Problem with a moveable bridge? The AWO wants to know

(ARLINGTON, Va.) — The Moveable Bridge Quality Action Team – a cooperative initiative of the Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership’s Mid-America Regional Quality Steering Committee – is working to prevent bridge allisions and other incidents by investigating and documenting issues encountered by mariners when calling or transiting moveable bridges.

Beginning July 1, the American Waterways Operators and partners, including the Gulf Intercoastal Canal Association (GICA), will collect information about bridge-related problems such as:

• Bridge not opening on time.
• Communication issues with bridge tender.
• Bridge not opening all the way.
• Bridge closing too early.
• Bridge waiting too long to open when a vessel approaches.
• Bridge lights not operational.

The AWO supports the Coast Guard’s mission to enforce regulations that ensure safe navigation. Vessel operators, bridge tenders, bridge owners and all other stakeholders in bridge operations must be held accountable for actions that impede safe navigation or contribute to an incident. To ensure robust enforcement, the AWO and its partners will inform the Coast Guard of each report of bridge-related problems that it receives in a formal letter to cognizant Coast Guard personnel. In addition, the AWO will produce a summary report and trending analysis every six months.

The AWO has produced a form that will be shared with all members that outlines the necessary data. Members can use the form, which is available on the AWO Resources Page, or send information by email to Please ensure reports include the following information:

• Bridge name and location.
• Time and date of problem.
• Tow and vessel configuration and dimensions.
• Any other relevant data you can share, including environmental factors such as wind, fog, rain or ice; river level or tide and current information; equipment issues, such as a faulty radio or missing light; and any other information that may have affected the vessel’s ability to make safe passage through the bridge.

To learn more about this effort, contact Liam Morcroft at

– American Waterways Operators

By Professional Mariner Staff