The dredging has occurred in Manatee Pocket, a harbor just inside the inlet. The St Lucie inlet (from the Atlantic into the St Lucie River and ICW) still needs to be dredged. I have traversed the inlet in all kinds of weather
and find it very passable, rarely seeing depths below 10 feet. The inlet is bounded by low rock jetties, which were difficult to see in rough sea conditions or at night. Last year, lighted day markers on high posts were added on the jetties, which improve navigability in any rough water
as you can now clearly see the entrance through the jetties. That being said, the inlet is at its worst any time the seas are coming out of the east and breaking at the entrance- I have found this true for many of the inlets up and down the east coast- I particularly remember a horrible entrance to Barnegat Bay after a gale in my previous 43' sloop
The bad reputation that this inlet has developed is largely due to sandy shoaling between the mouth of the inlet and the ICW
. However, I have found the nuns and cans to be very reliable (and lit at night) marking the channel. One of the issues is "confusion corner" where the ICW meets the inlet and the St Lucie river; lots of shoaling and the markers are confusing; additionally, the entrance to Manatee pocket is right near there, further confounding the casual navigator.... The day markers, on poles, are not to be trusted as many are up on land or in shallows.
I doubt the inlet will ever be "closed" as there are so many marine
interests using the inlet. There are currently actions to procure money
to actually dredge the inlet, but no firm plans in place. I believe that would be a federal issue....
Hope these ramblings help... all in all a very nice stop for those travelling south. There is an excellent anchorage south of the inlet on the ICW (called "Pecks Lake") which abuts a nature preserve and has easy access to pristine beaches on the Atlantic. For more services, the Stuart city marina (now called "Sunset Bay") has easy access to downtown, shopping
, eating etc. and is just up the St. Lucie River.