Continual shoaling at Bimini Harbour Entrance
The sand bar that extends south from North Bimini Entrance Point continues to move south, encroaching on the dredged channel east of the Bimini Waypoint shown on Explorer Chart BIM 3. That problem is made worse by the lack of any effort by the Bahamas Government to move and maintain the buoys previously placed at the channel entrance. The deepest water into Bimini Sands Marina or the North Bimini Harbour is currently along a straight line from the Bimini Waypoint to the jettied entrance of the Bimini Sands Marina. The minimum SLW depth along this line is currently 2.4 meters. Just inside the jetties the depth drops to 1.5 meters for a very short distance then deepens to 3 meters at the marina basin. The straight line course between the waypoint and the jetties passes close and on the wrong side of a red buoy which was previously the second buoy on the channel entrance. The first buoy along this approach was moved by a hurricane over a year and a half ago and now rests on the Entrance Point shoal in very shallow water. This buoy should be avoided.
For vessels headed to North Bimini Harbour, a turn to the north should be made along longitude 79° 18.2′. A green buoy marking the area of this turn has been last seen on the beach near the Bimini Sands jetties. There may be several buoys marking the channel between the Entrance Point shoal and South Bimini. Depths along this part of the channel range between 2.3 and 4.5 meters.
Mariners should be alert for moved or missing aids to navigation and expect shifting sand and the possibility of future shoaling. Government maintenance of aids to navigation has been casual in the past. We have been unable to find any local contacts that can advise of changes in the existence of buoys and their accurate positions in the Bimini Channel.
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