September 18, 2018
Route Through Hatteras Inlet Marked
After Storm-Related Shoaling Concerns
By JOY CRIST
concerns that Hatteras Inlet was unnavigable after Hurricane Florence
affected the area, local fishermen went out into the inlet waters to
check on the accessibility, and to set polyform buoys to mark a clear
route through the inlet waters.
“The [fishermen] are the ones who need to use it, so they were the ones
who were looking around to find the water,” said Captain Steve
“Creature” Coulter, owner of Sea Creature Sportfishing, and member of
the Dare County Waterways Commission. “What we call the ‘Short Cut,’
where you turn out of Barney Slough, is where they found water and put
buoys in it, so we can get in and out.”
Captain Rom Whitaker of Release Sportfishing, and Captain Andy Piland
of Good Times Sportfishing placed the polyform buoys to effectively
mark the route.
“In talking with Andy, there is slightly more water than before and
little change,” said Captain Ernie Foster of the Albatross Fleet, and
member of the Dare County Waterways Commission. “It’s changed slightly,
but it’s basically the same, and we are in good shape.”
“The water is very high right now, but there are 11 red [polyform
buoys] in the Short Cut, and you need to treat them as if they are red
buoys,” said Coulter. “They are going to try to go fishing tomorrow, so
we should have more updates then.”
Hatteras Inlet has been affected by storms before, most notably after
2011’s Hurricane Irene and 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which led to extreme
and persistent shoaling in the channel.
Per the last meeting of the Dare County Waterways Commission on August
13, the inlet is slated to be dredged in the fall, within the permitted
seasonal window of Oct. 1 through March 31. Outside of this window,
approval is required from the state Department of Environmental
Quality, the Division of Coastal Management and the Corps.
Per Coulter, plans are already in the works to schedule the upcoming
fall dredging. “Whether we can get it speeded up because of this, I
don’t know, but I know they are working on it,” he said.