By Irene Nolan
Just hours after the Coast Guard urged mariners not to use the South Ferry Channel at Hatteras Inlet, a county waterways panel convened again in Hatteras village to seek solutions to stubborn shoaling in the channel that is being called “catastrophic.”
“Recent hydrographic surveys indicate shoaling in South Ferry Channel has resulted in an average channel depth of less than 2 feet,” Coast Guard officials said in a late afternoon news release. “The current navigational aids in and around South Ferry Channel do not reflect accurate channel depth.”
Coast Guard officials said that they were “analyzing options for removing navigational aids” near the channel.
Later in the evening, at a meeting of the Dare County Oregon Inlet and Waterways Commission at the Hatteras Civic Center, Chief Jason Burke, who heads to the Coast Guard Aids to Navigation group out of Wanchese, declined to call the inlet “closed.”
“This is no longer a feasible route,” he told the 50 or so commercial and recreational watermen, citizens, and local, state, and federal officials gathered for the meeting.
He also told the watermen, in response to questions, that the current channel markers and buoys would be removed. The boat captains objected, telling Burke that they use the buoys as “reference points” to pick their way through the shoals and find enough deeper water to get in and out of the inlet.
Boat captains are feeling the squeeze from the rapidly shoaling piece of the channel out of Hatteras Inlet in a way they haven’t before.
Read the rest of the Island Free Press story here.
The following is the press release sent Aug. 18 by the U.S. Coast Guard:
WILMINGTON, N.C. — Coast Guard Sector North Carolina is urging mariners not to transit South Ferry Channel near Hatteras Inlet due to shoaling.
Recent hydrographic surveys indicate shoaling in South Ferry Channel has resulted in an average channel depth of less than 2 feet.
The current navigational aids in and around South Ferry Channel do not reflect accurate channel depth. The Coast Guard is analyzing options for removing navigational aids near South Ferry Channel.
Boaters choosing to transit through South Ferry Channel do so at their own risk.
The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the conditions of the waterway and update mariners as necessary. For any questions or concerns, please contact the Sector North Carolina Command Center here, or at 910-343-3880.