The ICW in Florida is notorious for all of it's draw bridges. Some of them open on demand when hailed on CH9, others open on a schedule. This bridge does not open.
The Southern Blvd Bridge in West Palm Beach has been under construction for some time and has not been opening.
The first opening after a long time was on April 17, 2018 at 7:30am. We anchored near it the day before the opening so that we wouldn't miss the opening and miss our chance to make it further North.
We were not the only ones who had this idea, and we were among many other boats that had anchored right by the bridge.
Early in the morning, we got the anchor up and joined the fleet in a holding pattern as we waited for the bridge to open for the first time in a long time!
There were 4 southbound vessels and 15 northbound vessels at the bridge and it would appear that courtesy had been forgotten.
Right of way in this situation pertains to the current. The yacht that is moving down current has right of way over the vessel moving up current. The reason is simple, the vessel moving downstream can not stop. Should they stop moving, they will drift into obstacles in the river. The vessel moving upcurrent can stop and avoid obstacles as the current will bring them backwards.
As the bridge was opening, a very large yacht (over 100 feet in length) decided that he would go first, rules be damned. He positioned himself right in the middle of the bridge as the bascule was opening. On the other side of the bridge was an old motor sailor (a gorgeous wooden boat of similar size) that had been told by the bridge tender that he was to be the first to pass through. It took some stern words from the bridge tender to get the pushy powerboater to stand down and allow the boats to pass through in an orderly and safe manner.