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Old 04-11-2015, 11:18   #1
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St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

I'm looking for opinions from sailors experienced with the St Augustine Inlet.

It is not a Class A inlet, and I've heard conflicting opinions on shoaling and lack of buoys.

Thanks!
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:30   #2
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

Count us as one foolish boat to cross the bar at the wrong time. I came within a hair of being tossed overboard. It didn't look that bad but it was.
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:42   #3
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

contact the schooner freedom.
They go in and out several times each day, and most likely draw 9+'. it can be done.
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:09   #4
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

I wouldn't do it at night but if you favor the red side and follow the bouys it's not that bad. Done it many times. Line up off the sea bouy with the Villano bridge and don't miss the black can that marks the edge of the shoal, I think it was C5 where you turn south to line up with the inlet. Just inside the ICW splits n-s and the charts work.
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:16   #5
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

The shoals change frequently, and rapidly after storms. The buoys are moved around a lot, so are not charted. That said, there are a sufficient number of them. It's good to get recent local advice - I called Towboat US and they gave me the direct number of their guy in St A. The entrance buoys (at least when I went through) are all starboard hand - so boats leaving tend to be reluctant to obey rule 14 and move over to the unmarked (green) side of the channel - so beware.
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Old 04-11-2015, 13:24   #6
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

Did $22,000 in damage to our boat in that inlet when the buoys were blown off station. We were the 5th boat that week they pulled off the shoals....called Tow Boat seeking local knowledge before we attempted and thought we were following their guidance, but ended up bouncing off the bottom for 2 hours.

The next day a motor yacht with pro captain and crew went aground in the same spot. Amazing town and worth the stop, but follow someone else with deeper draft in.

Matt

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Old 04-11-2015, 14:17   #7
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

The navigation problem is not mainly the shoals or the buoys (which BTW - there are several off station right now) - there is plenty of depth for the most part. Its the fast current that winds its way inside of the inlet where the ICW crosses the inlet.

Its easy to find yourself being pushed toward the shoal on either side against a 3 knot current if you do not watch yourself going in or out. Don't assume that if you have visually lined up the next marker that you are heading in the right direction. You will often need to crab walk your way through. It happens really fast...like 30 seconds between practically no current and having a 3 knot cross current.

Try you best to come in at slack tide, as either a rising or ebbing tide can be deadly. I've seen the markers almost completely submerged by the swift current.
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Old 04-11-2015, 15:59   #8
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

We just did it last week for the first time. Waited outside for the sun to come up, and went in at a conveniently timed near high tide.

Agree with current, we turned left to the Conch House Marina, and as we came inside and turned down the ICW the current was easily over 2.5 knots. Followed the markers and never saw less than 10ft of water.



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Old 04-11-2015, 16:29   #9
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

The current rips through this channel, and combined with shifting shoals and markers you can't really rely on, it can be truly treacherous. Go through at slack tide during daylight and it's easy. Not a bad idea to call Towboat or Seatow on the radio before you go through. They will advise.

BTW, slack tide is not high or low tide. It's somewhere in the middle. Use a tide chart or ask Seatow/Towboat. Safest time is slack tide after low tide.
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Old 04-11-2015, 17:11   #10
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

Don't think I've every seen the freedom leave the inlet, but they do stop traffic on the bridge of lions more than enough. It's one of those make steel Nuevo charter things likely draws maybe 5'.

Anyway, inlet is in fine shape. If the weather is bad go into St John's river or Caniveral.
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Old 04-11-2015, 17:36   #11
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

Boatguy's got a good point. Jacksonville is all-weather, day/night. Current can be pretty stiff climbing up out of the St Johns onto the ICW. I've found OpenCPN current predictors to be pretty good, though it can misunderestimate the current when the wind has been blowing the water one way or the other. Loads of fun if you can time the current right to ride up one side and down the other! If you catch it right it's much faster than going on the outside to St A.

Great word - misunderestimate - covers both under and over estimate with one word! Thanks W!

And there are lots of free docks in Jacksonville, including right downtown at Jacksonville Landing. There's another one at a boat launch on the north side of the St Johns at the ICW, though I think you are supposed to call for permission on that one. Check ActiveCaptain.
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Old 04-11-2015, 20:41   #12
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun and Moon View Post
BTW, slack tide is not high or low tide. It's somewhere in the middle. .
Ehh? How does that work?
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Old 04-11-2015, 20:45   #13
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
Ehh? How does that work?
The correct terminology is slack water.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slack_water

For example, at the St. Augustine City dock the slack water occurs about 35 to 40 minutes after the low or high tide.
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Old 04-11-2015, 21:01   #14
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

Daylight, good weather, pay attention to markers, everything fine.
Bad weather, dark, even a moderate NE go 20nm north to St Johns River
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Old 05-11-2015, 05:05   #15
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Re: St.Augustine Inlet - Opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
Ehh? How does that work?
You can look up NOAA's US tidal current predictions -- including slack water times -- here:

2015 Tidal Current Predictions - NOAA Tides & Currents
NOAA Current Predictions - Current Predictions (Beta)

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