• Breaking the heat wave

    Breaking the heat wave

    The heat wave of the past few days finally broke on Monday, with cooler air moving in and heavy thunderstorms hitting in the afternoon, knocking sailors and other recreational boats off the River. Commercial traffic was light and not particularly notable. Saint Emilion, Morgan Reinauer, and Mako remained at anchor in the River in the morning, but Saint Emilion left by midday and headed for IMTT in Bayonne. Mako also left at midday, but made a loop down in the Upper Bay and came back to its original spot, still killing time.

    Morgan and Saint Emilion at anchor facing the flood tide in the morning
    Mako at anchor in the morning
    Evelyn Cutler was running light up to Yonkers in the morning, having apparently left her barge behind in Staten Island
    CMT’s Mister Jim was pushing sand or salt back to Coeymans by 10am after having made an overnight run down to Brooklyn and a quick turnaround
    A Miller’s Launch tug was pushing a crane barge north
    The storms had hit by the time Coral Coast came through with an empty cement barge heading to Ravenna from the Lafarge Brooklyn dock
    Heavy weather came through at about 1pm
    Source: Weather Undeground
    Things were looking ominous over the Battery as a private corporate ferry approached Jersey City Paulus Hook piers
    Photo Credit: Daniel Ackman

  • Triathalon Sunday

    Triathalon Sunday

    The annual New York City Triathalon was held Sunday, though the running and biking segments were cut in half due to the extreme heat. The swimming segment went off as planned, unlike last year when elevated bacteria caused that leg to be canceled. Swimmers entered the water off a dock at 81st Street and swam a mile upriver with the flood tide to 99th Street, where they transitioned to their bikes.

    There were a large number of FDNY and NYPD boats attending, as well as work crews from Miller’s Launch to maneuver the barges used as docks for the swimmers to enter and leave the water. By 10am, the swimmers were out of the water and the escort and work boats were heading home. Temperatures were scorching, approaching 100F, but fortunately there was a steady 10 knot wind out of the southwest, building into the evening and making for nice sailing conditions.

    Photo source: Tweeted by “@NYCTriathalon”
    Miller’s Launch Samantha with crane deployed and other small boats after the swim segment had completed
    Boats around the swimming exit point
    Source: MarineTraffic
    NYPD and FDNY boats leaving the Triathalon swim area
    An Army Corps crane headed north after the event, passing the departing Samantha Miller
    Harbor Charlie framed by the old NY Central float bridges at 67th Street
    The Mako remained at anchor going on a third day off 72nd Street
    As was the Morgan Reinauer, seen at slack tide being passed by low-flying cormorants
    Saint Emilion brought an empty barge up from Staten Island, passing a paddle boarder and dropping anchor off 102nd Street
    Janice Ann Reinauer returned from Newburgh and headed for the Arthur Kill
    A kayaker got his ride in before the day got too hot
    As did outrigged canoers, passing the Buchanan12 coming down with its usual cargo of crushed stone from Clinton Point
    A motor yacht with unusual sailing apparatus added. Does this really work?
    An immature herring gull off Pier i (thanks ManhattanBirdAlert for ID)
    Smoke rose from a fire at the Sims Metal scrub yard on a pier in Jersey City, visible, behind the Jersey City skyline with the top of Norwegian Joy visible in the foreground
    Norwegian Joy sailed for Bermuda

  • Inland seas

    Inland seas

    A short trip to Cleveland brought an opportunity to observe some marine traffic away from the North River this week. In Flushing Bay next to LaGuardia, we observed two Norfolk Towing tugs operating near the DSNY’s North Shore Marine Transfer Station, where commercial waste is transferred to containers and loaded on barges destined for the Staten Island container terminal or the Waste Management Elizabeth docks, and from there to Covanta’s Newark incinerator or landfills out of state.

    Norfolk Towing tugs at the DSNY North Shore transfer station on Flushing Bay

    In Cleveland, an old lake bulker the William G. Mather has been converted to a museum piece. The Mather once brought iron ore to Cleveland steel mills and was in service from the 1920s until 1980. These lake bulkers are longer and narrower than the ocean going bulkers we see on the North River as they are built to traverse locks, and have their bridges forward.

