Coast Guard Sector North Carolina yesterday began enforcing a regulated navigation area for the navigable waters surrounding the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge in Oregon Inlet.
Vessels with a draft greater than 5 feet are not allowed within 100 yards of the Bonner Bridge until further notice.
With Hatteras Inlet experiencing similar shoaling and navigational conditions, the first opening to the ocean south of Oregon Inlet is Teach’s Hole Channel at Ocracoke, then Beaufort Inlet further south. The northern access point to the ocean is through the Intracoastal Waterway to Chesapeake Bay.
Continuous shifts in channel conditions due to recent weather have rendered navigation aids unreliable seaward of the bridge. Mariners are advised to seek alternate routes for transits to and from the ocean and use extreme caution operating in this vicinity.
The Coast Guard imposes vessel traffic restrictions at Oregon Inlet to safeguard vessels from shoaling and to reduce the risk of a bridge strike. The Coast Guard imposes restrictions only when necessary based on inlet conditions, and provides the public with as much advance notice as possible.
The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the conditions of the waterway and update the regulated navigation area as necessary. For any questions or concerns, please contact the Sector North Carolina Command Center at 910-343-3880.