Oregon Inlet Closed To Charter Fishing Vessels
Oregon Inlet has been closed by the US Coast Guard, closed to large boats that have over a two-foot draft. The inlet is too shallow and in order to protect the aging Bonner Bridge the Coast Guard had to close the inlet. The channel under the high-rise portion of the bridge has become too shallow again from shift sand. Dredging of the channel must take place before the inlet can be reopened to larger vessels. This ban includes area charter fishing boats from using the inlet to get to the Atlantic Ocean. Larger boats are banned from getting within 100 yards of the Bonner Bridge. Fines could result in up to $32,500 if the ban is ignored. The ban excludes smaller recreational boats. It is unknown when dredging can take place.
Dredging will begin Wednesday April 1 to Oregon Inlet. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin the emergency dredging to open to shallow inlet so large boats can resume using the channel to access the Atlantic Ocean by passing under the aging Bonner Bridge. The dredging will first pump sand and open up a 8-foot channel then a second dredge will work to make the channel 14 feet deep. Oregon Inlet is used by commercial fishing boats out of Wanchese as well as charter fishing boats out of Manteo and the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center to access the Atlantic Ocean waters and the Gulf Stream which are prime fishing grounds. The emergency dredging operation to reopen the inlet to the large boats is an economical necessity to the Outer Banks just as the popular summer tourist season is about to get underway.
See why Oregon Inlet is so important to the Outer Banks…