Coast Guard, Army Corp make temporary changes to navigational aids

Coast Guard 8th District NewsNEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard, in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers, will be making temporary changes to the aids to navigation within South Pass, La., and its approaches for navigation purposes, Tuesday.

Severe shoaling in South Pass has significantly reduced the depth of the waterway making it impossible to ensure that navigational aids adequately mark safe routes through the pass.

Depths as low as 2 feet have been reported in the center channel and the Coast Guard has issued a marine information broadcast to mariners urging them to transit with extreme caution or use an alternate channel.

The shoaling is a concern especially with the summer months bringing more recreational boaters to the area and increasing traffic on all the local waterways. Due to the dynamic nature of the shoaling in this area, it has become impossible for the Coast Guard to ensure that its navigational aids are accurately marking safe water. For this reason temporary changes will be made to the aids to navigation within the pass and its approaches. All floating aids currently in South Pass and the approaches from the Gulf of Mexico will be temporarily discontinued. The fixed aids to navigation within the pass will have the dayboards replaced with non-lateral black and white dayboards. The approaches will be marked with danger signs warning mariners of shoaling.

These changes will remain in effect until there is sufficient water depth to safely mark the pass again.

The Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard have been working together closely to ensure the economic vitality of the region is maintained while ensuring the safety of the maritime community.

“The dangerous shoaling conditions have led the U.S. Coast Guard to temporarily change the aids to navigation in South Pass. We are strongly encouraging all mariners in the region to avoid South Pass,” said Capt. John Arenstam, deputy commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. “Hydrographic surveys from Corps of Engineers have indicated many areas of less than 6 feet exist in the Pass.”

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