The Coast Guard has realigned the channel through Oregon Inlet to the Pea Island side, after the previous channel that passed just off Bodie Island Spit had become to shallow.
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey on May 19, identified severe shoaling spanning the width of the channel between Oregon Inlet Buoy #4 (LLNR 27990) and Oregon Inlet Buoy #6 (LLNR 28003), indicating depths as low as four feet at mean low water.
That made the old channel that ran parallel to the east side of Bodie Island and northward out to sea was no longer viable to safely mark or maintain with aids to navigation.
Charter and private boats traversing the inlet that connects the Atlantic Ocean with the northern Pamlico Sound have already been using the deeper water the Coast Guard had yet to mark with buoys for several months.
The Coast Guard began moving the larger seaward buoys over the weekend to the new crossing over the ocean bar located to the northeast of Pea Island. The remaining smaller buoys will be relocated and/or discontinued soon thereafter.
If you have questions, please email the Sector North Carolina Waterways Management Division at email@example.com or contact the Sector North Carolina Command Center at 910-343-3882.
Dare County officials recognize the importance of Oregon Inlet and other critical waterways throughout the region remaining open and accessible, and over the years they have taken a proactive approach to searching for a long-term solution to the serious challenges associated with shoaling.
Among Dare County’s many efforts to safeguard the livelihoods of Outer Banks fishermen and the local economy are the creation of the Dare County Waterways Commission as well as the development of a new dredge, named the “Miss Katie,” that will be used to combat shoaling issues in Dare County waterways once its construction is complete in the summer of 2022.