LIBAG believes this inlet is important? This is why we have been meeting with the office's of United States Senator Sen. Gillibrand, and Schumer. We will continue our work with the Governor's office, the NYS Parks leadership, and the Town of Babylon.
As mentioned in previous posts. Several members of LIBAG met with Commander Tim Woody, of the Fire Island Coast Guard Station. In addition, they took a ride aboard the 47 foot United States Coast Guard rescue vessel. While going for a boat ride in a Coastie RIB Rescue boat certainly is fun; this trip was all business. We helped the Coast Guard in their assessment of the Inlet.
Unfortunately " The Coast Guard's $1.2 million Motor Lifeboat, designed for rescue operations in hurricane-force winds and rough seas, will be transferred from Station Fire Island to the Shinnecock station."
This makes this situation more urgent. This is not just an economic situation... this is about the safety of our fellow recreational and commercial watermen.
By continuing to work with all the various Fed, State, and local parties we hope to be able to help find a solution to what has now clearly become more complicated than just a beach access issue.
The following are two news stories on the subject.
Coast Guard: Fire Island inlet too shallow for rescue boat - U.S. - Stripes
Fire Island shoaling impacts Coast Guard response abilityStation Fire Island’s boat crews’ response capabilities are greatly affected by severe shoaling, which has been reported to extend the entire width of Fire Island Inlet and in the vicinity of buoy #4 and #5. There have been reports of water depths as low as four feet at high tide, and less than one foot at low water in these areas.
As a result of the shoaling, Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Woody, commanding officer of Station Fire Island, temporarily suspended the unit’s offshore response capabilities utilizing the unit’s 47-foot Motor Lifeboats, since it draws more than four feet. The smaller 25-foot response boats from Station Fire Island are still able to transit the inlet to respond to emergencies.
“While there is concern about our response capability, we are still able to patrol the area and advise mariners to operate their vessel safely,” said Woody. “Since the shoaling may limit the Coast Guard’s response, other local agencies may be available to render assistance.”
The station, whose crews respond to an average of more than 200 search and rescue cases annually, will work with nearby resources, including Stations Jones Beach and Shinnecock, N.Y. to assist in responding to mariners in distress.
In the meantime, the Coast Guard is taking preventative safety measures to ensure mariners are informed of the risks when transiting the inlet.
“We are relocating aids to navigation to mark best safe water,” said Lt. Ben Duarte, Waterways Management Division chief at Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound in New Haven, Conn. “We recommend transiting Fire Island Inlet at high tide and proceeding with extreme caution. Pay close attention to the Local Notice to Mariners and daily broadcasts made over VHF-FM channel 16 for the latest information on channel conditions.” The inlet remains open for vessel traffic, but mariners are reminded to consider the dangers of operating a vessel near shallow water and to have all required life jackets and safety equipment aboard their vessel before transiting the inlet.
FROM LI NEWSDAY
Coast Guard: Inlet too shallow for rescue boat
September 21, 2012 by BART JONES / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Coast Guard's $1.2 million Motor Lifeboat, designed for rescue operations in hurricane-force winds and rough seas, will be transferred from Station Fire Island to the Shinnecock station. Fire Island Inlet has become too difficult to traverse, the agency said in a statement.
The boat draws more than 4 feet of water, while water in the Fire Island Inlet is as low as 4 feet at high tide and less than a foot at low tide, the Coast Guard said.
"It's not safe for our vessel to transit in and out of there," spokesman Lt. Jeff Janaro said.
Janaro said two 25-foot rescue boats based at the Fire Island station will still use the inlet.
Those, along with Motor Lifeboats at Jones Beach and Shinnecock stations and Coast Guard helicopters and aircraft, will be adequate to handle any rescue operations, officials said, adding that local agencies may also assist.
On Wednesday, the Coast Guard issued an advisory instructing boaters to seek alternate routes to the inlet due to sand buildup.
Captains of charter fishing boats based at Captree State Park said Friday the Fire Island Inlet is in dire need of dredging, and some of the buoys need to be moved to more accurately mark deep water since sands in the area have shifted.
But most said they've a found a way to avoid the most shallow parts of the inlet by going outside of some buoys, and they've been operating their businesses as usual.
"We have no problem getting in and out of the inlet," said Neil Delanoy, captain of the Laura Lee. "We safely go in and out three or four times a day with a 72-foot boat."
"I've seen it a lot worse years ago," said Robert Andresen, captain of the 85-foot Captree Princess, which, like the Laura Lee, took fishing parties out to the Atlantic on Friday.
But Andresen said "you have to proceed with caution." He praised the Coast Guard for transferring its Motor Lifeboat, noting that the self-righting boat is taller than the inlet is deep and could be damaged.
"It's safe and smart to not let that boat go out," he said.
While the Coast Guard said it's in the process of moving some buoys, Andresen said he won't stop using the waterway in the meantime.
"I do this for a living," he said. "I'll find a way out."