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Be aware of the mouth of the Merrimac River

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Be aware of the mouth of the Merrimac River

Old 09-19-2010, 06:11 PM
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Default Be aware of the mouth of the Merrimac River

I was out the mouth today and yesterday and with the dredgers out there you really have to be careful which path you take. The channel no longer exists due to dredging and the pipes are not well marked. Today with an outgoing tide the mouth was treacharous, the wave were big and rolling as the mouth can be. Normally I'd sneak in by the North Jetty and if you weren't careful and tried that approach you'd quickly realize that the dredging pipes are there and to turn around into these breakers would be very dangerous. My next move is to contact the coast guard and ask why the channel is not better explained while the dredging process take place.
22.5 Grady White Fishermen

Last edited by kells4; 09-19-2010 at 06:12 PM. Reason: added boat
Old 09-19-2010, 08:02 PM
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thanks for the update
Old 09-20-2010, 03:55 AM
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Here's a link to an article in the Newburyport News that has a good graphic of how to navigate the mouth.

http://www.newburyportnews.com/local...redge-in-river
Old 09-20-2010, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by kells4 View Post
I was out the mouth today and yesterday and with the dredgers out there you really have to be careful which path you take. The channel no longer exists due to dredging and the pipes are not well marked. Today with an outgoing tide the mouth was treacharous, the wave were big and rolling as the mouth can be. Normally I'd sneak in by the North Jetty and if you weren't careful and tried that approach you'd quickly realize that the dredging pipes are there and to turn around into these breakers would be very dangerous. My next move is to contact the coast guard and ask why the channel is not better explained while the dredging process take place.
22.5 Grady White Fishermen
Yep,outgoing tide with and Easterly.You want to be on a real boat in that spot.My friend filled the cockpit of his 36 Beal running home at night there not long ago.Scared the shit outa him.
Old 09-20-2010, 04:52 PM
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Igor is offshore but it is definetly creating surf/rips along our coast already. Im sure that does not help your situation. Be safe these next few days as the forecast looks to be a bit worse.
Old 09-20-2010, 05:00 PM
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Good Info! I have been boating out of there for the last 15 yrs. Sometimes, coming from the Salisbury side is the only safe option when the tide shifts and the wind is from an easterly direction.
Old 09-20-2010, 06:29 PM
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Thanks for your response; the second diagram is unclear to me though.
Be safe
Old 09-21-2010, 05:50 AM
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I too was there on sunday and it actually had my wife crying!

Pretty hairy and of all the times to have no harbormaster...marine patrol....or coast guard presence...i don't understand.

I actually saw a sailboat go between the dredger and the salisbury jetty, could have ended badly.

After going back into the river and getting my wife calmed down, we actually made a game of watching people leaving the mouth, and estimating how long until they turned around!!

For such a treacherous area, even the beaches aren't marked well with all the possible hazards.
Old 09-21-2010, 09:10 AM
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Looking at the diagram it looks like they're sending you where the largest breakers would be on a bad day... surprised no one has had a mishap yet given the amount of boat traffic and the average skill of some of the boaters you see out there on a daily basis.
Old 09-21-2010, 09:35 AM
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Went out to see the dredge equipment on Sunday and saw big breaking rollers to the south of the mouth and waves breaking big over the north jetty. What part of "recreation" am I missing by turning around? Other than an opportunity to see some Darwin Awards handed out. Had a lazy cruise up river and anchored up for a boring lunch.
Old 09-21-2010, 09:59 AM
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Ya I took a ride down Sunday as well and turned around no need to beat yourself up for no reason
Old 09-21-2010, 12:49 PM
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At last check the dredge had to move back inside and put things on hold due to the conditions.

I was also puzzled by the absolute lack of harbormasters/patrolboats/CG to help direct traffic out there on a weekend with nice weather, but a big swell and 80% of the mouth closed off due to the dredging equipment.

What is interesting about those graphics is that it appears that they are only going to be dredging the main channel and not the entire mouth and area extending from the tips of both jetties to the #2 and #3 buoys that has really shoaled up over the last several years and creates hazardous conditions even on good days.

