Transiting the New River in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is often the subject of many passionate conversations at the yacht club bar. Fact is, local knowledge is truly is key to a stress free passage, recently, someone has placed a sign at the start of the river “CH 9 for new river traffic”, this has saved many a visitor from suffering the yells of a local boater “turn on your radio to CH 9”!

At the start of the New River, where it meats the ICW, there is an area locally called “the cross roads”, there is a shoal in the center, refer to your charts as the day markers can be confusing and change often between the different waterways in the area. In fact, and the end of the video, you can see a owner operator just run aground and start to back off the submerged island that drys at MMLW.

This video starts up river at Marina Bay and ends at the ICW/New River Crossroads in Fort Lauderdale FL USA.

Here are some tips from my limited New River experiences

Monitor VHF CH 9.

Announce security calls on VHF CH 9 at the start of your run and throughout depending on your size, location, current, towing, etc.
Traffic is “inbound” or “outbound” not “northbound”, “down stream”, “up river” and so on.

Down current has the right of way! And offer some curtesy to the owner operator running down street with the single screw sailboat or similar, these kinds of boats can’t just stop with the current on their stern. The current changes direction with the tide. Andrew Avenue is a good published tide and current station.
Communicate on CH 9 and make passing arrangements before you meet at a bad spot on the river, you can see examples of this in my little video. Note that I had the current on my bow, so I was the giveaway vessel.

Learn the landmarks before you set sail:

  • Markers 1 & 2
  • Tarpon Bend
  • The Girls School
  • The Tunnel
  • 3rd Ave Bridge
  • Andrews Ave Bridge
  • Performing arts center
  • 7th Ave bridge
  • The fork
  • Little Florida
  • Davie Blvd Bridge
  • The wiggles
  • LMC
  • 95 and the CSX Railroad bridge
  • Marina Bay
  • Secret Woods Park
  • Pipe Welders
  • Broward Marine
  • Rolly Marine

8) Note the “rush hour” closure times for the bridges on the river.
Bridges are closed to pleasure traffic: 7:30AM – 9:00AM and 4:30PM – 6:00PM Monday to Friday
9) Bridges are on demand via VHF CH 9, but will have to clear foot and auto traffic first. Call when the bridge is insight.
10) If a bridge just opened and you missed it, the bridge operator will clear some traffic then open for boat traffic when able.
11) The “Jungle Queen” or “JQ” is a big tour boat that runs the entire river and tends to slide around, you will here this boat on the VHF CH 9, make a passing arrangement is a safe area.
12) If you here a security call from a towing company like “Steel Towing”, they are likely towing a large vessel, also make passing arrangements in this case.
13) Learn the sound signal rules for passing and for blind corners for US inland waterways.
14) Long blast on blind corner….. The rules are quite clear on the matter, however, almost no one on this waterway follows this rule. One could say the locals are just “too cool” for this and rely on the VHF or home owners get upset with all the noise. Whatever the case, I choose to follow the law and I suggest you do also. You never know, a Captain may have just picked up a 120’ boat at the end of the river for the first time and has no idea river traffic is monitoring VHF CH 9….
15) No wake, my advice is, go as slow as you can to keep proper steerage, this can be pretty quick with a 4-5 knot current pushing you along.

For the geeks: Video shot with GoPro 4 Black at 720p, external power supply, iMovie to crop and speed up.

 

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