Rough weather delays dredging project scheduled for Boca Raton inlet

$1.7 million dredge project slated for Boca Raton

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Getting out of the Boca Raton inlet into open water can be tricky even for experienced boaters.

"Low tide it's like a submerged island. You don't know what you're doing, you'll get caught up on it and ruin the bottom of the boat," said Capt. Tony Coulter of Dive Boat Diversity.

"It's shoaled up. We've had residents complain, private, public and commercial vessels are concerned," said Jennifer Bistyga, an ocean engineer with the city of Boca Raton.

What makes it so dangerous is at low tide, areas are only three or four feet deep.

The inlet was dredged in 2010, but hurricane Sandy's winds eroded the beaches and dropped much of the sand right at the mouth of the inlet.

The city couldn't wait the usual 6-8 years to dredge again.

"We did have it in the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget, but because of the passage of Sandy and what the storm was doing we put it in this year's budget," said Bistyga.

Sand that is dug out will be pumped onto the beach just south of the inlet, restoring the shoreline lost in the hurricane.

For those who depend on the inlet for business, the project can't come soon enough.

"One, it's about time. Two, they should maintain it," said Coulter.

If the seas are calm the dredge could arrive by this weekend. Bistyga hopes if all goes well, the project will start Tuesday, and be done by the end of the month.

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