R. Carlstrom has written to ask if anyone has information on the build-up of sand, silt, or whatever, at the west entrance to Swinomish Channel off Skagit Bay. He wrote that the build up is substantial enough that on their boat the Cimarron (3-1/2 ft draft), they will not try to enter the channel when the tide is at zero feet or lower. Once, recently, they could not find any clear water at all without scraping the buildup when the tide was minus 0.5, even when they lined up with the grid. At low tide, they “square” the corner and line up with the grid rather than moving on a straight line from the outermost red buoy to the next.

We will be looking into whether there are any dredging plans afoot for that area. If anyone has information, we would appreciate it!

Update regarding west entrance to Swinomish Channel off Skagit Bay (8/1/2011)

Message Relay from Recreational Boating Association of Washington (RBAW) and BoatUS:


This message is being forwarded to alert all boaters regarding shoaling in the Swinomish Channel. This information was provided in a Local Notice to Mariners but, since recreational boats are grounding on the shoals, we are putting this information out again for general distribution and posting in area marinas. The Local Notice to Mariners follows:


Numerous soundings of shoaling in theSwinomish Channel have been reported. The primary locations for the shoaling have been from the Swinomish Channel South Entrance, north to the vicinity of La Conner, WA.

Some depths have been reported as two (2) feet less than the charted depths. Mariners are advised to use caution when transiting this waterway due to the reported shoaling.

We also remind boaters to monitor the tides closely (the controlling depth for the channel is less than 5.5 – 6 ft). Some of the shoaling is near the center of this narrow waterway.

Kindly note that the US Coast Guard Navigation Center has an excellent site where you can sign up to have the Local Notice to Mariners e-mailed to you when it comes out every week. That site is www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lnmDistrict®ion=13.

We thank marina organizations for notifying their members, and marina managers for posting this alert and advising boaters heading this way to take extra caution transiting the Swinomish Channel.

Very respectfully,

Lyn McClelland
Coast Guard Auxiliary
Sector Puget Sound
Marina Outreach Program Manager

PS: If you find yourself needing towing assistance and would like to find the closest VESSEL ASSIST towing provider in your area please visit: www.BoatUS.com/MSL

PSS: Although the Waggoner Guide also received this notification, we would also like to thank R. Carlstrom for forwarding his e-mail to follow up!

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