Wednesday, May 7

Shove Off

By Michael Argyelan & Marko Lucht

The other day I received a phone call from a boater asking what phone number to call the bridge tender on. I was confused at this inquiry. I asked if he was on our docks. He was apparently already on the water circling around waiting for a bridge-lift. After this conversation, I knew it was necessary to write an article on how to leave the docks at Crowley’s. I’ve asked around the yard, talked with the dock master and crew, added in a few of my personal experiences and compiled a list for you below.

Before you leave home
  • It may seem obvious, but check the weather for the day! I recommend using Accuweather, NOAA, and SailFlow. All great resources.
  • Have a sail plan. Let someone who’s not doing the delivery with you know when you intend to leave and arrive at the dock. Give that person a call or text when you leave the dock and when you arrive at your summer home. 

When you arrive at the yard
  • Stop by the dock house and find someone on the dock crew. Check in and give them an estimated time of departure. This will give you a chance to find your boat on the dock as well as make sure you have settled your account. 
  • If you plan to leave a car(s) at the boatyard, feel free to park near the dock house to unload and then please park in designated areas while you are gone. Designated areas are along the seawall to the south of the dock ramp, in the rows across from the flagpole, by the Ship’s Store on the north side of the yard, as well as by the fence along the railroad track by the Store on the north side of the yard. I’ve included some pics in our blog in case you aren’t familiar with the areas mentioned. Click here.
  • Be patient. Take as much time as you need to prep for your departure. If you think you’re going to be later than your initial estimated time of departure, let a dock crew member know and we will adjust. Dock crew will periodically check in with you as well.
  • The dock crew will make every attempt to have groups of boats leave together every hour. This helps to minimize chaos at the docks and minimize the number of bridge lifts each day.

Prior to departure
  • While still at the docks, be sure to start your engine. Let it warm up, check oil pressure, and make sure water is coming out of the exhaust.
  • It’s also a good idea to make sure you have all of your safety items aboard. I’ve heard of many boaters being stopped by the USCG at the mouth of Calumet Harbor for a random safety check. Some have been turned back to their respective boat yards until they’re complied with the minimum safety requirements like flares, pfd’s, and the like.
Shoving off
  • When it’s time to leave and you have the engine running and it’s time to go, please be patient with other boaters and the dock crew. If a Crowley’s dock crew is helping you depart, let them manipulate the boat for you, get you in a good position to depart, and then, and only then, put the boat in gear.
  • Please do not hail the bridge tender on your radio if you do not have to. We are in daily and personal contact with the bridge tenders and they expect Crowley’s to organize departures as much as possible.
  • As soon as the 95th Street Bridge opens, get on through as quickly and safely as possible. The 92nd/Ewing Street Bridge will be expecting you and the group of boats with you.
  • Keep a handheld VHF radio in the cockpit if you don’t have a mic for your main VHF hard wired to the cockpit. Being able to respond to the bridge tenders, other boaters, and Crowley’s is important.
  • If you must call the bridge tender, please call them on channel 16.
  • Have fun!

If you would like to add to this list please email me at 

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