Officials Warn Boaters of Challenging Conditions On The Chatham Bar

KA_Chatham_harbor master office_11613CHATHAM – Officials are warning boaters about dangerous conditions this fall on the Chatham Bar.

A number of recent incidents have occurred in Chatham Harbor’s main inlet including two boaters getting thrown from a capsizing boat earlier this month.

Chatham Harbormaster Staurt Smith says recreational boaters should probably avoid the bar.

“Certainly on those blue bird days you can still navigate it but for those recreational folks that don’t need to, especially during these easterly winds and an outgoing tide, they ought to avoid it,” Smith said.

Significant shoaling conditions over the last 6 to 8 months have caused the entrance to narrow between North Beach Island and South Beaches.

“There’s really not a very good defined channel in the bar any longer,” Smith said. “What we are suggesting to folks is they need to be aware of that.”

Stuart said he is being told that the main Chatham Bar inlet is showing signs that it is closing.

“When that may occur, whether it be a year or five or 10 years, we’re not certain,” he said. “We’re certainly seeing that from a navigation standpoint it has been restricted and is continuing to worsen.”

Officials hope as the main inlet closes the north inlet, east of Minister’s Point, becomes more navigable.

“That’s a channel that smaller boats use and some of the shallower draft fishing boats use currently, but it’s really tidal restricted,” Smith said.

There are manmade options that could be taken to open up the main channel which include dredging or a rock jetty

“The costs involved are exorbitant,” Smith said.



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