i use it regularly. it can be a scary place.
it's well marked from seaward
all the way in. deep water
is on the north side, along the rock jetty. there's lots of shoaling on the south side. it can be a bit scary even in good weather
; in bad weather
don't even think about it. as you approach the bar you'll get a fair amount of slewing left and right, so hang on to the wheel
or tiller real tight. best to attempt it at slack tide.
it's a fairly wide channel so there is room for manuevering, although i wouldn't want to do a 180 in the channel. once you're in you're pretty much committed. once inside you have your choice of going left or right.
contrary to popular opinion, you are not in the icw. the icw runs behind an island you will see directly in front of you and is completely protected from the inlet. turn left or right depending on whether you are going north or south to the icw. watch for shoal water
. fairly deep if you're going south, but the northern route
has some shallow spots.
it's nice to know there is a coast guard station just inside the inlet - coast guard ponce inlet - and they will answer you on 16 if you ask for an advisory.
a few years ago they were asked for an advisory by a 70 foot motor
yacht. it was new and had every toy imaginable including a gps
. it was being delivered south by one delivery captain
. the weather was pretty bad so he decided to go in to a marina for rest and fuel
. both the marina and the coasties advised him not to enter. he assured them that his electronic marvel would get him in safely.
after it was smashed against the rock jetty, it managed to float south onto the sand bar. a few days later it was removed in pieces by a large crane. the captain