Oregon Inlet too shallow to dredge worries charter boat captains

Posted at 6:11 PM, Apr 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-17 18:11:38-04

Dare County, N.C. (WTKR) – The Army Corps of Engineers says the Oregon Inlet has become too shallow to continue dredge operations.

The Corps says even with favorable tides and winds, its dredge can’t break through the two-foot depth.

They also don’t have the money to contract for a pipeline dredge.

Surveys of the inlet will continue bi-weekly to determine if dredging operations could resume.

For Tom Krauss and David Swain, Charter Boat Captains out of the Oregon Inlet, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time.

This weekend marks the start of their busy season and right now they can’t risk going out with the unknown conditions.

“Tearing up the boat, hurting somebody; in the main span we don't know what we are going to find when we go back out there,” Swain told NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo.

No trips out, means no money coming in.

“If we don't go fishing, we don't make any money and we have to go,” Krauss explained.

“How am I going to pay my house rent, the mortgage on my house, feed myself? This is all I know. I've been doing this for 33 years, right here at this marina, out of that Oregon Inlet,” Swain commented.

Local and state leaders in North Carolina are working on a plan that would transfer ownership of the inlet from the federal government to the state government.

That could improve maintenance at the inlet, but that plan is far from finalized.

“Long term - that has to come too, but right now we need a short term,” Swain stated.

For the men who depend on the inlet being open for their livelihoods, the lack of dredging is discouraging.

“I was thinking - well this is going to be a good summer. It's finally gotten to where we don't have to worry about it and run the gauntlet as we say, and now we are getting ready to start the season and it's pretty frustrating,” Swain said.