by Tom Neale
This is a continuation of Tom's Tips from his section of
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 its always better
verbally on the VHF. That way, you can be sure you and the
understand each other. Signal the bridge properly with one
or the other
means. If, as sometimes happens, the bridge starts to close
youre through, it is probably appropriate to give the
danger signal of 5
short blasts. Bridges will normally signal with 5 shorts before
close after the opening.
2. Even if a bridge is scheduled to open at a certain time,
call it anyway and request an opening for that time.
3. Sometimes the VHF set on the bridge will be inoperative.
tenders seem to simply not want to answer. If you cant
get through, a
call to a nearby bridge tender on the VHF might result in
calling by telephone the one who isnt 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 shouldnt be taken for granted
communication. Other boats may not be aware of this and other