Reporting Missing Aids To Navigation

I came across a story recently on about how two boats had run aground one night recently at the mouth of the Pithlachascotee River near New Port Ricey. Although several of the people on board the boats received some nasty cuts and bruises, fortunately, nobody was seriously injured. While you may think the story is about how the operators of the vessels were intoxicated or inexperienced, it is not. In fact, there is no mention of alcohol use and both boat operators have over 30 years of boating experience in the area where they ran aground. As it turns out, the boaters were returning to port after dark and the lights marking the entrance to the river were out. Because they did not realize the lights were out the boat operators got out of the marked channel and struck shallow oyster bars. “I kept looking for that green light,” said one of the boat operators, “I looked farther inland and I saw another red marker light. And then I realized I was a lot closer in than I should be.” While the Coast Guard is responsible to maintain Aids To Navigation such as channel markers, Florida has over 1300 miles of coastline with thousands of channel markers. The Coast Guard can not check every channel every day so they rely on boaters to help alert them to damaged, missing or inoperative navigation aids. If you come across a damaged or missing Aid To Navigation (ATON), you can report it  by filling out an online form at the USCG Navigation Center at

Captain Walter Shaw

Ft Lauderdale Fishing Charters


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