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Old 31-01-2008, 12:39   #1
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ICW and draft

This may sound silly but I can't seem to find the answer anywhere.
The forums I have read give conflicting information and the books give "questionable" info so I thought I would go to you experienced guys.
I draw 6'8" on my Cal 39 and would like to take her down the ICW. I have read about drafts of 6' not making it. Has anyone with 6'8" or more been able to make it and if so, what can I expect? What is the best resource for navigating this trip?

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Old 31-01-2008, 12:59   #2
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I draw 6'8" on my Cal 39 and would like to take her down the ICW. I have read about drafts of 6' not making it.
It may be possible but it's not real easy. You might be advised to go outside for some of it as well as use high tides exclusively on some sections. There are sections that shift quite a bit and there has not been much money allocated for the work. It's all mud and sand so you may get stuck here and there and have to deal with it. You would need to follow some of the more accurate info like the Skipper Bob web site. They keep a pretty up to the minute status of all the problem areas. Skipper Bob go to Waterway Updates. The guide they publish is also a good one to have going along the ICW with all the important spots and facilities noted too.

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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 31-01-2008, 14:11   #3
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Kanani draws 7' and I had very little trouble. There are usually a few entrances that get silted up and you have to watch the tides. Most of the barges draw over 6' and they keep it pretty clear.

It's been a few years since I've done the ditch but I've been both ways 18 times. It changes on a weekly basis and what you find out today might not be valid in 2 weeks. Just ask boats going the other direction and listen to your VHF on the way. I'd say 6'8" shouldn't give you a lot of trouble but you will need to pay attention to tides on any vessel over 6'.
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Old 31-01-2008, 14:23   #4

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Come to think of it, there hasn't been any dredging of any kind in my section of the ICW in 20 years.

When the Feds turned maintenance over to Florida, I don't believe the state got the memo.
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Old 31-01-2008, 15:24   #5
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I wouldn't do it around the Georgia to Florida ICW route. Too stressful with that depth. My boat draws near 5 feet and at low tide, much of that section of the ICW is just doable. You have to stay dead center of the ICW. Go outside, pass up Georgia and go in at St. Augustine. It is a little better from there on down. ( IMO)
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Old 31-01-2008, 16:46   #6
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Check the "ICW Problem videos" on Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net - Home

This site could provide additional guidance for diggin the ditch.

"Between the dream and the deed lie the doldrums" Unknown
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Old 31-01-2008, 16:47   #7
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A couple of good sources for ICW info are
Cruisers' Net - Home (click on the cruising news on the right)


BoatUS Club House Messageboards: East Coast Alerts

It can be done, we have done it about ten times with our 6' draft, but you might want to do outside runs to avoid certain areas even if it means sitting for a few days to wait for weather and you generally make better mileage.
Chesapeake Bay, ICW Hampton Roads To Key West, The Gulf Coast, The Bahamas

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Voyages Of Sea Trek
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Old 01-02-2008, 12:18   #8
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There is less than 6' of water at a number of places along the way...particualry in SC and GA where there are large sections where you need to wait till mid tide to get through with 6'....but also in NC currently...where there is far less tidal help available. I would not want to attempt it w/ 6'8" but it is possible I guess. The BoatUs Tom/Mel Neal East Coast alerts are excellent as is the salty southeast cruisers net...also skipper bob's guides and site provide a lot of planning help.
Suggest you get the Dodge Guide to SE US inlets and make day or two hops on the outside to avoid the worst spots.

East Coast Alerts ~ By Mel Neale
BoatUS Club House Messageboards: 08Aug:Tom & Mel Neale’s East Coast Alert

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