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Old 14-01-2019, 08:06   #1
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??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

Hey friends! Thinking of taking the family on an exotic trip. I'm playing around with the thoughts of the Bahamas. But, I have a 6 foot draft. I was wondering what everyone thought about me being able to achieve an easy safe Passage. First of all, is there a better destination for someone in my situation? If the Exumas are doable, what route should I take? Thank you all for your time, it means a lot.
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Old 14-01-2019, 08:19   #2
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

The Exumas are great. Our 6’ draft was ni issue. Prudent navigation and attention to the depthsounder required, as is true in so many places. We are adding a sonar transponder to our MFD to make it clearer and easier.
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Old 14-01-2019, 23:03   #3
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

We just came back from there having chartered a monohull with a draft just a tad less than 6'. I'd say it's no problem at all.

- Avoid coral heads (visual flight rules aided by sat pictures if you have them), but this is the same no matter draft.
- When crossing the banks/other shallow places, check tidal level and wave effect (we never had less than 6' under the keel when crossing Yellow Bank, for instance)
- Plenty of anchorages go gradually from 15ft => 0ft so there is no problem finding a good spot for everyone.
- Get a copy of the Explorer Chartbook for the area! (At least C-Map includes these in their digital charts as well.)

There are a good amount of big boats circling around in the Exumas. We saw M5/Mirabella V there, and even with the keel lifted all the way up, they have a draft of 12.5ft
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Old 15-01-2019, 04:09   #4
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

If you want to safely cruise and enjoy the Bahamas, or other shallow tropical destinations, it is important to learn to read the depth by the colour of the water.

https://www.passagemaker.com/technic...ding-the-water

https://www.soundingsonline.com/news...ding-the-water
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Old 15-01-2019, 06:23   #5
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??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

We are traveling with a boat that draws 6í6Ē.
They do have to be a little more careful than we do as we draw 5í, but itís not a show stopper.
Yes get a copy of the Explorer charts, they and Garmin depict the preferred routes, I tend to mostly stick to them as assumption is they are so well travelled itís likely the survey is more accurate, and there would be Active Capt reports of any issues on them.
The Coral Heads concern me, I tend to avoid areas where they are plentiful, even if itís a longer route.
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Old 15-01-2019, 07:07   #6
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

A64piot is right, get the explorer charts (No really, don't leave without them) and you will be fine. We did the Bahamas with a 6'2" draft, and a good chartplotter. Note that the plotter did not have the explorer charts, we only used it for entering waypoins from the paper charts. Just keep your eyes out and only move when safe. This means daylight, and in some places where you need to see coral heads, only when the light is up above to reduce reflections. We only had to do that a few times when the charts advised of uncharted coral heads.

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Old 15-01-2019, 07:37   #7
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??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

I have the worthless Navionics on my plotter.
So what I do is use Aquamaps on my IPad, itís free, but the maps arenít. You can download the Explorer charts for something like $60 for a lifetime.
http://www.globalaquamaps.com/aquaapp.html
Be sure though in the settings to disallow the IPad from managing memory or it can delete some of the map tiles, you can redownload them of course as you have already paid, but thatís a pain.

Bottom button.
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I went to aquamaps cause they incorporate Active Captain, which I have come to rely on for telephone numbers and the reviews etc.

Then if Iím not going too far, when you get to the Bahamas get the Aliv unlimited phone plan, itís $120 a month, but itís definition of unlimited is 300GB. We watch TV and everything else and canít get close to 300 GB in 30 days.
Heck with WiFi, with cellular as good as it is in the Bahamaís and 300 GB, you donít need it.
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Old 15-01-2019, 07:47   #8
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

It is funny about charts...

I have used the Navionics for two years, and this year switched to C-Map for the Bahamas because they include the Explorer Charts that so many people rave about.

They are CRAP. Poorly indexed to GPS position, soundings that are off position, shallows shown where then are none. After two weeks I have given up on them.

I have gone back to Navionics, supplemented (as always) by NV paper charts and Transas on the tablet. And by the way, they all include recommended routes as well.
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Old 15-01-2019, 07:53   #9
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

This may be a good reason to use the PAPER versions of the charts, so you know there were no translation errors. I have also often wondered if the explorer data would be used in whole, or only part, but software chart providers licencing the data.

Chris

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Originally Posted by billknny View Post
It is funny about charts...

I have used the Navionics for two years, and this year switched to C-Map for the Bahamas because they include the Explorer Charts that so many people rave about.

They are CRAP. Poorly indexed to GPS position, soundings that are off position, shallows shown where then are none. After two weeks I have given up on them.

I have gone back to Navionics, supplemented (as always) by NV paper charts and Transas on the tablet. And by the way, they all include recommended routes as well.
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Old 15-01-2019, 08:07   #10
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

OvitalMap offline (Bing) satellite images were really useful for the coral heads!

Navigation with downloadable satellite images on iPhone?
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Old 15-01-2019, 08:34   #11
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

I just downloaded the Ovitalmap. I assume you download photos of the route and it will show your position on the photo?
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Old 15-01-2019, 08:51   #12
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I just downloaded the Ovitalmap. I assume you download photos of the route and it will show your position on the photo?
Yes. Somewhere there's the option to download sat imagery for offline use. I picked the Bing images (better than Google), drew a large square including Nassau and the Exumas down to Staniel Cay or abouts, and then it downloaded the images for a while. It wasn't a small download, but still, it worked.

And yes, it shows the boat as a blue dot on the satellite image and (usually) clearly any nearby coral heads.
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Old 15-01-2019, 09:01   #13
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Re: ??6' draft in the Excumas doable??

The Exumas are great, I did them with 6'-5" draft. Just pay attention and be careful.
If going to Georgetown, you need get outside in deep water to head down there before maybe Rudder Cut as things get dicey shallow down there. Check the charts I don't have one here.
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