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Old 19-03-2013, 08:20   #1
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Dismal swamp

We understand that the Dismal Swamp Canal is apparently maintained to 11 feet depth. Has any one done this route recently in a large sailboat? While we are a 53' motor sailer, we draw only about 5 to 5.5 feet. Do you think we can safely take this route?
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Old 19-03-2013, 08:33   #2
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Re: Dismal swamp

I usually don't recommend going through the Dismal if you draw more than 6 feet, but you should be fine. Don't be surprised if you clunk a sunken log or two on the bottom, but they recently cleaned a lot of that junk out of there. It is a beautiful route. Watch your masthead so that you don't catch it in the trees that overhang the canal in places. There are free docks at Elizabeth City and at the North Carolina Welcome Center. You can also tie up to bulkheads near the locks if you arrive late.
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Old 19-03-2013, 08:56   #3
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Re: Dismal swamp

Just ordered a copy of your new book on the ICW. We'll be inside from Beaufort NC to Hampton VA at the beginning of May.
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Old 19-03-2013, 09:02   #4
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Re: Dismal swamp

That 205 miles from Beaufort, NC to Mile 0 is my favorite stretch of the ICW. It has a little bit of everything: open sounds and rivers where you can sail, canals, locks, wilderness, quaint little towns, and then the industrial and busy major seaport of Norfolk/Portsmouth. Have fun!
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Old 19-03-2013, 09:05   #5
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Re: Dismal swamp

Your draft should be no problem, what's your masthead height (including any antenna or toys) Icw bridges designed to 64'...BUT be alert to wind driven tides and tidal charts.

It's a pretty run, slow, but pretty. Prefer going the outside route.
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Old 19-03-2013, 09:17   #6
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We have a 55' mast and have traversed the fixed bridges on the ICW with no problems.
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Old 19-03-2013, 09:26   #7
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Re: Dismal swamp

The Dismal Swamp route is one of my favorites, too...the upper part of the Pasquotank is downright gorgeous. You'll likely have no problems with your draft or mast...listen to John's advice.

Let the Welcome Center or the lock masters know if you bump anything on the bottom or see any other hazards (mark your gps)...they are very quick to get on it. Have a great cruise!
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Old 19-03-2013, 12:58   #8
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Re: Dismal swamp

The Dismal Swamp Canal is maintained to 6', no more. I have seen 6' a few times near the bridge to the south of the visitor center. In most places it is 7' or better.

David
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