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Old 03-04-2010, 09:44   #1
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Trapped! Severe Shoaling at Fire Island Inlet

NY: Long Island, Fire Island Inlet, severe shoaling
Severe shoaling has been reported in Fire Island Inlet. The shoaling has been reported to extend the entire width of the inlet in the vicinity of buoys 4, 5, and 6 with water depths of less than 4 feet at high tide and less than 2 feet at mean low water.
No New England cruising for me this year? Apparently the inlet was dredged last in 2007, and needs to be redreged every 2 years to remain navigable.

Board up, I draw 3'11".

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Old 16-04-2010, 16:21   #2
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That's too bad. My father in law has a motor boat on the Great South Bay, he was just talking about this when I saw him at Easter. I hear a lot of the beach is washed away after the winter storms.

Is it that the state doesn't want to pay for the dredging due to the current fiscal crises?

Changing Course
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Old 17-04-2010, 15:23   #3
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Not trapped - you just need to strap lots of inflated truck inner tubes around the vessel and reduce your draft to less than 4 feet. Then once outside deflate the tubes and store them away. Or get some "Bahama Momma's" and put them in a dinghy attached to the end of your boom to tilt the boat over on its side until you clear the shallows.
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Old 17-04-2010, 16:51   #4
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We were trapped in a marina and had to "tip" the boat over to get out. My brother in law borrowed a 17 foot boston whaler to tip us. We let out 300 foot of line on a spin halyard and tipped till we could power off.

It was humorous when we un~tipped with a whaler tethered to our mast head. Good thing whalers don't sink
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Old 21-09-2012, 07:51   #5
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Re: Trapped! Severe Shoaling at Fire Island Inlet

Update: the Coast Guard is now warning boaters to avoid the Fire Island Inlet.

I've run the inlet several times in the past season. At high slack tide I see a minimum of seven feet in the exact middle of the channel. Don't even think of running this inlet when the tide is going out, or if there is weather.

The Coast Guard is warning boaters to avoid Fire Island Inlet because accumulated sand has made the waterway dangerously shallow, with little likelihood of dredging to solve the problem for at least a year.
The buildup of sand has serious implications for thousands of recreational and commercial boaters who go through the inlet annually, especially the fishing and dive boats based at Captree State Park just north of the inlet at the western tip of Fire Island. It also could have an impact on the Coast Guard's Fire Island station, which is just inside the inlet.
"Severe shoaling has been reported to extend the entire width of Fire Island Inlet . . . with water depths as low as 4 feet at high tide and less than 1 foot at low water," the Coast Guard said in an advisory posted Wednesday. "Mariners are advised to seek alternate routes. . . . If Fire Island Inlet is transited, do so at high tide and proceed with extreme caution."
Capt. Nick Manzari, owner of the day-trip fishing boats Island Princess and Bay Princess based at Captree, said the inlet is "in desperate need of dredging. It's shoaling so bad that the buoys are up on the sand at low tide. We know where the deep water is, so we can get in and out. But there are times when it's impassable" during rough seas.
While Manzari's boats need 4 to 5 feet of water, he said "some of the deeper-draft vessels -- the draggers and the longliners -- draw 6 to 8 feet of water." He has seen them waiting offshore for the weather to improve before coming through the inlet.
Vessels that can't get in the inlet would have to head west to Jones Inlet or east to Shinnecock Inlet. Moriches Inlet, which is closer to Fire Island Inlet, has a shoaling problem so severe that the Coast Guard has declared it nonnavigable and does not place channel markers there.
While the sand accumulation usually gets worse over time, Duarte said "a storm could pass through and the conditions could improve."
But otherwise, the only solution is dredging. The Army Corps of Engineers dredged 550,000 cubic yards of sand out of the inlet in 2008 and its schedule calls for the next project in 2014.
Corps spokesman Christopher Gardner said there is no money in this year's federal budget for dredging the inlet and none in the proposed 2013 budget. In the past, emergency funding for dredging has come from earmarks from members of the Senate and House, but Congress has eliminated earmarks.
A full-scale Fire Island project to deepen the channel to its authorized 14-foot depth would cost $30 million to $35 million to remove several million cubic yards of sand, Gardner said, and the state would have to provide some of the money.
The chief of the Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Waterways Management Division, Lt. Ben Duarte, who issued the advisory, said his agency has asked the corps to look into expediting dredging and in the meantime to survey the inlet to find out where the deeper water is so the buoys can be moved to remark the channel.
"For years, we've urged the Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize dredging Fire Island inlet, and today we see why that was so important," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). "Having to shut down the entire inlet because the water is too shallow hurts recreational and commercial boaters, as well as first responders."
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