Archive for February, 2015|Monthly archive page

Getting Harder to Cruise the Waterways

In On the gulf, On the river, TN River on 06/02/2015 at 11:17

I don’t make it a habit to reprint articles but these two are informative to any one getting ready to cruise the rivers or intercoastal waterways. I have been through the lock discussed in this article and have anchored in the areas mentioned in the next article. For all Florida says about being boater friendly they are not very friendly. The first article highlights one of the latest and hottest topics in Washington. The United States infrastructure is failing. It’s not just highways and bridges. Locks and dams one of the most efficient means of commerce we have are threatened. A mode of transportation which is a true heritage ,one that helped found the country, for all to use for commerce and enjoyment. I don’t have the answers but this article proposes some questions.

The Florida anchoring problem was resolved by the supreme court a few years ago and Florida municipalities have been trying to find ways to increase revenue and bend to the will of rich property owners ever since. Property owners forget that they do not own the water in front of their property they must share it all of us. Some setbacks are good and common boating courtesy should prevail. Yes they should get rid of unseaworthy vessels. The problem is that the responsible are punished and will end up paying the fines because the derelict boats are just that –  non owner boats. They are the junk car left at the rest stop without plates. Cruising boaters spend millions of dollars each year in Florida. Florida can get that through their economy or by oppressive law enforcement. Many of these recommendations should they go in to effect will be the equivalent  of  setting up speed traps waiting for the transient boater to anchor 1 foot closer than the should. I hope to return to Florida again but would like to spend my time and money enjoying the beauty and the people not standing in line at the court-house.