    The William G. Mather at anchor in Cleveland’s North Shore Harbor

    Also anchored at the harbor were two Federal vessels which look more similar to boats we see on the North River. The 140’ Coast Guard cutter Neah Bay is based in Cleveland and is a sister to the Penobscot Bay and Sturgeon Bay, Bay Class icebreaker tugs which make Bayonne their home and frequently patrol New York Harbor and the Hudson. The Army Corps of Engineers tug Cheraw is based there too.

    USCGC Neah Bay and Army Corps’ Cheraw at home in Cleveland
    A Caspian tern over Cleveland, not often seen in the NYC area but common on the Lakes

    Meanwhile, back on the North River, Saturday morning saw the Mako, the Morgan Reinauer, and the Saint Emilion at anchor with their tanker barges.

    Mako swings at anchor as the glassy river starts to ebb Saturday morning
    Kimberly Poling passes the anchored Mako with a loaded barge
    Morgan Reinauer at anchor off 90th Street
    Buchanan12 on its way back to Clinton Point with empty hoppers

  • Heat advisory, storm warning

    Heat advisory, storm warning

    A heat advisory remained in place Thursday, with Manhattan temperatures in the 90s even as steady southern breezes continued to provide a modicum of relief on the water. In the early afternoon, thunderstorms formed over New Jersey and moved across the River, sending recreational boaters scurrying for safety. Commercial traffic was rather light.

    Dann Marine’s Ivory Coast (Cote Ivoire?) headed upriver light early in the day, paused for a bit off Yonkers, and then continued north
    DonJon Marine did a recycling run, passing J80 sailboats practicing racing maneuvers
    Kimberly Poling pushed a tanker barge north towards Yonkers
    The Army Corps’ Hayward came south as the approaching storm brought whitecaps to the River
    Source: Weather Underground

  • Still cooking

    Still cooking

    Wednesday brought another day of blazing hot temperatures, though a southerly wind built throughout the day providing some relief on the water. Commercial traffic was rather heavy mid-week, with a number of tanker barges, hoppers and a bulk carrier moving through

    The former Bouchard tug Evening Mist came through with hoppers loaded with stone or gravel, arriving from the pier of a former cement plant up in Catskill, New York. We saw this tug, which is owned by Haugland Group, making the same run a few weeks back, and presumably they are using that pier to load stone. Later in the morning, after spending some time off Red Hook, the Evening Mist passed in the other direction, heading back north with empty barges.

    Evening Mist brining gravel south early in the day
    And returning with empties later
    The bulker Bay Pearl came through, arriving from Veracruz and heading for Albany or Coeymans
    Pinuccia, owned by a Boston towing company, headed north with a loaded barge from Kinder Morgan in Perth Amboy
    Port Richmond was servicing the North River plant in the morning…
    …and was overtaken by a NY Naval Militia 44’ boat, the same boat we saw coming up the river exactly a week ago
    Later in the morning, the Red Hook, back in service after apparent mechanical problems last week, was doing the honors, passing Pier 66
    A Poling-Cutler tug based Red hook with a light barge
    Some time after one its fleet mates brought a loaded barge north
    The Coast Guard’s Sturgeon Bay icebreaking tug returned from an overnight visit to Poughkeepsie
    The Army Corps’ Gelberman was on patrol
    An airship advertised Shark Week

  • The Dog Days of Summer

    The Dog Days of Summer

    Scorching heat prevailed Tuesday, with Monday’s storms having done little if anything to cool things down. Fortunately, decent 10+ knot winds out of the southwest provided some relief by the water. River traffic was generally familiar and typical, with one notable exception seen in the skies.

    The highlight of the day was to see a 1945 era DC-3, the Esther Mae, passing through heading southwest from Rhode Island after making a loop over Woods Hole Massachusetts. As of 17:30 EDT, the plane was heading southwest over Lancaster, PA.

    Mister Jim came through pushing barges full of what was probably salt but possibly sand
    Saint Emilion left its anchorage off Yonkers and headed down to Linden to load new cargo
    Helen came down from Verplanck with what looked like an empty barge on the hip, heading for Long Island Sound
    Mister Jim was on its daily crushed dolomite run, passing the anchored Dean Reinauer
    One of Harbor Charlie’s larger boats was on patrol
    As was FDNY’s Marine 1a boat
    And the Corps of Engineer’s Hayward
    While a Coast Guard Dolphin chopper kept an eye on things from a few hundred feet off the deck
    Jersey City’s marine unit was seen a bit north of its jurisdiction
    The small cruise ship Insignia headed out on another Bermuda run with help from Moran Towing
    DC-3 Esther Mae heading south down the River
    Esther Mae originated in Rhode Island, looped over Woods Hole, MA and was heading southwest over Lancaster PA as of 17:33.
    Photo source: FlightRadar24

  • Summer squalls

    Summer squalls

    Lines of thunderstorms moved through the area throughout the day, starting first thing and then recurring at midday and in the afternoon. The sun broke through periodically but humidity remained high. The Haggerty Girls was (were?) anchored in the River in the morning, but headed down to the Upper Bay in the afternoon and was (were) replaced by Nicole Reinauer.

