Mighty Manhattan & New York’s East River

0830 | April 18th, 2022

A friend of mine called the other day to hand off a new client he has just sold a yacht to. The owner was brand new to boating and their purchase of a 55′ motor yacht from what I was told, was an easy decision because of the joystick technology – which would be as easy as “playing video games”- or so he had told me. So I headed down to one of my favorite marinas – One°15 Brooklyn Marina.

The setting was on The East River, New York, where the tidal change is a  4 to 5 foot semidiurnal fluctuation throughout the day – which produces… a normal current rip of 6 to 7 mph.  Normal windage is 5 to 10 with 15 mph gusts.  Normal wave conditions are a light to moderate chop.    Here’s a great link for up-to-date tidal information: Brooklyn Tides

Before even stepping foot on board this new vessel, I’d like to paint the reality for those who’ll be boating in NYC and even the Long Island Sound waters:

In and around the East River, you’ll find a colorful convection of changing wind patterns, tributary currents, erratically dredged depths (which create serious rip currents such as those found around Hells Gate and Wallabout Bay,) and an armada of swarming 72′ high-speed water taxi’s, which don’t stop for very much. In the higher density traffic pattern areas you’ll also find the largest container ships, being pushed, pulled or hip-towed through the area by tug boats, planes and helicopters flying overhead, seaplanes landing in designated water zones, government and local law enforcement vessels, CPB (customs and boarder patrol) Vessels, the occasional Military/Special Operations detachment, the USCG (US Coast Guard), dredging vessels conducting operations, survey vessels conducting research, the unmistakable Orange Staten Island Ferry, the Governor’s Island Ferry, droves of party boats, Lady Liberty Boat Charters, Sailing charter tours, private charter tours, kayakers, jet skiers, and the increasing presence of paddleboarders to name just a few.

Keeping in mind that all of the above have their own different sets of rules to abide by (as well as lighting schema at night or in inclement weather) – pleasure crafts are at the bottom of the totem pole which means that your average recreational boater is supposed to learn what ALL of the above are capable of, and how they will affect their navigational boating decisions while out there enjoying the day. The reality of it is that very few know the real protocol, rules, and otherwise boating etiquette which will not only lend itself useful, but is quintessential for ensuring the safest boating experiences. Most boaters are lucky if they get their Aids to Navigation correct – always a sad and dangerous state of affairs to watch.

Once you get phase one down, pull the plug and start all over again – boating in darkness is 100x more intense and dangerous without professional boat captain service training and guidance.

Professional advice: know what you’re doing and if you don’t, know what you’re about to do and how it’ll potentially affect you and those around you – hire a professional captain service company to help empower the safe boater in you!


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