ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, in cooperation with Boat Owners Association of The United States, has created a free message board at www.Atlintracoastal.org for boaters to share information about the route.
In a press release this morning, BoatU.S. said the message board should provide local knowledge regarding facilities, experiences and most of all, channel conditions, along the 1,200-mile route threading the Southeast coast.
The board includes individual sections covering the waterway's route from Norfolk, Va., to Miami. Also included are sections where cruisers or local boaters can note "Problem Spots," a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers news area, and a "Trips" page for question-and-answer exchanges as well as comments from cruisers en route.
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway was created in 1938, with an authorized depth of 12 feet to provide a protected inland passage for commercial and military vessels, and has become increasingly popular with recreational boaters.
However, today the waterway is as shallow as four feet or less at low tide in some areas as declining federal budgets over the past decade have led to cutbacks in maintenance dredging. Commercial vessels and larger recreational craft are being forced to run offshore in the open ocean or risk grounding and potentially expensive repairs.
"The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is in crisis," said Ryck Lydecker of BoatU.S. and an AIWA Board Member. "While Congress manages to appropriate some funds each year to dredge the worst problem spots, that's a Band-Aid approach when the patient needs CPR. We hope that boaters will use this message board to share helpful navigation advice to prevent groundings, but also to give us first-hand reports that we can use to convince policy makers that the situation is critical."
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