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Old 05-02-2010, 21:48   #1
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ICW Best Guide...

what's the best current guide for the FL ICW...? (Hard copy)
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Old 05-02-2010, 22:08   #2
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I have the Intracoastal Waterways ChartBook by John Kettlewell and Leslie Kettewell.

I got it from West Marine for $69 and I like it alot .gives Bridge updates and anchor locactions, Marina's. Very nice to have due to I have not found any elecronic charts that cover the ICW very well.


Dutch
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Old 06-02-2010, 09:41   #3
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...I have not found any elecronic charts that cover the ICW very well.
(Biased self-promotion on)
ActiveCaptain does an outstanding job with the ICW. We document every marina, anchorage, bridge, inlet info, boat ramp, and tons of additional "local knowledge". There's also a new "Hazard" marker that provides up-to-the-minute info from other cruisers about the various ICW hazards. I've found it really nice myself - see two entries in my personal blog:

The Crossroads (Jan 27, 2010)
Miami Beach (Feb 4, 2010)

You will not find reviews like the ones in ActiveCaptain in any other guide. Some guidebooks let you know if a marina has showers and heads. ActiveCaptain gives those details too (and even allows you to update them if you find something new) and provides reviews to let you know if they're actually clean, or if the pumpout works, or how helpful the staff is, and on and on. Often the reviews are way more important than the factual details. Every anchorage has one or more reviews so again, you can get details about the area along with other cruisers findings and ratings in 7 different categories.

ActiveCaptain is 100% free and free of all banner ads and other advertisements meant to clutter the screen and take your attention away. As you make updates to the data, you earn "points". Upon reaching different point levels, you get mailed awards - product samples and ultimately an ActiveCaptain hat. Wearing the hat when you check into a marina tells the marina that you're one of the people who writes reviews.

ActiveCaptain is now in it's 4th year with major new alliances and features being announced at the boat show">Miami Boat Show this coming week.

(Biased self-promotion off)
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:04   #4
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ICW Guides and Alerts

Hi,

We have used Claiborne Young's guide and found them very informative. They also have a website that has up to date alerts and information on the ICW Cruiser's Net. There is considerable current information on this site posted by people moving up and down the waterways. The site loads quickly and does NOT have tons of animation, flash ... This is helpful when you have a lower bandwidth connection (wifi on my boat with limited bandwidth). You can also subscribe to email alerts that many (including us) find useful.

I have never used these guides but were told by friends they found them quite good Waterway Guide ..
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:54   #5
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I am a bit prejudiced since I do work for them but even prior to that we have used the Waterway Guides for decades and found it to be the best along with a good set of charts. I too have used Kettlewell's charts and find them very easy to use at the helm. But we also use electronics on the plotter and computer and keep a large chartkit on board because the Kettlewell charts don't go off the ICW for those fantastic side trips. Claiborne's site as well as the Waterway site both provide up to date info on the changes along the ICW with reports from folks that are currently under way as well as notices from several agencies on navigational information. WG
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:13   #6
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ActiveCaptain, I just looked at your site and love it, I will do some searching around on it later, But I did want to ask is it a program you buy or just use it online?

Also do you have anything like this that would cover the great loop?

Dutch
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:35   #7
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ActiveCaptain, I just looked at your site and love it...
...is it a program you buy or just use it online?
...do you have anything like this that would cover the great loop?
The web site is completely free and includes all of the data. These are some relationships coming where you'll see the data also showing up in other navigation products on a variety of platforms. Obviously other products by other manufacturers/developers are controlled by them but we'll always have free access to the data on the web site (and possibly other places as well).

The ActiveCaptain databases certainly cover the Great Loop, Canada, and the west coast - we've been mainly working on support for the US, Canada, and Bahamas. We actually have data throughout the world though - UK, Netherlands, Australia...all have data although not as well covered as the US...for now.

Even rivers outside the Great Loop passages are pretty well covered in the US. And of course, if you find an area that isn't well covered, you can add data yourself and work with others to build it.

