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East Coast Alerts - January 27, 2005

By Tom Neale - Published January 27, 2005 - Viewed 2047 times

East Coast Alerts
January 27, 2005
By Mel Neale

North Carolina Inlets—Problems OFF the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
The small inlets discussed below are not part of the Intracoastal Waterway, but intersect it at places called “crossings” (except for Oregon Inlet which is nowhere near the waterway).

The following inlet alert is copied directly from the most recent weekly 5th District USCG Local Notice to Mariners, #0504, January 25, 2005:

The following inlets have shoaled to less than advertised controlling depths. Aids to navigation maybe missing, off station or not marking best water:

New River Inlet has shoaled to a depth of 3 feet MLW. 

New Topsail Inlet has shoaled to an unknown depth and aids to navigation missing or off station as per Section II (LNM Discrepancy List).

Carolina Beach Inlet has shoaled to a depth of 2-3 feet MLW. 

Lockwood’s Folly has shoaled to a depth of 4.5 feet MLW. 

Bogue Inlet Channel in the vicinity of Coast Guard Channel to a depth of 2.5 feet.

Oregon inlet: Mariners are urged to use extreme caution when transiting these inlets and exercise prudent navigation. The ACOE websites are listed for the latest
surveys. Charts: 11542 & 11541.

I have checked these surveys. (You should check them before you use the inlets, for the latest information.) There are GPS waypoints given for finding the deepest water through most of the inlets. The shallowest water in the channel is the “controlling depth.” The following are the reported controlling depths of the inlets (connecting the ocean with the AIWW) from the USACE most recent surveys (in December 2004 or January 2005): Bogue Inlet: 5 ft, New River Inlet: 3 ft, New Topsail Inlet: 6 ft, Carolina Beach Inlet: 6 ft, and Lockwood’s Folly Inlet: 3 ft. In many cases (often at the ocean bar at the first set of markers) the waypoint route is outside the marked channels. These are dangerous places for the unwary and uninformed. These inlets can be treacherous anyway due the overall shallowness of the channels where even the deepest water could produce breakers in strong onshore wind, especially on the ebb tide.

Today I spoke with POC Hank Heusinkveld, USACE Wilmington District regarding funding for dredging these inlets. He sent me the following press release from the Wilmington District, dated January 21, 2005:

Corps and Coast Guard work cooperatively to address shoaled inlets

WILMINGTON, NC – The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, is working closely with the United States Coast Guard as the Coast Guard plans to remove entire buoy systems from four dangerously shoaled inlets along the North Carolina Coast. These inlets are Lockwoods Folly Inlet, New Topsail Inlet, Carolina Beach Inlet, and New River Inlet.

The Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining these and other federal navigation channels in the state. However, limited funding in the FY 2005 appropriation will prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from consistently maintaining the inlets to depths that allow the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter BLACKBERRY to operate safely in their waters. Buoy systems will be removed by the Coast Guard beginning January 24, 2005.

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers has notified the Fifth Coast Guard District that it expects to receive approximately $888,000 for dredging operations in three of the shallow draft inlets of concern:

* Lockwoods Folly Inlet is expected to receive $467,000 and will be dredged twice.
* New River Inlet is expected to receive $234,000 and will be dredged one time.
* New Topsail Inlet is expected to receive $187,000 and will be dredged one time.

Each dredging event is expected to reopen each inlet for safe navigation. However, depending on shoaling rates, navigable conditions may only last for about three months. The Wilmington District has scheduled meetings with local governments and project sponsors to set dredging priorities for these three funded projects.

Shoaling in the four inlets have decreased the water depths to four feet in some areas. This depth is too shallow for the Coast Guard Cutter BLACKBERRY to operate in or to safely access the buoys that mark the inlets. The Coast Guard has determined that it will be impossible to ensure that its navigational aids are accurately marking safe water. Buoys will be returned to the inlets when adequate depths are restored and can be maintained following Army Corps of Engineers maintenance dredging.
The Wilmington District will also continue to monitor the inlets and post all survey information on the District Navigation web page.

I was also interested to find in the same Local Notice to Mariners quoted above a notice that dredging is taking place in Bogue Inlet between January 21 and May 15, 2005. Mr. Heusinkveld confirmed that Bogue Inlet is being dredged, but not by the USACE. An article in the News-Times by Kathleen Bliley described the project as having to do with dredging a pilot channel, depositing spoil on the beach and then building a sand dike to close the present channel. The purpose is to rebuild the western side of Emerald Isle where homesites are being severely eroded away. It has nothing to do with making the inlet navigable for vessel traffic. The USACE does not have funding to dredge the channel connecting Bogue Inlet to the AIWW this year. It should be noted that there is a Coast Guard Station just inside Bogue Inlet.

As we cruise Chez Nous through coastal North Carolina twice a year on the AIWW, we are always impressed with the beauty of the area and with the huge number of local boats out on the water at all times of the year enjoying that beauty. They zip up and down the waterway, in and out of ocean inlets, creeks, marshes and lagoons. Most do it for pleasure, but we also observe many boats working the water, from skiffs pulling crab pots to huge shrimp trawlers and head boats.

