Navigation Hazards – First Chain of Islands – Seadrift, TX

Everett Johnson
Navigation Hazards – First Chain of Islands – Seadrift, TX
Here's a heads-up for anglers who frequent the First Chain of Islands near Seadrift. As you may already be aware oyster season is in full swing and we have quite a fleet working our local waters. Sometimes their dredges catch more than oysters!

Once upon a time there were dozens of gas wells in and around the shallow waters of the First Chain of Islands. The wellheads and platforms are gone but there's still some stuff lying on the bottom of the bay. That is, until it gets hooked by an oyster dredge.

Evidently a goodly amount of the steel production piping was abandoned as we see incidents of this type each year while the oystermen are working. When a dredge becomes tangled in the piping, the pipes themselves can be broken, and jagged pieces sometimes are up-ended to stand above the water line.

I like to mark hazards when I discover them and would have marked these except I had nothing in the boat suitable for the job. Both hazards shown here were found on Sunday December 7, 2008 and neither is marked, although I hope to do so soon. Large, brightly-colored plastic jugs make excellent markers and two or three of them tied above the water line can help prevent a costly or perhaps even life-threatening boating accident. Adding reflective tape increases visibility during low-light periods.

I would like to encourage that all readers who frequent the First Chain of Islands punch these numbers into their GPS unit and affix hazard icons. Fishing is a hoot, but not when you tear up your boat. Boat safely – carry materials to mark hazards – it's the right thing to do.