Notice To Mariners – The Barnegat Light Channel has officially changed!
United State Coast Guards Aid To Navigation (ATON) moved a number of buoys this week. The “old” channel running from the “B” Buoy in front of the USCG Station west towards the High Bar Harbor Dyke and then turning north along the Dyke and towards Oyster Creek Channel is no longer marked. The Barnegat Light Cut is now the main federally marked channel when transiting from Inlet/Lighthouse to the bifurcation into Double Creek and Oyster Creek Channels.
Scout it out and get familiar with the change. A LOT of boaters got hung up, high and dry the past couple of days. There should be a danger buoy should be placed to the south of Buoy 19’s current location at about 39º 45.977’N 74º 6.992’W.
|14||39° 45.891’N||74° 06.448’W|
|16||39° 45.885’N||74° 06.556’W|
|17||39° 45.794’N||74° 06.590’W|
|18||39° 45.929’N||74° 06.703’W|
|19||39° 46.089’N||74° 06.990’W|
|20||39° 46.028’N||74° 06.808’W|
Some boaters are coming south along and out of Oyster Creek Channel get confused after passing Buoy 22. Then they see Buoy 19 dead ahead, due south at a new location. Those that have run “The Cut” all along are fine because they are already making the eastward heading towards Condos and then Lighthouse. But those who aren’t familiar with running “The Cut” can hesitate when they encounter the new location of 19. Some mistakenly look at their GPS and think, “I’m too far east.” Then turning back towards the west in hopes of getting back on course of the old buoy locations as displayed on their screen and… BANG! Hard aground.
I saw this happen numerous times on Thursday 8/25. I reached out to Coast Guard Barnegat Light to see if they could share some information. They stated that ATON (federal) moved the buoys because they have been requested to do so for many years. And now the next step (dire need) is waiting for the state to do their part, placing a couple danger buoys to prevent the issue. I thought it was a bad answer since the federal vessel was in the area working and it would have been simple for them to place one danger buoy identifying the shoal at the fork in the road between the new and old channel.
Fishing and boating is fun, but it can be challenging and expensive. Especially when there’s shoaling in the middle of marked channels and changing channels markers (ATON). Things are always changing. Be safe!