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Old 16-12-2015, 11:41   #16
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards???

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Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
Having cruised the ICW for 25 years, we learned early on to use multiple sources for information. Not all are perfect and no one will give you all the info you need. Missing just one piece of information can be inconvenient at the least. You have some suggestions. We often check cruisersnet, Cruisers' Net | Cruisers Helping Cruisers , and because I manage the Navigation Notices for Marinalife, Marinalife: Navigational Notices , I am checking dozens of websites and Local Notice To Mariners daily. Most of these websites, etc. will summarize the most important ones, there are hundreds that come out weekly. So try each and decide which one will give you the information you need to safely navigate. You may find that a combination of these will work for you. Chuck
Chuck, you are so right. While I'm on the "Left Coast" I read a lot here about the ICW. I am repeatedly interested, amazed, humbled, mortified and confused (how's that for "feelings" after only the first cup of coffee this morning?!? ) when this subject arises, as it does a couple of times every month, especially during snowbird time.

Sure, some skippers may not be aware of Active Captain. How? Beats me. It is an essential TOOL, as Chuck says, for traveling back east. Here on our coast it is rarely used. I have contributed to it for anchorages here and have gone back years later and found nothing new. It's just not "THE" thing here. But if I lived back east I'd use it constantly as ONE of MANY navigation tools.

But here's what really gets me: every single navigation book, course or website says: "This is one of many different sources of information. The prudent mariner will not depend on only one source and will utilize all sources available." Or something like that, from Chapmans and Duttons. This is basic stuff.

But now, we have so many choices and skippers seem to me to be complaining about HAVING TOO MUCH INFORMATION, and start asking which is BEST?

Darn, it just ain't the right question.

How the heck did any of you get down The Ditch from NYC to FL before GPS and AC? C'mon.

In any event, heed Chuck's advice, and have a great and safe journey.

Happy Holidays.
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Old 16-12-2015, 11:47   #17
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards???

From someone who has been aground 5 times in 4 years from Beaufort, NC to Savannah, and pulled off by TowBoat US, I feel qualified to post this.

I buy the best TowBoat insurance offered, about $160.00 per year. Some of their operators are good and others not. Most of these guys are salvage operators and have territories they have to stay in. I was pulled through a shoal in the North Myrtle Beach area and there were rocks in the bottom of the shoal and it cut holes in my keel. Spent 12 weeks in a boat yard to replace water and fuel tanks because of it.

A good source for info on shoalling areas is Salty Southeast Cruiser's Net Cruisers' Net | Cruisers Helping Cruisers, they keep up with most of the areas you will need to know about.

The dredges are working Isle of Palms-Breech Inlet north of Charleston, SC as we write this. This is my home port. They are supposed to finish in Jan. 2016. You should have clear passage anytime now. I brought a boat thru there 2 weeks ago and had no problem; just had to dodge the dredge, but you can call them on Ch. 13/16 and they will direct you around. Good Luck
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Old 16-12-2015, 11:49   #18
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards???

Agree with using activecaptain and taking notes the night before on trouble spots. On the other hand, the majority of reported "shoaling hazards" on AC that are not actual trouble areas if you stay in the channel!

Don't cut corners and keep to the outside of bends. There is nearly always deeper water on the outside where the water has to travel faster to round the bend and has less time to deposit sediment.

I took the entire SC/GA stretch inside this year and did not run aground drawing 4'6". You can't be in a hurry! It'll get old fast that way
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Old 16-12-2015, 12:04   #19
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards???

about lack of detail in St. Augustine Inlet - That inlet is one of several where the navigable channel changes constantly - anything you see on a chartplotter is already outdated no matter how new. Better to have no details than wrong details. You have to follow the marks no matter what - and in St. Augustine the Coast Guard may be putting out new marks at any time.
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Old 16-12-2015, 14:33   #20
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards???

If you have an iPhone, Active Captain on the Polar Navy app (free) is great. It has downloadable all of the NOAA charts and Active Captain, so you have great detail of the ICW with trouble spots shown off line. We have good enough cell coverage with Verizon that the app even showed our boat position as we travelled. While we never grounded with a 4'8" draft, we timed all of the worst trouble spots (except McCellanville, SC where we were lucky following a larger boat) for close to high tide.
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Old 16-12-2015, 16:19   #21
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards???

The next best help after the above mentioned, from Nova Scotia to Miami would be a current (published each year) copy of "ELDRIDGE TIDE AND PILOT BOOK". Has charts for currents. We call it the bible.
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Old 16-12-2015, 17:09   #22
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards?

