runs

I did one a few years ago...it was fun, sorta. You had the bridges stagger their openings, so for every bridge you had to tie off till the next one opened. Everyone was excited as it was the beginning of the season.



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post #3 of 8 Old 05-20-2018 Thread Starter
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Re: Watching the Chicago River Boat runs

I went downtown yesterday and watched, the group must have had around 14 sailboats bigger then what I have seen on the Wednesdays when I would visit the river walk during my lunch hour. I also noticed that with the bigger groups they would often raise two bridges at the same time. From listing to my scanner, they seemed intent on not having to pause the boat run at Wells Street after it took ten minutes for them to "throw the power," at Lake street. They would not even raise Franklin Street until the CTA, "gave them the power" at Wells street. Why would you say that if its a bigger group they seem intent on keeping it moving? And what is with with the bridge operators using names on the radio? And why do they announce on the air when a bridge has raised? The Highlight was watching them raise and lower the bridges on Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. Finally to anyone who has ever done these trips before if you were to make a mix CD/playlist what songs would have on it and why? I can think of one song being we gotta get out of this place for the spring runs. Need I explain that one. Thank you and have a nice day.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-11-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Watching the Chicago River Boat runs

So i've been watching spring boat runs on booth Saturday and Wednesday. I often bring my scanner to lisiten to the chatter going on with the Bridge tenders. One thing i've noticed is that they announce on the Radio when a bridge is in the air, any one have know why they do that? FYI they operate on VFH marine CH 12.
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Re: Watching the Chicago River Boat runs

It might be federal or state regulations..just a guess.


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post #6 of 8 Old 05-12-2019
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Re: Watching the Chicago River Boat runs

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Originally Posted by Chicago1990 View Post
One thing i've noticed is that they announce on the Radio when a bridge is in the air, any one have know why they do that? FYI they operate on VFH marine CH 12.
If I understand the question properly, it sounds like fairly standard practice with lift bridges I have seen. Frequently bridges will also have lights similar to traffic lights red and green. Green means the bridge is fulyl raised, red means everything else.

Also, when bridges are in motion there are frequently klaxons to indicate it.

The reason to indicate fully open, is bridges generally have two heights published in nautical pubications; fully open and fully closed. So you can only really be confident of the bridge height (and therefore your bridge clearance) at those two times.

So the green light/silencing of klaxons/radio announcement is basically a safety announcement saying, the bridge is at maximum height, no longer in motion and it's safe to pass.
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Re: Watching the Chicago River Boat runs

For those of you who don't know the lift bridges on the Chicago river do not open on demand. They open on a schedule Wednesday's and Saturday's in the Spring and Fall to allow boats to come in and out of dry dock. On the South Branch of the river you have two Boat Yards, Chicago Yacht Works at South Ashland and Canal Street Marina just west of China town. Boat runs Start at either 9:30 AM on Wednesday and 8:00 on Saturday. In the spring they typically start at Chicago Yacht Works picking up more at Canal Street. Sometimes they Start at Canal Street. In the fall it's the same deal but in reverse, what they do is have about 14 bridge tenders that leap frog each other from bridge to bridge to keep things moving. They drive in white cars/vans that say "City Of Chicago" on them and will park either before or just past the span often with the yellow hazard lights on. I know this from person observation and from a web site called Chicagoloopbridges.com unfortunately I couldn't post the link but you should check it out the guy who runs it got to do a spring rivertrip sailboat. Thanks.
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Re: Watching the Chicago River Boat runs

Ok so I've fallowed allot of the Saturday runs out to Lake Shore Drive, and I have noticed that as the boats transit the LSD bridge, allot of them thank the bridge crew and say they will see them in the fall. One even said, "and if your every by the Corinthian Yacht Club I'll buy you a drink."
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