East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

It’s that time of the year again. Snowbirds are heading north. Summer vacationers are making plans. And the Atlantic ICW continues shoaling.

Florida ICW Shoaling Again: Matanzas Inlet and Ponce Inlet Areas:
The USCG 7th District LNM 10 confirms that shoaling has been reported in the same old area where the ICW meets Matanzas Inlet, in the vicinity of Matanzas River Buoy 80A (Mile 792.5), to a depth of 4 feet at low tide, just where we reported around 5.8 ft in mid January.

The same LNM also reports shoaling in the vicinity of Ponce de Leon Cut Junction Daybeacon to Ponce de Leon Daybeacon 18. The water depth in the marked channel is 6 feet at low tide. ed: This means across the entire ICW, at approximately Mile 843.5. It has always been shallow here, due to the converging currents and in the past was frequently dredged. There was a dredge anchored nearby and dredge pipes in the channel in mid January, but we saw no working on any of the shoaling reported here.
And don’t forget the very shallow water in the area that we reported in our January 26, 2006 East Coast Alerts: between “2A” and “3A” at Mile 839.7 with 6.5 ft MLW and between “34” and “35” at Mile 845.5, New Smyrna Beach, where we also found 6.5 ft. MLW depth.

There’s still Shoaling in the NC ICW:
Lockwoods Folly Inlet Crossing (Mile 322) and New River Crossing (Mile 246):
Information follows from the most recent US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) surveys of these two problem areas. They both report adequate depth for most pleasure boaters to get through, although not by following the channel markers as one would normally do. If you are making this trip, be sure to look at the surveys ahead of time to see where the shallow parts are and how to avoid them. The surveys give GPS waypoints avoiding the shallow water. However, it has been our experience that it is difficult to follow a GPS route through such a narrow area with frequent course changes. The surveys confirm what we observed and reported in our November 18, 2005 East Coast Alerts.

The January 3, 2006 USACE survey of Lockwoods Folly Inlet Crossing shows 2.6 ft. MLW depth in the channel off “47A”. The waypoint given (for 8 ft depth in the ICW) is about halfway between “47A” and the western shore.

The January 9, 2006 USACE survey of the New River Crossing shows 4.0 ft. MLW in the channel, but by following given waypoints (on the green side of the channel) there is 5 ft. MLW depth. Both of these areas should be avoided at low tide.

Shoaling in Smaller Inlets:
Ponce de Leon Inlet, FL:
7th District USCG LNM 09 reports that Shoaling has been reported in the vicinity of Ponce de Leon Inlet. The following temporary buoys have been established to mark best water: Ponce de Leon Inlet Buoys 5A, 7A, and 10A.

Hatteras Inlet, NC: 5th District USCG LNM 09 and 10 report shoaling to a depth of 3 feet MLW in the vicinity of Hatteras Inlet Buoy 7 and Hatteras Inlet Lighted Buoy 8 extending across the channel and up to Hatteras Inlet Buoy 10. LNM 10 also reported that a USACE survey dated 16 February, 2006 reveals shoaling to a depth of 4 feet between Hatteras Inlet Buoy 12 and Hatteras Inlet Light 13 extending east approximately 300 feet. ed: I was unable to find this survey on the Wilmington USACE site. There are recent surveys here of shoaling in the other inlets in NC.

Florida Dredging for Seasonal Beach Replenishment:
No dredging for boaters, but plenty for beaches:

Subaqueous Services, Inc. will be performing maintenance dredging and beach nourishment of Jupiter Inlet Sand Trap, located in Jupiter, Florida. The dredge "MISTER O," and its accompanying (2) 30x60 work barges, and tugboat "Barbara Rita" will be onsite. VHF contact is Channel 80A. This operation will continue twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week until completion on or about April 30, 2006. For further information please contact Mr. Curtis K. Huggins at (407) 926-7796.

