South Shore Marina plans to build new entrance

Project will preserve safe access for Indian River channel boaters
July 2, 2022

South Shore Marina plans to relocate its entrance channel to deeper water, an aggressive step to combat the sand deposits that have blocked boat traffic at the mouth of its existing channel into the Indian River.

The project would improve navigation and water quality for the 92-slip boating community and provide a deep-water marina with easy, direct passage to the Atlantic Ocean.

“A sustainable solution is essential,” said Joel Sens, managing member of the marina operator, South Shore Moorings LLC. “Despite annual dredging, the shoaling continues with each storm event and blowout tide. The shallow entrance creates hazards for boaters and prevents access to the marina.”

To remedy this problem once and for all, SSM has submitted construction permit applications to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Coastal Management Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

By moving its entrance from the north side of the marina to its western edge where average water depths are 14 feet or greater, SSM could provide a safe and effective boating channel and allow for proper tidal flushing. Plans prepared by S.T. Hudson Engineers Inc. of Cherry Hill, N.J., call for removing a section of the existing rock jetty to create the new entrance and closing the current channel to keep the sand drift from entering the marina basin. To protect boats from wave action, S.T. Hudson also would construct a 150-foot-long timber wave screen opposite the new entrance.

At low-tide conditions, the current channel is unnavigable by many of the vessels in the marina, according to Edward Launay, wetlands scientist and principal of Environmental Resources Inc., a consultant for the project. Maintenance dredging has had only limited success in opening a navigation channel due to rapid shoaling at the entrance, said Launay.

In late 2021, South Shore Marina converted from a lease-only format to a “dockominium,” which operates much like a condominium. Instead of leasing, individuals purchase boat slips and pay an annual fee. According to Sens, this model has been extremely successful, and SSM already has sold 85% of the available slips.

“Southern Delaware has an extreme shortage of boat slips, and no new marinas are being built,” Sens said. “Boaters are waiting years to get to the top of waiting lists, so we’ve made slips available for purchase to eliminate the hassle of finding a slip each season. This new entrance will provide safe navigation and immediate access to the best fishing in the area.”

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