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Old 27-10-2010, 18:16   #1
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Any Experience with ICW 'Rockpile' in Pine Island Cut, SC ?

Reading my Dozier's guide has me quite scared about passing through the 'rockpile' in SC tomorrow. Apparently there are rocks 3' below the surface if you stray even a little bit out of the channel.

Does anyone have experience of this spot, and know if it is as scary as it seems?

'Bumping' elsewhere in the ICW is not that much of a concern to me due to the soft mud usually found, but rocks?!!
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Old 27-10-2010, 18:19   #2
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I made the trip through that area last fall. Twas my first time doing the ICW, going from Annapolis to Charleston.

I, too, was nervous upon reading about the area. When I actually drove through it, it was a non-event. Just don't be dumb and follow the Nav markers. No worries.
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Old 27-10-2010, 18:23   #3
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I went through in march with 4.5 draft and felt that the reputation must be old and outdated.
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Old 27-10-2010, 20:58   #4
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Biggest thrill is meeting a tug and tow. The good thing is they announce over the VHF that they are entering, giving you the option of continuing with a call to the tug to let them know where you are and to arrange a passing, or you turning around and running. I like to go through at dead low as most of the rocky edges are visible. Really!! Enjoy the trip.
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Old 28-10-2010, 06:44   #5
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Thanks for the info.
Don't think I'll be able to go through at low, but will be careful about staying in the channel. Another point of confusion for me has been that - according to the guide - the channel markers are 35ft outside the channel proper. According to my sounder it seems that doesn't always hold true.
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Old 28-10-2010, 06:50   #6
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The first time through it's a bit daunting as the sides of the cut are rocks that seem to jut out and the channel looks narrow but after the initial shock it's pretty straight forward. Listen for security calls from tugs. Depths are good, no need to worry.
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Old 28-10-2010, 07:53   #7
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SgtPluck, We have transited the Rock Pile at least a couple of dozen times and you do need to be careful. There are rock ledges that are just under the surface at all but low tide , but they are near the sides of the channel. So stay in the center if the rocks are not visible and if you have to pass another boat, don't swing wide to the sides. This area was heavily traveled by tugs and barges and it made the transit a bit hairy if you had to pass one going in the opposite direction. Commercial traffic can still be encountered, just not as frequently. If you transit at low tide, the rock ledges are very visible. There is one very narrow section that you need to pay attention to and really try and stay mid channel. Have a great trip. Chuck
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Old 30-10-2010, 12:46   #8
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I'd have to agree - this is one of the pucker areas of the ICW. Here's a comment that someone posted on 10/27/2010 for the area - just a couple of days ago:

"Follow all advice to stay in the middle of the channel. We moved over just a few feet for an oncoming boat, rock took out stbd prop and rudder. Four foot draft boat, estimating rock was 3 feet under, tide was low. In area of R16, rock on red side."

We're getting 20 or more reports a day now on different ICW hazard areas all along the waterway as the southern migration progresses. As our user-community is getting more experienced and using the system more, the data is quite complete. Almost any area with water less than 8' is documented even if it's just a small bump. It really makes sense to review the charts on ActiveCaptain before heading out or use one of the navigation products that incorporates our data (MaxSea TZ, Coastal Explorer, and a handful more in the next couple of months). I use Navimatics Charts & Tides on my iPhone and iPad myself as I'm heading south (in Portsmouth, VA now - Great Bridge tomorrow, and onward).

The only catch is that if you use the data, you're karma-bound to add to it if you find something that's different.
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Old 31-10-2010, 09:01   #9
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Went through with 5.5 of Draft, no issues...
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Old 22-12-2010, 18:27   #10
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I went thru it a couple of months (Oct 2010) ago heading South and had no problems, stayed in the middle, with a 4.5 feet draft. Had one large power boat heading North pass by me (it looked like it was 3 stories high) and radioed the Capt. that this was going to be a close passing. We passed each other with maybe 7 feet between us, so it was tight. Started at low tide in the morning.
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:00   #11
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Re: Any Experience with ICW 'Rockpile' in Pine Island Cut, SC ?

It's an old thread but I thought I would add my experience of the Rockpile - I won't forget it!
Heading south singlehanded in an old Bristol 30 sailboat with 4'-6" draught we were making good progress at 6 knots in 13 feet of water and not long into the Rockpile and about half tide.
I eased to starboard to pass a northbound yacht and still within the day marks when BANG we bounced up a few inches and BANG BANG BANG we bounced over the rock shelf still making a good speed.
Once in deep water again I sheered to port behind the yacht now passed and waved at their shocked expression that I was ok ( I hoped! )
Throttled back and nipped below to check the bilge and all ok. I couldn't spend much time checking as we were still in the narrow Rockpile channel.
The rudder still seemed to be attached to the long keel and working ok so continued for a few minutes more and then quickly checked the bilge again - still the same level (there is always an inch in the bilge).
Frightened the pants off me!
Much later I swam down and checked the keel. Bottom paint (antifouling paint) was missing in places but there still seemed to be plenty of fibreglass left. We had just bounced over the 4'-4" deep shelf.
Moral of the experience - I should have passed really close to the other yacht and not been lulled into the security of 13 feet of water on the sounder and visually well within the channel markers..
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Old 01-01-2014, 15:09   #12
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Re: Any Experience with ICW 'Rockpile' in Pine Island Cut, SC ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smacksman View Post
----
Moral of the experience - I should have passed really close to the other yacht and not been lulled into the security of 13 feet of water on the sounder and visually well within the channel marker---
True, there's plenty of depth but only in a relatively narrow portion of that ICW section.
I issue a securite call on vhf channels 13 & 16 before I enter.
I have a 26' beam and I want to know if I'm going to meet anything wide going the other way.
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Old 01-01-2014, 15:26   #13
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Re: Any Experience with ICW 'Rockpile' in Pine Island Cut, SC ?

I'll tell you what is worse than the rockpile IMO.... Elliot Cut when leaving Charleston! You must absolutely enter that cut with ZERO current. We were about 25 minutes early and our engine was pegged and we were doing 7 knots against a 6.5 knot current. What is worse (to me) is that in addition to the current you have rock walls all along both sides. If you were to allow the bow to swing around you would not have space to turn around before being pushed onto the rocks.
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Old 01-01-2014, 15:50   #14
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Re: Any Experience with ICW 'Rockpile' in Pine Island Cut, SC ?

Depth is no problem at low tide. First time through go at low tide. You will see why "stay in the middle" is important.
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Old 01-01-2014, 16:00   #15
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pirate Re: Any Experience with ICW 'Rockpile' in Pine Island Cut, SC ?

Hmmm ... thanks Caps adding my subscription to this thread!
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