USCG to Begin Removal of Buoys in Old Topsail Creek, North Carolina

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – All of the navigational buoys in Old Topsail Creek are scheduled for removal by the Coast Guard beginning Tuesday. Shoaling has caused water depths in this North Carolina inlet to become too shallow and dynamic for Coast Guard buoy tenders to safely operate.

The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers condition survey of Old Topsail Creek dated May 15-18, indicated water depths less than the required minimums necessary for safely servicing the navigational buoys within the creek.

Due to the current shoaling conditions and subsequent removal of these buoys, Coast Guard search and rescue vessels will be limited in their ability to respond or operate in Old Topsail Creek and will have to evaluate its response on a case-by-case basis. However, in those situations where Coast Guard vessels are unable to respond, local responders and Coast Guard aircraft will become the primary search and rescue responders in Old Topsail Creek.

The Coast Guard is continuing efforts to alert mariners to these important changes.

1) An updated press release will be distributed to media outlets in North Carolina and along the eastern seaboard in an effort to reach spring waterways users who may use the Intracoastal Waterway or who may be traveling in near-coastal waters and may need to seek safe harbors of refuge through Old Topsail Creek. As new developments occur, the Coast Guard will inform the public through the media.

2) Local Notices to Mariners, announcing the removal of, or shift in navigation aids, will continue. These can be found on the Internet at

3) Broadcast Notices to Mariners will continue over VHF-FM radio Ch. 22. These will have the most current schedule and location of buoy removals. Buoys will be returned to Old Topsail Creek if adequate depths return.

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