The permits are in place and it appears that the Delaware River is going to be dredged to allow for larger ships to transit up and down the river bringing additional, much needed, revenues to the area. I thought this would be a good opportunity to remind boaters of how to maneuver around a dredge.
The dredge itself may be broadcasting safe passage instructions or you could always contact the dredge directly via VHF radio for instructions. However, if no verbal contact is made here is what to look for according to the Rules of the Road.
A vessel involved in dredging or underwater construction that has an obstruction on one side (such as pipe lines, suction lines or cutter arm) will warn approaching vessels away from that side by displaying two black balls during the day, one over the other. At night, the vessel will show two all around red lights in a vertical line.
One the opposite side, if there is no obstruction, the dredge would carry two diamond shapes during the day, one over the other. (“Diamonds are a boaters best friend”) At night, two all around green lights in a vertical line as an indication that this is the safe side to pass.
In addition, on the mast, the dredge would display the “restricted in the ability to manuever” indicators. That would be a black ball over which a diamond shape is displayed over which another black ball is displayed. At night this would be represented by 3 all around lights in a vertical line. The light configuration would be red over white over red.
See if you can spot the day shapes that are being displayed on the dredge below. With the exception of the “restricted in the ability to manuever” day shapes, with all the rigging it is difficult to see the 2 diamonds and the 2 balls.