NOAA 2003-R126A
Contact: Gordon Helm
NOAA News Releases 2003
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Oregon Inlet Navigational Aids

In accordance with today’s decision to cease further work on plans for the construction of jetties at Oregon Inlet, the Corps intends to improve navigation information by conducting depth surveys of the inlet’s navigational channel at more frequent intervals, especially during the peak commercial fishing season. The surveys will be conducted at least monthly and after major storm events. To assist in this effort, NOAA will enhance safety and vessel operational efficiency by identifying and posting critical chart corrections in advance of Coast Guard weekly notices to mariners and will make these data available in association with NOAA’s Electronic Navigational Charts. Navigation information is provided on a weekly basis via the U.S. Coast Guard’s Local Notice to Mariners (LNM) system, available on the web at:

Existing electronic navigational charts can be updated on a weekly basis at a cost of about $25,000 per year. Considering that weekly updates would be most critical in connection with the winter trawl fishery (mid-November through March), the number of surveys could be limited to a maximum of 18 to 20 per year. Additionally, this is an area of rapid technological change and new and less expensive survey and information transfer methodologies are anticipated.

In addition to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Local Notice to Mariners (LNM) system, the Corps of Engineers’ Wilmington District also maintains a web site containing channel surveys and weekly surveys of Oregon Inlet may be displayed there. See, PDF map for Range 1. These surveys may be made readily available on their website and can be electronically posted from the survey vessel. For mariners not having access to the internet, hard copies of the surveys may be printed and distributed by local (Dare County) agencies as well as other local outlets. If not available to vessels that are returning to port, then information regarding channel shift or newly formed bars may be conveyed via radio.

The Corps’ Wilmington District survey vessel can depart Beaufort early in the morning, survey the inlet and return to Beaufort that evening. Approximate costs are $3,100 per day for the vessel; $1,000 per pay for a survey technician; and $500 per day for overhead, for a total daily cost of $4,600. Assuming that weekly surveys were performed between November 15 and March 31 (peak winter trawl fishery season) a total of 18 surveys could be conducted at a cost of about $82,000. Should it be determined that additional surveys were required to accommodate other vessel traffic outside of this time period, the costs would rise commensurately. Surveying the inlet once per week, each week in the year (i.e., 52 weeks) could cost $239,200.