I just purchased a Cuddy Cabins Boat, which is a compact sportsboat with a forward cabin that allows me the option to spend the night on my boat if I park it in a secluded cove or at a campground or marina. I can tow it with my truck and it’s comforting to know there’s a toilet on board. I took my wife out on it the other day for a cruise beneath the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA and it was a delightful trip for us. As we made our way under the bridge, all we heard were the sounds of the wind blowing and the water splashing against our boat. The water under the bridge was turbulent, but I consider myself to be an experienced boater, so I was not worried. This was a special trip and we each left a little bit of our heart in San Francisco. My wife noticed some harbor seals relaxing in the sun, and there were a bunch of western gulls all around us. We are both birdwatchers and we spotted an osprey sitting on a post that was sticking up out of the water. My wife asked me, “What are those wooden poles that are sticking up out of the water?”
I told her that they are called channel markers and that they are used to help boats travel safely on waterways so that they do not end up in low water and run ashore and they also allow you to avoid sand bars and other hazards. Treated wood pilings are used throughout most marinas, because the wood is known for its incredible strength and durability. They could be placed in the water to protect an oyster farm, or they might be used to break up incoming waves by removing their power and protecting the beach from costal erosion. They can act as a seawall protecting the shore line from big powerful waves to create more stable beaches. These pilings essentially chop the larger longer waves into smaller ones taking the sting out of them before they crash into the shoreline. I think that they add a certain charisma and charm to the waterfront and when the tide goes out, and when sand levels are low, these posts can sometimes be seen on some of the beaches.
Written for Sadje at Keep It Alive What Do You See #163 where the image credit comes from Mohamed Almari @ Pexels.