Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 17-01-2017, 08:21   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Swansboro, NC
Boat: Looking for that next boat...
Posts: 358
Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

Although I have many decades of Pacific ocean experience, I am a complete novice when it comes to the US East Coast ICW. I've recently moved to North Carolina and hope to transit the ICW to / from Florida. As I shop for a (sail) boat the subject of draft is high on my list of concerns. I set a (self imposed) limit of 6 foot draft, but now found a very nice boat in every detail except it draws 6.5 feet. A catamaran is out of the question (budget wise) and I'm finding very few lifting keel boats of the size and type I'm interested in.

So my question for those with recent ICW experience is: what would be the maximum recommended draft for transiting South from Beaufort, NC?
__________________

__________________
prof_mariner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2017, 09:41   #2
Registered User
 
Suijin's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Annapolis MD; currently in Oriental NC
Boat: Valiant 40
Posts: 2,814
Re: Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

6.5' is doable. You just have to be a little more careful in some areas. If you spend much time sailing the sounds of NC you WILL go aground at some point, just how it goes.

It's also easy to go outside from NC south, in smaller hops. Beaufort to Wrightsville Beach, take the ditch past Frying Pan Shoals, then hop to Georgetown, Charleston, etc.

The bigger issue is air draft. There are a number of fixed 65' bridges. If you're close to that, it makes for anxious times as not all the bridges are not quite actually 65'.
__________________

__________________
Suijin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2017, 09:59   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Swansboro, NC
Boat: Looking for that next boat...
Posts: 358
Re: Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
6.5' is doable. You just have to be a little more careful in some areas. If you spend much time sailing the sounds of NC you WILL go aground at some point, just how it goes.

It's also easy to go outside from NC south, in smaller hops. Beaufort to Wrightsville Beach, take the ditch past Frying Pan Shoals, then hop to Georgetown, Charleston, etc.

The bigger issue is air draft. There are a number of fixed 65' bridges. If you're close to that, it makes for anxious times as not all the bridges are not quite actually 65'.
I'm looking at boats mostly between 30 and 35 foot LOA, so the mast heights are all well under 50 feet. From Oriental, do you you mostly sail your Valiant in the sounds or out through Beaufort inlet to the ocean? I'm just trying to get a feel for what sailors do around here. Heck, the depth at my slip in San Diego was deeper than most of the water around here!
__________________
prof_mariner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2017, 09:59   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 928
Re: Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

It is only dramatic if you lose situational awareness (I.e. fail to plan, fail to operate).

ActiveCaptain was a good source of warnings about shallows. Time to cross those areas on a rising tide.

I run two sets of chart datum (navionics and Garmin worked for me). The reason for two sets is so that when primary (Garmin) shows you on the magenta line yet both depth alarms are chiming then secondary will typically show you slightly "different data" and you'll know which way to turn.

I run "helm recall" which is a humble kitchen timer pinging every 5,2, even 1 minutes. When it goes off I do a 360 visual, depth and finally GPS's so I don't fall into just watching forward on a long run.

Much of it is soft landing sand and mud. And if you do bump on a falling tide you only have maybe 5-10 minutes to back off before you are stuck for a while. If you end up stuck for a low tide cycle it is a great time to check for barnacles, change zincs and enjoy some cold suds
__________________
SecondBase is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2017, 10:17   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,244
Re: Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

I've gone down much of the ICW from S Carolina to Ft Lauderdale with 6'5" draft. It's dicey at times. Plowing a big furrow in the ICW, hard aground a couple times, hit hard a couple more times. Have good towing insurance. Personally I would find a shallower boat. Yes you can do it, but the S. East coast is great with less draft. Lots of boats around. Some of the inlets/outlets to the sea can be dicey as well.
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2017, 10:25   #6
Registered User
 
Suijin's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Annapolis MD; currently in Oriental NC
Boat: Valiant 40
Posts: 2,814
Re: Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prof_mariner View Post
I'm looking at boats mostly between 30 and 35 foot LOA, so the mast heights are all well under 50 feet. From Oriental, do you you mostly sail your Valiant in the sounds or out through Beaufort inlet to the ocean? I'm just trying to get a feel for what sailors do around here. Heck, the depth at my slip in San Diego was deeper than most of the water around here!
I'm only in Oriental on my way down the ICW myself. I'm from Annapolis and got stuck here for a bit with a shaft problem, lol.

