Navigating the New River Fort Lauderdale Bridge by Bridge Guide for 2019

Navigating the New River Fort Lauderdale
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Navigating the New River to Bradford Marine in Fort Lauderdale

By: Captain Daryn Dalton

Navigating the New River in Fort Lauderdale, Florida can be tricky. Hit it on the right time with the right tide and you’re styling. Get it on a wrong day at the wrong time and you will lose years of your life and be left without any spare length on your fingernails. It is strongly recommended that you navigate the new river against the current, so inbound on the falling tide and vice versa. Keep in mind though that it makes you the ‘give way’ vessel for traffic with the current on the stern.

 

DISCLAIMER:

This information has been put together from reliable online and paper publications as well as my own personal experience of the New River, however, rely only on proper approved navigation charts and pilotage books to navigate the river. Nautic Nomad, the author or any other affiliates or employees will not be held responsible for any damages, injury or loss arising from the information in this article. Have a question that you couldn’t find the answer to here? Let us know what we can add to make this more helpful. Email us at info@nauticnomad.com.

Video: Time Lapse the New River in Fort Lauderdale

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eieDC7jXBLo Thanks to @yachtnerd for sharing this New River Time Lapse with us!

Navigating the New River Fort Lauderdale

The New River in Fort Lauderdale can be approached from the South or the East, but be sure to have your entry well planned, as the channel markers and weekend traffic can get a little overwhelming if you are new to the area. The channels are straightforward, but there is not a lot of room for error. Many vessels end up on this bank waiting for a high tide. This is also the time that you should be monitoring VHF CH 09  for outbound traffic – especially the JUNGLE QUEEN. The JUNGLE QUEEN is a large passenger ferry that stops for no one. As skilled as this Captain is when you see her please give her plenty of room as she rules the river. She makes regular security and bridge calls on VHF 09, so monitoring this channel will help avoid any surprise encounters and help you keep tabs on where she is.

Jungle Queen Fort Lauderdale Related: Top 10 Things to do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tarpon Bend /Channel marker 11 &12

It is strongly advised to make security calls for all restricted areas, narrow channels and sharp bends going up the river. Below is a list of all suggested security call areas, but Tarpon bend will be your first. This is also where you will start to have your first encounter with the tidal current of the New River. After passing Marker 11 keep to the center of the channel and make sure engines are ready to use some extra power. There is plenty of depth in the channels but keep slightly more South as you approach the bend at Marker 12 as the bank tends to run out into the channel as shown on the chart below with the “!”. This is not an incredibly tricky bend, but the key here is not to be caught off guard.

Marine Unlimited Data

Recommended Security & Bridge Calls Inbound on the New River, Fort Lauderdale

Securite & Bridge Calls for the New River Fort Lauderdale Navigating New River Fort Lauderdale

Tarpon Bend to SE 3rd Ave

In this section, the river narrows and the tidal current will become even more evident. The navigable channel in this section is approximately 90ft wide so keep a close watch for outbound traffic. The calls here are The Church, The Girls School, and The Tunnel. As you go over the tunnel then give your call to SE 3rd Ave bridge in advance so you avoid having to wait on the bend for an opening. The corner coming around to 3rd Ave is called Danger Bend – you don’t need to call it as you have already called 3rd Ave but it’s useful to know the name for making passing arrangements with other vessels. The New River Bridge Calls

SE 3rd Avenue Bridge

Navigating New River Fort Lauderdale

  • Mile Marker: 1.4
  • Lat / Lon: N 26° 07.026′ / W 080° 08.419′
  • Contact:  VHF 09 /954-974-4100
  • Vertical Clearance (Closed): 16.00′
  • Horizontal Clearance: 60.00′
  • Bridge schedule: Bridge opens on call; other than from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw need not open. If you have found yourself in a situation and need an urgent opening due to distress, give the bridge operator a call as they will usually accommodate an opening. They also open for tugs and commercial vessels during bridge closure hours.

Andrews Ave Bridge

Navigating New River Fort Lauderdale

  • Mile Marker: 2.3
  • Lat / Lon: N 26° 07.026′ / W 080° 08.419′
  • Contact: 09 / 954-974-4100
  • Vertical Clearance (Closed): 21’
  • Horizontal Clearance: 60’
  •  Bridge schedule: Bridge opens on call; except that, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw need not open.

