Chatham Boaters To Face Navigation Problems

CHATHAM – After a volatile winter, Chatham’s eastern coast will prove to be a great challenge to boaters, even those familiar with the area.

Coastal Resources Director Ted Keon says both major inlets need to be reassessed. “The more northern inlet has widened substantially. A lot of new currents are coming into that one. There’s also a lot of change along our southern area. It was difficult navigating last year, this year it’s going to be extremely difficult.”

Due to continuing intense and unpredictable weather patterns, assessing the changes made by Mother Nature has been slow going.

All indicators so far point to the area’s waterways being a mess. Boaters are being urged to cancel out all their previous GPS waypoints from last year and start fresh this season.

“Forget last year. Some areas may be minimally changed, but other are going to be a lot different,” said Keon.

Chatham Harbor’s two inlets have had issues for several years, including clogging due to shoaling, depth changes and a new break created by a storm on April fool’s Day of last year. The inlet across from Lighthouse Beach, created in 1987, has served as the main access to the harbor, but has been unstable and often dangerous.

During the first two March storms, Coast guard personnel were training in waves over 20. The next two months will determine the conditions boaters will find this summer.

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