Boaters call for USCG to add navigational buoys back to Lockwood Folly Inlet

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Lockwood Folly Inlet between Oak Island and Holden Beach is no longer dangerously shallow following a recent dredging project.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveyed the inlet on Monday morning to follow up on the dredging project that was completed on September 5.

The Corps said the project was successful and President of the Lockwood Folly Inlet Association Cane Faircloth agrees.

“We had a lot of beach erosion from the tropical storms that were passing by and the high tides but the inlet faired really good from that,” Faircloth said. “It actually got better, it didn’t get worse. That’s always a concern when you have sand eroding from the beaches.”

The conditions are a stark difference from earlier this summer. In June, the Coast Guard shared a bulletin saying parts of the inlet were less than two feet deep at low tide.

Now the Corps said according to a survey performed just after the dredging project was complete, the channel is seven to eight feet deep and 150 feet wide.

“The inlet’s in great shape, we have a great channel, but it’s really important for us to get our navigational aids put back so that boaters can know exactly where this channel is because it’s really shallow to the east or the west of the channel,” Faircloth said.

Another concern is the shipwreck close by the inlet that’s only visible at low tide.

“Over the past month, we’ve had a couple of boaters hit it. We had one boater hit it this weekend and tear the lower unit of his engine off,” Faircloth said.

The Coast Guard is the entity in charge of placing the navigational buoys.

A spokesperson said they are awaiting the results of Monday’s survey to see if the project held and it’s safe for them to mark the channel. The spokesperson explained the water must be deep enough for their cutter to place and maintain the buoys.

The results of Monday’s survey are expected to be available by Tuesday afternoon.

The Coast Guard spokesperson added there are no plans to mark the shipwreck and it has never been marked before.

While Faircloth waits and advocates for the return of the buoys, he advises people to follow boaters who are familiar with the inlet to get a track line and remain cautious while navigating the area.

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