Waterway Issues

The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW) is a commercial marine highway serving Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia  and Florida. Construction of the Waterway was completed in 1940  and it has become  valuable for commercial, military, recreational and dredging industry traffic, generating billions of dollars of  commercial, recreational and personal income annually. The authorized depth for most of the AIWW is 12 feet, however,  there are areas that can be as low as 2.5 feet, creating a serious navigation safety issue for users.

FEDERAL BUDGET AND MAINTENANCE

The US Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining the AIWW. The Corps receives its annual funding from the Energy and Water Development Appropriations subcommittee. The federal budget becomes more challenging every year and funding priority is given to inland waterways based on the amount of cargo carried annually on barges. The Corps maintains the annual Waterborne Commerce Statistics database that is the documentation the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) uses to develop the President’s budget. What OMB does not take into consideration is the many other vessels that use and rely on the AIWW. Commercial fishing vessels, sport fishing vessels, recreational vessels, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) vessels, US Department of Energy contracted vessels, research vessels and dredging vessels are not documented. As a result OMB annually develops a budget that is inadequate and has caused major shoaling problems in the AIWW.

ENVIRONMENT

Energy Efficient

The most energy-efficient way to move commodities such as coal, grain, iron, steel, aggregates, petroleum and chemical products is to use the nation’s navigable rivers. Barges can move one ton of cargo 576 miles per gallon of fuel. A rail car would move the same ton of cargo 413 miles, and a truck only 155 miles. (Courtesy of the National Waterways Foundation.)

 Clean Air

 Summary of Emissions - Grams per Ton-Mile
(National Waterways Foundation)

Emissions (grams/ton-mile)

 

HC

Hydrocarbons

 

CO

Carbon Monoxide

 

NOx

Nitrogen Oxides

 

PM

Particulate Matter

 

Inland Towing

0.01737

0.04621

0.46907

0.01164

Eastern Railroad

0.02419

0.06434

0.65312

0.01624

Western Railroad

0.02423

0.06445

0.65423

0.01621

Truck

0.020

0.136

0.732

0.018

ECONOMIC VALUE

North Carolina

A 2006 North Carolina Report to the North Carolina Sea Grant Program, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) and the North Carolina Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association (NCBIWA) on the Economic Impacts and Economic Benefits of Recreational Boating Along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW) in North Carolina

  • $257 Million annual sales
  • Over 4000 jobs
  • $124 Million in wages
  • $35.6 Million in federal taxes and fees
  • $21.4 Million in state taxes and fees

Georgia

A Study conducted by Georgia Marine Business Association (GAMBA) of their members indicated that $33million total revenue generated by the AIWW to GA businesses on the waterway
 
Florida

In a 2011 study completed by the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND), they found that the Waterways currently generate an estimated annual state‐wide benefit of $11.86 billion in business volume, $3.02 billion in personal income, 66,843 jobs, and $540.4 million in tax revenue. The significance of the Waterways is further illustrated by the estimated impact of the 2007‐2009 U.S. economic recession, which results in a annual state‐wide decrease of $8.7 billion in business volume, $2.24 billion in personal income, 50,478 jobs, and $391.1 million in tax revenues.


Navigation Problems

  • Click here for US Coast Guard 5th District (NJ to NC) Local Notice to Mariners
  • Click here for US Coast Guard 7th District (SC to FL) Local Notice to Mariners
  • Additional information can be found through our web partner the Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net.

Please let us know when you encounter a serious navigation problem. We will notify the appropriate authorities so they can address the problem.