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Old 07-05-2014, 11:47   #1
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Navigation Tips for Deeper Draft Boats?

We're going to be sailing with a group of boats, some of which have deeper drafts (>6'), though we only draw 5'1". In our planning and checking out the maps (FL Keys and Bahamas) on my Navionics iPad app I am am using the advanced chart feature under the fishing section to color code the map so that if there isn't enough depth it's a different color (blue)... as long we we're in the white section we're good.. Too cool.
Here is before I changed the "fishing range" in "Map Options":


And after:


Notice anything that is less than 8 feet deep is colored blue, so we stay in the white and we're all good!

Any other pointers on navigating with deeper draft boats?

Thanks and fair winds!
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:08   #2
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Re: Navigation Tips for Deeper Draft Boats?

That's very nice, but can't your deeper drasft friends simply read the depths on the charts?
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:24   #3
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Re: Navigation Tips for Deeper Draft Boats?

This may sound obvious but it's not always obvious to captains with shallower draft boats. What's marked as the depth on a chart, particularly in shallower areas, is of variable accuracy. For example, much of the east coast, outside of main shipping channels and very high traffic areas, has not been surveyed since before WWII. Here in the Chesapeake, it's not at all unusual to run aground in a 6' draft boat in water charted to be 10-12'. Sometimes it's just a "hump" and other times it's just flat out erroneous information. The same issue can be worse in sandy ocean areas where shoaling is accelerated.

So, if you're going with deeper draft boats, leave a comfortable margin for error for them, particularly around shoals and reef areas. I would not venture into water under @15' at cruising speed unless you have prior experience with it, local info, or some other confirmation that it's accurate/passable. Thinking you're good to go in anything marked as 8' could lead to problems. Of course in the Bahamas, with so much skinny water, you have to live with the risk if you want to get into many places.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:58   #4
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Re: Navigation Tips for Deeper Draft Boats?

All it takes is one storm to change things too, I ran aground moving slowly in charted 9.6' of water in a channel in Biscayne bay. I draw 5'. Since we were moving slowly and on an incoming tide, we got off ourselves.
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Old 07-05-2014, 13:06   #5
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pirate Re: Navigation Tips for Deeper Draft Boats?

Don't be lead boat.. you'll piss off a lotta folk..
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Old 07-05-2014, 22:34   #6
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Re: Navigation Tips for Deeper Draft Boats?

Follow the boat with the deepest draft. If they stop suddenly, you should as well.

BTW - note the comment about local knowledge.
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Old 07-05-2014, 23:00   #7
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Re: Navigation Tips for Deeper Draft Boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
This may sound obvious but it's not always obvious to captains with shallower draft boats. What's marked as the depth on a chart, particularly in shallower areas, is of variable accuracy. ...
My thoughts, exactly.
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Old 07-05-2014, 23:04   #8
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Re: Navigation Tips for Deeper Draft Boats?

We were both "plowing" the soft mud bottom here. According to the charts and tables, there should have been two more feet of clearance.

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