Pentwater channel depths in ship-shape

July 2, 2015

regatta-1Story contributed by Ron Beeber.

“We saw no areas more shallow than about nine feet,” wrote Dave Roseman in a message to Pentwater Yacht Club members after he and Phil Ceton mapped the channel, June 26.  The results of this mapping are available at www.pentwaterchannel.org.

“The very good news is that the channel is deep enough to accommodate the great majority of boats,” added Roseman.  “Higher lake levels right now are helping, but we need to stay ahead of Mother Nature and find durable funding to ensure  that our harbor can be accessed every year.”

In an effort to understand the causes of shoaling, and to provide information to boaters, the Pentwater channel has been mapped about 20 times since 2012.

There appear to be two problems.  The main issue is a sandbar that forms just west of the channel.  This is a continuation of the sandbars that form along the entire lakeshore, and is the result of what is called the longshore current.  The second problem is sand that blows from the adjacent beaches into the channel.  This problem has been lessened with a trial installation of fencing, and a permanent remedy is being pursued.

“This season’s improved channel depths also are good for sailboat teams that want to overnight in Pentwater on July 17 while returning to their home ports after this year’s Chicago to Mackinac Race,” said Laura Ellam, chair of the Pentwater Yacht Club’s Back from the Mac party.  Details for the event will be announced soon.

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