The ten navigational buoys maintained by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in Milton Harbor could be removed as soon as February 28th, according to an agency spokesperson.
The USCG is collecting public comments until this Friday, February 11th on its proposal to remove of all ten navigational buoys in Rye’s Milton Harbor. The agency’s 26 foot Trailerable Aids to Navigation Boat (TANB) used to service the buoys can no longer service the area because of the silting in the harbor. The water depth can be as low as one foot six inches, and the actual draft of the vessel is two feet four inches.
“At this point, it’s not even possible to get in there,” said Lieutenant Brandon Newman, the public affairs officer for the First Coast Guard District. “The boat has been operating on a waiver that allows it to go into less than six feet. With higher authority [inside the Coast Guard] approving it, it’s allowed to go into areas that are shallower than six feet with assuming more risk because of the depth.”
The temporary disestablishment of the buoys will have no effect on the federal designation of the channel or any federal funding associated with it, according to Lieutenant Newman.
“The Coast Guard is committed to re-establishing the buoys once the channel is dredged and our assets are capable of accessing the area, said Newman. “The last two years we’ve been operating on a waiver for [operating] close to two feet [of water depth]. So a waiver being granted at five feet is very likely.” In current discussions, the city is looking at dredging to a depth of five feet.