Boaters: Take Extra Precautions Near Project Site

Observe U.S. Coast Guard’s Regulated Navigation Area and Safety Zone when boating this summer/© Janie Rosman 2015

Observe U.S. Coast Guard’s Regulated Navigation Area and Safety Zone when boating this summer/© Janie Rosman 2015

Because there are about 155 boats, barges and other Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) vessels in the river — making boater safety a greater concern now that clubs and marinas are open — project officials said this morning during a press conferences prior to the holiday weekend.

Special Project Advisor Brian Conybeare emphasized the U.S. Coast Guard’s Regulated Navigation Area 500 yards north and south of the existing bridge and the safety zone banning recreational boaters from a two-mile area along the Rockland shore where construction barges are located. Information is posted on the New NY Bridge website; link to it here.

“Boaters can radio U.S. VHF Channel 16 designated by the FCC,” Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) Safety Manager Jim Sixsmith said.

Calls are monitored by police and the Coast Guard and then routed to local channels. If a boater is calling for a transient slip, for example, a marina will route the call to another channel to keep 16 free.

boater-safetyLast August, six lighted channel markers were added to guide boaters to and from the Piermont shore; two more were recently added.

“It’s not people at the boat clubs in Westchester and Rockland they’re worried about because they’re aware of the dangers and the restrictions,” Hudson River Boat & Yacht Club Association President Scott Croft said. It’s the wild card, people who travel the Great Loop.”

Boaters take the route north up the Hudson in summers and south in the winters. “People find it helpful to be reminded,” Croft said.

Westchester County Police Marine Unit Lt. James Luciano and Rockland County Sheriff’s Marine Unit Lt. Dennis Stoll said both units added extra overnight patrols to monitor the construction zone.

“We encourage all boaters to keep their checked, take lifesaving classes and wear safety vests (personal flotation devices),” Paul Okura of Westchester Power Squadron said.

GPS trackingBridge Project Safety enhancements through the summer and beyond include lighted buoys around the barge moorings, eight channel markers including two additional markers for access to Piermont marinas, GPS tracking for TZC vessels and barges and an interactive map that shows vessel movement, high-tech security and patrols and extensive educational outreach with boating groups and marinas.

Effective May 1, 2014, anyone born on or after May 1, 1996, must complete an eight-hour boating safety course before operating a mechanically-propelled vessel in the state’s navigable waters. Those born before May 1, 1996, are exempt.

HRBYCA past-president Frank Bergman agreed its difficult to reach boaters who aren’t affiliated with local clubs or who come from other areas and don’t read the Local Notice to Mariners. The weekly bulletin is excerpted and in its entirety under Boater Safety Information on the New NY Bridge website. A LNM primer is here.

“There’s a stronger presence from Westchester and Rockland marine police since last year,” Bergman said. “They’re no longer adversaries; they’re keeping us safe.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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