    Haggerty Girls at anchor off 96th Street in the morning haze
    And heading for the Upper Bay in the afternoon

    Dann Marine’s Treasure Coast made a light trip up to Yonkers and back, likely to assist Carolina Coast with some docking operations at the Domino Sugar plant.

    Treasure Coast heading for Yonkers
    And on the way back to Brooklyn passing the Naval Academy’s training boats tied up for a visit to Pier 86 and the Growler submarine (part of the museum)

    Buchanan12 was heading back north to the Clinton Point quarry with empty barges.

    Buchanan12 with empty barges heading north

    Coast Guard cutter Sturgeon Bay, one of two ice breakers based in Bayonne, headed upriver to Haverstraw Bay. The NYC DEP water quality monitoring boat was making a circuit of Manhattan, perhaps checking impact of the recent heavy rains on water conditions.

    USCGC Sturgeon Bay heading north
    The NYC DEP’s water quality monitoring boat on patrol
    A Corps of Engineers tug moving through a midday squall
    An NYPD 45’ boat on a morning patrol passing Pier i
    Carnival Magic and its bunkering barge ahead of an evening departure to Bermuda
    And leaving during a break in the storms with help from Jonathan C Moran
    The DEP’s veteran North River tanker servicing the North River plant
    A helicopter came in for a landing at the 34th Street heliport ahead of a storm moving across from New Jersey

  • Summer weekends

    Summer weekends

    As we move into mid-summer, the days start to run together. Heat, interrupted by occasional storms, and winds from the southeast building as the heat builds up through the day making for excellent afternoon and evening sailing. River traffic continues as usual, and boaters, sailors, paddle boarders and even swimmers are out in force.

    The Naval Academy’s yard patrol training boats returned for a third time this summer and tied up at Pier 86 for a weekend in New York
    Mister Jim ran into a summer squall coming down from Coeymans with hopper barges on Saturday
    A J80 sailboat passed the massive “Water’s Soul” sculpture in Jersey City Friday evening
    A DonJon Marine tug pushed hopper barges past the Statue, Ellis Island, and the old Jersey Central Terminal Friday evening
    Another DonJon tug moved light in the other direction
    A Reinauer ATB headed north towards Albany
    New Jersey State Police pitched in on river patrol duty
    Buchanan12 approached the Bridge on its daily run from the quarry
    Dann Marine pushed a loaded cement barge past the Cloisters
    The Haggerty Girls ATB ended the weekend anchored off 96th Street
    A group of kayakers and paddle boarders on Saturday
    Kayakers and a paddle boarder pass the Dyckman Street Marina and the convent on top of the Palisades in Englewood Cliffs
    A J24 ran wing-on-wing under the Bridge Sunday
    Small boats and kayaks escort a long distance swimmer under the Bridge
    A Navy E-2D advanced Hawkeye flew up from Oceana Air Station in Norfolk Virginia and made a loop up the Hudson
    Marine Viper attack helicopters continued to run training flights up the river

  • Calm but sad

    Calm but sad

    I always feel calmer when I’m by the River, but this morning the calm was mixed with a heavy dose of sadness knowing that an 8-year old boy had died in yesterday’s afternoon’s boating accident. The river is wonderful and vital, but it is also crowded and powerful, and can be dangerous at times.

    The local press has covered the accident heavily. The Daily News has some good detail, as does WNBC news. It seems the victims were twelve members of a family, some of whom were visiting from Colombia, who had chartered the boat. The owner of the boat was following close behind on a jet ski and assisted in the rescue attempts.

    According to WNBC, the boat itself was a 24’ Yamaha AR240 jet drive powerboat, an open boat with a soft top. The Daily News article has a photo of the boat being raised out of the water by the Corps of Engineers which seems consistent with this.

