BEAUFORT — A planned amendment to the Navigable Waters Ordinance could, if passed by town commissioners, limit mooring options for boaters around town in the midst of a storm.
Town commissioners discussed the amendment during their Monday work session in the town hall conference room. The amendment would limit navigable water mooring during severe weather to Town Creek Harbor of Refuge.
The last major amendment to the Navigable Waters Ordinance was last year, when town officials wanted to enact stricter policies to discourage boaters from leaving their boats unattended for extended periods of time. The authority for Beaufort to regulate its navigable waters comes via legislation passed by the General Assembly.
The proposed amendment to the town ordinance, according to information provided by staff, resulted from lessons learned during Hurricane Dorian, which swept up the East Coast early this month.
“The recent experience with Hurricane Dorian illustrated the need to amend the Town’s Navigable Waters Ordinance with regard to securing anchored vessels,” reads information staff provided.
Town Manager John Day repeated this at Monday’s meeting.
“The ordinance’s current wording is that vessels that are in the town’s waters during a time of hurricane watch have to be secured,” Mr. Day said. “We found that that didn’t work when Dorian moved through.”
Mr. Day said following the storm, staff found vessels that washed up on Carrot Island.
“This is a change that requires any boats in town waters to move to the harbor of refuge (during severe weather),” Mr. Day said.
The harbor of refuge is federally regulated, which gives the town little jurisdiction other than the amendment’s stipulation that the boats be well-secured.
Town commissioners agreed to further discuss the amendment at their Monday, Oct. 14 regular session.
Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email Dean@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.