Monday, February 25, 2013

Cautions for 2013 Boating Season

This is the first in our series of the cautions of Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook Bay, and Lower New York Bay.  You can just read this blog and get a lot of information that I have searched the web for.

To get things started, I think most of you will enjoy this link to the the post hurricane Sandy Google Earth page.  It has most of the bay via satellite pictures.  The map in the link to various satellite maps post Sandy.  The one covering the most area is the October 31, 2012 map.  Just check the box for Post-Sandy Imagery and the October 31, 2013 map box.

You are sure to have a great time searching through the maps and see the damage left behind my Sandy.  To look at an area before the hurricane and then after is very surprising.  I have no idea of how long they will leave these maps up, so look at them now before they are gone for ever.

A warning was issued by NOAA for the coming boating season.  It is something most of us already figured out, but I thought I would share their release with you.

Hurricanes, tropical storms and other major storms may cause considerable damage to marine structures, aids to navigation and moored vessels, resulting in submerged debris in unknown locations. Charted soundings, channel depths and shoreline may not reflect actual conditions following these storms. Fixed aids to navigation may have been damaged or destroyed. Buoys may have been moved from their charted positions, damaged, sunk, extinguished or otherwise made inoperative. Mariners should not rely upon the position or operation of an aid to navigation. Wrecks and submerged obstructions may have been displaced from charted locations. Pipelines may have become uncovered or moved. Mariners are urged to exercise extreme caution and are requested to report aids to navigation discrepancies and hazards to navigation to the nearest United States Coast Guard unit.

Raritan Bay Chart can be viewed at   
Back a few months ago we were told they cleanup of all the boats and debris would be done by Memorial Day.  Now the latest scoop is that it will not be done in time.  The state hire Ashbrit to clean up the state after being clobbered by hurricane Sandy.  Ashbrit is a Florida based company with many years experience in cleaning up after disasters.  They do hire local companies and do very little of the work themselves. Their vast experience is suppose to help keep the costs down, but many local companies have submitted bids lower than Ashbrit and get no response as to why Ashbrit continues the cleanup at higher costs.  We will surely be hearing more on this subject.
Following are some links to missing boats in various areas, Monmouth, Ocean, and Point Pleasant.

There is some progress moving ahead at some of the marinas. Most have begun the rebuilding process and are diligently building docks. Today I visited Keyport marina and they were busy build new floating docks and getting them in place.

What happened to all of those missing docks? It is just more stuff we have to watch for. Fortunately a lot of the floating debris will end up on the shore lines and out of the waterway for a while. It will eventually return to the water during storms and moon tides. The only way to get rid of it is to pick it up and get it off the beach.

As I stop and talk with people along the bay it is all the same story for those with boats. They worry about the junk on the bottom. Boats, cars, lawn furniture, coolers, logs, boards, and so on all be something to watch for.

As I worked my way along the shore I noticed that Pendersen Hans is not working as much on the docks as all the others appear to have done by now. I did see activity there so I believe they are still in clean up mode. Browns has done a good job on getting things to look a lot closer to normal. They even have boats in the water. As you work your way along I get to the Keyport ramp where it looks the same as weeks ago. The floating docks are still sitting in the parking lot.

My next stop was to see what was going on at Keyport Yacht Club. I get there too early for anyone to be hanging out and take a walk around. It seems like all the dinghy a are stored nicely for the winter. They have removed their floating docks and only the main pier remains. Otherwise it looks ready for the new season.

With all the repair business going on, that is most likely the reason there is no room left in the yard. The parking lot is filled with boats on stands and waiting to see the water this new season. Other yards also have so much damage they can't store all the boats they normally did. Olsen's was one of the very few that does not have to worry about rebuilding and can concentrate on fixing the boats damaged by Sandy.

The past week we have had some good winds blowing any floating debris to shore. Taking a trip to the south shore of the bay you find the shores full of junk. There are large timbers, floatation, bumpers, lots of plastic, and garbage washed onto the shore. Now is the time when volunteer organizations should pool together to pickup the junk so it doesn't wash back I to the water. I feel very strongly about this and would love to see this being done.

I thought about grabbing this bumper sitting in front of me but would get shot if I bring home more boating stuff. I turn around and look down in the other direction and see lots of debris and a couple fishermen trying their luck.

The garbage makes itself pretty easy to clean up as it creates a water line along the shore. With a bucket loader each town could quickly clean the shores of larger debri. You have to wonder why they don't do it.

The following picture was thanks to Google Earth Crisis. It is Viking Marina at the Route 35 draw bridge two days after Sandy.


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