These photos were taken November 16, 2015, with temperatures in the 50s and no wind.  Obviously, mid-November is not always so ideal for this operation.  In fact, photos on the boat showed this work being done in 1992, with buoys heavily ice and snow covered.

Here one crewman–let’s call him the signaler– radios the tug instructions for the approach to the buoy.

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Once within two yards of so, another crewman captures the buoy with a boat hook.

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Besides the VHF, the signaler uses hand signals for the crane operator, who hoists the hooked buoy as high as a connector link,  which gets cleated to the boat while

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the cotter pin connected to the shackle gets cut.

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The crane operator relies entirely on signals from the signaler.

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Once the summer buoy is lifted away, the anchor chain is attached to the spar buoy, which is then

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pushed overboard, where it’ll stay until the reverse process in the spring.

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Meanwhile, the beacon is removed from each buoy.

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Oneida Lake has floating and fixed nav aids.  This is Messenger Shoals, a fixed nav aid on a concrete island poured into sheet piling.  To the left of the aid in Blind Island, and as little as a foot of water.

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The aid here–113–is called a cabinet.

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The large size–about 6′ high–used to hold batteries.

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The entire cabinet is lifted off for the winter.

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On the north side of the lake is a village called Cleveland, once important for supplying passing commercial canal traffic and glass making.  Now it may go out of existence.

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When the foredeck is full and late autumn sun starts to go down, we headed to the west side of the lake to offload today’s work and prep the boat for tomorrow.

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And that will be tomorrow’s post.

Again, many thanks to NYS Canal Corp for permission to do this story and to the crews of Wards Island and Syracuse for helping me out.

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