    Photo by Sam Costanza for the Daily News

    The cause of the tragedy will of course be carefully investigated. The Daily News quoted a Harbor Patrol officer as indicating they believed wakes from passing ferries may have contributed and that the boat may have been overloaded. Eleven adults does seem like a lot for a 24’ boat, but the official capacity of the boat is 12 according to The Boat Guide website.

    Conditions at the time of the accident (2:45pm) were reasonably calm though there were advisories in affect ahead of thunderstorms expected later. There was an ebb tide running against a southerly wind, and ferries can create big wakes. Perhaps they hit a large wake awkwardly at speed, or got rolled by a wave hitting the beam with too much weight on one side. As near as I can tell, the incident occurred mid-river off Pier 86 or so, but the boat would have drifted south with the ebb and emergency services staged off Pier 79 as seen in yesterday’s post.

    The crane boat in the Daily News photo is the Corps of Engineers boat Hayward, which often is in the river fishing out large tree limbs (or tree trunks) but is sometimes called on for special salvage operations. We watched the Hayward fish an engine off the bottom from United Airways 1549 after it broke off in the 2009 emergency landing and saw her pull a wrecked WWII era fighter plane out of the river after it crashed near the Jersey side in 2016. Coincidentally I photographed the Hayward earlier in the day on Tuesday, about an hour before the accident, with the crew certainly unaware of the grim turn their day would take.

    The Hayward on the river an hour before the accident

    Meanwhile, activity was fairly light on Wednesday on the river, and seemed weighted towards military vessels for whatever reason. A 44’ boat belonging to the New York Naval Militia, the naval arm of the National Guard, passed by in the morning heading north with no AIS signal. Later in the day, four Coast Guard 29’ boats were doing their drills off Riverside Park, with machine guns mounted on two boats as usual.

    NY Naval Militia (National Guard) boat heading north
    Coast Guard 29’ boats drilling
    Marine Viper attack helicopters on a training flight
    A Blackhawk heading south
    A view from Spuyten Duyvil: Saint Emilion anchored off Yonkers with East Coast and a sugar barge and the Mario Cuomo Bridge beyond
    The Spuyten Duyvil Amtrak Bridge, by some definitions the north limit of the North River
    A jet skier emerging from the Harlem River, with a Metro-North Hudson Line train on the Bronx shore in the background
    A NYC Parks Department powerboat off Inwood Hill Park
    Sarah D brought a load of gravel down from Albany
    Kimberly Poling passed the bridge with an empty barge after leaving its anchorage off Yonkers, heading for Cataret
    Buchanan12 with on its usual mission

  • Capsized


    Tuesday saw a terrible accident on the river as a small boat carrying twelve people capsized and partially sunk. Ten people were rescued by ferries according to reports, but FDNY and NYPD divers had to retrieve two. Apparently, two were brought to the hospital in serious or critical condition. There was no word on what kind of boat was involved. UPDATE: Local media is reporting that a child and a 20-year old women were declared dead on arrival at area hospitals. A sad day on the river.

    The response was massive, with a staging area set up by the NY Waterway docks at Pier 79. Conditions at the time of the accident were calm, with the incident occurring well ahead of heavy thunderstrorms expected to move in from the south this evening. For more, see https://nypost.com/2022/07/12/four-hospitalized-2-critically-after-boat-capsizes-in-hudson-river-near-nyc-pier/?utm_source=url_sitebuttons&utm_medium=site%20buttons&utm_campaign=site%20buttons

    Photo from WCBS via NY Post
    Photo by Daniel Katzive
    Photo by Daniel Katzive
    Photo by Daniel Katzive

    The day started out quite typical for a summer weekday, with the usual mix of commercial and recreational activity. The small cruise ship Insignia was in town, heading out in the late afternoon for Bermuda with help from Moran Towing.

    A cabin cruiser passed by in the morning, heading up to Croton-on-Hudson
    The icebreaker Sturgeon Bay on a summer patrol made a loop up to Tarrytown
    Mister Jim, with some red added to his new grey paint, brought some rocks down from Coeymans
    Buchanan12 was on her usual route down from the quarry
    Port Richmond, one of the three newer DEP tankers, was working the North River plant with Red Hook still apparently out of service.
    Insignia at Pier 90
    Miriam Moran helped the Insignia cruise ship leave the dock
    J80 sailboats ran with spinnakers with the southerly wind