The boating season is rapidly approaching, but some lakefront communities may have to dig themselves out first.
The waterway was measured for the summer season once the ice in Pentwater melted. The channel was around six feet deep for the most part, but with the wind and waves bringing in more sand, some sections were closer to three feet deep.
When the water levels on Lake Michigan vary, certain port cities are forced to dredge their waterways. That is what Pentwater is up against. To get through the summer, a citizen group is seeking to raise $100,000 in a month. Dresge Pkg 5 9 2200 00 45 05still001 Pentwater Channel
Pontoon boats and smaller boats can go 3-6 feet deep, while sailboats, which have a keel bottom that can reach 3-6 feet deep, will run aground. Even some larger motorboats will have three feet of displacement, and any bouncing up and down from the waves will cause the boat to ground as it attempts to reach the enormous lake.
The answer is to dredge, drag the bottom of the channel and remove feet of sediment. But recreational channels like Pentwater are on their own. The federal government no longer covers the cost, they only paying for commercial channels like Manistee or Ludington.
“Obviously, that’s why we’re attempting to address the situation,” Ron Beeber, a member of Protect Pentwater Harbor, said.
“If you can somehow get one of those to come by Pentwater on their way to someplace else in the area, that would save us some of the cost that we would otherwise have to incur,” said Beeber.
They need $100,000. The Protect Pentwater Harbor group is collecting donations but also asking the village and township for help. The Village council meets Monday with the township meeting Wednesday.
“We’re hoping that they will appropriate some money out of their general funds for this emergency purpose,” said Beeber. This will happen again as the lake levels shift so long term solutions are being sought. But for now, sailors are stuck until somebody digs in.
“The short-term, immediate need is to dredge,” said Beeber, “Like in the next month or so.”
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