VIDEO: "A Pretty Tight Squeeze" - Soundings Online

VIDEO: "A Pretty Tight Squeeze"

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If you think docking a boat or backing a boat trailer down the ramp is tough, then you’ll appreciate this time-lapse video of the tug and barge Teresa/Acadia docking in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Harbor pilot Carolyn Kurtz has been guiding ships in and out of Tampa Bay, Florida, for more than 20 years. She was the first female harbor pilot in the state of Florida (Cheryl Phipps, a Port Everglades harbor pilot, started around the same time as Kurtz) and Kurtz was one of the first female harbor pilots in the country.

Kurtz sometimes shoots time-lapse videos of her assignments by simply leaning her smartphone against a window on the bridge of the ship and then goes about doing her job.

On some days she guides 960-foot cruise ships in and out of Tampa Bay, but in this video, she brings a 525-foot tug and barge into port. The captain of the tug then executes a 180-degree turn in tight quarters, backs the tug and barge up the channel, squeezes between a couple of cruise ships to starboard and a tanker to port, and makes the docking of the asphalt carrier look like just another day in the park.

For those who like to do the math: the channel is 400 feet wide, the cruise ships and tanker have 106-foot beams, the barge is 76 feet wide and the tug providing the assist at the starboard bow is over 90 feet long. That leaves about 10 feet of room on either side. Kurtz called it “a pretty tight squeeze.”