East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

New New River Crossing (Mile 246) Survey Shows Shallower Water:
A new survey taken on September 28, 2005 by the USACE Wilmington shows that 5 ft. MLW is the controlling depth at the Crossing of the New River with the ICW at Mile 246. As I reported in my October 6, 2005 Alerts, a survey from August 4, 2005 gave the controlling depth as 7 ft. The shallow hump between ICW Markers “72A” and “72B” is now shown to be 3.3 ft. at MLW, rather than 4 ft. in the August 4 survey. Waypoints are given for finding 5 ft. (previously 7 ft.) of depth MLW to get through. Conditions may have changed by the time you get there.

This is a serious situation. Be careful. Just now, Nov 2, 2005 at 8:30 a.m. I received a report on SSB of boats going aground here yesterday at HIGH TIDE. We are in the spring tide cycle (New Moon on Nov. 2), with low lows and high highs.

Okeechobee Waterway Lake Route (Route 1) Now Open:
Following the passage of Hurricane Wilma on Monday, October 24, 2005, the Okeechobee Waterway, which crosses the State of Florida from the St. Lucie River to Ft. Myers, had been closed to vessel traffic until further notice. There was a considerable amount of debris, including sunken boats and damaged RVs, and electricity was out over parts, especially at the eastern end. Since then, much debris has been removed and the Lake Route, also known as Route 1 of the Okeechobee Waterway is now open. Route 2, also known as the Rim Route, remains closed, with no date given for opening. The only restriction with the passage is that the Ortona Lock at Mile 93.5 is only opening every two hours on the even hour. This information was reported and confirmed by the South Florida Operations Office of the USACE in Clewiston FL (863 983 8101), at 11:00 a.m. on November 1, 2005.

Canaveral Barge Canal Partially Open after Wilma Closure:
There were several boats sunk in the Canaveral Barge Canal during Wilma, resulting in closure of the canal and lock. It is now open as of November 2, 2005, to vessels drawing less than six feet. The USACE is currently surveying the status to determine if it should be open to deeper draft vessels. You can contact the USCG at Canaveral to check the status.

Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show Goes On—A Week Late:
Due to damage from Hurricane Wilma, the Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show was postponed a week, and will now open on Thursday, November 3 and close on Sunday, November 6. Details are available at

South Florida Wilma Marina Update:
A number of marinas were without power for a while and could not pump fuel, but the situation is improving. Fuel and dockage are available mostly as normal from Ft Pierce north. South of Ft Pierce, the situation is gradually getting back to normal as power is restored. The large marinas in Ft Lauderdale directly on the ICW that usually are filled with show exhibits do not have fuel or dockage available now because of the boat show. Slips in the Ft. Lauderdale area will probably be scarce until a week or so after the show is over.

I have contacted several strategically located marinas (for fuel stops) in South Florida not involved with the Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show. Both the North Palm Beach Marina (Mile 1013.2) and Old Port Cove Marina (Mile 1014.2) are open for fuel. Sailfish Marina (Mile 1018) just inside Lake Worth Inlet reports fuel and transient dockage available. In Ft. Lauderdale, the Lauderdale Marina, just north of the SE 17th Causeway Bridge on the mainland side (Mile 1066) reports that they have electricity on now and are pumping fuel. This is probably the most convenient fuel stop in Ft Lauderdale, being directly on the ICW and just inside Port Everglades. In the Miami area, Miami Beach Marina (off Mile 1089) just inside Government Cut is open for fuel and transient dockage. If you are in South Florida and need fuel and dockage, you should call first to get the latest information. Things are gradually getting back to normal.

If you intend to anchor, be aware that a number of boats have sunk or lost anchors and that there is a considerable amount of debris around that could foul anchors, as is always the case after a hurricane.

South Florida Bridges After Wilma:
Mike Leiberum of the USCG Seventh District Bridge Branch in Miami reported to me Nov. 2, 2005 that the Palm Beach and Broward County opening bridges are mostly operational as normal, although some are still using generators until the regular power is restored. Some may be under curfew after dark because of generator usage, and the situation frequently changes. If you are in the area, listen for USCG Local Broadcasts to Mariners and seek local knowledge.

Newport, RI Anchorage Foul:
USCG District 1 LNM #43 dated Oct. 26, 2005 reports that mariners have reported subsurface obstructions in Anchorage D (Delta) adjacent to Goat Island in Newport Harbor, Newport, RI, that may foul vessel anchors. The vicinity is approximate position 41-29.2N, 071-20.15W. Divers are reported to have found old anchor chain and moorings. Extreme caution should be exercised when using this anchorage. Mariners experiencing fouled anchors or other problems associated with subsurface obstructions in this anchorage should file a report with Mr. Edward LeBlanc at Coast Guard Marine Safety Office, 20 Risho Avenue, East Providence, RI, 02914, 401-435-2351 or mailto:
ELeBlanc@MSOProv.uscg.mil. (Mariners have used Newport anchorages for hundreds of years. Go Figure!)

