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Old 27-12-2013, 07:18   #1
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ICW from Key West to Snake - Advice

Has anyone done this lately? We are thinking about going this way for the first time. We have been through Snake Creek but only from St. Pete on our way to KL.

We have a catamaran with a 4.5' draft (probably a little less as we don't have much on the boat). Mast is 72' with antenna.

Is it a nice route to go the ICW? With the wind blowing from the North - is it an easier ride? I have my parents on the boat for the first time.... and I want it to be a smooth a ride as possible so they come back...!

Any advice would be much appreciated. I have Raymarine charts and Garmin iPad BlueCharts (which seem to be more accurate around here).

Thanks!! _steve
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Old 27-12-2013, 13:33   #2
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Re: ICW from Key West to Snake - Advice

We have done the Bay side of the Keys with our 4 foot draft and can't think of any places you will have a problem with 4 1/2 feet. But the Jewfish Creek bridge is 65 feet. If you go through Snake Creek to reach Hawks Channel, you might want to time it for high tide. it's a little shallow on the Hawks Channel side. Chuck
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Old 27-12-2013, 14:39   #3
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Re: ICW from Key West to Snake - Advice

The ICW does not exist south of the 7 Mile bridge.
You will have to use Hawk Channel from Key West to Marathon, and the 7 Mile bridge has 65' clearance, which prevents you from crossing to the ICW. Same for the Channel 5 bridge.
Hawk Channel is sheltered by the reef, making it calmer than the open ocean.
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Old 27-12-2013, 14:50   #4
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Re: ICW from Key West to Snake - Advice

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The ICW does not exist south of the 7 Mile bridge.
You will have to use Hawk Channel from Key West to Marathon, and the 7 Mile bridge has 65' clearance, which prevents you from crossing to the ICW. Same for the Channel 5 bridge.
Hawk Channel is sheltered by the reef, making it calmer than the open ocean.
Because there is no narrow channel, doesn't mean you can't transit Bayside. We were based out of Marathon for 10 years and traveled from Marathon to Key West on Bayside a number of times. As a matter of fact, there are some very nice anchorages along that route.
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Old 27-12-2013, 15:18   #5
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Re: ICW from Key West to Snake - Advice

We have used snake creek a couple of times once on a very low tide. We had a cat that drew 4'6". It was pretty shallow as we had about a foot maybe less beneath the keels. We just took it very slowly. The other problem is the voice and data cables crossing the creek. We had a 69' mast and the bridge tender said we were pretty close. Just a word to the wise.
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Old 27-12-2013, 18:55   #6
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Steve hello! you say youve done the creek before was that on your cat? Draft is no biggie at mid tide + but it could be close with the cables at high tide. Best to check. What size cat do you have and hows bridge deck clearance? You can be pretty close to land most of the way on the oceanside. Heading to Upper keys. Where are you going from there back towards Tampa?
From KW on the "bayside" your out a ways and could get some wave action heading towards Marathon. With a true N wind we would sometimes run hawk channel to marathon or Long key then head the backside but with your mast height.your.kind of.sol.
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Old 28-12-2013, 08:11   #7
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Re: ICW from Key West to Snake - Advice

I have an air draft of 71' + and go under the cables at snake creek with some room to spare. You will not find anyone willing to put an exact height on the cables no matter who you call!
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Old 28-12-2013, 08:20   #8
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Ill bet that first time had huge pucker factor!
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Old 28-12-2013, 09:00   #9
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Re: ICW from Key West to Snake - Advice

Yeah, we were going so slow the bridge tender finally just told us it looked fine from his view, just go already. But it looks close from the deck. Not a big deal if you touch them lightly, would hate to imagine the cost if you damaged them though.
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Old 28-12-2013, 09:12   #10
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Re: ICW from Key West to Snake - Advice

I have to tell you - this is one of those catch 22 scary deals....

Low Tide - hopefully won't hit the cables but will most likely bounce of the bottom.

High Tide - won't run aground but that much closer to the cables.


Running aground isn't a terrible thing but taking down those lines - even though they are just data cables - still wouldn't be a good thing for anyone...!

Our cat is 44' with a 70' mast + 2' antenna. We called a number of places before we came though including the coast guard and Boat US. Everyone gave different numbers... kind of like - search the internet enough for the review that you want to hear... I want to read a great review about the new Chevy or Ford... you can find it.... so this is kind of the same - I WANT to believe that the lower cables - which people have said they are sagging - are 76'.... and as luck would have it - both the Coast Guard and Boat US had the same number. The gentlemen in the bridge house said he sees cats our size come through...

When we went through it was raining and I was concentrating on the bridge opening - everyone else was watching how close we were to hitting the wires - and of course - from the deck it looks wwaaaayyyy close! But we cleared under them fine.




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Originally Posted by Dulcesuenos View Post
Steve hello! you say youve done the creek before was that on your cat? Draft is no biggie at mid tide + but it could be close with the cables at high tide. Best to check. What size cat do you have and hows bridge deck clearance? You can be pretty close to land most of the way on the oceanside. Heading to Upper keys. Where are you going from there back towards Tampa?
From KW on the "bayside" your out a ways and could get some wave action heading towards Marathon. With a true N wind we would sometimes run hawk channel to marathon or Long key then head the backside but with your mast height.your.kind of.sol.
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