The removal of submerged debris from New Jersey’s waters as a result of Hurricane Sandy will be going on all summer and possibly throughout the fall in areas out of the main channels.
A team of contractors is removing waterway debris, including cars, vessels, buildings, docks and boardwalks, furniture, accumulated sand, and many other materials, from coastal and tidal waterways from Bergen County to Cape May and up the Delaware Bay to the Delaware Memorial Bridge in Salem County.
This past week, debris recovery began off the Beach Haven West lagoon community in Stafford and around Mordecai Island off Beach Haven, and probably will continue throughout this week.
Tim Reicher is in charge of a crew from Dewbury Engineers, Inc. of Bloomfield, contracted to do the work. They are using Sonar to find debris.
“We’re amazed by the evident power of Sandy,” he said. “There are things that have been moved by the wind and water that should not have moved.”
With the numbers of recreational boaters that use the Jersey Shore’s bays and rivers in warm weather, the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary are planning to be extra vigilant this summer.
The auxiliary is made up of volunteers — all experienced boaters, some retirees, others who have weekends available — who aid the Coast Guard by promoting recreational boating safety and patrolling the waters during boating season. The patrols operate under the direct orders of U.S. Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light and receive regular updates on local maritime conditions.
On April 25, auxiliarists from Division 7, USCG Auxiliary, met with Coast Guard staff at Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light to discuss the upcoming National Safe Boating Week (May 18-26) and concerns about the Sandy aftermath cleanup.
Allison (Al) Revy Jr., public affairs staff officer for Division 7, which covers southern Ocean County from Bayville to Little Egg Harbor, said this year, patrol crews will not only be on the lookout for boaters in distress, but also will be looking for debris and hazards to navigation in waterways.
Revy said the safety patrol crews will report, and when possible, remove debris and be on-call to assist in any Coast Guard search and rescue missions, should the situation arise.
“The DEP has been doing a good job clearing the main waterways,” Revy said. “But every time the tide changes, something else breaks loose.”
Revy said as part of its recreational boating safety program, auxiliary members will advise the boating public of areas to avoid or where to take added precautions as the cleanup continues.
Revy said, “It is essential that the boaters realize they have a basic responsibility to make those decisions that will assure the safety of the passengers and themselves.”
One of the things boaters can do is to regularly check the latest “Local Notice to Mariners” information for New Jersey at www.navcen.uscg.gov.
In addition, boaters are advised to:
■ Stay in the navigation channels or deeper water.
■ Proceed at slower speeds and use a lookout, as if piloting in uncharted waters.
■ If you see an area marked to stay away from, stay away from it.
■ Keep your eyes open for debris that might be out there but isn’t marked.
■ Stay clear of debris removal and dredging operations.
■ Report any sightings of shoaling or unmarked debris in the water to 1-877-WARN-DEP.