To determine if a route is navigable, you need to know if the water depth and bridge heights are sufficient for your vessel. You can find this on the water chart. You hope to find yourself in a so-called Blue Wave, as we know the Green Wave on the road. Still, it is easy to have the operating times of bridges and locks handy. For the Netherlands, Rijkswaterstaat has compiled an overview.
Water levels can vary due to tidal effects, but also due to wind uplift or heavy rainfall. Deviations of the water level are not shown in relation to the local level, but in relation to the NAP: the Normal Amsterdam Level. In other words, you need to know the deviation and difference between the NAP and the level of the area where you are sailing to calculate whether you can safely pass the bridge.
There are thousands of bridges to pass in Europe alone. Each bridge has its own clearance height. Most barges are equipped with a wheelhouse that can be adjusted in height to anticipate the clearance height. However, the captain never has complete assurance that the wheelhouse is sufficiently low. Consequently, a wheelhouse that is too high results in dozens of collisions each year with millions of euros in damages. In addition to material damage to the ship, bridge and/or cargo, personnel and bystanders also risk injury and possible traffic congestion.
Did you know that many collisions happen while more than one person is present in the wheelhouse? Despite all the preparations, navigation systems and manpower on board, things go wrong due to a moment of inattention or error of judgment, among other things. This is why Bridgescout® was developed. It gives you as captain the peace of mind that there is always someone on board who is sure that the wheelhouse can pass safely under the bridge and if not, will raise the alarm in time.