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Old 02-07-2017, 02:57 PM   #1
WoNHUSA
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Default Wolfeboro Back Bay bridge clearance

The Bizer Map chart lists that the bridge to Back Bay in Wolfeboro has a clearance of 4.2 feet. I am new to boating and do not have experience with the bridge and not much with the Bizer chart. Where is the 4.2 measured; at the center of the arch or the sides of the bridge? And when Bizer says 4.2 feet, I convert that to 50.4 inches. I am looking to buy my first boat and want to consider bridge clearance when looking...thanks for any help.
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Old 02-07-2017, 03:57 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum. I have always gone on the assumption that bridge height is measured at the center of the bridge because that is where we would be navigating. Also, remember, that height assumes the clearance at full lake level of 504.32 . If the lake is higher than full lake, the clearance becomes less. For quick figuring, 0.083 feet equals approximately 1 inch. You need to keep this in mind if your boat's bridge clearance would be cutting it close.
Some boats will not list a bridge clearance figure for their boat (s). Others will list them, but under a specific load condition, ie xx gallons of fuel, xx gallons of water, certain power options, and even crew weight.
I could not find the clearance for my bowrider and so I laid a 2X4 across the highest point on my boat (top of windshield) and measured down to the water from the bottom of the board. (I was at the dock) I adjusted for the lake level that day and came up with the figure. Remember: the lake level is measured in the area of the Weirs, your location could be higher due to inflows at your area.
Good luck. !

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Old 02-07-2017, 09:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upthesaukee View Post
I could not find the clearance for my bowrider and so I laid a 2X4 across the highest point on my boat (top of windshield) and measured down to the water from the bottom of the board. (I was at the dock) I adjusted for the lake level that day and came up with the figure. Remember: the lake level is measured in the area of the Weirs, your location could be higher due to inflows at your area.
Good luck. !

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Why would you need to adjust for the level of the lake when you figured the distance from the top of your windshield to the water? (Hint: The lake level will not change that distance)
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:21 PM   #4
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There is a marina in Wolfoboro back bay (Sawmill Marina). Obviously everyone who has a slip there would need to have a boat that clears the bridge. I would call them or pay them a visit. See what kinds of boats are stored there and make your decision on their input.
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Old 02-08-2017, 12:30 PM   #5
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There is a marina in Wolfoboro back bay (Sawmill Marina). Obviously everyone who has a slip there would need to have a boat that clears the bridge.
The clearance under the bridge is very tight:

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Old 02-08-2017, 01:24 PM   #6
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For what it's worth: While standing on each bridge, I hung a tape measure over the side and measured the distance to the water. I then measured the distance to the top of the bridge at the center as best I could eyeball. I then adjusted the readings for the Weirs reading. No attempt was made to use high-tech surveying equipment, nor were any measurements made while in a boat.

Inflows have little effect on local water height. The lake can level itself out within minutes. The only exception is wind. If there is heavy wind, it could push the lake downwind, by an inch or so. If the wind stopped, the lake would be level again within a minute or two.

The exception is Paugus Bay which may be a few inches lower when the Lakeport Dam is expelling substantial water from the lake.
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Old 02-08-2017, 04:44 PM   #7
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Default Wolfeboro Back Bay bridge clearance

Sadly, many too many boaters fail to consider this bridge, and find themselves in a "jam" (pun intended) from which they may need extrication assistance.

To add to this problem, there is a launch ramp 'uphill' from this bridge, and every summer there are boaters who arrive at the ramp, get their boat all tricked out, take away the car and trailer, and then return to start their day on the Big Lake. Sadly, 5 minutes later, they are face-to-face with the under-structure of the bridge, only to find out there is more boat than there is bridge.

So, echoing previous posters, it is important to know your boat's height-over-(full)water, and pay attention to the lake level to be able to know if you have clearance.

This particular bridge is so low that even a good heavy rain storm can change the clearance.

When in doubt, go extremely slowly, be prepared to stop and back out, and, if spectators along the shore are able to assist, ask for help.

Good luck boating, enjoy the Big Lake.
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:52 PM   #8
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I will try to give the folks at Sawmill Marina a call to see what info they can pass along. In the meantime, does anyone know where the bridge is (or bridges are) measured? At the top of the arch (highest point) or at the sides?
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Old 02-08-2017, 08:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by WoNHUSA View Post
I will try to give the folks at Sawmill Marina a call to see what info they can pass along. In the meantime, does anyone know where the bridge is (or bridges are) measured? At the top of the arch (highest point) or at the sides?
Please see the post by Bizer, 2 before your ladt post.

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Old 02-09-2017, 06:54 AM   #10
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Old 02-09-2017, 08:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
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The clearance under the bridge is very tight:

That was so close you can clearly see all the wads of gum stuck on the bottom of the bridge under there.
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Old 02-09-2017, 08:50 AM   #12
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What sort of boat do you have??

Make / model / size ?

