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Old 20-01-2012, 18:05   #1
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Georgetown to Charleston - How Bad ?

I have just reviewed the trip guide and ActiveCaptain plots for the route from Georgetown to Charleston and I get the feeling that it is one tough area to navigate. Has anyone been down this route lately and have first hand knowledge.

For instance at mile 415 you have to line up the range A and keep to the channel because of shoaling on the starboard side. And at mile 430 there is shoaling very near the channel. How bad is this shoaling? I have heard it has been dredged in the last year, is this true? How wide is the channel at SM 415? And how wide past McClellanville. Is Jeremy Creek deep enough to accommodate a sailboat with 5.5' draft?

I am tempted to say I've been beat and go back to Myrtle Beach for the rest of the year.
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Old 20-01-2012, 18:59   #2
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Didn't have any problems and we have a 6 ft draft. Georgetown is a great place. Charleston is fun.
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Old 20-01-2012, 19:39   #3
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston, How bad?

We did this section in 2004 without any problems. Boat has a 5.7' draft. Agree that Charleston is a great city and we fell in love with georgetown.
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Old 21-01-2012, 03:53   #4
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston, How bad?

It's not that bad to navigate. We did it on New Year's Day in 2011. Just have to be alert. It's amazing on how many different waterways there are on this stretch.
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Old 21-01-2012, 04:02   #5
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston, How bad?

I did it southbound and northbound in 2000 and 2001, respectively, and northbound in 2010. No problem, mon. Just pay attention, as you would in any stretch of the ICW.
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Old 21-01-2012, 04:37   #6
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Don, I did it in Oct on my 32' trawler with a 3'-10" draft using Coastal Explorer, and again in Nov on my friend's 53' old wood trawler 60 tons at 6' draft using paper charts plus earthNC on an iPad and binoculars on the ranges. Biggest concern was that at 10 knots on the big trawler things go bad in a hurry, so one hand on the throttle... No problems, plenty of water, read the buoys and marks, not the magenta line.

My friends are now in the Bahamas and I'm on my boat in Vero Beach. Hope you decide to keep running South, the weather is worth it and there is a great community of cruisers here at Velcro Beach...
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Old 21-01-2012, 06:01   #7
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston, How bad?

Don't stop. You'll miss too many good places. Remember there's plenty of commercial traffic through there, and most of it draws more than you do, and needs a wider channel. Range markers make it easy.

As someone else said, forget that magenta line; watch the markers, the ranges, and your depth sounder. When in doubt, stop until you figure out where the water is.

Keep at it!
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Old 21-01-2012, 06:18   #8
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston, How bad?

There are some mystery shallow spots behind the Isle of Palms on the ICW. Even though I've been through there dozens of times, I can't quite figure out where they are. Don't sweat them, though. There's five feet of tide on that route, so if you get stuck, you'll float off soon.

And, yes, this trip is absolutely gorgeous. But don't miss the section from Georgetown up to Myrtle Beach. I think that's the most beautiful stretch on the whole ICW.

The anchorage between Capers Island and Bull Island (between Charleston and Georgetown) is not to be missed. Dinghy ashore on Bull Island and walk the beach. Nothing like it anywhere on the East Coast.
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Old 21-01-2012, 06:36   #9
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston - How bad ?

I went back and reviewed the route on Active Captain to address the specific concerns you note in your original post. The last time I passed through those sections, two winters ago, I didn't find any of those shoaling areas to be cause for much concern, and, as said above, if you did happen to get stuck, you'd soon float off with the tide.

As for Jeremy Creek, have never gone up into McClellanville. IMHO the anchorage between Bull and Capers- or any of the many other anchorages shown on Active Captain along this route- would be a prettier place to spend the night anyway.
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Old 21-01-2012, 07:05   #10
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston - How bad ?

Make sure you have BoatUS unlimited towing insurance and GO FOR IT! I think more folks have skinny water problems in GA, the Little Mud River area, but the bottom can suddenly come up to greet your keel just about anywhere. Next year, your only regret will be that you didn't go further--if you choose to remain in Myrtle Beach. Below are some pictures of the Leland Oil Co. dock in McClellanville up Jeremy Creek. It was a contrast to the usual marinas found along the way. My boat draws 4 ft. I have posted a route on active captain from McClellanville to Charleston that I uploaded from my Garmin chartplotter. Also, if you don't mind feeling slightly inferior at times, then I recommend a stay at the Megadock at the Charleston City Marina. My wife and I spent extra time there as it was so hospitable; and its close to the southbound ICW entrance to Wappoo Creek so its not out of your way going south.
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Old 21-01-2012, 07:12   #11
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston - How bad ?

Maybe it would help your stress level to only go about 25 to 30 miles a day. That way you could travel during high tide. There are lots of good anchorages on your route. You could get some better rest and enjoy the trip.
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Old 21-01-2012, 07:20   #12
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston - How bad ?

I should also note that I don't recall any ultra-narrow spots near SM 415. These photos are of the smallish type ferry at about mile 412. Mile 430 at the entrance to Jeremy creek posed no problems; just dont cut the turn too short as you start up the creek.
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:13   #13
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston - How bad ?

Done it a few times with 5' draft, worst part was around 461, I agree with previous post, plenty of anchorages, keep the day short and play the tides, and have towing insurance.
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Old 23-01-2012, 19:23   #14
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston - How bad ?

Hang in there.... You are in the "adjustment period". Just go with the flow, keep at it and smell the roses..... err.... tidal basin! Once in Florida........... you'll never go back!
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Old 24-01-2012, 12:54   #15
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Re: Georgetown to Charleston - How Bad ?

I believe I could have made it if I had someone with me. Even if they just did the easy parts I wouldn't have to be on top of everything every second.

This is going in another thread but I was told "Unlimited Gold Coverage" at towboatUS only goes to $2500. Is this true? (I burned that up last week with the tow due to the raw water pump failing.)
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