Buoys help alert boaters to shallow spots in Hillsboro canal

Marina business impacted by shallow canal waters

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Captain Tony Coulter has been navigating Boca Raton waters for decades. But he's never seen the Hillsboro Canal as shallow as it is now.

The water gets so low, marina owners say it's impacting business. Boaters are taking their vessels elsewhere for maintenance. 

"If you're coming in for a simple oil change, you don't want to cause more damage to your boat by hitting the sandbar," said Coulter.

Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach have dredged the canal in the past, but say they couldn't afford the $100,000 dollar cost to start the permitting process. Locals stepped up to raise $50,000 and with a match from the cities, got the ball rolling.

"This is I-95 of our Boca waterways as far as ocean access is concerned. If this silts up, all the property values will decrease," said Coulter.

At high tide some areas are measuring less than 4 feet deep.

Several buoys are out to alert boaters to the shallow spots, which at low tide Coulter says is ankle deep in places.

If the permit gets approved the dredging could start by 2015. 

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