If its a 14' Boston Whaler ... no problem
If its a 24' bowrider with arch .... forget it !


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Old 02-09-2017, 08:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Fan View Post
That was so close you can clearly see all the wads of gum stuck on the bottom of the bridge under there.
Wads of gum? I thought those were spiders waiting to jump into your boat as you passed by.

Thanks for sharing the video, I always wondered what it was like going through there as that is one of many places I can't even think about visiting with my boat.
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Old 02-09-2017, 09:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bizer View Post
For what it's worth: While standing on each bridge, I hung a tape measure over the side and measured the distance to the water. I then measured the distance to the top of the bridge at the center as best I could eyeball. I then adjusted the readings for the Weirs reading. No attempt was made to use high-tech surveying equipment, nor were any measurements made while in a boat.

Inflows have little effect on local water height. The lake can level itself out within minutes. The only exception is wind. If there is heavy wind, it could push the lake downwind, by an inch or so. If the wind stopped, the lake would be level again within a minute or two.

The exception is Paugus Bay which may be a few inches lower when the Lakeport Dam is expelling substantial water from the lake.

Thanks for the information, it helps to know that it was "eyeballed" to the center of the bridge. I have tried to call Sawmill Marina to see if they can help give me some insight.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:10 AM   #15
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Default center console

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Does anyone know if a small center console can fit under back Bay Bridge in Wolfeboro? I would like to be able to get into back bay, but also like center consoles for their comfort. If so, any suggestions for s small center console boat that will clear the bridge? Has anyone ever modified a 15' Montauk Whaler or a small Carolina skiff so the windshield and grab rail is low enough to clear and if so, how? Thanks, this is my first post on this forum.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAS View Post
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Does anyone know if a small center console can fit under back Bay Bridge in Wolfeboro? I would like to be able to get into back bay, but also like center consoles for their comfort. If so, any suggestions for s small center console boat that will clear the bridge? Has anyone ever modified a 15' Montauk Whaler or a small Carolina skiff so the windshield and grab rail is low enough to clear and if so, how? Thanks, this is my first post on this forum.
I've seen a 15' center console boat fail to clear the bridge due to a high grab rail above the windshield. As the previous posters have indicated, clearance is just over 4 feet at full pool so whether you can clear the bridge depends on your bridge clearance. I can usually pass under the bridge in my 20' bowrider in July or August but probably not in June when the water is high. Last August the water was so low I could almost stand up when passing beneath the bridge, but my prop was hitting bottom.

I know of a couple of Sawmill slip holders that are unable to get out of Back Bay in June when the water is high.
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:46 PM   #17
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Default Wolfeboro Back Bay bridge clearance

Hi,
One other interesting fact with the Back Bay Bridge is the arch on the
lake side is 2 inches lower at the middle.

I have a 1987 4Winns 211 Liberator.

In June 2013 or 2014, we went under the bridge from the Back Bay heading out to Wolfeboro Bay. I had to put someone way up in the cuddy cabin to drop the bow enough for the windshield to clear.

We cleared with about 1/2 inch to spare in the center. When we got to the other side, the arch was hitting about 1.5 to 2 inches down on the windshield.
And the wind was blowing in, and as we tried to back up, we got spun sideways. We had to spin the boat pushing against the roof of the bridge to spin back. Lots of fun.

Now I check the side posts of the Back bay docks to see where the water is
before I launch.

Scott
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Old 02-15-2017, 07:43 PM   #18
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What if the hull was temporarily flooded enough to get a few more inches of clearance?

I suppose a bladder would be needed to keep the water out of trouble.
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Old 03-01-2017, 08:38 AM   #19
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I called Sawmill Marina and was told that the clearance was 56" on one side and 55" on the other. I believe I was told (and based on the previous post) that the Wolfeboro Bay side of the bridge is the lower of the two. Good info to have...
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Old 03-01-2017, 10:41 AM   #20
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I'm selling my 2001 Glastron GX185, I've never had a problem getting under the Back Bay Bridge if you're interested.
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Old 04-06-2017, 01:11 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoNHUSA View Post
I called Sawmill Marina and was told that the clearance was 56" on one side and 55" on the other. I believe I was told (and based on the previous post) that the Wolfeboro Bay side of the bridge is the lower of the two. Good info to have...
I re-measured the Wolfeboro bridge on Tuesday and again came up with 4.2 feet.
  • Distance from water to top of stones next to sidewalk: 120" (10.0 ft)
  • Distance from top of opening to stop of stones: 63" (5.25 ft.) (The bridge's height at the time, not corrected for the lake's datum, was 4.75 feet)
  • Lakes height at the time: 3.79 (0.53 feet below full lake datum of 4.32 feet)
  • 10.0 - 5.25 - (4.32 - 3.79) = 4.22 (+/- 0.1)
I did confirm that the clearance on the north side is about 2 inches higher, but we are most interested in the lowest clearance. Again, I do not know or remember whether there is an obstruction under the bridge that would reduce the clearance.
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