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Old 04-10-2008, 16:36   #1
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ICW Clearances/Depths

I will (hopefully) be leaving for PR/VI's around mid to late november and would like to take the ICW as far south as possible. I am currently in annapolis and was wondering what the bridge/depth restrictions are south of here. I am drawing two meters and have about a 55' air draft. Is the ICW doable or is another route in order?
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Old 04-10-2008, 17:12   #2
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Shallow water and opening bridges to deal with all along the ICW. Easy to do though and you will need charts and a good cruising guide is helpful. Many boats do it every year from Maine to Key West. Some areas you will have to play the tides and sometimes weather will be good to you and you can run on the outside. A good source for ICW info is
www.cruisersnet.net - Home
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Old 04-10-2008, 18:48   #3
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Bridges won't be a problem but at two metres your draft will be a problem in quite a few spots in NC and GA. You will have to be very careful but it can be done. Make sure you have towing insurance!!
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Old 05-10-2008, 04:28   #4
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Nice read and might be useful. And +1 on depths. We have BoatUS towing insurance. A real bargain for the pay-back!! Have fun.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:12   #5
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Previous discussions

Some archived threads on the ICW...

Dreged depth of the ICW

Intercoster waterway clearance?

Publications on Sailing Intercostal Waterway

and on the "Thorny Path"...

Florida to Virgin Islans in Fall

Yacht Delivery Florida to BVI

Florida > Bahamas > Caribbean
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:07   #6
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Going "as far South as possible" is not a good route choice to the islands. I suggest not leaving the coast much further South than Charleston. The further South you go before going off-shore, the more you will have to beat to windward to get to PR. With a 55' mast, I assume that your boat is 35-40 feet long. Should be big enough for the off-shore work.

Secondly, do not wait until too late in the season as the North-easters will start. I've done the trip to Puerto Rico after Thanksgiving and had good weather all the way but the frequecy of fronts increases as you get later in the season. If you havn't done the trip before, consider joining a rally. The Caribbean 1500 starts November third out of both Hampton and Charleston.

Thirdly, I hate the ICW. You can only make 60 miles a day at best and after a few days you will feel like your eyes are going to pop out of your head. At 2 meters draft, count on running aground more than a few times. If you are sold on the ICW, go inside between Norfolk and Beaufort, the ouside to Wilmington, inside to Cape Fear, then outside to Charleton or Fernadina.
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:32   #7
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Heading south from Annapolis on the icw in mid-Nov puts you in south florida a month later. With the Xmas winds you will have several months of waiting before you can make any easting into the Caribe.
You need to head offshore if you need to get there before March...or just plan to enjoy the Bahamas and Florida until the spring weather sets in.
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:15   #8
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We have covered the ICW route from Marathon to Beaufort, SC on our web site with our 6 foot draft so have a look.
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:58   #9
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Watch out for the 36th St. Julia Tuttle bridge in Miami. It's 56' MHW and fixed. 12" ain't much.
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Old 05-10-2008, 15:29   #10
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Theres more height on either side of the center span. Took a group through there a few years ago when the weather was bad and we were being hassled in Ft. Lauderdale. All made it through at half tide. Ben 423, Whitby 42 and a Morgan 382 or 4.
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Old 05-10-2008, 15:57   #11
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Thanks for all the info, and in such a short time as well. I will definitely weed through all the responses and weigh my options.

cheers!
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