East Coast Alerts
By Mel Neale
North Carolina ICW Shoaling updates:
Lockwood’s Folly: US Army Corps of Engineers dredging of Lockwood’s Folly Inlet Crossing area of the ICW in NC is expected to be completed by Oct. 25, 2004. Boats passing through the area in mid October are still reporting depths of around 5 ft at low tide, but that the dredging is progressing.
Carolina Beach Inlet Crossing: Dredging of this area will take place after the first of the year 2005. Boats passing through in mid October, 2004 report that 6.5 ft (the deepest water) can be found at low tide by favoring the green side (south, or ocean side) at Marker “155”, between “154” and “156”.
Snows Cut: Dredging in Snows Cut is expected to take place also in early 2005. The new uncharted channel markers placed off the large sand dune and at the Cape Fear River end of the cut should be honored.
This is just a reminder that The USACE will receive no funds for FY 2005 (nor did it have any in 2003 or 2004) to maintain the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway between Port Royal Sound, SC (Mile 552) and Cumberland Sound GA (Mile 713). This is due to its limited commercial use. The Savannah District is supposed to monitor the conditions and publish quarterly reports, for which it received $178,000 in FY 2003, $164,000 in FY 2004, $0 for 2005. And we mariners are to use extreme caution when transiting the waterway until further notice. Thank goodness for the 7-9 ft tidal range.
Cape Canaveral Lock Closure:
The USACE Jacksonville District advises that the Canaveral Lock located along the channel connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Banana River south of Cape Kennedy will be closed for maintenance and inspection from October 17, 2004 through December 9, 2004 and again from January 3, 2005 through February 22, 2005. It will be open for navigation between December 10, 2004 and January 2, 2005.
NOTE: I know this date has already passed, but I thought you might want to know this bit of information quoted from the Notice to Navigation Interests regarding the above closure: “Navigation interests are advised that although the gates may appear active and open to traffic between 17-20 October 2004, the only traffic that will be allowed to pass will be Manatees and fuel barges.”
Lake Okeechobee Crossing:
Those boaters who wish to short cut across the middle of Florida to reach the west coast without going down and around the keys may have a tough time of it this year. Many of the marinas and facilities on the east end are closed or have diminished capacity due to hurricane damage. Markers along both routes suffered damage from the hurricanes. While many have been replaced, proceed with caution and check latest USCG Notices to Mariners.
Due to damage from the recent storms, there were two cables crossing the St Lucie Canal which were hanging down lower than usual. I spoke with USACE Point of Contact Earl Wagner today, October 22, 2004, at 904 232 3974. He confirmed that the cable 1.25 nm ENE of the 710 Bridge at Indiantown has been repaired by Adelphia, and that the one at the 76A Bridge is “just a few feet lower than the bridge” (the bridge height is 56 ft) and will be repaired within two to three weeks. Check www.saj.usace.army.mil, click on Navigation, then Navigation Bulletins for the latest update.
The USACE will be conducting high discharges on the Okeechobee Waterway through the Moore Haven Lock (863 946 9414) and the Ortona Lock (863 675 0616) until further notice to maintain a safe water level in the lake. As of October 9, the locks open daily at 6 am and continue operation on the even hours through 8 pm with a last lockage at 9:30 pm. Call at least 15 minutes ahead on the phone or VHF 13.
And finally, the USACE in Jacksonville has warned us that “due to the rise in the lake levels on Lake Okeechobee, floating mats of vegetation known as tussocks have formed in Fisheating Bay and Monkey Box and have been entering the rim canal and Moore Haven Canal and causing problems for navigation, Moore Haven Lock and spillway and other water control structures.” A barrier cable has been placed across the rim canal at C-5A (one quarter mile west of Moore Haven Lock). Buoys are on each side of the barrier and boaters are advised to avoid the barrier by following Moore Haven Canal or McTush Cut to Lake Okeechobee. “Mechanical harvesters” may be working in any of the areas mentioned above. For further information you can call USACE, South Florida Operations Office, Clewiston, at 863 983 8101. Boaters are advised to use caution when traveling in these areas.
NOTE: THESE ALERTS SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR NAVIGATION. THEY ARE INTENDED TO HELP YOU WITH INFORMATION WE RECEIVE OR OBSERVE, BUT REPORTS CAN BE INNACURATE AND CONDITIONS CHANGE, SOMETIMES HOURLY. USE PRUDENT SEAMANSHIP, BE CAREFUL, AND CHECK EACH AREA AS YOU APPROACH BY WHATEVER MEANS EXIST.
Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale