This weeks Ass Captain Award goes to…..

Vero Beach, FL
Posted by Bill

A few days ago when we were traveling through Daytona Beach, FL, we heard a conversation on the marine radio worthy of the Ass Captain Award. If you remember from previous posts, the Ass Captain Award (name inspired by the movie Office Space…ass clown) goes to people who do stupid shit, including yours truly. We all have to learn by making mistakes, but this is just a fun way to laugh it off.

So, we are traveling the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) through Daytona Beach, FL, which has several draw bridges. The process for going through a draw bridge is generally as follows:
1. Know the name of the bridge. You have to call on the marine radio to schedule an opening, and some bridge tenders are cranky. If you don’t use the correct name, they may not respond, including telling you that you have the wrong name.
2. Call the bridge on the correct radio channel far enough in advance to time your arrival with their opening. Some bridges are on a restricted schedule and some open on demand. The channel that they use varies by state, so you need to know that as well.
3. After you get through the bridge, tell the bridge tender that you cleared the bridge (via radio) and always be courteous. They have been known to report rude boaters to bridges down the waterway, plus it is the right thing to do.

As we are traveling into Daytona, a 48-50 foot Viking power boat comes flying past us throwing a huge wake and rocking us senseless…an action worthy of an Ass Captain by itself. I note the name of the boat, Yellow Rose, so if I ever meet up with them I can give them a piece of my mind. A few minutes later he gets to the Memorial Bridge, which is a draw bridge. Here is the exchange on the marine radio:
Boat: Bascule bridge, bascule bridge, this is Yellow Rose. (FYI…bascule is a type of bridge, which is noted on nautical charts (maps))
Memorial Bridge: Captain, this is the Memorial Bridge.
Boat: I want an opening for the bascule bridge.
Memorial Bridge: Captain, this is the Memorial Bridge.
Boat: But my GPS (meaning chart plotter…aka Garmin map) says bascule bridge.
Memorial Bridge: Captain…there is no bridge named “bascule”, this is the Memorial Bridge.
Boat: I think I want an opening for the bascule bridge.
Memorial Bridge: OK…if you want an opening at the Memorial Bridge, just let me know.

Now…everyone has to learn how all of this works. But how do you have the means to buy a $400,000 boat, drive it down the ICW, and not know the basics of how to navigate the numerous bridges that you are going to encounter? I guess that explains why he didn’t also know that he is responsible for his own wake, and what it will do to slower boats like ours…Ass Captain.

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