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Old 23-01-2014, 11:47   #1
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Angry ICW Question Re: going offshore...

Thinking of doing the icw in a smaller craft... Where can I learn about where one must go "outside" or off shore? In planning it would be good to learn, how many times does one need to go off shore, where these passages occur, their distance, hazards, difficulty, etc?

Really appreciate any help as I've been having trouble learning this info.

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Old 23-01-2014, 11:55   #2
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

You don't need to go offshore at all if your boat is small enough.
Lowest fixed bridge clearance is 55'.
You can do the ICW with a 6' draft, maybe more, by playing the tides, but less draft means less to worry about.
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Old 23-01-2014, 12:00   #3
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

Offshore is quicker, easier and safer than the ICW as there are less hazards offshore, tou can sail 24 hours a day and navigation isnt as difficult. So you may like to do a balance of ICW and offshore depending on you, your boat and the weather.
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Old 23-01-2014, 12:07   #4
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

The stretch between Norfolk and Beaufort NC is mostly pretty well travelled without major problem areas. That stretch lets you avoid Hatteras. After that there are numerous shoal spots where inlets cross the ICW. You can avoid them by going outside or just wait for the tides as people above suggest. I have avoided the ICW south of Beaufort myself and have heard that southern SC and Georgia are particular problematic.

But no matter what you do, GET THE TOWBOAT INSURANCE!!! Anyone who goes on the ICW might run aground and if you dont have the insurance you will be paying a lot of money. A lot.
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Old 23-01-2014, 15:44   #5
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

The ICW has maybe a dozen all weather inlets between Norfolk and Miami. From memory these are:

Moorehead City
Cape Fear River
Wyanawa Bay (Georgetown) inlet
Charleston
Port Royal Sound (near Hilton Head)
Savannah
Brunswick, Ga
St Marys, Ga
St Johns R (Jacksonville, Fl)
St Augustine
Port Canaveral
Fort Pierce
Lake Worth
Ft Lauderdale
Miami

All of these are suitable for almost any size boat to get in and out in almost any weather. In addition there are dozens more that are limited by draft or weather conditions.

So it is fairly easy to get in and out when you need to. You can sail mostly offshore or exclusively in the ICW. Depends on your boat and your skills.

David
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Old 23-01-2014, 16:12   #6
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

St. Augustine might be iffy.
The problem with going in and out in much of the ICW is that the distances are even longer as you have to head out and head in. My favourite jump outside is Charleston to Fernandina Beach or Cumberland island.

I once went outside at Mayport (St. Johns River) and back in at St. Augustine. The boats that stayed inside beat me! They got the current most of the way and it's pretty strong in the Tolomato River.
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Old 23-01-2014, 16:23   #7
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

I would guess it depends where in the ICW you are traveling. All the above posts are true for the east coast ICW, but don't hold true for the west coast of Florida. Between Anclote Key and Carabelle you have to go offshore. Depending on your draft this can be done in a few day hops or you can go straight. Also between Appalachicola and Pensacola the controlling bridge height is 50'
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Old 23-01-2014, 16:23   #8
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

To me, the ICW from Myrtle Beach, SC to St. Mary's Entrance, GA is some of the most beautiful cruising from Maine to Grenada. I wouldn't miss it. So what if you run aground? You'll float off on the next tide.
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Old 23-01-2014, 16:27   #9
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pirate Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Offshore is quicker, easier and safer than the ICW as there are less hazards offshore, tou can sail 24 hours a day and navigation isnt as difficult. ...
I would love to read comments on this post. I want to believe it 100%
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Old 23-01-2014, 16:28   #10
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smj View Post
I would guess it depends where in the ICW you are traveling. All the above posts are true for the east coast ICW, but don't hold true for the west coast of Florida. Between Anclote Key and Carabelle you have to go offshore. Depending on your draft this can be done in a few day hops or you can go straight. Also between Appalachicola and Pensacola the controlling bridge height is 50'
True, but technically the east coast portion is the ICW, the gulf coast portion is the GICW.

Hey Stretch - It's helpful to put your location and boat make/model under your name.
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Old 23-01-2014, 16:28   #11
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

It would help alot to know from where to where, your draft and mast height.
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Old 23-01-2014, 16:40   #12
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
To me, the ICW from Myrtle Beach, SC to St. Mary's Entrance, GA is some of the most beautiful cruising from Maine to Grenada. I wouldn't miss it. So what if you run aground? You'll float off on the next tide.
My problem and I've done it a few times is bugs when you anchor and the fact that the boat you see that's about 1000 yards from you is really 4 miles ahead of you. Worse than driving on a switchback road, not too many straight stretches. But Cumberland Is. is my favourite spot on the ICW.
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Old 23-01-2014, 16:43   #13
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

Stretch - are you sightseeing or do you need to get somewhere? Given time, I'd make sure you tour the Great Dismal Swamp. I'm sure the others have favorites too. I've always enjoyed my time on shore in Charleston SC - great seafood; old battery; up river side trips. Most of the east coast bridges are 63 to 65 feet. There are lower overheads (an shallower draft) it you tried to pass through Lake Okechobe.
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Old 23-01-2014, 17:59   #14
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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post

True, but technically the east coast portion is the ICW, the gulf coast portion is the GICW.

Hey Stretch - It's helpful to put your location and boat make/model under your name.
Maybe technically, but it's never referred that way. It's all part of the ICW.
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Old 23-01-2014, 18:22   #15
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Re: ICW Question Re: going offshore...

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
True, but technically the east coast portion is the ICW, the gulf coast portion is the GICW.

Well if we're going to split hairs I'll join in. Technically according to the Corps of Engineers that administers the waterway the east coast portion is the AICW, The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
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