I like FSMike's post above. Often people have problems when they have become unaware of their position.
The spatial relationship that FSMike speaks of is largely percieved by parallax. Closer objects move at a greater apparent motion compared to more distant objects; therefore if you are approching a pair of distant markers and remaining in the channel, a starboard mark will move to the right against the background at the horizon and the port markers will continue to move to the left against the backsground.
Markers on the ICW
are no more indicating where to go than they are indicating where not to go. Success means finding the best fit curve that keeps you off these markers.
I would also suggest that at the locations where dredged cuts meet larger rivers it is important to expect shoaling at the corners. I usually "square" these corners and proceed when I'm looking down the middle of the next run.
We first completed an Atlantic Coast ICW
in 1972 and we ran aground or had brief encounters with the bottom 13 times from the Chesapeake to Florida
. We've made 25 transits of the ICW since then and now we very rarely touch.
There are two locations on the ICW that I consider it dangerous to meet oncomming large commercial
traffic. At these places we always make a securite call on 16 to indentify our location, direction and concern about meeting any barge traffic. One of these places is the short, but very swift current
through Elliott Cut Between the Ashley and Stono Rivers southbound from Charleston, SC. The other is the "Rockpile" next to North Myrtle Beach, SC. This 2 to 3 mile section is marked with a warning sign and the channel is lined with jagged rock that is covered at mid to high tide. Don't stray from the middle area here and don't put yourself in the position of meeting a barge here.
When you are approaching a trouble spot like Hell's Gate by Racoon Key, Fields Cut, Little Mud Creek, etc. don't hesitate to call other boats for their observations. I write down the names of boats that slowly pass me so I can call about advanced information if I want. I also look at the names of some meeting vessels so I can inquire about their findings too.
...... and don't "freak out" when your depth sounder
shows that the depth
is decreasing. If you follow the absolute best path the depthsouder will show decreasing depths exactly half of the time!
Enjoy your trip!