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company will commence dredging operations in the ebb tidal shoal area at the entrance of the Boca Raton Inlet for the purpose of beach nourishment at Central and South Boca Raton beaches. The dredge ILLINOIS and its attendant boats RL Enterkin, Cavalier State, Jack Newman, and S.V. Cooper River will be on-scene. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16. This operation will run twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week until completion on or March 30, 2006.

Manasquan, NJ Three Winter Bridge Closure Announced:
Effective April 17, 2006, through March 1, 2009, the Coast Guard is temporarily changing the regulations that govern the operation of the Route 35 Bridge, at ICW mile 1.1, across Manasquan River, at Brielle, NJ. The temporary rule will maintain the bridge in the closed-to-navigation position on three four-month closure periods beginning from 8 a.m. on November 1, 2006 until 5 p.m. on March 1, 2007; from 8 a.m. on November 1, 2007 until 5 p.m. on March 1, 2008; and from 8 a.m. on November 1, 2008 until 5 p.m. on March 1, 2009. The extensive structural, mechanical, and electrical repairs and improvements necessitate these closures. Copies of PUBLIC NOTICE 5-1064 which describes the temporary changes in detail can be obtained by calling (757) 398-6629.

More Relief for Right Whales:
NOAA-S National Marine Fisheries Service has approved a temporary rule implementing gear restrictions for the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area, under the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRT). The temporary rule will become effective at 0001 hours on Wednesday, February 15, 2006. This temporary rule is effective for the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area from midnight February 14, 2006, through 2359 hours (11:59 p.m.) on March 31, 2006. Under the temporary rule it is prohibited for any vessel to conduct any fishing activities using gillnet gear in the Atlantic Ocean Waters between latitude 32-00N (near Savannah, GA), and latitude 27-51N (near Sebastian Inlet, FL), extending outward from shore eastward out to longitude 080 degrees W (over 70NM out in places). D7 LMR Officer is LT Chad Brick at (305) 415-6781, or Southeast Regional Fisheries Training Center at (843) 740-3178 or 1-800-819-8208.

Charleston, SC Harbor Restrictions:
Demolition has been going on since August, but this is a reminder for all boaters visiting the area this season.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has begun demolition of the Grace Memorial and Silas Pearman Bridges formerly carrying US-17 over the Cooper River (Milepost 2.8) and Town Creek (Milepost 3.0). The demolition has begun in August 2005 and will continue for eighteen months. The contractor will be operating numerous tugs and barges in the vicinity of the Town Creek and Hog Island Reach area. Specifically demolition will occur in the Charleston Harbor in an area described by:
Corner Latitude Longitude
SE 32-48-00N 079-54-24W
SW 32-48-00N 079-55-45W
NE 32-48-25N 079-54-16W
NW 32-48-25N 079-56-05W

The area includes the Regulated Navigation Area for the US-17 Cooper River Bridges. Safety boats and moored work barges will be beneath the bridge and will mark the overheard demolition work areas. All vessels requesting to transit the area are requested to contact the Demolition Safety vessels on channels 13/16 VHF-FM at least 30-minutes prior to arrange for safe passage through the work areas. All mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting in the bridge demolition area. For further information concerning this project please contact Charles Dwyer, SCDOT Project Manager at (843) 534-5000.

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on the navigable waters of Hog island Reach on the Cooper River, for the demolition and recovery operations of the Grace Memorial and Silas Pearman Bridges. This rule prohibits entry, anchoring, mooring, or transiting within the temporary safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port Charleston or his designated representative. This regulation is necessary to protect life and property on the navigable waters of the Cooper River from the danger associated with the demolition and recovery operations of these bridges. This rule is effective until 8:01 a.m. on December 31, 2006. For further information contact Chief Warrant Officer James J. McHugh, Sector Charleston Office of Waterways Management at (843) 724-7647.

