New navigational channel established in Hatteras Inlet

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, May 19, 2022

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A new navigational channel, the Hatteras Connector, has been established in Hatteras Inlet by Coast Guard Sector North Carolina, allowing unimpeded vessel traffic offshore, according to a Coast Guard Fifth District Mid-Atlantic news release.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge Merritt finished a two-week dredging project in Hatteras Inlet on May 6 to create the new waterway.

The Coast Guard issued a safety notice to mariners and removed buoys marking the South Ferry Channel on March 22, 2022. The South Ferry Channel has experienced heavy shoaling in recent months due to storms which have left portions of the channel measuring a depth of three to four feet. As a result, the Coast Guard has taken, and is taking, proactive steps to safeguard the public, noted the release: “The removal of these aids to navigation ensures recreational boaters are not mislead or given the false impression that they are marking a safe and navigable channel.”

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“The safety of mariners navigating Hatteras Inlet remains a top priority of the Coast Guard,” said Lt. Greg Kennerley, waterways management chief for Sector North Carolina. “The establishment of the Hatteras Connector will ensure mariners have a safe route to navigate offshore. The Coast Guard will continue to actively monitor the shoaling and position aids to navigation to mark best and safest water.”

The previous South Ferry Channel has been disestablished and will not be marked by aids to navigation. Mariners are advised to continue using caution while transiting this newly established channel as shoaling remains present in several areas.