Naples boaters pleased with plans to dredge Gordon Pass

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NAPLES, Fla. – Boaters are satisfied with plans to resume dredging at Gordon Pass Naples, they said Wednesday.

Gordon Pass connects Naples Bay to the Gulf of Mexico and boaters said the pass is dangerous.

The Army Corps of Engineers approved millions of dollars for the project Tuesday after surveying the sandbar two weeks ago. Boaters said Wednesday that the project is overdue.

“What they did, as I understand it, is put some priority on tonnage over passes and it was Congressman Clawson and Diaz’s office that explained to the Army Corps of Engineers that there’s a human factor in this also,” said sailor Maarten Heybroek.

The sandbar on the bay is hazardous and has caused damage to several boats, boaters said. Now crews can go into the bay to remove sand.

It took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers two years to arrive to its decision, but Naples Harbormaster Roger Jacobsen said the project may begin ahead of expectations.

“Yes, it took a while but sometimes the government moves a little slow. But the final result is I think we’re going to get dredged a lot quicker than a lot of us thought we would,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen said the bay is so shallow that sailboats struggle to pass even at high tide. Local boaters agree.

“Gordon Pass has thousands of people that transit the pass every year and they need to do so in a safe manner and there’s no way you can equate people with tonnage,” Heybroek said.

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