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Old 27-11-2012, 06:57   #1
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My First AICW Experience

can be summarized thus:

Follow the marks that you SEE. If you just look at the marks which are conveniently placed, and stay to the middle of the channel, you'll be in good nick. Simple as that. An old experienced crusty sailor guy taught me that, and he is right. Thanks, F.

People, turn your chart plotters off. STAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CHANNEL. I found no shoals in the middle of the channel. Ever.

I had two dicey experiences in 1K of travelling: once when I had difficulty seeing the markers at the mouth of the Alligator River as it was nearly dark, and another time when I got confused as to the marks in an inlet area because I followed another boat and should have followed the marks that I should have been looking at instead.

That's it...
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Old 27-11-2012, 09:29   #2
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Re: My first AICW experience

Good advice!
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Old 27-11-2012, 10:06   #3
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Re: My first AICW experience

Sometimes the water is not in the middle of the channel, especially where the ICW meets an inlet. And, in some sections, it's difficult to tell where the middle of the channel is. Your draft is fairly shallow, which is great for you but for a deeper draft vessel the depth sounder is what you watch, and slow down when it gets close to your draft.
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Old 30-11-2012, 13:32   #4
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Re: My first AICW experience

Pay very close attention to your depth sounder and don't follow the magenta line. It can lead you hard aground. Visit Claiborne Young's cruisersnet.net for lots of information on the ICW. Another good resource is Jan & Bill Moeller's The Intracostal Waterway guide. Plan your travel days with a destination in mind. You wouldn't want to end up in a narrow "ditch" at dark with many miles to the next safe anchorage or marina.
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Old 30-11-2012, 13:48   #5
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Re: My first AICW experience

The marks and the deep water are often unrelated on the ICW which changes after every storm.
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Old 30-11-2012, 14:14   #6
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Re: My first AICW experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by tamif27 View Post
STAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CHANNEL. I found no shoals in the middle of the channel. Ever.

it...
Lol the only time I ran aground was in the MIDDLE of the channel!

As Vasco says be very careful where there is an inlet to the ocean. The silting can be right in the middle of the channel.

Watch it when the markers are those floating ones...
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Old 30-11-2012, 14:43   #7
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Re: My first AICW experience

The downside of not keeping your head outside the boat is that you may not be aware of drift when going between markers.

It's akin to plotting a course to a waypoint with a current running perpendicular to your intended course. Unless you account for the drift AHEAD of time and steer accordingly, your course will be a big curve, rather than a straight line.

You must look both ahead and behind to assure you are IN the channel.

Good report, thanks.
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Old 30-11-2012, 15:16   #8
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Old 30-11-2012, 16:26   #9
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Re: My first AICW experience

Just completed the trip fom Deale Md To Stuart Fl.Following the marker's may be ok for 3ft draft but 5 plus I,don't think so Active Caaptin was a graet resource for shoaling areas.Depth sounder a must for the wandering channell.The Markers aren't alway's there.Than What.What ever you do don't follow other boat's,you can get in trouble alll by yourself.Was still a interesting trip,
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Old 30-11-2012, 16:43   #10
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Re: My first AICW experience

A fish finder is a great depthsounder to have in the ICW. Watching what the bottom contour is doing can give you a warning as to whether or not you are heading in a shoaling direction or a deeper direction. Watch the slope. I have found reports from most other boaters of limited use as they are frequently incorrect. When I am updating guides I try to double-check everything via multiple sources as most individual boaters do not cruise with a guidebook editor's mindset--they figure that what they encountered is what is usual. It is understandable, but it isn't always helpful. For example, despite what you read and hear on here, most of the boats I encounter that are aground have wandered either out of the channel or off to one side or the other. Yes, there are shoal areas in the channel, but when in doubt split the markers and you are usually fine. Claiborne's site has some good soundings that are calibrated, and he also has the best information on the latest ICW updates.
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Old 30-11-2012, 17:31   #11
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Re: My first AICW experience

My brother-in-law was taught in his captain's license course to pass each marker, green or red, about 10 yards on the channel side. I've followed behind commercial tugs doing just this. It seems to work pretty well.

After several trips up and down the waterway, I can get a feel for where I am in the channel by watching the depth sounder. Except in a very few (well-publicized) shoaling areas, the channel pretty much conforms to the cross-sectional contour shown on the old strip charts. If the depth sounder starts to read less than 10 feet, you're usually up against the edge wall of the channel, and that wall will shoal up quickly. You need to throttle back immediately, try to decide which edge of the channel you are drifting into, and turn back to the middle. If the depth sounder starts showing shallower readings, your guess as to which edge of the channel you are on was wrong, and you need to turn the other way. 14 to 16 feet is really the applicable mid-channel depth most (or much) of the time, and you can usually find something close to this depth 10 yards on the channel side of each marker.
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Old 30-11-2012, 18:54   #12
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Re: My first AICW experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
My brother-in-law was taught in his captain's license course to pass each marker, green or red, about 10 yards on the channel side..................................
This can often work well when the channel is 20 yards across, but there are many locations where the channel may be 500 feet across and you would be "connecting the dots" by moving across from one side of the channel to the other. A better plan might be to follow the best fit curve tha lies between the reds and greens. It's also wise not to over rely upon the indications of the depth sounder. I can remember a cruiser who always worried when the depth was decreasing, but it's important to note that; if you were to follow the best and deepest route, then the depthsounder would show a decreasing depth exactly 50% of the time!
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Old 30-11-2012, 22:36   #13
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Re: My First AICW Experience

get the unlimited towing policy and relax. Yeah you will go aground but most likely it will be mud and you will be floated off it in a while by either the tide or the towboat. You dont even have to be embarrassed. I suspect everyone who has gone any distance on the ICW has found the bottom at one time or another. I know I have.
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Old 09-12-2012, 17:49   #14
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Re: My First AICW Experience

I'm not sure how well understood the signage is. One can cue to the channel direction from the angle on which the rectangle/triangles are hung on the posts. Observe, as you pass a mark, the angle at which the sign is posted, and the angle on which the sign on the opposite side is posted. These indicate curves etc. in the channel. That is to say, look behind you and see whether both the rectangle and triangle are facing you equally and directly - that will tell you where you are in the channel. hope this makes sense
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Old 09-12-2012, 18:44   #15
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Re: My First AICW Experience

Ok, stupid questio maybe.

6-1/2' draft ...... Can I make it?

Full keel 1/4 inch steel so I'm not gonna faint if I run aground ( yet again.)
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