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Old 29-06-2009, 21:53   #1
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Best Approach to St. Augustine - 6' Draft

I am moving my newly acquired boat north from Canaveral, FL to Georgia next week, and would like to make a stop in St. Augustine. I don't have a cruising guide at hand, but looking at the charts it seems that carrying a 6 foot draft through the inlet even at high tide could be a challenge. Any thoughts on this?

I haven't yet investigated the possibility of approaching via ICW with a 55 foot mast, but I'm suspecting that might be a problem too.

Thanks
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Old 30-06-2009, 09:59   #2
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Coming up the ICW from Canaveral to St. Augustine is a long two day run. No problems with 6' draft or 55' mast so long as you watch your depth gague. You will find some bridges that open only on schedule and some on demand so a cruising guide will help greatly.
As for coming into St. Augustine from the water, I went out and back in on 6/28/09 and never saw anything less than 12' in the channel at low tide. You MUST start at the Sea Bouy (the only charted bouy near the St. Augustine inlet) and then follow the channel bouys in on visual. It can be a slow ride in if you are fighting an outgoing tide. It can be a slow and rough ride in if you are fighting an outgoing tide and an onshore breeze.
Good Luck
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Old 30-06-2009, 11:42   #3
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St. Augustine is fairly straight forward and has good depth. Straight in, not too close to the reds after you get past the breakwater.
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Old 30-06-2009, 11:55   #4
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Be aware wind backing on tide can be a killer. My friend George lost his boat there about 3months ago. His engine chose the least opportune time to crap out and he ended up on the bar.

The keel pounded bottom until it broke the boat. He and his crew were taken off by 2 young "water cops" of one sort or other. Very helpful and courtious. They get a bad name and most are like these guys, lifesavers when you need them.

A towboat company wouldn't take him in tow until he signed a salvage contract. I think it would have been a bad choice on the towboats side as I know his boat was old and not in the best condition. They should have just billed him for a tow.

He lost just about everything although he got his cell phone back a couple of weeks later. It was in a bag and was found on the beach 7miles away. His belongings were scattered over 7miles of beach and the boat has yet to be found.

It can be done but pay attention to conditions. This can, I'm sure, be said of ALL river entrances.

Have fun be safe......m
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Old 30-06-2009, 12:01   #5
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St Augustine inlet can be a proble with the tide against the sea. I'surfed through the inlet a numberof times. Follow the channel from the sea buoy, DON"T try to shortcut. The buoys inside, past the jetties can be confusing as the sea channel and the ICW channel intersect.
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Old 30-06-2009, 14:26   #6
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Thanks for the caveats, everyone. I'll be very conservative!
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Old 30-06-2009, 14:35   #7
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if you chose the ICW, check on the Bridge of Lions construction closure schedule. The was an article in the Jax paper stating there would be several 3 day closings during the coming weeks in July, preventing ICW height challenged boats from passing. Someone here will probably know more about this.

Steve W
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Old 30-06-2009, 14:54   #8
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We had no problem leaving St Augustine with a 7ft draft.

Coming in I didn't have a set of sailing directions. I called the coastguard who were unable to give me any help, but they recommended I called Towboat usa who were really helpful and gave me detailed directions to find the deepest water.

St Augustine is a nice city, we spent two months there.
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Old 30-06-2009, 23:35   #9
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Easy...no problem in calm weather. See Dodge Inlet Guide to SE US for good advice and charting/waypoints.
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Old 01-07-2009, 13:27   #10
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No problem in the inlet with 8 ft draft. I ran it at the upper half of the tide, and saw a minimum of 13-14 ft. Depth was better last year than when I did it in 1995.
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