Safety concerns could spell end for ‘magenta line’


The “magenta line” has seen better days. Recommended on charts since 1912 as the best route through the Intracoastal Waterway, in many areas it now passes on the wrong side of navigational aids, crosses shoals and other obstructions, and falls outside of dredged channels.

To address the obvious safety concerns, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is removing the “recommended route” from its charts. It is also issuing a notice of caution to boaters, essentially firing off a flare for anyone following the line on charts where it has not been removed.

If the magenta line has a future, it clearly will have to be updated for accuracy. But is it worth it, and should it be NOAA’s responsibility? Before deciding, the agency wants to hear what boaters have say. To weigh in, email comments to, fax them to 301-713-4019, or mail them to Lt. j.g. Leslie Flowers, Office of Coast Survey, 1315 East-West Highway, No. 6312, Silver Spring MD 20906.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 26.

By Ocean Navigator