Chatham County Marine Patrol has warning for boaters of concrete pilings

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Chatham County Marine Patrol officers want those out on the Bull River to be aware of new concrete pilings in the river that have popped up in recent weeks, that could potentially be a hazard if boaters aren’t familiar with them.

Sgt. Danny Walker with the Chatham County Marine Patrol said, “these are the new pilings that were added in right there, this one along the marsh line, this one right over there on that marsh line.”

Sgt. Danny Walker considers himself a seasoned boater, but he admits when these pilings went up, even his bearings were thrown off.

“You get into that area and you see them, it’s like, where did that come from? Am I in the right place, am I going the right direction?”

Sgt. Walker says any new obstruction like these pilings are concerning, especially in low-light or foggy situations. And the law doesn’t require them to be lit, only charted for navigation maps. And there are reflective signs on each, with more to be added, according to a representative of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

But that’s why Walker says it’s important for boaters to update their maps every two years, and to not rely solely on a boats mapping technology.

“Nothing is going to replace a set of eyes, watching, looking, making sure that everything’s...that the electronic equipment is right.”

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the new pilings on the Bull River were put in at the end of April. If the pilings aren’t showing up on navigation maps, the Georgia DNR says they should be soon.

The pilings are meant to alert boaters of what will soon become a shellfish mariculture operation, similar to one in McIntosh County, where single-cut oysters can be grown and harvested.

To learn more about the mariculture project, click here.

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