As from March 2016 the Bridge has been remotely controlled by a trained operator located at ATOC (Auckland Transport Operations Centre) on Queens Wharf in the City. As most of you will already be aware, there is no security guard stationed at the Bridge any longer. The Bridge will operate between the hours of 6am and 10pm in summer ( October - March) and between 6am and 8pm in winter (April – September) in line with daylight saving, and will remain in the Up position when not in operation.
Vessels Leaving or Entering The Marina
While it is understood the bridge operator will control the movement of vessels in and out of the Marina using a number of cameras, skippers are expected to give way to those coming in, particularly when conditions are difficult.
For your reassurance one camera is positioned to give a clear view towards the outer mark and beyond, others cover the approach to the bridge both entering the channel and from the Marina side of the weir.
All vessels wishing to leave or enter the Marina will be required to contact the Bridge Operator at least 5 minutes before proceeding to the bridge using either –
VHF Channel 73 (Callsign ATOC)
Make the call identifying your vessel name and request to enter or exit the Marina and wait for a response confirming you can proceed. Repeat if there is no response. The operator recognizes the word ATOC as this call sign is specific to and only used for the Milford Bridge, and no other Marina.
Landline Ph 09 3092485
It is recommended to program the ATOC phone number into your mobile phone, as VHF has been noted to be intermittent on occasion.
We expect the Milford Mariners and Cruising Club members to be clear when communicating their request, courteous and patient when dealing with the operator.
Exiting the Marina
If there is a delay in the bridge opening or a vessel is entering at the same time, skippers will need to hold their position.
Entering the Marina
Care must be taken not to enter the Marina entrance until you have communicated with the operator and are cleared to proceed. DO NOT enter the channel from the Outer Mark until you visually sight the Bridge is in the upright position.
Whenever possible when exiting or entering the marina along with other vessels try to “group together “. Be aware however that every boat must communicate separately with the operator who will advise them to proceed and follow or hold their position. Do not assume it is OK just to follow the boat ahead without contacting the Operator first and receiving the OK.
There is a marked holding area located just before the bridge and if a vessel is unable to communicate with the operator by VHF or phone they can activate an “Intercom” mounted on one of the mooring piles. NB This holding area should only be used in emergencies and when adverse sea conditions require an immediate entry.
We are not happy with the design of this structure and its shortcomings particularly for keelers and these issues have been communicated to Council staff to try to find a resolution. Soon the large pile of metal stored on the reserve will be removed and this will improve the line of sight from seaward to the Bridge. The temporary fencing on Inga Rd side of the Marina has now been removed as access paths from the footpath to the finger berths are now finally completed .
Emergency Call Out Proceedure
In the event of a system failure the Operator will inform Auckland Coastguard/Maritime Radio of the situation.
The bridge will be returned to the upright position as soon as safe and practical to do so.
It can be expected that as we work through this procedure there are sure to be problems (mostly unforeseen, hopefully) and it is important that Berth holders take extra care exiting and entering the Marina.
The Harbourmaster is looking at having signage (large!) facing out to sea somewhere near the groyne area which will have the VHF Channel and phone number able to be read from the vicinity of the outer mark.
John Castle (Chairman, Milford Mariners Inc.)
John Innes (Commodore, Milford Cruising Club)