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Old 05-02-2012, 08:59   #1
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9 Foot Draft in ICW ?

Hi all,

We are contemplating to cruise the ICW this november from Norfolk to Miami.
Since our draft is 9 foot, I understand that we will have to go out from time to time.
Does anyone have practical experience with this?

Thanks!
R. Aarts
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:03   #2
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

Have great tow insurance.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:06   #3
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

If you want to go up the ICW with 9 ft, get another boat. I am.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:16   #4
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Is a bit of a chore to do the ICW with a 6 ft draft. I think it can b done, but you would have to time your traveling with the tides.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:16   #5
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

There are two limitations on using the ICW - first is "air draft" if your mast height above the water is over 63 ft you are going to get stuck even though the bridge "standard" is supposedly 65 ft. Unusual water conditions and other factors make anything over 63 ft - and that includes everything you have up there on top of the mast like lights and antennas, etc. - very dicey.

Second is "water draft." If you draw over 6 feet you are going to get "trapped" or have to reverse course in quite a few locations to go back to somewhere you can get "outside" to get further south. Although the design water depth is 10 ft. That is not maintained as dredging money is not always available - and - tides and currents depositing sand and mud in certain areas of the ICW are reducing its depth to as little as 4 ft. Georgia. If you look at the tide charts for Georgia you will notice 6 ft or more of tide.

I personally have see ICW "cuts" reduced to 4 ft at low water. No problem at "high water" but your miles per day can get extremely reduced waiting around for a high tide.

So I would suggest you plan on going "outside" considering your draft. However, there are plenty of river entrances and places to "duck inside" for shelter or visiting that will accommodate your draft along the way south.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:31   #6
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

9 ft draft? What do have? It sounds more like an ocean craft than an ICW craft. Sometimes you have to fit the boat to the task.

What are your long term cruising plans? Would a shallow draft boat be more suitable?
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:38   #7
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

No. Go outside as much as possible. As someone else noted above, the bridge height maximum is 65 feet too.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:50   #8
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

Hi,

We did the entire waterway last season, except for the Georgia section and the (in)famous Julia Tuttle bridge in Miami.

We have a 61.5 ft mast plus antennas and lights and a 5 ft draft wing keel.

The bridges were not a problem, they looked very close at times, but in the end we jut noted the gauges and if they showed at least 63ft, we just ploughed though, no problems, didn't touch once.

Draft though, is a real issue. Even with a 5ft draft, there were times when I was really sweating it and you have to stay relly on task to avoid a grounding.

So, with 9ft. I wouldn't even contemplate it.

Duncan
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:54   #9
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

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The bridges were not a problem, they looked very close at times, but in the end we jut noted the gauges and if they showed at least 63ft, we just ploughed though, no problems, didn't touch once.
Just for the record, I have seen unusual high water when a few of these bridges only show 61-62 feet, but those times are rare. I have photos of the Wilkerson Bridge tide board showing only 62 feet (no real tide there, just wind-driven water height changes). I've seen the Atlantic Beach bridge only offering 61 feet when an offshore storm had really piled up the water in the ICW. As long as you pay attention you can cut it close.
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:54   #10
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

I have done the same trip several times. The deepest draft was with a 6 footer and I was aground seven or eight times in the CENTER of the channel. My opinion is that you will spend more time parked than running. I am also curious where your sea water intakes are, ie. engine cooling etc. You may also suck up so much crud that you will be cleaning the strainers every few hours as well. Good Luck and welcome aboard CF...
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:05   #11
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

I wouldn't try it with a 9' draft. For current ICW info, go to Claiborne Young's cruisersnet.net and click on ICW trouble spots.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:12   #12
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

I did a lot of plowing with 6'5" draft. I would advise against it. would go for miles kicking up a mud plume behind me too. I could feel the boat oozing through the muck. There are also a few very hard things in teh ICW! I dont think it's possible with 9' draft...
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:30   #13
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

Pick your portions of the ICW (there won't be many) and keep an eye out for those 65 foot and under bridges that don't open and give it a try...what's the worst that can happen if you are careful??? Hit the sand/mud a few times and decide to head back offshore...

People miss too much when they worry too much. Hitting bottom north of New Jersey and when you get into the coral bottoms of mid/south Florida...different story...but in between??? Not that big of a deal.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:39   #14
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

I dont know.... it can be troublesome. I ran hard aground with the above mentioned boat. Tried to get off for 1.5 hours... every trick in the book until I was running out of daylight. The towing company had a hard time too, eventually towing by the top of my mast and midships cleat to lay 'er way over and literally drag her banging and bumping off.
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:47   #15
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Re: 9 foot draft in ICW?

You can't really travel very far on the ICW with a 9-foot draft, but you could use the major inlets to duck in and out. In other words you could go in at Beaufort/Morehead City and go as far as the CG station near Fort Macon and anchor. Then you could go outside to Cape Fear or Winyah Bay, then go outside to Charleston, etc. You can hop down the coast like that, but you obviously will need to do overnighters and still watch your draft once you leave the shipping channels.
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