Shoaling has been steadily increasing in the main channel of Oregon Inlet for several years (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=52021) prompting SSECN to recommend that cruisers with a draft over 3ft avoid the inlet and that only shallow draft vessels should attempt the inlet only with very exact local knowledge. Shoaling had become so severe that it was undermining the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet resulting in the closure of the bridge to road traffic. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=129461
Dredging of the inlet was last completed in December of 2013. and this most recent shoaling virtually closes the inlet to all but shallowest draft vessels.
HATTERAS ISLAND, N.C.
Oregon Inlet has shoaled to a depth of about 2 feet and is too shallow for dredging. The channel under the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge connecting Hatteras Island to the northern Outer Banks will be left to the elements, according to a news release from the Army Corps of Engineers. The side-casting dredge Merritt was unable to operate.
“I had not seen the conditions that bad before and that when we were able to move enough sand to float, the surrounding sand would fill the hole we had dug, immediately filling in behind us and trapping us in place,” Ray Bleam, a dredging master, said in a statement. There are no immediate plans to resume dredging, said Hank Heusinkveld, a Corps of Engineers spokesman. The Coast Guard will broadcast safety information every hour on VHF marine channel 16 to alert sailors to the conditions, according to the release.
Claiborne, here is the latest on this, they have a dredge back on the scene. Sportfishing boats are reporting getting through. Would advise calling the CG, and/or folks at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, or Pirates Cove for up to the minute news.
Claiborne, I had no trouble getting through the inlet on Saturday, May 5th. There was a dredge working at the span when I came back in that afternoon. Charter and private sport fishing boats can make it through without too much problem. We have not given up on keeping the inlet open.