Many of these boats regularly use the smaller ocean inlets intersecting the AIWW such as the ones above. Most transient cruisers would not even think about venturing off the waterway to use these inlets because of draft and lack of “local knowledge.” We know their names because we pass them at “crossings,” places where the AIWW crosses or intersects an inlet channel. Here we can observe them from the security of usually reliable depth, aids to navigation and shelter.

The “crossings,” for example, the recently highly publicized “Lockwood’s Folly Inlet Crossing,” are notorious for their shoaling and shifting channels, caused by the strong currents between the waterway and the ocean. After tremendous lobbying effort in 2004 emergency funding was appropriated for dredging the worst “crossing” shoal areas. Remember that the criterion for determining funding for USACE dredging has to do with commercial usage (like tonnage transported by tugs and barges), and the only commercial use of these small inlets is by the commercial fishing boats and charter sportfishing and tour boats.

Super Bowl by Boat
If you want to be part of the Super Bowl 39 festivities in Jacksonville Florida by boat, and didn’t win the slip lottery, you can anchor out! There is no mention in the Local Notice to Mariners (#0702) of shoreside access, nor of how to get tickets to the game.

The Coast Guard has established the following temporary anchorages for recreational vessels during the Super Bowl 39 event. The "Mega Yacht" anchorage is established for vessels greater than 60 feet in length. All other anchorages listed below are established for vessels equal to or less than 60 feet in length. The temporary anchorages will be in effect from 6:00 a.m. February 2, 2005 to 12:00 p.m. (midnight) February 8, 2005. Anchorages are established within the given coordinates.

Mega Yacht Anchorage
Point A 30° 20’ 50” N, 081° 36’ 41” W to
Point B 30° 20’ 50” N, 081° 37’ 08” W to
Point C 30° 20’ 00” N, 081° 37’ 14” W to
Point D 30° 20’ 09” N, 081° 36’ 48” W, then back to point A.

Temporary Anchorage #1 (outside of Exchange Island)
Point A 30° 19’ 34” N, 081° 37’ 00” W to
Point B 30° 19’ 34” N, 081° 37” 21” W to
Point C 30° 19’ 14” N, 081° 37’ 26” W to
Point D 30° 19’ 19” N, 081° 37’ 05” W, then along bank back to point A.

Temporary Anchorage #2 (inside of Exchange Island)
Point A 30° 19’ 19” N, 081° 37’ 05” W to
Point B 30° 19’ 16” N, 081° 36’ 49” W to
Point C 30° 19’ 34” N, 081° 36’ 46” W to
Point D 30° 19’ 34” N, 081° 36’ 57” W, then along bank back to point A.

Temporary Anchorage #3 (Eastern portion of Anchorage A)
Point A 30° 19’ 02” N, 081° 37’ 02” W to
Point B 30° 19’ 06” N, 081° 37’ 02” W to
Point C 30° 19’ 06” N, 081° 37’ 27” W to
Point D 30° 18’ 55” N, 081° 37’ 29” W to
Point E 30° 18’ 54” N, 081° 37’ 32” W to
Point F 30° 18’ 45” N, 081° 37’ 24” W then along bank back to point A.

Temporary Anchorage #4 (Western portion of Anchorage A)
Point A 30° 18’ 42” N, 081° 37’ 33” W to
Point B 30° 18’ 50” N, 081° 37’ 39” W to
Point C 30° 18’ 47” N, 081° 37’ 47” W to
Point D 30° 18’ 52.8” N, 081° 38’ 15” W to
Point E 30° 18’ 43.8” N, 081° 38’ 15” W then along bank back to point A.

Temporary Anchorage #5 (between Acosta & Fuller Warren Bridge)
Point A 30° 18’ 56” N, 081° 40’ 00” W to
Point B 30° 18’ 59” N, 081° 40’ 08” W to
Point C 30° 19’ 06” N, 081° 40’ 04” W to
Point D 30° 19’ 11” N, 081° 39’ 56” W to
Point E 30° 19’ 06” N, 081° 39’ 53” W then back to point A.
Chart: 11491

Bahamas Cruising Permit Fee
We have been hearing complaints from boaters clearing customs in the Bahamas that there is an unclear distinction as to the point at which the cruising fee changes from $150 to $300 in the case of vessels 35 ft. in length. On January 24, 2005, I spoke to Ms. Rolle in the Bahamas Customs Office and was informed that there has been no change in the interpretation of the rules for the cruising permit fee. The fee remains $150 for vessels exactly 35 ft. in length and under. For vessels over 35 ft., the fee is $300. Since you are supposed to also submit the original and a copy of your state registration or federal documentation form, you can check there to be sure of the stated official length of your vessel. If it is greater than exactly 35 ft., you will owe $300.

Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale

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