Coast Guard works to maintain safe waterways in the Beaufort Inlet

ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. – The Coast Guard Cutter Elm relocated eight buoys and placed two additional buoys to ensure a safe navigation route in the Beaufort Inlet Channel Wednesday – Sunday.

The buoys were relocated after the Army Corps of Engineer hydrographic surveys conducted Feb. 22, indicated significant shoaling in the Beaufort Inlet main ship channel.

“I am proud and pleased of our proactive response to ensure navigation safety in the port of Morehead City,” said Cmdr. John Kennedy, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Elm. “The channel design work done by Sector North Carolina and Coast Guard District waterway staffs, and the detailed on-scene work by Coast Guard Cutter Elm and Aids to Navigation Ft. Macon will keep mariners safe and commerce flowing until a more permanent solution to the shoaling is achieved.”

The channel has shifted to the west between Beaufort Inlet Channel lighted buoys 11 and 12, and Morehead City Channel lighted buoys 18 and 19. The two new buoys added are Beaufort Inlet Channel lighted buoy 14A and Beaufort Inlet Channel lighted buoy 13.

Survey data for Beaufort Inlet can be found at the Army Corps’ Wilmington Office website at http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/nav/mhc-bft.htm

The existing navigation ranges marking the channel and the Morehead City Cut-Off Channel will remain lit, but mariners should use caution when navigating by them, since they no longer mark best water between lighted buoys 11/12 and lighted buoys 18/19. As always, mariners should not rely on a single positioning source to ensure safe navigation.

Additional details concerning the aids to navigation changes in Beaufort Inlet can be found in the Local Notice to Mariners at the Coast Guard’s Navigation Center Home Page at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/Lnm/d5/default.htm

The Army Corps of Engineers is working on a more permanent solution to the shoaling problem. The temporary aids to navigation changes are expected to remain into the fall pending dredging of the channel.

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