So the government is spending $5M to clear a straight-line path through an area surround by soft sand and affected by strong currents and ocean storms? Anyone else besides my 9 year old think this is a bad idea?

-- Tom
Old 09-21-2010, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by hanson View Post
Yep,outgoing tide with and Easterly.You want to be on a real boat in that spot.My friend filled the cockpit of his 36 Beal running home at night there not long ago.Scared the shit outa him.
man if a 36 beal isn't a real boat, i don't know what is. must've been some bad breakers if it loaded the cockpit. that's one nasty river mouth.

Pete, what'd you wind up getting for a boat? i've still got the 32bfin if you're interested. i need to downsize to something i can run alone.

Joe
Old 09-23-2010, 04:46 PM
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Yup, I came through Sunday just before high tide, and with seas running 6-8 feet you wouldn't have wanted to be around when the tide started going out, and I have an 18 ton 40 footer. The dredging equipment has broken down two times since they started and was broken down Sunday. It has been posted in local papers for mariners to pass South of the rig until further notice. They are planning on blowing up 167,000 yards of sand onto Salisbury beach, and then switching to to blow 127,000 yards of sand up onto Plum Island...I imagine at that point they will switch traffic to the North of the rig. The Salisbury Harbormaster's (Ray Pike) cell is 978-420-7834 and CG Station Merrimac River is 978-462- 3428 for concerned traffic. The lighting sequence is clearly outlined in your CG Colregs book but most folks don't have it. The reason for waiting until after Labor Day to start was hopefully less folks would be boating, but with the good weather Summer is stretching....to December I hope...

Take care guys,

Bill
Old 09-23-2010, 05:32 PM
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I was out there Wednesday and the dredge ( Illinois ) was moved quite a bit during the day. When I 1st went out the south was the side to pass on, although people were passing on the north. By the end of the day it was crowding the south jetty with plenty of room to the north.

You can hail them on 16, 13, or 1 if you are approaching and are wondering what to do. If you are around have a listen on 1, their working channel. Interesting.

Last edited by Door#3; 09-23-2010 at 07:32 PM.
Old 09-23-2010, 05:41 PM
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Thanks guys for the helpful input.
Good to know the radio contact and phone numbers. The average boater such as myself though has no idea what CG Colregs are. Why not just mark clearly the new channel with standardized approved international b ouys etc..
Thanks much though for all the guidance
Old 09-23-2010, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by kells4 View Post
Thanks guys for the helpful input.
Good to know the radio contact and phone numbers. The average boater such as myself though has no idea what CG Colregs are. Why not just mark clearly the new channel with standardized approved international b ouys etc..
Thanks much though for all the guidance
The "channel" is changing fairly often during peak operations.

If you are wondering, just hail them. The responsibility for communications to mariners during dredging operations lies with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. That is why the CG and harbor masters will refer you to them vs. giving much, if any, specific info themselves. I've heard from dock mates that Great Lakes gave good information when it was requested.
Old 09-23-2010, 07:03 PM
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Any word on dredging the mouth of essex? Word is it was "dredged" last winter by a crook who did less than half of the work he quoted..and still gave the full bill.....end result I think was he didnt get paid and the river still sucks at low tide. The first green marker buoy is at 4ft of water at low....not fun when the surf kicks up
Old 09-26-2010, 02:36 PM
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Dredger on the south side now
Old 09-27-2010, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by offshore31bfin View Post
man if a 36 beal isn't a real boat, i don't know what is. must've been some bad breakers if it loaded the cockpit. that's one nasty river mouth.

Pete, what'd you wind up getting for a boat? i've still got the 32bfin if you're interested. i need to downsize to something i can run alone.

Joe
Joe ,I ended up with a 36 Hatteras Convertible,brand new Yanmar 440s,new interior,new toys on the bridge.Shes a great ride,named Hatt-Trick,(I have three sons,all play hockey and lacrosse)I loved my Downeast,just needed more room and creature comforts for the Admiral;?Thanks,Pete

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