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Old 14-12-2008, 05:54   #1
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What would be the deepest draft one could get away with on the Eastern ICW?

What would be the max draft to not have problems on the Eastern ICW?
Florida to Maine?


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Old 14-12-2008, 06:17   #2
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I think that depends on how you define "trouble". I found places on the ICW where I had no option but to plow through less than 5 feet of mud. But a draft of less than 5 feet might cause "trouble" in the open ocean parts of that trip.

Ray Durkee
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Old 14-12-2008, 06:32   #3
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No matter how diligent you are there is always a chance of touching the bottom on the ICW no matter what you draft. Its been my experience that south of Norfolk the bottom is mostly soft and north of Norfolk its mostly hard.
The deepest draft I have navigated the ICW with is 6'6". I have touched bottom on occasion. When I was transiting regularly, like monthly I knew where the worst shoaling was and I often asked at fuel stops. They always knew if there was a particularly bad.
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Old 14-12-2008, 06:36   #4
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The ICW is done in boats with 7 to 8 foot drafts but it is no fun. Once over 6 feet you will only be able to transit some areas at high tide or do offshore runs to by pass these areas. The shallower the draft the less hassle.
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Old 14-12-2008, 06:38   #5
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Ditto...have done it all with 6' but don't thing it would be much better at 5 feet in the tough spots. You sometimes have to wait for tide or take a jump coastally. Buddy boated one time with a guy with 4'10" draft...he went aground 4 times...I went aground zero (that trip!). No big deal. If I were buying a boat for the east coast including the ICW I would not choose anything over 6' draft...but it is possible with a bit more.
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draft, icw

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