Beginning with our first transit of the ICW from the Chesapeake to Florida in 1972 until this year's southbound trip, we have completed this passage 25 times. With experience we find that we rarely have difficulties with depths and I would expect anyone could do well with a draft of six feet or less.

Here are some of our observations and procedures:

1- Paper or electronic charts are useful in planning and determining the expected route, but real world observation of markers, especially moved nuns and cans, trumps anything on a chart.

2- The magenta line on paper or electronic charts does NOT represent a real position of the deepest water.

3- There's no need to over react to your depthsounder showing decreasing depths before approaching your draft. Trends are to be noted, but remember, if you are following the best path, then your depth sounder will show you entering shallower water exactly half of the time!

4- The red and green navigational aides are no more indicating places to approach than they are indicating locations to avoid. Be sure to follow the best fit curve that lies between these indicators.

5- When turning from a river to a dredged cut, or a cut to river, square your corners. Always give more distance to the points of land.

6- Don't fear low tide. Nothing is easier than traveling at the lower side of the tide and rising. A possible bump on sand or mud results in a quick release with the rising tide and besides, at lower tide the deeper water is better defined. High tide is the real risk for a problem grounding!

7- Printed material may be useful, but tides are clearly broadcast on the VHF and the days follow an easy pattern.

8. Anecdotal reports of shoaling are NOT reliable! Most people who report problem locations would have found deep water just a few yards to port or starboard of their location.

9. We regularly make a securite call on the VHF inquiring about meeting large commercial traffic at two locations,- Elliot Cut just south of Charleston, SC and at the "Rockpile" between North Myrtle Beach and Barefoot Bridge, SC.

10. We like navigating as a team at problem locations,- one at the helm and one looking aft for a parallax view of markers watching for leeway due to side winds and currents.

11. We often call boats on our VHF that have passed us earlier or those that we are meeting to ask about their experiences and observed depths in problem areas.

12. We take casual short days in the best of weather and never are troubled by traffic or large wakes.

Enjoy the cruise!
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Old 16-12-2015, 18:07   #23
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards?

I just did the trip down from NY to Florida for the first time, Active Captain is a MUST. Cruising Guide book is ok. Paper Charts are a must and a good electronic nav chart. Active Captain made the trip a pleasure with no problems. Except the
Only thing I missed was " Do Not try and take the ICW through Jekyll Island at low tide". Thank god I only draft 3'2", but at 21' wide, no could pass me is parts.
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Old 16-12-2015, 22:15   #24
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards???

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
-----
How the heck did any of you get down The Ditch from NYC to FL before GPS and AC? C'mon.
.
The Waterway Guide (paper version), charts (also paper), and a depth sounder.
Even used a lead line on one trip.
Tow boat insurance? What tow boat insurance? If you stuck it you got it off.
Things have certainly changed lol.
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Old 16-12-2015, 22:54   #25
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards?

In Georgia, the shallow spots in ICW are Hells Gate, Little Mud River, and Jekyll Creek from St. Simons Sound to the Jekyll Island bridge. Best to hit each on at least a half tide rising.
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Old 17-12-2015, 00:33   #26
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards?

Well since the topic is the ICW.

We'll be coming down the ICW late summer 2017 (crossing the atlantic next year then up to canada on the outside and then back down via the ICW)

we draw 7 feet (probably a little more since we will be a fully loaded cruisng boat).

I've looked at the waterway guides and charts but don't (off-hand) see any areas where it is not possible for us to get through.

Can we get the whole way down? assuming we are careful and run any nasty section on a rising tide?

what sections should we be particularly careful in?

I also believe the lowest fixed bridge is 65 feet (our airdraft is 60 feet)
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Old 17-12-2015, 05:57   #27
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards?

We've been in company with boats with 6.5 - 7' drafts. More challenging, but do-able. They have to be a bit more mindful of rising tide. A couple had air drafts of 64 - that was even more challenging. One had their antenna ping 4 of 5 bridges they went under for the day. Worst was Wilkerson Bridge - they pinged the bridge girders then bumped the bottom as they squeaked through!

How did people run the ICW before AC and GPS? No idea. Never did it back then. I was mostly offshore swinging a sextant trying to figure set and drift to find Bermuda.
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Old 17-12-2015, 07:17   #28
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards?

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Well since the topic is the ICW.

We'll be coming down the ICW late summer 2017 (crossing the atlantic next year then up to canada on the outside and then back down via the ICW)

we draw 7 feet (probably a little more since we will be a fully loaded cruisng boat).

I've looked at the waterway guides and charts but don't (off-hand) see any areas where it is not possible for us to get through.

