Posted May 14, 2020
The senator says the buildup of sand has created treacherous waters in the heavily-used channel. A man died there earlier this month.
LONG BEACH, NY — State Senator Todd Kaminsky is calling on the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to immediately dredge the Jones Inlet and assess what other safety measures can be implemented in the waterway to better ensure the safety of boaters this summer, following an accident earlier this month that left one boater dead.
In a letter to Lieutenant General Todd. T. Semonite, Kaminsky outlined the urgency of the request, citing the near impossibility to navigate the inlet under certain weather conditions. On May 2, a boat capsized while trying to navigate 10-foot-high waves in the inlet, killing one man. Kaminsky said that dredging the sand-clogged inlet would improve a highly-trafficked waterway that currently produces treacherous waves and exposes watercraft to broadside wave impact.
Jones Inlet runs between the eastern end of Point Lookout and the western end of Jones Beach Island. The channel is about 2,000 feet across.
"As we approach the summer season, more boaters will be forced to run this gauntlet, and, I fear, be subject to the same harrowing and life-threatening conditions," Kaminsky wrote. "It is imperative that we assist boaters in navigating this highly trafficked federal channel in order to prevent future tragic events.
The Army Corp has previously recognized the need to maintain the inlet, having dredged in 6-year intervals, removing 700,000 cubic yards of sand in January 2008 and 665,000 in 2014. Based on this schedule, the inlet is due for dredging, Kaminsky said.