The whole idea is to capture the dockside chats that we all have with one another and record them for others to see and use. There have been so many times when we've pulled into a dock complaining about a previous anchorage/marina only to learn that "no one goes there" - or the opposite where everyone knows that there's an excellent facility that we missed. That's the type of conversation we're trying to capture and share among the community. SAIL Magazine gave us a Pittman Innovation Award for 2009 for it.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:48   #8
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Very nice,

Here is one I found that is not known, ON the St. Johns river 30 miles south of Jacksonville Florida is a town called Green Cove Springs they have a public dock with about 15 slips, depth around 5 foot, well they have a sign posted that you can dock with electric and water for $10 a night not by foot. Well the thing is every time I have tried to pay them they will not take any payment, even at $10 a night thats cheap. they have a very beautiful park right there and you can walk 3 blocks and your right down town. I do beleive they have a 3 day stay limit.

Dutch
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Old 06-02-2010, 16:32   #9
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Ok, so you have your chart and GPS, etc. ..what are you looking for in the guide? If it's simply a comparison of marinas, anchorages, shore access, bridge data.....I'd recommend " Skipper Bob's" for lees cost and good info. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 06-02-2010, 20:38   #10
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Old 07-02-2010, 06:15   #11
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I use Clairborne Young's guides - they provide excellent info on anchorages, etc and the website is a great tool. I also highly recommend the Skipper Bob's guides but be sure to get the latest updates.

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Old 07-02-2010, 07:28   #12
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future of cruising guides

Skipper Bob's guides were great, and I still have mine. But a printed guide like that cannot hope to keep up with web sites like ActiveCaptain, with daily updates provided by active boaters rather than a yearly publication. Furthermore, Active Captain's 'reviews' provide multiple points of view, and where one guy says it sucked because... the very next review might say that is why we liked it. In general, I have found it easy to glean which point of view is useful to me. And, if find some info seems to be out of whack, I can easily add my two cents.

Other sites like AC provide some excellent fuel price and marina info, but I have noticed an over emphasis on providing ALERTS, with hyperbole like "failure to read this very important, vital up to date news may ruin your cruise!" Too often, the warnings were not vital, and quite often generated by reports of shallow water by boaters who were outside the buoys or followed the magenta line.

OP asked about hard copy; so far, no one has mentioned the US Coast Pilot? Pretty good info on inlets in there. Final comment - don't forget your Local Notice to Mariners, also available on the web.
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:39   #13
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doug, you bring up some good points but I don't see the printed guides going away or being replaced solely by websites. In fact, the two together have become invaluable tools for boaters navigating the Waterway along the US coastlines. We have made no less than 12 round trips on the Atlantic ICW and a few along the Gulf Coast. There is no way we could have received all of the information solely from a web site. There is a lot of info in the Waterway Guides, Skipper Bob and Claibornes Guides that are simply not available from Active Captain or Waterway Guides web site or Claibornes. These sites are excellent supplements to the written guides but will be a long way from replacing them. But the original poster did ask specifically which guides in the written hard copy form were best to use. WG
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:32   #14
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...but I don't see the printed guides going away or being replaced solely by websites.
Well Chuck, as Director of Marketing and Service Developement for Dozier's Waterway Guide, it's not surprising that you don't see printed guides going away. I'm sure that the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, and hundreds of other newspapers and magazines thought that web sites would never replace them either.
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:42   #15
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doug, you bring up some good points but I don't see the printed guides going away or being replaced solely by websites. G
Probably not in the next 2-3 years. But (there is always a but), it was not that long ago that everyone said that there will never be a replacement for the paper chart. Whether you think it's prudent or not, there are thousands of recreational boaters who have no paper charts on board, happily navigating with chartplotters alone.

It won't be long until all the pertinent cruising guide info is available in real time on your pilothouse PC plotter, and publishers who hitched their wagons to a "once per year paper update" model will be gone with the buggy whips.
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