I draw 6'. I've gone aground twice on my way down from Norfolk, both times my fault (misread a marker and wandered out of the channel). Was going slow, bottom is mud, no problem backing off.

I'm going outside from Beaufort to Wrightsville to avoid that stretch of the ICW which is a bridge farm. It's an easy hop, 80 miles, leave late afternoon and arrive in the morning. Only concern is wind against tide at inlets so that needs to be timed/considered.

There's a lot of sailboats in Oriental, needless to say. 90% of them 25'-35' and I'm sure they stay in the sounds for the most part. There is some lovely sailing to be had through here.

ActiveCaptain has been a huge help, particularly in terms of information about anchorages.

Don't follow the charts, follow the markers. They get moved around from time to time, especially at the entrance to rivers/canals where there is constant shoaling.

My chart plotter charts are older, but Navionics on my iPhone appears pretty accurate, even showing most of the moved markers. But ALWAYS follow the markers.

Markers in some areas are set 50-65' feet back from the actual channel, and again AC has info on this. Also, you have to drive your boat like a tug and barge, longer swinging turns. If you go marker to marker you're doing it wrong and will find yourself constantly heading into shallow water.

I'm lucky right now, the ICW is virtually deserted. Just me and the occasional barge. When it's busy it can be a lot more work.
__________________
Suijin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2017, 10:31   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,244
Re: Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
I'm only in Oriental on my way down the ICW myself. I'm from Annapolis and got stuck here for a bit with a shaft problem, lol.

I draw 6'. I've gone aground twice on my way down from Norfolk, both times my fault (misread a marker and wandered out of the channel). Was going slow, bottom is mud, no problem backing off.

I'm going outside from Beaufort to Wrightsville to avoid that stretch of the ICW which is a bridge farm. It's an easy hop, 80 miles, leave late afternoon and arrive in the morning. Only concern is wind against tide at inlets so that needs to be timed/considered.

There's a lot of sailboats in Oriental, needless to say. 90% of them 25'-35' and I'm sure they stay in the sounds for the most part. There is some lovely sailing to be had through here.
Be careful, I spent one of the worst nights I've ever had at sea between Beaufort and Wrightsville beach. No bad weather prediction either. Winds 35-40, seas probably 16 ft, 47 foot boat constantly covered with green water....
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2017, 10:33   #8
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 16,856
Re: Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

As well as draft, look for a keel type that isn't easily damaged, you will go aground even if you only draw 3'
__________________
a64pilot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2017, 10:34   #9
cruiser

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: North Charleston, SC
Boat: Camano Troll
Posts: 4,669
Re: Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

Conditions on the AICW change over time. A bad section gets dredged, then the next section gets dredged while the other section begins filling in. There's no real answer. The government says it will keep the AICW at a twelve foot depth, but their feet are apparently smaller than most people's feet.


You can do it with 6' or even 6.5'. You just can't do it all the time, you'll have to plan your trips around tidal levels. Less draft will make it easier.
__________________
rwidman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-01-2017, 10:49   #10
Marine Service Provider
 
boatpoker's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Toronto, Ontario or Bahamas
Boat: Benford 38 Fantail Cruiser
Posts: 2,561
Re: Max Draft for East Coast ICW?

Inside all the way ..... 5' to 5' 6" with a little attention to tides in some areas is easily doable. As your draught goes up from there you will be more and more limited by tides. A friend did it with 7'6" 10 years ago. His towing costs between NY and Florida were $11k.
__________________

__________________
That hysterical laughter you hear as you sail a way in your "new" boat ..... is the seller.
boatpoker is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
draft, east coast, icw

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
East Coast Shipper / Shipping on the East Coast typhoon General Sailing Forum 2 29-06-2013 07:26
6'8" Draft Too Much for Australian East Coast Owe Hansson General Sailing Forum 13 01-09-2010 20:48
US East Coast Inlets: 6' Draft pete33458 Atlantic & the Caribbean 20 28-07-2010 08:08



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 16:16.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.