Shoaling Reports and Cross Currents
by Tom Neale
Cruisers are traveling with tightened sphincter muscles in many US waters
today, because of serious shoaling resulting from lack of dredging. (See
more in Tom’s section on www.boatus.com.) We’ve heard, on the VHF and
SSB radios, many reports from boaters that they have “gotten through”
various critical areas, with the implication that all is OK. This is
faulty reasoning. The fact that you can pass over a shoal this month
doesn’t address next month. For example, if a channel is supposed to be
12 feet but is now 6 feet, there is a serious problem which will get much
worse, even though you may be able to get through now.
We’ve also seen many boaters go aground in areas of swift current (such
as where the ICW passes an ocean inlet), thinking they were in the
channel, when they were actually being swept to the side by the current.
When crossing areas of swift current, keep your eye on aids to navigation
in front of you AND behind you to be sure you aren’t being swept out of
For More Tom’s Tips, go to www.boatus.com and click on Tom’s Current Article.