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Old 22-06-2016, 11:44   #16
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

We traveled ICW from NC to FL including GA with a 5.5 ft draft. Georgia budget precluded dredging so lots of folks wouldn't attempt. Using charts and two different cruising guides we were able to avoid problems.
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Old 22-06-2016, 11:48   #17
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

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Originally Posted by cynthia-m View Post
Thanks for the input! We do hope to cruise Bahamas and Keys as well, so probably 5.5 is too much--less draft would be better. Just visited the blog about max draft for cruising S Florida, and the idea of keeping it under 5' seems like a good one. Or even better, as suggested, we'll shop around for a center board.
And yes, will also keep in mind air draft. The Pearson 385 we were considering, with the 5.5 draft, has a modified mast with 48'. Now we're looking at the Sabre 38' with center boards. We do want to keep to a well-made, solid boat for Atlantic crossing as well.
Anyone had experience with those, opinions to share? Boat to sell???
===

We draw 5 1/2 ft and have cruised all over Florida, the Bahamas and Keys with no problems at all other than the usual precautions. We're also OK on the Atlantic and Florida ICWs although there are a few thin spots which should be avoided at low tide. The cruising guides do a good job of highlighting those areas.
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Old 22-06-2016, 12:07   #18
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

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You of course refer to the Atlantic ICW, I assure you the Gulf ICW is very busy with barge traffic
The subject of the thread is in regards to the Atlantic ICW but even the eastern portion of the Gulf ICW and the southern Texas portion doesn't have a lot of commercial traffic.

From what I've seen it's really the area between Mobile to Houston that has significant barge traffic but even that pales in comparison to the river system.
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Old 22-06-2016, 13:43   #19
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

Anything 6' or less is ok. A few skinny spots as others have said - like Little Mud River in Georgia, Hells Gate in Georgia, and Jekyll Creek in Georgia. With 8' tides, you'll have to time your travel even with shallower draft boats. We have a 5' draft, but rarely see anything that would concern me if our draft was 6'. Good luck with your search, but I wouldn't limit the draft to under 5'.

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Old 22-06-2016, 15:55   #20
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

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5-1/2 feet is quote ok for the ICW and the Bhamas with usual prudence. The Tartan and Sabre c/b's are worthy coastal cruising candidates

Depends on model, many Tartans and Sabres much more capable than just coastal cruising unless you subscribe to the camp that says nothing without a full keel can cross oceans 😀


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Old 22-06-2016, 21:30   #21
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

In 2014 We took our Beneteau First with 5.5 draft all the way down the intercoastal and all through the Bahamas without a problem. Yea, we did bump a couple of lumps in the Dismal Swamp but nothing harmful.
When I was looking for a boat main criteria was less than 6. I have done the Bahamas in the past with 6.5 and it did limit some travel. The extra foot made a huge difference, but 5.5 is fine.
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Old 23-06-2016, 04:09   #22
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

You''ll need to define "cruising" because there are many places in the ICW where you've got to stay right in the center of the channel and pay constant attention to your course. The same is true in many of the East Florida water ways - they are very shallow. We've done it in a 48 footer drawing 6ft with a sixty five foot masthead height (now bereft of fittings), and when I write the book it will be called "Kedging our way to Paradise" The military bargers are particularly helpful in Virginia waters, and when they've forced you onto the ground, they'll nearly always stop and pull you back off, sometimes with highly comedic procedures.


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Old 23-06-2016, 06:13   #23
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

Va Nc not a problem... South Carolina gets sticky from Georgetown to Charleston Harbor. Lots of folks choose to make that evolution outside. Georgia is a mess. 8' tides make it passable with planning and weather, but outside from Savannah to St Mary's is an easy trip and avoids most issues.

Florida ok down to Miami but bridges in last 100 miles are PItA. Watch your air draft at Julia Tuttle bridge. Fl keys inside route (Biscane/Florida Bay) tough at 5 1/2 foot, but can be done. Shallow everywhere, but depth consistent for most part. No moving bars like further north. Tens of thousands of crab pots. Hawk Channel between outer reef and keys no depth problems, but limited anchorages and "crossovers" to the inside requires planning and weather.

Hope this helps
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Old 23-06-2016, 06:27   #24
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

Excellent ideas and informative discussions from all of you, thanks!
Yes, we'll certainly have good charts to refer to, both paper and electronic, plus a guide book or two for cruising the ICW. Read yesterday that "Dozier's Waterway Guide" is very good.
Always pay very close attention to the charts and water depths when in new, unfamiliar territory--and nothing like 'local knowledge' or getting tips from others with experience.
With any luck we'll be going around the Keys and up the Gulf ICW as well.
We'll do more research on a center board craft, though another 'moving part' that may require more maintenance, most likely?
Trying to stay under $80K for the 'new' boat.
Yes, too, there are some who say only full keel for crossings or at least a blue water craft, though many have done the crossing without either. I think the weight of the boat is a factor, no? We don't like getting bounced around in the seas, like we do now in the 28' Freedom.
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Old 23-06-2016, 12:36   #25
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

Slight thread drift.
What is a maximum/practical beam on the ICW? I realize barge tows use some of the ICW, but would a 24'-28' beam multi have issues anywhere?
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Old 23-06-2016, 12:58   #26
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

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Slight thread drift.
What is a maximum/practical beam on the ICW? I realize barge tows use some of the ICW, but would a 24'-28' beam multi have issues anywhere?
B
You would have to check the lock size on the dismal canal but there is an alternative route.

Otherwise, no problem with width except that you may not get into a lot of marinas.
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Old 23-06-2016, 13:26   #27
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

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You would have to check the lock size on the dismal canal but there is an alternative route.

Otherwise, no problem with width except that you may not get into a lot of marinas.
Even smaller monos will have difficulty sharing the waterway with others in certain areas of he dismal canal. Calling ahead to advise that you are about to enter these stretches (they are well marked on most charts and Active Captain), you can get through all of the intracoastal w/o concern. Even multis with 28' beam have little problem with with most of the ICW as their shallow draft allows moving in closer to shore where necessary than the draft of most mono. If one plans ahead and checks ahead, even most marinas can accommodate (side and end ties). Most of the limits to use are presupposed and self imposed. It is,however, wise to have knowledge before you enter the arena.
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Old 25-06-2016, 20:49   #28
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

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Originally Posted by msrcal36 View Post
We traveled ICW from NC to FL including GA with a 5.5 ft draft. Georgia budget precluded dredging so lots of folks wouldn't attempt. Using charts and two different cruising guides we were able to avoid problems.
Hello, when was this, what year? Thanks.
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Old 26-06-2016, 21:03   #29
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Re: Maximum draft for cruising the Atlantic ICW

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
You would have to check the lock size on the dismal canal but there is an alternative route.

Otherwise, no problem with width except that you may not get into a lot of marinas.
Took a cat with 23' beam through the Dismal Swamp canal with no problems, though it might have been interesting if we had met another cat going the opposite direction.
As for the rest of the ICW I've done most of it with multihulls with beams from 18' to 26'. No big deal.
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