Every fall, thousands of snowbirds migrate south by boat via the Intracoastal Waterway that threads along the coast from Norfolk, Virginia to Miami.
With severe shoaling in many areas, following the course isn't easy, with groundings and delays getting more common each year.
At just about the same time this annual migration peaks, another course to ensure the future of the historic waterway will be charted out at the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association's Conference, which runs Nov. 13-14 in Charleston, S.C. All interested parties are invited to attend.
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, an alliance of recreational boating and commercial maritime interests, will convene its 13th annual meeting at Charleston's Francis Marion Hotel working to support this year's theme, "Keep America's Promise: Restore the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway."
"As the country looks to create jobs and grow the economy, lessen environmental impacts, and invest in infrastructure projects to move us into the 21st century, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway should be a priority," AIWA chairman Stephen Furlough says. "This is an underutilized resource that meets these objectives, and has served the nation for over 70 years. But it's in trouble now."
One feature of this year's conference will involve engaging all levels of government with the commercial maritime industry and the recreational interests that depend on the waterway. Other sessions will address the current situation for navigation along the 1,100-mile route, updates on problem shoaling areas and long-term solutions to chronic federal funding shortages for dredging.