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Boaters raise Appomattox River safety concerns ahead of Memorial Day weekend

Posted at 4:19 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 20:54:42-04

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- Something needs to be done along a 500-yard stretch of the lower Appomattox River in Prince George County before someone gets seriously hurt, according to boaters and the owner of the Appomattox Boat Harbor.

Those boaters and fishermen said the riverbed along that a portion of the Appomattox has been filling in with sand and silt for years. It's now to the point that the river is barely passable at low tide, they said.

"We should be in 10 feet of water, right here in the middle, with water, I mean just like a normal river through here and just like the rest of it up there," Milton Freeland, a boater who has spent decades on the river, said. "Somebody come up here will get hurt, if they hit this."

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Crista Cato Manieri, who owns the only harbor on the Appomattox River, said the sandbar and lack of easy passage has affected business at the Appomattox Boat Harbor

"I'm getting a lot of feedback from boaters who are having difficulties navigating this part of the river," she said. "If someone hits that going full speed and is not aware it's there, the boat will stop but the people will not."

Boater Bob Hinds said it was frustrating to watch.

"In 30 minutes, I watched four boats get stuck in the same area," he said. "I know the river very well and this is the most dangerous it's ever been."

What can be done to improve the waterway?

Prince George County officials have to get in touch with the Army Corps of Engineers in order to make improvements.

This is a developing story.