The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Coast Guard is advising mariners of changes to the aids to navigation (ATON) system in Boca Grande Channel in Charlotte Harbor, Fla., starting Friday, Feb. 12.
The Coast Guard must redesign the aids to navigation system in the Boca Grande Channel, offshore of Charlotte County, due to significant shoaling and changing water depths. The floating aids to navigation currently in place do not mark the best navigable waters.
The waterway is not currently scheduled to be dredged to its federal project depth in the near future. As a result of the decreased water depth, the Coast Guard crews responsible for maintaining aids to navigation on this waterway have been unable to reach these buoys for regular maintenance. This creates a greater risk of aids parting their moorings and floating free, resulting in possible damage to the local ecosystem.
The Coast Guard is redesigning this channel to mark the best navigable water, which is currently the natural channel just southeast of the federal project channel.
New buoy configurations and numbering as noted in the local notice to mariners are part of this redesign and will be forwarded to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's Office of Coast Survey for nautical chart corrections.
If mariners or recreational boaters see any aids missing, damaged or in the wrong position, they are requested to immediately contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg Command Center via VHF-FM marine band radio Channel 16 or by phone at (727) 824-7506.
Additionally, boaters may use the new Coast Guard app to file a buoy or aid discrepancy with us as well.