My wife and I have taken this inside route
between the Chesapeake and Beaufort more than two dozen times; however, with more clearance above and below than you.
You will have ample bridge clearances with the exception of unusually high tides that come with some weather events
and, although you will likely have an occasion to sample the bottom with your keel
, there will sure to be a little deeper water to your port or starboard. Fortunately, the bottom of the ICW along this route
is forgiving sand or mud.
There are several important cautions to bear in mind that will help you prevent groundings in the ICW:
1- Avoid traveling during the highest tide in areas known to be shoaling. At other times you will always be able to wait for a higher tide to free you.
2- Attempt to pilot a course that follows the best fit curve between the red and green markers opposed to directing your passage
from one marker to the next.
3- Keep in mind that shifting currents and sometimes winds will mean that the direction that you a travelling will not always match the direction that your bow is pointing. Using parallax to establish your course made good is VERY important in ICW piloting. This means that any markers that you wish to leave to starboard should appear to move to the right against the shore behind them and those that you wish to leave to port should move left relative to their background. Markers that remain stationary relative to the land behind them are the ones that you are heading for directly. This sounds simplistic, but it needs to be regularly observed.
3- Watch for nuns and cans that have their positions changed to adapt to shifting shoals in the areas of inlets.
4- Your depth sounder
can be a useful tool, but don't over react to a falling depth
indication. If you are following the best possible route the depth
will be decreasing one half of the time during your entire passage!