Troy Lock to Close:
The same LNM announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close the Hudson River Troy Lock at 2200 on November 30, 2005. Due to scheduled installation of cofferdams, mariners must coordinate their activities to insure that all vessel movements through the Troy Lock are accomplished prior to the scheduled closing. Lets hope all you snowbirds are long gone.

Cape May Dredging in Anchorage Area:
LNM District 5 #43 and #44 report that the Eastern Dredging and Marine Construction will commence dredging at the United States Coast Guard Training Center located in Cape May New Jersey on November 1, 2005. Dredging will continue until January 31, 2006. Again, it was nice to wait till after most snowbirds are far south, since the main anchorage area is just off the Coast Guard Station in Cape May. Perhaps (hopefully) next season the anchorage will be deeper. The dredge can be contacted on VHF-FM channels 13 and 16. Mariners are requested to stay clear of the dredge, floating and submerged pipelines, buoys and wires. Mariners are requested to exercise extreme caution and no wake when approaching, passing and leaving a dredge operation location and to strictly comply with the Inland Rules of the Road.

DC Bridge Construction Continues:
This project has been going on for years. And it has been causing a mess both for vehicular traffic on the I-495 Outer Loop around DC as well as for boaters who have not been able to get to and from the city at times. This is a reminder that construction of the new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Drawbridge across the Potomac River, Mile 103.8, between the City of Alexandria, Virginia and Oxon Hill, Maryland is ongoing until 2010. Excessive speed and wake by boaters may cause serious or fatal incidents. It is crucial that mariners obey the speed restrictions and eliminate wakes through the work zone due to the sensitive and precise nature of the work and for worker safety. A temporary floating/sliding bridge will be in place in the waterway during drawbridge construction until further notice. There will be intermittent daytime channel restrictions as a result of the floating bridge and mariners are urged to listen to the Broadcast Notices to Mariners for updates of its position in the waterway. Mariners are also urged to use extreme caution when transiting this area for work barges, exposed piles, and anchor buoys.

Rudee Inlet Shoals Again:
There are some folks heading south who like to do the Rudee Inlet to Oregon Inlet ocean run, despite the Coast Guard’s persistent warnings of shoaling. This time it is reported in USCG 5th District LNM #43 and #44 that there is shoaling to a depth of 7 feet MLLW at Rudee Inlet approximately 100 feet east of the south jetty and 8 feet MLLW across the channel just east of the north jetty. All mariners are advised to transit the area with extreme caution. And each LNM carries the information that dredging is ongoing in Rudee Inlet. After you leave Rudee Inlet, be careful at Oregon Inlet!

If you are a local Rudee Inlet boater, I guess you know the score.

Oregon Inlet Shoaling Again:
USCG 5th District LNM #43 and #44 also announce that a survey conducted on Oct. 18, 2005 by the USACE indicated shoaling approximately 200 yards east of the Bonner Bridge’s southernmost fendering system. The survey indicates depth of 3.5 feet at MLW. Aids to navigation may not accurately mark best water. Mariners are cautioned not to transit this channel during low water and use extreme caution when transiting this channel during other states of the tide.

T’is the Season:
Three North Carolina Christmas Boat Parades have been announced in LNM’s:
"Coastal Christmas Flotilla" will be conducted on December 3, 2005. The event will begin at 5:00 PM and concludes at 7:00 PM. This event will include approximately 30 vessels ranging from 17 -75 feet in length. The parade route will begin on the Trent River near Eastern Carolina Yacht Club and will transit out the Trent River in to the Neuse River.

"Island of Lights Flotilla" will be conducted on December 3, 2005. The event will begin at 7:00 PM and concludes at 9:30 PM. This event will include approximately 20 vessels ranging from 15 to 50 feet in length. The parade route will begin at the east end of Snows Cut, proceed into Carolina Beach Harbor and return to the AICW.

"18th Annual Rotary Christmas Flotilla" will be conducted on December 3, 2005. The event will begin at 5:30 PM and concludes at 8:00 PM. This event will include approximately 30 vessels ranging from 10 to 40 feet in length. The parade will be conducted in the Wilson Bay portion of the New River.

There will be more, all up and down the coast. Enjoy one wherever you are cruising.

This information is not to be used for navigation. Consult the latest charts and Local Notices to Mariners and use prudent seamanship. Any person or entity that uses this information in any way, as a condition of that use, agrees to waive and does waive any and all claims which may arise from that use.

Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale