Florida ICW Fixed Bridge Height Board Problem

Many sailboat captains have reported that the height boards on ICW fixed bridges S of Daytona Beach have been adjusted to show less clearance than in previous years.


In November 2009 Onward encountered many bridges whose height boards showed clearances substantially less that those in Onward's log from previous transits of the ICW both N and S in 2007, 2008, and Spring 2009. These changes in clearance height could not be explained by higher water levels (as verified by data from the US Army Corps of Engineers water level gages). After many phone calls and talking to many local people I discovered that the State of Florida department of transportation in charge of bridges had caused its maintenance contractors to reinstall the height boards to show lower clearances.

I found the USCG office in Miami responsible for permitting bridge construction in Florida and talked to the person in charge. I received a response of "they can't do that" and a promise that it would be corrected.

Fast forward to November 2010: The erroronious height boards are still in place. The local USCG are still unaware of the problem and do not have good information to give to boaters.

To help fellow boaters, I have published photos of many of the bridges Onward has transited along with the effective clearance height as measured by Onwards mast-top feeler gage (aka the VHF antenna). Check the appropriate location by STM for data that you can factor in when making your decision to transit under these Florida fixed bridges.

Links to reports on affected areas:

STM 801-900

STM 901-1000

Information from 2009 season

Updated: 6 November 2014