Coast Guard is removing dangerous, misleading, and out-of-date aids to navigation in Virginia Inside Passage

Coast Guard working on channel markers in the port of Corpus Christi.

Coast Guard is removing dangerous, misleading, and out-of-date aids to navigation in Virginia Inside Passage

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard is overseeing the removal of 56 aids to navigation in the Virginia Inside Passage on Virginia’s Eastern Shore from June to August.

The Great Machipongo Clam Shack sign. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

A contractor is removing previously identified dayboards in waterways from Gargathy Inlet to the north of Great Machipongo Inlet after shoaling in these areas created a significant hazard to navigation.

Coast Guard small craft ready to roll from Cape Charles Coast Guard Station in Va. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

The continued shoaling within these shallow-draft waterways means they are no longer safely marked. This 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.

Coast Guard rapid response vessel stationed at Cape Charles Virginia. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

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.


“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. “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.”

Shallow waters marked by misleading day markers can be perilous to boaters and watermen. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

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