Article reprinted from the New York times

Barges Sit for Hours Behind Locks That May Take Decades to Replace

By RON NIXONFEB. 4, 2015 Photo   Randy Holt piloting the boat Bill Berry out of the lock system at Kentucky Lock and Dam near Paducah, Ky., last month. Credit Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times PADUCAH, Ky. — On a recent winter morning, Randy Holt piloted the boat Bill Berry as it pushed a group of barges nearly as long as two football fields steadily down the Tennessee River to the Kentucky Lock and Dam here. But then Mr. Holt had to wait several hours at what has become a major choke point as boats moved one at a time through the narrow, cracked, 70-year-old lock. “Sometimes, we get here in the mornings and won’t leave until late into the night,” Mr. Holt said. Locks are intended to make it easy for the Bill Berry and barges, with their cargoes of grain, coal and oil, to navigate the uneven waters of the Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio Rivers. But largely out of sight of most Americans, the locks are crumbling. There are 192 locks on 12,000 miles of river across the country; most were built in the 1930s, even earlier than Kentucky Lock and Dam, and have long outlived their life expectancy. A result is that barges are often delayed for hours because decrepit locks have to be shut down for maintenance and repairs. Photo   The aging systems of locks and dams on the nation’s rivers helps move the equivalent of 51 million truckloads of goods every year. Credit Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times “Few people realize the shape our locks and dams are in,” said Mike Toohey, the president and chief executive of the Waterways Council, an industry group in Washington. President Obama has asked Congress for billions of dollars for infrastructure improvements, and last year, he signed a $12.3 billion water resources bill with money to complete construction of a major lock and dam project near Olmsted, Ill. But the president has also called for cuts in the United States Army Corps of Engineers budget, which includes money for repairs of locks and dams. Transportation advocates say the funding is vastly insufficient to deal with the construction backlogs of locks and dams. The Corps of Engineers, which maintains most of the system, says it will take $13 billion through 2020 just to fix the decaying locks. Without the money, Corps officials say it will take until 2090 to complete all the projects. Steve Stockton, the director of civil works at the Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, said last year’s water resources bill was a good start. “But we would need about twice as much to bring the system up to the level of repair it needs,” he said. In the United States, the equivalent of 51 million truckloads of goods move by river each year. The lock here at the Kentucky Dam is a major thruway for products from nearly 20 states. But over the last decade, the average delay here has grown to nearly seven hours, from less than four hours in 2004. Because of its age, the lock has a hard time accommodating newer, larger barges. Workers have to break the barges into sections before letting them through, which increases the wait times. In the meantime, large cracks are visible in the walls of the lock. Photo   Construction crews working on the Kentucky Lock Addition Project, which will be larger than the current lock. Credit Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times Although a new lock is under construction here, it will not be completed until 2023. But the Corps said even that completion date could be pushed back if there were delays in federal funding. “The Corps is doing the best it can to ease the congestion, but every additional hour you have to sit at a lock waiting costs money,” said Dan Mecklenborg, a senior vice president at Ingram, the nation’s largest barge company, which owns the Bill Berry. Ingram, which moves coal and grain south down the Mississippi River and concrete and road salt north to Minnesota and Illinois, accounts for 20 percent of all barge traffic. Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story The delays have had the biggest effect on the agriculture and concrete industries, which depend heavily on barges to move their goods to market. Last year, several highway construction projects in Minnesota fell behind schedule because delays in Mississippi barge traffic kept companies working on the roads from receiving concrete in time. Farmers in the upper Midwest, who say they suffer from lower grain prices because trains are crowded with lucrative oil shipments and there are not enough cars to get their crops to market in time to avoid an oversupply, now say they are having similar problems on the rivers. American corn and soybean exports travel by barge to ports in Mobile, Ala., and New Orleans, where the grain is loaded onto ships headed for foreign markets. But because of bottlenecks at the locks, farmers say their grain sometimes gets to the ports late. “If it continues, our customers will start looking elsewhere,” said Mike Steenhoek, the executive director of the Soy Transportation Coalition in Iowa. Fixing the locks has taken on more urgency since last year, when farmers planted record amounts of corn and soybeans, and companies like the Minnesota-based food giant Cargill and other shippers had to prepare for larger exports. Rick Calhoun, the marine and terminal division president for Cargill, said the company could still get its products to market by using trucks or trains. But he said barges were cheaper: 15 barges can carry the same amount of cargo as 1,050 tractor-trailers or one train with 216 cars. “We prefer that all three modes of transportation be robust in order to maintain healthy competition and keep shipping costs down,” Mr. Calhoun said. “Otherwise, there is a rise in price for transportation that is passed on to the consumer.” Correction: February 5, 2015 A picture caption with an earlier version of this article misidentified the lock in one photo. It was the Barkley Lock, near Grand Rivers, Ky., not the Kentucky Lock near Paducah. (The photo has been removed.) A version of this article appears in print on February 5, 2015, on page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: Barges Sit for Hours Behind Locks That May Take Decades to Replace. Order Reprints| Today’s

Article reprinted from the Waterway Guide

Florida anchoring survey results are now available
Date Reported: Feb 03, 2015
Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has posted the results of the online survey dealing with potential anchoring regulations in Florida. The purpose of the survey is to inform FWC on drafting guidelines for new anchoring restriction laws likely to be introduced in this year’s Florida legislative session, which ends May 1, 2015. The survey was open to public input from November 21 until December 7, 2014, and followed a set of public meetings. Six concepts were developed at these meetings, contemplating the granting of authority to local governments to regulate anchoring in their jurisdiction: 1. A setback distance where anchoring of vessels would be prohibited in the vicinity of public boating access infrastructure, such as boat ramps, hoists, mooring fields and marinas. 2. A setback distance where anchoring of vessels overnight in close proximity to waterfront residential property would be prohibited. 3. The storing of vessels on the water in deteriorating condition would be prohibited. 4.The timeframe for storing vessels on the water would be limited unless relocated a specified distance away. 5. If authority was granted to local governments to regulate anchoring in their jurisdiction, an allowance could be created for other anchoring regulations where need is demonstrated. 6.If authority was granted to local governments to regulate anchoring in their jurisdiction, the creation of an online, interactive map to help boat operators know which local areas were covered under local anchoring restrictions. From the Executive Summary of the survey results for Anchoring regulation concept 2 – setback from waterfront residences: Respondents were asked their thoughts about a potential setback distance (150 feet was proposed) from waterfront residential property. Proposed exemptions included boats seeking safe harbor, government vessels for law enforcement, fire-fighting or rescue, vessels anchoring for short time periods while fishing and those involved in construction or dredging activities. ▪ 51% of respondents either somewhat or strongly agreed that a setback from waterfront residences was appropriate. 6% were neutral, and 43% either somewhat or strongly disagreed with this concept. ▪ 32% of respondents identified 150 feet as the most appropriate setback distance, while others preferred a 100 foot setback (21%) or a 50 foot setback (18%). The other preferred setback distances varied significantly among respondents (greater or less than 150 feet). Note: In this reporters opinion, a significant flaw in the survey was the lack of “zero” setback as a choice for this last question. The respondents who somewhat or strongly disagreed with the entire concept of a residential setback would have needed to select “other” and type “0” in. FWC-Survey-Results.jpg Links to the entire results of the Anchoring and Mooring Public Survey, from FWC:

In the case of residential setbacks (as this reporter has written many times), the outcome of new Florida legislation may hamper the ability for a captain (you) to safely anchor your vessel where and when you decide is appropriate. Proposed “setback distances from waterfront residential property” could effectively close many of the anchorages in Florida that cruisers rely on. Even a minimal setback of 50 or 100 feet, while certainly a reasonable and prudent distance, would create an environment of confusion and animosity for boaters and homeowners – and likely an increased burden on law enforcement. Related Waterway Guide Cruising News articles:

Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Comment submitted by Ian – Thu, Feb 5th If the 150 or what ever footf set back occurs….all properties should have a recent and up to date survey, registered with the appropriate legislative body. This way lawyers can have proper references if it comes to civil suits. As well, the city or town enforcing should be required to have proper bout and marker systems intact and up to date. These civil bodies should then be required to pay and fund such up dates to charting, dredging and other functions as they now take full responsibility over these waterways.

Comment submitted by Wally Moran – Thu, Feb 5th Those agreeing with setoffs are either not cruising, or are part of the homeowner problem we have in FL. I’m speaking specifically to Ron Lafontaine here. Any setoff if enacted in law will lead to amendments increasing them in the future. And a 150 foot setoff will effectively eliminate most anchorages in south Florida, forcing people to either use marinas, or travel offshore. In any event, setoffs are illegal, against the Public Trust Doctrine. There are already laws in place to deal with boats blocking infrastructure, let’s not add to them but instead, demand that those laws be enforced. Setoffs must be fought against if we are to preserve our rights to anchor at all in Florida. Homeowners do not own the water.

Comment submitted by Tom Beaty – Thu, Feb 5th While I know a lot of boaters (and I am one) don’t want setbacks, the reality is there HAS to be a compromise. Homeowners should have some protection from encroachment and damage. Plus blocking of their dock access and not have to look at a boat fall to pieces over years of abandonment. Not everyone is going to get 100% of what they want.


Comment submitted by Mike Ahart, Waterway Guide News Editor – Wed, Feb 4th The setback is from the high water line at the property\’s edge. The setback does not include piers and other structures, although provisions will likely be made that you cannot impede the use of piers, ramps, etc… If legislation goes through and ordinances enacted, it will be certain homeowners who will be the de facto enforcers, by calling the police when they think you\’re anchored too close…and they\’ll think you\’re too close even when you\’re not…I guarantee it!

Comment submitted by NOEL COUTURE – Wed, Feb 4th I don’t see how a boater traveling down the ICW can plan for an overnight anchor were each City along the way has its own rules, I can understand resident feeling who have a view of anchor boat for weeks or months YEARS

Comment submitted by Webb – Wed, Feb 4th I agree with Marty, setback from what and how do we measure the distance? An anchored boat tends to swing and may swing in and out of compliance. Who is responsible for enforcement, the already stressed Law Enforcement?

Comment submitted by Marty Lawton – Tue, Feb 3rd My question is “set back from what?” it could be the property line, but how would anyone know that from the water?, it could be the house, the pool deck the street the largest tree? and how does it get measured? and what if it is from the dock but the dock is illegal (never permitted)? The whole idea is full of holes big enough to make it a lawyers dream.

Dr Brad standing by on 16

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