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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 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 the channel.

For More Tom’s Tips, go to and click on Tom’s Current Article.


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