VERY Interesting Newspaper Story about Depths on AICW/Jekyll Creek Problem Stretch and Jekyll Harbor Marina
Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 10-22-2012
The article below is reprinted from the “Brunswick News” (http://www.thebrunswicknews.com)
This text makes for VERY INTERESTING reading.
First, let’s address the issue of depths and dredging at SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Jekyll Harbor Marina (http://www.jekyllharbor.com/). We telephoned this facility and talked with one of the assistant dockmasters on 10/22/12. And, we were told, yes indeed, the permitting to dredge process is going forward, and Jekyll Harbor’s dockage basin will most likely be dredged sometime within the next year.
The assistant dockmaster went on to add that there are still 6+ MLW depths on the north side slips. The shallow water problem seems to plague the southern wet slips, where, on a low tide, soundings can fall to 4-foot or slightly less. Transients, however, are almost always accommodated on the outer docks, where MLW depths are 10+ feet! So, clearly, Jekyll Harbor Marina can accommodate virtually any size and draft of transient pleasure craft, even before the aforementioned dredging project takes place.
What is really more interesting, is what is said in the article below about depths on the AICW/Jekyll Creek section of the Waterway. Clearly, there is a real and building problem here, which must be addressed sometime in the future if the AICW is to remain open. All this is, of course, why the SSECN declared Jekyll Creek an AICW Problem Stretch years ago!
Now, and this is also interesting, the Jekyll Harbor Marina assistant dockmaster we spoke with noted that he had just done some extensive soundings on the channel in question. He discovered that if boats pass marker #19 close aboard, they will keep to good water. He also pointed out that commercial tows are coming through Jekyll Creek all the time by employing this navigational tactic.
Of course, having extensively sounded the Waterway passage through Jekyll Creek myself, I can tell you that this may be easier said than done on the water. Nevertheless, it is GOOD advice, at least as of October, 2012. Who knows what it will be like in a few months.Also, may I be so bold as to remind the cruising community that we strongly suggest all captains time their passage through Jekyll Creek for mid to high tide.
Shoaling problem worsens at Jekyll marina
By MICHAEL HALLThe Brunswick News
In the absence of help from the federal government, a marina on Jekyll Island is taking the issue of shoaling along Jekyll Creek in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway into its own hands. Jekyll Harbor Marina, 1 Harbor Road on Jekyll Island, is seeking a permit from the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee and the Department of Natural Resources to dredge a 1,000-foot by 150-foot section of the creek directly under its boat slips to deepen the area to 10 feet at low tide. The marina’s general manager, Scott Todd, said the dredging is necessary to maintain a business that relies on large, non-commercial vessels with drafts around 6 feet deep. “The worst spots are 4 or 5 feet at mean low tide,” Todd said. But the creek is not much deeper and the marina’s need to dredge under its dock is a symptom of a larger problem, Todd said. “I wish the dredging was in the creek instead,” Todd said. Popular boating enthusiast websites like Cruisers.net list waterway portions in Glynn County as some of the shallowest on the East Coast. Todd has heard the complaints from customers like Joe Fox and his wife, Joyce Fox, who arrived at the marina for the first time Thursday. The couple’s sailboat, Shoban II, has a keel that requires a draft close to 6 feet. “It gets pretty hairy,” Joe Fox said. “We almost ran aground coming in (Thursday).” It is so shallow that most charts of the waterway do not even attempt to recommend a route through the area, Fox said. “It’s probably the only place where they don’t,” Fox said. And he and his wife would know. The couple, along with their Jack Russell Terrier, Matey, have been traveling the East Coast in their boat since December and are on their way home to Apollo Beach, Fla. It was there where a similar problem arose. The waterway needed dredging, but the Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for waterway maintenance, did not have the funding to do it. When the waterway became too shallow, Fox said boaters would simply bypass the section by sailing into the open ocean, something he said would be tempting and easy to do when traveling through Glynn County. Boaters and yachtsmen have told The News in the past that they prefer to risk the open ocean than the waterway because of shoaling. “I bet it is costing this area big bucks in tourism,” Fox said. Boaters traveling up and down the coast often spend a lot of money at stores and on gas when stopped at marinas for a night or two, he said. In Apollo Beach, Fox said the community raised more than $1 million in four years to put towards dredging. Along with state and county governments, the funding goal was accomplished, he said. Andy MacLeod, a boater from Pennsylvania who was docked at the marina on Jekyll Thursday, said the issue will only get worse if not addressed. “There will come a day when this creek is 4 feet at mean low tide,” MacLeod said. That could very well happen in the foreseeable future. Billy Birdwell, spokesman for the Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said there is no funding in the president’s budget for dredging Jekyll Creek. The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining the waterways. “We estimate it would cost $6 million to clear Jekyll Creek back to its authorized 12-foot depth if we can place the dredged material into Andrews Island Dredged Material Management Area,” Birdwell said. Andrews Island is used for silt removed from the port’s shipping channel, but it has not been used for waterway maintenance. Congress appropriates funds for dredging in the waterway based on the amount of commercial traffic. Passing pleasure craft traffic is not considered commercial, Birdwell said. Birdwell also noted that the Downing Musgrove Causeway connecting Jekyll Island to the mainland disrupts the natural currents that would keep the creek clear. “Therefore it refills with material quickly,” Birdwell said.
The truth here is that your Congressperson doesn’t give a hoot about the Intracoastal Waterway or he/she would be fighting to have funds allocated to the Army Corps of Engineers to get the dredging done.