Boaters raise concerns over Gordon Pass

Published: Updated:

NAPLES, Fla.- Several boaters are raising complaints about Gordon Pass after seriously damaging their boats on a sand bar.

“The pass needs to be dredged for safety sake,” said Capt. Elizabeth Bloch.

Gordon Pass is the only way in and out of Naples Bay to the Gulf of Mexico for larger boats.

Capt. Bloch said the main channel of it is too shallow. Two years ago, her sailboat was damaged when the bottom hit the sand bar.

“I think I spent $27,000 on repairs, luckily insurance helped,” said Bloch.

“We got a problem here and it’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt,” said Maarten Heybroek. For a couple years now, he has been trying to do something about the shoal.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of the pass. Heybroek says they won’t do anything about it because it’s not high priority for them.

“Well quite frankly, if you’re the sole responsibility for cleaning up this pass, I don’t want to hear that you don’t have it in your budget. Find the money and do it.”

WINK News went out to the pass to see just how shallow it was on Wednesday. It was high tide and we got a reading just under 4 feet. At that depth, it makes it challenging for sailboats who need at least 4 1/2 feet.

“If you go by the green markers, it’s shallow,” said Capt. Gene Luciano, who says there are ways around it and he’s never had a problem in 45 years.

“The secret is, you gotta stay to the south where the red markers are.”

Capt. Roger Jacobsen, who is the Harbor master for the City of Naples, says the pass is hazardous and there’s a warning on the city dock website.

He said they will continue trying to get some sort of dredging done or a marker put in to let boaters know it’s shallow.

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