Coast Guard Removing Aids to Navigation off Virginia
Fifty-six aids to navigation will be removed in the Virginia Inside Passage on Virginia’s Eastern Shore after shoaling in the area created a significant hazard to navigation.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it is overseeing the work of a contractor who is removing previously identified dayboards in waterways from Gargathy Inlet to north of Great Machipongo Inlet from June to August.
As continued shoaling within these shallow-draft waterways, the areas are no longer safely marked as the aids can be misleading and unsafe for mariners. Additionally, the shoaling prevents the Coast Guard from safely accessing the aids to navigation to maintain them adequately.
“When aids to navigation become a potential hazard to navigation, it is our responsibility to remove them,” said Capt. Rick Wester, commander, Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads.
After consulting with local maritime partners and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2016, the Coast Guard identified the 166 aids most likely to lead boaters into dangerous situations. After testing several removal methods, the Coast Guard contracted a local business to remove the first 56 markers beginning June 1.
The remaining aids will be removed in 2019.
The Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and Eastern Shore Regional Waterways Committee continue to identify and to prioritize future areas for dredging. If funding becomes available to dredge the waterways and a minimum of 6 feet can be achieved, the Coast Guard will evaluate re-marking them.
“We appreciate all of the public input we have received on this project, and we’ll continue to fully advertise the timeline for removal of specific aids via the Local Notice to Mariners,” Capt. Wester said.