Hey -- The Supermoon Really Did Screw With Us!

Whoops, I was wrong. Last week, I wrote that the so-called "supermoon" wouldn't cause any problems, 'cuz it's a silly astrological concept with virtually no real-world significance. Read the debunking here! It's great!

Unfortunately, it failed to account for human boneheadedness, which often foils good science. Because while the supermoon was happening, tides rose, as they will during any full moon. Why? Because full moons occur when the sun and moon are on opposite side of the planet, playing gravitational tug-of-war with Earth's tides. The supermoon brought the moon marginally closer to Earth than usual, and so tides rose ever so slightly more than usual. Which caused Barry and Penelope Connor's boat to crash into Blue Heron Bridge.

According to the Palm Beach Post, the couple were cruising the waters near Lake Worth when the engine on their sailboat died. (Why does a sailboat need a motor, you ask? It doesn't! That's why it's a sailboat! Nevertheless...) The couple couldn't make it to port, so they called Boat U.S. for assistance. A towboat showed up and began hauling them to Lake Worth Inlet. Their boat needed clearance of approximately 64 feet, and the Blue Heron Bridge has a regular clearance of 65 feet. But the tides were up, so the clearance was far less. Crash!

Barry and Penelope Connor are saying Boat U.S. ought to pay for the damages; Boat U.S. isn't saying much. The Coast Guard is conducting an investigation, and anything could happen. In the meantime, here's a moral: If you require the services of a towboat, discuss clearance issues with the skipper before getting near a bridge.

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