Matanzas Dredging Cautions, Matanzas River, FL Statute Mile 792
The Matanzas Inlet area on the ICW is in the process of extensive dredging, currently between markers 80 & 82. This is the historically troublesome section in which you hug VERY close to the western shore (red side), with a series of greens the help keep you over there. However, the greens have been removed for the dredging & the dredge itself is right off the western shore partially blocking the deep water. As we went thru yesterday, it was very disheartening to see a boat aground with radio chatter indicating this is happening regularly during the necessary dredging operations. There were numerous panicked calls on channel 16, what to do, where to go, people, calling “Dredge on ICW”, etc. Some people wanted to go on the shallowER side of the aground boat & even one who wanted to go between the dredge & land! The situation is dynamic as the dredge is constantly on-the-move as it works thru this area. A few general things to keep in mind: – Never attempt to go on the landside/pipeline side (currently the west side) of the dredge. When in doubt, look for the daymark diamond side of the dredge – this is the side to pass (“diamonds are a girls best friend”). The dredge also has signs posted “All Traffic” with an arrow (but you have to be pretty close to see them). – If you want to contact the dredge by VHF, use CHANNEL 13 to call “DREDGE WILCO”. He was very responsive & helpful, but almost everyone was attempting to call “the dredge” on channel 16. Begin listening on channel 13 way before your approach – you may learn of the current situation. – You STILL need to hug the western shore as much as possible – this is where the channel has been & where the dredging is occurring. Remember the greens have been removed! – The dredge is constantly moving back & forth with it’s auger to dredge the width of the channel. You may want to time your actual passage as he begins to swing out of the way – that gives you almost a minute of a wider access. DO NOT hug the dredge if it’s beginning it’s swing back! – If you need 6’+, you may want to wait for a higher tide until the dredging is complete. But, if you go out of the channel, even a shallow draft boat can go aground.
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