I've used OpenCPN
tons over the last couple of years on the ICW, but not as my chartplotter
. I use it almost exclusively as my route planner. IMO there is no need to create and follow a route per se to use on the ICW when all you have to do is follow the magenta line on the chart plotter. And I'm not contradicting the other replyers that say you only need paper charts and follow the markers. I think I'm like you; got access to good tools? Use 'em.
My go-to route planning tools (ICW or otherwise) are OpenCPN, ActiveCaptain, Cruisersnet, paper charts. When I create a route in O I manually enter my waypoints into my JRC 1800 chartplotter
The other reply-ers are right about the magenta line though. I think it is fair to say that there are at least some problem spots along the ICW that it is better to keep your head
up and follow the markers instead of concentrating on following the magenta line. Obviously, as a veteran ICW skipper
, you already know this. I'm just adding my thoughts.
AICW Problem Areas | Cruisers' Net
Follow the link to as good a description of the problems as you can find anywhere. When we came down just a few weeks ago we found the two most difficult were the entrance to Alligator River (see North Mouth of Alligator River AICW Problem Stretch – Captains Mark and Diana Report (St. M. 81) | Cruisers' Net
) and Brown's Inlet (Camp Lejeune) (see ICW – Intersection of AICW and Browns inlet | Cruisers' Net
To be honest, all the route planning is one of the aspects of boating
I enjoy the most. I'm kind of anal that way. For instance, I'm home in St. Louis right now (our boat is in JAX) and we have a pretty aggressive cruising season ahead of us (Bahamas, Florida
, Keys, Texas) and I'm just about ready to start my planning. Oh boy!