New River Railroad bridge

Navigating the New River Fort Lauderdale The area to the East (ocean side) can be a bit congested with the coming and going of cruises, water taxis and other river traffic. It is suggested you have a fender or two handy and keep a close watch for other vessel movements.

  • Mile Marker: 2.5
  • Lat / Lon: N 26° 07.113′ / W 080° 08.724′
  • Contact: VHF 09 / 305-889-5572
  • Vertical Clearance (Closed): 4.00′
  • Horizontal Clearance: 60.00′
  • Bridge schedule: Usually open unless a train is approaching. When the draw is in the fully open position, green lights will be displayed to indicate that vessels may pass. When a train approaches, the lights go to flashing red and a horn starts four blasts, pauses, and then continues four blasts then the draw lowers and locks. After the train has cleared the bridge, the draw opens and the lights return to green. The bridge shall not be closed more than 60 minutes combined for any 120 minute time period beginning at 12:01 a.m. Caution : This bridges schedule may temporarily change due to maintenance and or repairs etc. Check the Waterway Explorer for possible nav alerts.

The bend off the Huizinga pavilion is not as tight as the others but still tends to have a little tidal current.

7th Avenue bridge or William H Marshall Memorial Bridge (SW 4th Street)

When you make the call, be sure to ask for the 7th Avenue bridge. Navigating the New River Fort Lauderdale

    • Mile Marker: 2.7
    • Lat / Lon: N 26° 07.045′ / W 080° 08.921′
    • Contact: VHF 09 /305-889-5572
    • Vertical Clearance (Closed): 19′
    • Horizontal Clearance: 59′
    • Bridge schedule: The opening of the Marshall aka Seventh Avenue bridge, mile 2.7 at Fort Lauderdale shall open on signal; except that, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw need not open. Public vessels of the United States, tugs with tows, and vessels in distress shall be passed at any time.

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River Fork and Little Florida

This is one of the areas that you want to keep a sharp ear out for security calls around “River Fork” and “Little Florida” as well as make your own inbound security call. The river fork can sneak up on you and looks very much like a dead end. This corner taking the South bend is pretty tight and oncoming traffic will be impossible to detect via sight. After the River Fork you will be looking straight into the Little Florida blind bend. If you look through the trees of Little Florida dead ahead you will be able to pick out most approaching traffic. There is room to pass in the bend but there is also the tidal currents that will tend to carry you so it is advised you don’t make any close passes in the bend. Navigating the New River Fort Lauderdale

Little Florida | Ducksville | Davie BLVD Bridge

After Little Florida but beore you are off into the narrows of the Wiggles, you will want to call out Ducksville. This area isn’t complicated to navigate, but it is not an area to pass. The current does accelerate but it is a easily manageable. As you approach Davie Blvd there is a bit of a waiting area by the park on the Western side. Davie Blvd has a great bridge tender who works that area of the river like an airport control tower. The bridge is on a bit of a bend so pick your route through before executing. Ducksville calls for the new river in fort lauderdale

Davie BLVD Bridge

Navigating the New River Fort LauderdaleNavigating the New River Fort Lauderdale Bottom right pic is taken from the South outbound. Mile Marker: 0.9

  • Lat / Lon: N 26° 06.434′ / W 080° 09.540′
  • Bridge Type: Bascule
  • Vertical Clearance (Closed): 21.00′
  • Horizontal Clearance: 60.00′
  • Schedule: The draw shall open on signal; except that, from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, the draw need not open. Public vessels of the United States, tugs with tows, and vessels in distress shall be passed at any time.
  • VHF Channel: 09

 

