Earlier this month I recounted a night years ago when I'd been steaming absentmindedly up the Piscataqua River between Maine and New Hampshire when I realized we were in danger of being swept into the Memorial Bridge by the rising tide. Fortunately, the drawbridge lifted in time; the tide did not pin us against its deck, and we did not roll over in the virtual sluice-way that is the Piscataqua.
Last week, for the first time of which I'm aware, a vessel was actually pinned against the bridge. The towboat Miss Stacy was maneuvering a barge just above the bridge when the current overcame her. As so often happens nowadays, somebody was on hand with a video camera.
The video is 11 minutes long but you'll get the picture quickly enough and can fast forward. I recommending resuming play at about nine minutes, as the trusting soul on the back deck of the tug Eugenia Moran, wearing what appear to be street clothes despite his precarious perch amid the waters of one of the world's swiftest rivers, tosses a line to the towboat.
Although the center (lifting) span was removed from the Memorial Bridge earlier this month, the Miss Stacy was caught to one side. There is another critical difference between the Miss Stacy incident and the night 26 years or so ago I'd plowed so blithely along in the Princess: the Miss Stacy was traveling downriver and the tide was falling when she was pinned against the bridge. In theory, she would have been in lessening danger as the tide fell. Perhaps she'd have rescued herself at slack water (assuming the river did not flood her spaces below deck). In my case, we were coming upriver with the Princess and would have gotten no such relief from the flooding tide, and our mast would have represented that much more leverage.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and other blessings.