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Old 30-03-2010, 13:36   #1
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ICW & Beaufort Inlet

I will be traveling south on the ICW from the Pamlico Sound and was wondering what the trip down to the Beaufort Inlet shapes up like. Seems pretty straight forward from the charts, but you know how that goes. I have a 5 foot draft and didn't see any areas that were impassible but there were shoals all over the place. My biggest concern however was around the inlet itself. Looks really busy from where the ICW opens up into the Newport River all the way to the channel out. Any local knowledge would be very appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old 30-03-2010, 14:16   #2
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We have done the trip several times with a six foot draft and have not had any problems along this part of the ICW and I assume you are doing it on the inside. As with anywhere along the ICW, staying in the channel is very important. The area around the inlet is very busy, especially on weekends in nice weather so you will encounter lots of small boat traffic all running at wide open throttle and with a little wind this area can get very choppy. But it is a short run and you can cut behind the island where all of the marinas are to avoid the main harbor. WG
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Old 30-03-2010, 19:05   #3
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That whole section of the ICW from Pamlico to the Beaufort inlet is pretty easy. I draw 6' and have never had a problem there. Going south, there is a VERY confusing section as you're entering the Beaufort area. On the charts it looks very easy but in real life, all of the flats are below water and you're presented with a lot of buoys that are close and difficult to figure out. We just went through there in October and I knew it was confusing and it still made me stop and figure out which aid was which.

It's a stunning place to stay and when you leave, you're already outside the inlet if you're planning to stay offshore.

Bottom line - just stay in the marked ICW channel and you'll be fine. This area isn't really one to worry about. The inlet area is very large and extremely safe. It's a beautiful trip.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:13   #4
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There can also be a pretty good current running, especially as you approach the bridge and at the inlet. For those with a mast over 63', pay close attention to the tide boards as you approach the bridge (just north of the open RR bridge), especially if you are approaching at the high high tide.

Fair Winds,
Mike
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Old 08-04-2010, 15:32   #5
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I go through there quite regularly and you'll be fine with a 5' draft. Just keep it in the channel and there is plenty of water.

Try and hit Adam's Creek on an ebbing tide you gain a ton of speed. Up to 2 or 3 knots.

Like someone else said, look out once you get into Newport Marsh just north of the Morehead bridge to Beaufort. There was shoaling around Red nun 30A but stay in the middle and you're fine. At daymarker Red 34 and Green 35, if you look to port, you'll see the OLD entrance to Gallant's Channel. DO NOT THINK YOU CAN GET THROUGH! You'll hit about 2' of skinny water. If you want to get to Beaufort, you'll need to enter at Green over Red "RS" marker to the north OR go all the way to the bridge and double-back between the 2 and 3 nun and can and head up the "back way".

Bouge Sound looks worse than it is. The only thing I am not a fan of is that the markers can be pretty far apart. More than I would like, but more than points further south on the waterway. Again, just stay in the middle and there is plenty of water the whole way to Swansboro.

It's all pretty well marked and easy to follow with a paper chart. Currents can be a little tricky down there, but nothing you can't handle I wouldn't think. Traffic will also be high, but they are usually pretty well behaved. They buzz around and are only trying to get to their favorite fishin' hole or sand spot. Maintain your course and they know what to do.

PM me if you have any other questions.
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Old 18-04-2010, 07:05   #6
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I'm a Brit and to be honest the thought of my 1st ever trip down the ICW from Oriental to Beaufort/Morehead was freaking me out... courtesy of the "Locals" telling me loads of horror stories.. furthermore your Nav system is back to front...
As it turned out my fears were groundless.. its so easy that when I had to get back to Oriental from Taylors Creek after a sunken mooring had fouled my prop and bent the shaft I ended up having togo under sail out of Taylors all the way back up and into Whittakers Creek and the Sail Craft B/yard.
Common sense, good seamanship, watch the sounder and keep the 'Poles' fore and aft... and go with the flow/ebb..
Leave Oriental 2 hours before high water...
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Old 19-04-2011, 16:25   #7
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Re: ICW & Beaufort Inlet

Could anyone offer advise on going from Beaufort NC to Charleston on the outside? Is the inlet in Beaufort deep enough for a 6 foot draft? Is the time for this trip around 30 hours (assuming 5 knots)? Thanks. First hand experience would be great!
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Old 19-04-2011, 16:31   #8
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Re: ICW & Beaufort Inlet

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Originally Posted by waterworldly View Post
Could anyone offer advise on going from Beaufort NC to Charleston on the outside? Is the inlet in Beaufort deep enough for a 6 foot draft? Is the time for this trip around 30 hours (assuming 5 knots)? Thanks. First hand experience would be great!
Ships use the inlet at Beaufort so you will have no problem with a 6 foot draft. We did it several times. Your timing is about right. Charleston is also a shipping port. Just watch you weather. Chuck
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Old 19-04-2011, 16:46   #9
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Re: ICW & Beaufort Inlet

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Originally Posted by waterworldly View Post
Could anyone offer advise on going from Beaufort NC to Charleston on the outside? Is the inlet in Beaufort deep enough for a 6 foot draft? Is the time for this trip around 30 hours (assuming 5 knots)? Thanks. First hand experience would be great!
Beaufort inlet is quite deep, 6 feet is no problem at all. Shallowest you'll see even at the edge of the channel is about 12 feet. I often cut inside at Masonboro inlet and out at the Cape Fear river. I usually end up at frying pan shoals in the dark and can avoid trying to cross the shoals in the dark if I cut inside. I think that at 5 knots it will take a bit more than 30 hours. I would guess 42 to 45 hours depending on what currents are doing the day you go.
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Old 19-04-2011, 16:57   #10
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Re: ICW & Beaufort Inlet

We've done it 8 times in our 6 foot draft trawler and are about to leave next week from Charleston headed to Beaufort, NC to do it again. As has been already said, both inlets are wicked deep - there's just no issue at all.

Taking Frying Pan Shoals at night isn't bad. It's the only way we've gone through it - total darkness. Go through the Frying Pan Shoals Slue - it's on the charts. It's well marked with a nice 20'+ swath through the shoals at about 12 nm out or so. The buoys are all lit and are nice big targets on radar.

Between Charleston and Frying Pan Shoals, we tilt our route toward Winyah Bay. It only adds a mile or so but provides a nice bail out point if the weather is bad in that section.

It's always been a beautiful passage if you don't push the weather. We've even had internet access over AT&T in the slue with a cellular amp.
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