Can we get the whole way down? assuming we are careful and run any nasty section on a rising tide?

what sections should we be particularly careful in?

I also believe the lowest fixed bridge is 65 feet (our airdraft is 60 feet)
First, addressing the vertical clearance, the only difficulty could occur with sustained winds associated with a storm system that could raise the tide above mean high for a few days. This is not common and would be a topic of conversation on the VHF. In addition, the Julia Tuttle Bridge in Miami does have a vertical clearance of 56' at mean high at the center span. The adjacent spans off center allow another foot, but the tidal range here would not often allow for 60'. It's an easy ho outside any Florida section between good inlets and many cruisers avoid the many bridges in South Florida.

I agree that 7' can be carried on the ICW from Norfolk, Va south at the rising half of the tide. Throughout the passage there are plenty of places where you my run aground off the mid-channel, but the following locations need attention even at the deepest center points.

1- Take the Virginia Cut instead of the Dismal Swamp route south of Norfolk.
2- Mile 285 to 295 between Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach.
3- Lockwood's Folly Inlet area near mile 322 and Shallotte Inlet near mile 330 depending on recent dredging.
4- Mile 3498 to 353,- this stretch is deep enough, but lined with jagged rocks and not an area where you would want to meet and pass large commercial traffic. I always suggest a YHF securite call here to inquire about meeting traffic.
5- Mile 430 to 440 and 456 to462
6- Mile 496 to 497
7- From mile 510 to 520 there are several points where there are intersections of natural rivers and dredged cuts. It's important to "square" these corners and be attentive to leeway due to currents.
8- Mile 573 to 576 (Field's Cut),- when approaching the Savannah River be attentive to crossing paths with large ship traffic.
9- Mile 602 at Racoon Key
10- Mile 653 to 656
11- Mile 681 to 686
12- Mile 739,- be attentive to crossing St. Johns River Ship traffic.
13- Mile 792-793 be attentive to adjusted positions of nuns and cans.
14- Mile 838- 841

Also, be sure to call meeting dredge operations and barge traffic on VHF 13 to determine a favored 1 or 2 whistle pass.

We enjoy the ICW due to our visits to many of the ports and small towns on the route as well as the beautiful wilderness anchorages. We often take two or three months to cruise this route from the Chesapeake to Florida. Those with deadlines or an interest in speed would do better selecting the weather for offshore. 'enjoy!
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Old 17-12-2015, 07:39   #29
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards?

Quote:
Originally Posted by carstenb View Post
Well since the topic is the ICW.

We'll be coming down the ICW late summer 2017 (crossing the atlantic next year then up to canada on the outside and then back down via the ICW)

we draw 7 feet (probably a little more since we will be a fully loaded cruisng boat).

I've looked at the waterway guides and charts but don't (off-hand) see any areas where it is not possible for us to get through.

Can we get the whole way down? assuming we are careful and run any nasty section on a rising tide?

what sections should we be particularly careful in?

I also believe the lowest fixed bridge is 65 feet (our airdraft is 60 feet)
Carsten, you will find the ICW pretty miserable with a 7' draft. If I were you, I would choose a few sections of it which are relatively better dredged, and which have things you want to see, but otherwise stay outside.

We call it the "ditch". If you're expecting it to be scenic and interesting like the Kiel Canal (which you and I did together a couple of times on my boat), you will be disappointed. It's more like a ditch, than that.

For sure, sign up with Towboat US before you ever nose your bow in. You are practically guaranteed to need it.

My Dad lives right off the ICW in Florida. You will be welcome to a free dock behind his house, and free-flowing gin, if you get that far (that is, if you don't get frustrated with the "ditch" and just head back out to sea ).
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Old 17-12-2015, 07:50   #30
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Re: ICW shoaling and hazards?

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Carsten, you will find the ICW pretty miserable with a 7' draft. If I were you, I would choose a few sections of it which are relatively better dredged, and which have things you want to see, but otherwise stay outside.

We call it the "ditch". If you're expecting it to be scenic and interesting like the Kiel Canal (which you and I did together a couple of times on my boat), you will be disappointed. It's more like a ditch, than that.

For sure, sign up with Towboat US before you ever nose your bow in. You are practically guaranteed to need it.

My Dad lives right off the ICW in Florida. You will be welcome to a free dock behind his house, and free-flowing gin, if you get that far (that is, if you don't get frustrated with the "ditch" and just head back out to sea ).
Free docking and free gin? might stay there for a couple of years

everyone is talking about chesapeake and south - what about chesapeake and north - chesapeake/delaware canal? and further?
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