Originally Posted by Lodesman
As far as I can tell NOAA doesn't have current data for St A inlet. If you compare St A beach to city dock tide data, you can see they're fairly close with city lagging a bit and not quite hitting the amplitude of the beach data. That suggests to me that the slack in the inlet should slightly lag the high and low tide times. More importantly the current while still flowing at high and low, will be fairly weak. "Somewhere in the middle" will be near a full-strength current. IIRC, I went in following the high tide, and found the current manageable.
Yes, its called a hydraulic current I think? The city dock is a calculation that NOAA makes to predict the tide levels, there are only a few buoys they actually have tide data from.
It really is 35 to 45 minutes after the low and high tide at the city dock. I lived next to that dock for 4 months last year. Its been measured by the city for years now. However, it varies from location to location by just a few miles. The inlet has a different slack water than the city dock, which is on the ICW just inside the inlet. You can always tell when its slack water because the boats on the mooring
all go wonky from each other - facing different directions.
But when navigating the inlet, the current going into our out of the inlet is not the main concern, its just inside the inlet where the ICW crosses the inlet. Its a choke point and causes the current to speed up. That is where most vessels go aground. Outside the inlet you just need to be aware of the reefs
by following the markers carefully. Boats go on the reefs
there as well but not as often.