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Old 19-01-2014, 07:29   #1
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ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

In a few weeks I'll be heading down the ICW from Jacksonville to Lake Worth, prior to hopping over to the Bahamas. My 48' steel cutter has a 6' draft and a 63' air draft. I've sailed my boat as far as Guam and I've been through the Panama Canal twice, but I've been out of the game for six years while my escape pod has been landlocked on the St. Johns River while I earned a living.

Ordinarily I'd just go outside, but after six years landlocked, I want to retest all of the systems (some original, some upgraded and new) on the ICW before heading offshore again.

I have the ICW chart kits and the 2014 Dozier's Waterway Guide, but I still have some questions for anybody who has made this run in recent months or years.

Somewhere along the line I heard a rumor that one or more ICW bridges has "subsided" into the muck, and is no longer 65' from water to bridge. Carefully examining my Dozier's, on page 54 in the "Bridges and Locks" section it has the Blue Heron Blvd Bridge in Riviera Beach at MM 1017.2 listed as 63'. In the text on page 213, it states that the same bridge has a 65' vertical clearance. Which is true?

Are there any other bridges that are in reality less than 65' between Jax and the Lake Worth Inlet? (I'm not going to Miami, so I don't care about the 56' Tuttle Bridge.) How about unreported extra-shallow areas where my 6' draft will be a hassle?

Any other warnings, tips or advice you can give about the ICW run from Jax to Palm Beach will be much appreciated.
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Old 19-01-2014, 07:50   #2
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

We took the ditch from St. Mary's GA to Ft. L a year ago November; no bridge was lower than 65' on the boards. We did notice that some signage was for the lowest part of the bridge between the fenders and they were arched in the middle with more clearance. The only bridges we saw that were less than 65' were Wilkerson, NC (charted at 64') and Wrightsville Beach, NC (board showed 64').

Your best guide for this would be Active Captain. Have a good trip; FYI the marina at Marineland is wonderful; you'll need to schedule your arrival and departure at high tide but it's worth it; we have a great visit…
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Old 19-01-2014, 07:56   #3
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

I once had a pucker factor type encounter with that bridge. We had IIRC a 62' clearance mast and just barely made it, according to a motor boat which we had asked to stay well in back of us.
Make sure to play the tide and you should be fine, I've been under that bridge at least a dozen times and it was only close once.
I just finished going from Melbourne to Key Largo but with 3&1/2 foot draft I'm not of much use for noticing shallow spots.
Have a good time.
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Old 19-01-2014, 08:15   #4
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

Getting into the ICW off the St. Johns River you'll have only one shallow spot to worry about, Just before the turn to the Coronado bridge (think they call it the George Munson now) after going through the ICW at Ponce. Stick close to the red nun there.

Lots of bridges especially the run from Vero Beach to Lake Worth. Don't know how fast you motor but here's a few good anchorages.
Pine Island m765
we skip St Augustine
Palm Coast m801 (keep right of center going in) might be a tad shallow for you.
Daytona m830
Titusville m878
Vero m951
Hobe Sound m998
Lake Worth
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Old 19-01-2014, 08:28   #5
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

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Getting into the ICW off the St. Johns River you'll have only one shallow spot to worry about, Just before the turn to the Coronado bridge (think they call it the George Munson now) after going through the ICW at Ponce. Stick close to the red nun there. .........................
I just passed this spot two days ago. It's been given an added nun & can and is a clear straight shot without concern. Matansas Inlet and Ponce Inlet areas still have often moved cans and nuns that need to be honored, but the depths are good.
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Old 19-01-2014, 08:49   #6
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

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I just passed this spot two days ago. It's been given an added nun & can and is a clear straight shot without concern. Matansas Inlet and Ponce Inlet areas still have often moved cans and nuns that need to be honored, but the depths are good.

Thanks. A few years ago you used to have to favour the green side there. I was leading a couple of boats heading north and touched, the boat behind me ran aground. Apparently a barge got stuck there a month or two before we got there and changed the whole configuration of the bottom. Always surprises.
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Old 19-01-2014, 09:10   #7
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ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

Excellent site with very up to date, detailed info:
http://cruisersnet.net/
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Old 19-01-2014, 09:14   #8
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

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Thanks. A few years ago you used to have to favour the green side there. I was leading a couple of boats heading north and touched, the boat behind me ran aground. Apparently a barge got stuck there a month or two before we got there and changed the whole configuration of the bottom. Always surprises.
"Always surprises",- well said! My news is only good because it's two days old. I'm just glad those rocks in Maine don't move about like our sand and mud!
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Old 19-01-2014, 10:47   #9
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

Thanks y'all for the great info! See you in the Abacos in a while.
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Old 20-01-2014, 05:38   #10
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

Travis -- Sorry about the discrepancy in the Waterway Guide. For the Blue Heron Bridge, use the east side to get 65' clearance (even though you'll feel like you're on the wrong side of the road going south). The west side has only 63'. Have a great time in the Abacos!
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Old 20-01-2014, 06:59   #11
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

Mike: Thanks for the tip! Wow, that is some "customer service," finding my question in a forum. I'm very impressed. That note will go into my guide.
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:30   #12
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

You're welcome. If you have any other questions about information in the Waterway Guide editions or on Waterway Cruising Guide | Home, feel free to message me. For other questions, you've picked a great forum to get answers! Happy cruising!
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:37   #13
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

I sure will. BTW, I purchased all of your guides from Maine to Texas and the Bahamas, so I'm ready for almost anywhere I might choose to cruise in the Southeast.
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Old 20-01-2014, 07:41   #14
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

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I sure will. BTW, I purchased all of your guides from Maine to Texas and the Bahamas, so I'm ready for almost anywhere I might choose to cruise in the Southeast.
If you don't already have them get Explorer Charts for the Bahamas. They're the gold standard.
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Old 20-01-2014, 08:29   #15
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Re: ICW from Jax to Lake Worth FL: Bridges Etc

Travis, As Scott Berg mentions, some time ago Florida remarked all the bridges to "low steel". This is the lowest point in the channel under the bridge, usually off to the side of the channel. Most but not all will have a sign saying "4 feet additional at center" or something like that. 4 or 5 feet is the norm but may vary. We did find a few bridges that didn't have the notice for center span. The tide boards should reflect the center span on the fixed bridges since that is what the Coast Guard requires. We did find some tide boards missing. If you see any missing, be sure to report them via VHF to the Coast Guard, just as you would any damaged or missing navigational aids. It can get confusing in Florida. Chuck
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