Questions Received

Questions and Answers:

Q: Won’t stopping barge traffic hurt the local economy?


A: Yes it would - But no one is trying to stop barge traffic on the Nanticoke River. Rather the intent is to call attention to the damage that is being done to the river and wetlands by vessels being operated in a carelesss, inconsiderate and unsafe manner. Many of the tug operators are professional, considerate and careful. However, there are others that are out-of-control and there are some that are pushing barges too large for the Nanticoke River.


Q: Aren’t barges and tugs regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard?


A: Yes - but the the USCG cannot enforce regulations if barge groundings or collisions with  private property is not reported.  Barge accidents are rarely reported in there are no witnesses.


Q: Has DNREC been contacted about problems with excessive boat wakes on the Nanticoke River?


A: Yes -- After numerous complaints DNREC has stationed a boat on the Nanticoke River and conducts sporadic patrols.  However, the main problem is that DNREC regulations for boat wakes on the Nanticoke River only if a boat is within 100 feet of a No Wake sign or a dock. Size of the boat and the boat wake are not considered.


Q: Should boating on the Nanticoke River be stopped”


A: NO - Boating should be enjoyed by all.  However, consideration must be given to protecting the river for future generations. Careless and inconsiderate boaters can (and will) destroy the environment of the river if allowed to do so. For example, boats are now being purposefully made to create larger wakes. Scientific studies have been conducted that show that excessive boat wakes within 500 feet of a shoreline cause significant erosion. Erosion causes the loss of land, trees, vegetation, and wildlife habitat.


Q: Have boating issues been reported to the DNREC Marine Police?


A. YES - but DNREC has only assigned 6 officers to all of Sussex County.  These six officers must cover the entire county, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. These officers work hard but must spend the majority of their time in the tourist areas of eastern Sussex county.


The above barge is shown in the middle of the Nanticoke River channel. However, 10 - 15 minutes earlier it ran into the river bank about 200 yards down river from Channel Marker 57.