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Tom and Mel... achievable cruising under sail and power.


by Tom Neale

This is a continuation of Tom's Tips from his section of the web site. Go to his section there for many more tips on this subject and others.

1. If necessary, signal a bridge for an opening with one long and one short blast on an approved horn, but it’s always better to communicate verbally on the VHF. That way, you can be sure you and the bridge tender understand each other. Signal the bridge properly with one or the other means. If, as sometimes happens, the bridge starts to close before you’re through, it is probably appropriate to give the danger signal of 5 short blasts. Bridges will normally signal with 5 shorts before they close after the opening.

2. Even if a bridge is scheduled to open at a certain time, you should call it anyway and request an opening for that time.

3. Sometimes the VHF set on the bridge will be inoperative. A few tenders seem to simply not want to answer. If you can’t get through, a call to a nearby bridge tender on the VHF might result in that person calling by telephone the one who isn’t answering.

4. Talk on the VHF to boats on the other side of the bridge to work out who is coming through first and whether anyone has a maneuverability problem. Normally, the boats with the current pushing them are given the right of way, but this shouldn’t be taken for granted without communication. Other boats may not be aware of this and other factors may be involved.

Copyright 2004
Tom Neale


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