Norfolk, VA Lights the Night:
We don’t like to transit busy harbors at night because the lights from shore blend with navigation lights to the point it’s difficult to distinguish one from the other. Norfolk is adding to the mix:

5th District LNM 09 and 10 announce that the City of Norfolk has established the below eight (8) warning lights to mark outfall pipes in the central Ocean View area. These are on pilings with lights flashing white at 6 seconds and have warning daybeacons worded "DANGER OBSTRUCTION".

1st Bay Street Warning Daybeacon at 36 - 56 - 14.5N, 076 -12 - 53.1W
Grove Ave Warning Daybeacon at 36 - 56 - 26.9N, 076 -13 - 29.9W
Beaumont St Warning Daybeacon at 36 - 56 - 31.9N, 076 -13 - 41.4W
Chesapeake St Warning Daybeacon at 36 - 56 - 53.5N, 076 -14 - 21.6W
Elnora St Warning Daybeacon at 36 - 56 - 57.4N, 076 -14 - 27.5W
Pinewell Dr Warning Daybeacon at 36 - 57 - 13.8N, 076 -14 - 52.9W
Ocean View Park Warning Daybeacon at 36 - 57- 18.5N, 076 - 14 - 59.6W
First View St Warning Daybeacon at 36 - 57- 25.6N, 076 - 15 - 11.1W

TV Lights Light Up Cape Florida, Key Biscayne:
From 7th District LNM 10: Warner Brother Representatives are filming the TV show "Mercy Reef" in the (Bill Baggs) Cape Florida State Park. The original light in the Lighthouse (ed: this is the Cape Florida Lighthouse, that historical landmark on the beach on the southeastern tip of Key Biscayne, not an operating lighthouse as such, but privately lit, FL 6 second, 95 ft, built in 1825, and the oldest structure in the Miami/Dade County area) will not be extinguished and/or blocked from sea, however, an additional temporary light will emulate the "historical look" shining on the beach for filming purposes simulating a lighthouse light. The filming dates are March 23-24, 2006, Thursday and Friday nights from dusk until dawn weather permitting. For further information please contact Ms. Liz Elwell the Location Manager at (305) 895-8830 x118

GPS Interference off Cape Canaveral:
If you’re traveling within a 50 mile radius of position 29 degrees 36 minutes north by 79 degrees 30 minutes west (this position is 90 miles east of Cape Canaveral), you might experience problems with GPS or any equipment that relies on GPS such as E-911, AIS, and DSC, due to interference testing by the Coast Guard. The dates for testing were March 5, 2006 (1800-2100 EST) and today, March 9, 2006 (1800-2100 EST), and then on March 13, 2006 (1800-2100 EST). Further information is at

You’ll be relieved to know that if the Coast Guard units are (were) involved with a safety of life mission adversely impacted due to loss of GPS during the above test periods they can call Navcen via District 7 OPCEN at 305 415 6800 to request a stoppage of the testing.

Bluewater Books and Charts, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Instrument Expo:
On Wednesday, March 29, 2006 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Bluewater Books and Charts in Ft. Lauderdale will host Instrument Expo, 2006. The address is 1811 Cordova Road, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33316 (phone 954 763 6533, ext 228 or email
mneale@bluewaterweb.com for info).

If you’re cruising in the area, stop by. Bluewater's crew and representatives from various companies, including Steiner (binoculars) and Weems & Plath (navigational tools) will help you navigate your way through the sea of instruments. There’ll be door prizes, snacks, beer and wine. There will also be some great discounts on tools and products that you really can't live without. Some of the instruments featured are necessary for safe boat operation, and some of them are just plain fun.

Dania Marine Flea Market 2006 at New Location:
The 28th Annual Dania Marine Flea Market will be held this year at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL rather than its traditional location at the Dania Jai Alai Fronton. There is more space at the new location for additional parking and more vendors. It’s the world’s largest event of this type and will feature over 1200 vendors. The date is March 30-April 2, 2006.

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