Davie BLVD Bridge to CSX Railroad bridge and Lauderdale Marine Center

After Davie you have 0.5 miles of straight narrow channel before a 90 degree turn to Starboard. The channel does leave enough room to pass before or after the 90 degree bend just before Lauderdale Marine Center (LMC). LMC is one of Florida’s biggest yachting centers and full service yard so you can expect traffic. If this is your stop then great. If not you can make your security for I95 and call to CSX railroad bridge. The CSX bridge is mostly open but closes for trains and it can be a long wait. You can even make your call earlier after Davie if you are confident in your ETA at the CSX bridge. Do not attempt to wait for a bridge opening under the I-95 but rather in front of the LMC boat sheds. Lauderdale Marine Center New River With LMC on your port side you will round their Western Face dock and and make your approach to I95. There is a very disconcerting dog leg into a bottleneck of the railroad bridge. Know your tidal current and be ready to counter if needed. This is not an area where you want to encounter any traffic, especially not the Jungle Queen. Related:  Yacht Crew Accommodation near LMC on Marina Mile in Safe Area Navigating the New River Fort Lauderdale CSX Below is a great sequence of shots from Tug Leeloo Navigating New River Fort Lauderdale CSX Navigating New River Fort Lauderdale CSX Navigating New River Fort Lauderdale CSX Navigating New River Fort Lauderdale CSX The above pic shows still water and little to no tidal current. When the current is running it will be very evident around the bridge fenders.

I-95 Bridge

  • Lat / Lon: N 26° 05.813′ / W 080° 10.144′
  • Bridge Type: Fixed
  • Vertical Clearance: 55.00′
  • Horizontal Clearance: 68.00′

CSX Railroad Bridge

  • Mile Marker: 0.9
  • Lat / Lon: N 26° 05.781′ / W 080° 10.161′
  • Bridge Type: Bascule
  • Vertical Clearance (Closed): 2.00′
  • Horizontal Clearance: 60.00′
  • Schedule: The draw shall remain open but close for repairs and train traffic. Call as far in advance as practical as bridge may be closed for long periods as trains transit.
  • VHF Channel: 09

CSX to Roscioli Yacht Center.

Navigating the New River to Roscioli After the CSX bridge the water will open up with Marina Bay on your port side. Marina bay is another popular marina for vessels up to 120′ on the South Fork of the New River. Continue Eastwards and around the gentle bend to the South. Your concerns of the Jungle Queen can now be put to rest as you will have passed her stop on the new river.

Rolly Marine Services to Bradford Marine

After the Gentle curve South you will run into a 90 degree turn to Starboard. This is an area that caught me by surprise. Even though the turn looks relatively wide the current still tends to carry the vessel. The deep water is in the center and after you make the turn you will have Rolly Marine Services of your port beam. Rolly Marine New River Fort Lauderdale

See zoom below

Navigating the New River to Bradford Marine From Rolly Marine center to Bradford the channel is another gentle curve Southwards and looks wide. However, for the deepest water, use the center of the waterway and slightly favor the North side. The south side shoals up pretty quickly and has left many a vessel stranded. Stick to the center with just a touch of North as you make the curve and keep your eyes on your depth.   Cable over New River Fort Lauderdale

Bradford Marine Center 

If Bradford Marine is not your stop then as you approach the widening of the waterway, after you pass the little marina and prominent headland close on your Starboard side, start to make the turn to Starboard bringing Bradford to just forward of the beam and head for center of the channel taking you West. This channel has a 62ft power line overhead. Avoid the urge to keep close to the docks on your port side as they give a false send of depth. Again keep your eyes on the depth, as the open water on the North of the channel does not offer depth either. As you go under the power cable it may get a little tight if there is a vessel docked on your starboard side. Have a roving fender at hand, depending on your beam. A small basin will open up on you Starboard side and this will make for a good turning basin if you are hoping to back into Roscioli or simply need to let another vessel pass. However, the basin does get shallower towards the sea wall so use the center of the basin and you should have at least 8 – 9ft of water.

Recommended security calls and bridge calls (inbound in order)

  1. Entering the New River at channel marker “5”
  2. Tarpon Bend
  3. The Church
  4. The Girl’s School
  5. The Tunnel
  6. SE 3rd Ave Bridge
  7. Andrews Ave Bridge
  8. New River railroad bridge (if closed or if vessel will need room to maneuver)
  9. 7th Avenue Bridge (William H. Marshall)
  10. South River Fork
  11. Little Florida
  12. Ducksville
  13. The Wiggles
  14. Dave Blvd Bridge
  15. CSX Railroad bridge
  16. I95 underpass.

Thank you to MIASF for the Recommendation Marine Industries Association of South Florida

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