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    • NAV ALERT: Shoaling/Buoy Confusion Reported South of Fernandina, FL AICW Statute Mile 719.5


      Reports of shoaling south of Fernandina Beach have been coming in for several years prompting numerous comments. Shoaling with a shifting channel and the resulting USCG relocation of ATONS leads to frequent confusion, even among local boaters. The troublesome area lies c. two miles south of Fernandina Beach harbor just north of the Waterway’s turn into Kingsley Creek. See Update on ATONs from 2018. Our thanks to Larry Shick for this Alert.

      The local TowBoat/US operator was doing a land-office business today pulling boats (including us) off the sandbars of the Amelia River south of Fernandina. The current NOAA S57 charts show markers (south to north) 1B, 1A, and 1. 1B is waaay off to the west. The advice from the local TowBoat/US operator for northbound boats is to favor the east side of the channel, ignore 1B, then pass 1A and 1 within about a boat length, leaving them to starboard as you would any northbound green, and then you’re good to go up the river from there. We got some misleading?/confusing?/incomplete? “local knowledge” which told us to pass northbound close to marker 1, with no mention of 1A, and we wound up on the putty as a result at near low tide.
      Larry Shick

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Light #1

      Comments from Cruisers (4)

      1. Mike Cam -  April 19, 2019 - 2:34 pm

        The Schick comments are accurate in my opinion. This year northbound I called the TowBOAT/US operator ahead of time. He had towed me off at low water the two previous years. Stay well to the east until half way (approx) between G1B and G1A then aim to curve around 1A and 1. Then stay away from the Reds until past the mill.
        I also advise ignoring 1B. Here is an area I disagree with Bob423 although we both contribute to the same waterway publication. The comments about the tow operator are uncalled for and inaccurate.
        It's easy to mis-hear or mis-understand complicated directions while trying to visualize what you will see.

        Reply to Mike
      2. Thomas Hale -  April 17, 2019 - 3:50 pm

        For some reason the section between STM 717 and STM 719 is confusing to some. It needn’t be.
        Northbound after exiting Kinglsey creek you are in the Amelia River. Stay to the east side past R2. The charts show the deepest water on the lower east side. I have used the upper west side at the G2 bend of the river for about 5 years, as the water is deeper along the western shore The eastern channel has at least 8 feet of water at MLLW. The western channel has 12+ at MLLW . This is one place you do not want to follow the NOAA magenta line. It takes you right across the shoal in the middle of the river. At the northern end of either channel you will turn sharply to the east. At this point there are two green ATONs G1 and G1A. As of t4/15/2019, up to date NOAA chart show both G1 and G1A, a steel pole driven firmly into the river bottom with green day boards. As you turn the corner you must follow the south bank of the river. Stay away from R18,16 and 14 as they are marking a shoal. Both the sonar charts and USACE surveys show this south side of the river as the preferred route. Stay along the shore until you are past the paper mill. Then head towards Fernandina Beach Marina.

        Southbound is equally simple. Pass Fernandina Beach Marina and then hug the east and south shores past the paper mill. Head west past G1 and G1A to the western side of the river and turn south along the western shore. The attached Sonar Charts give a clear picture of the route. The USACE survey only covers the section north of G1.

        Reply to Thomas
      3. Bob Keller -  April 14, 2019 - 9:26 pm

        Your problem is not with the markers but rather with the Tow Boat operator who provides false information. Happened to me about 1.5 years ago before the ATONs were relocated. Called him ahead of time and he told me to stay to the east near marker 1 and we did and hit bottom. Did not get stuck but learned afterward that you actually have to stay to the west. Follow bob423 route and do not call the local Tow Boat operator!

        Reply to Bob
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