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Bills Would Extend Towns’ Marine Authority

An abandoned sailboat is shown turned on its side in Shallowbag Bay in Manteo in 2017. Photo: Neel Keller/Outer Banks Sentinel

RALEIGH – New legislation would the extend Manteo’s authority over navigable waters within the Dare County town’s corporate limits, adding it to a growing list of local governments seeking help in managing derelict moorings and other issues exacerbated by recent storms.

Rep. Bob Steinburg

The Manteo bill, introduced early last week by Sen. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, would extend the town’s jurisdiction over the waters of Shallowbag Bay from the northern tip of Ballast Point to the southern tip of Baum Point, including Doughs Creek and Scarboro Creek.

Among other powers, the bill gives the town authority to place and maintain channel markers and other navigational aids and to regulate anchoring and mooring of vessels within its waters.

Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, introduced similar legislation earlier in the session that would give local control to Beaufort for the navigable waters around the unincorporated region of the Rachel Carson Reserve and extend to other Carteret County  towns of Atlantic Beach, Bogue, Cape Carteret, Cedar Point, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, Morehead City, Newport, Peletier and Pine Knoll Shores the right to control anchoring of boats and operations of boats and vessels in their respective navigable waters.

Pat McElraft

The deadline for filing all local legislation for this year’s session is March 28.

Other recently filed legislation includes $2 million in funding for the Maritime Heritage Foundation of Beaufort to begin advanced planning on construction of a new North Carolina Maritime Museum. The money is to be used for a master plan for the 31-acre site on Gallants Channel, including a wetlands and environmental survey as well as building and infrastructure plans.

Although a standalone bill for now, the measure that was also introduced by McElraft is likely headed for inclusion in this year’s House budget proposal. McElraft is co-chair of the subcommittee that writes the natural and cultural resources section of the budget.

About the Author

Kirk Ross

Kirk Ross is a longtime North Carolina journalist based in the Triangle. In addition to Coastal Review Online, he covers the legislature and state government for Carolina Public Press and The Washington Post. He can be reached at