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Old 04-05-2024, 13:33   #1
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Boat on beach St. Augustine

That can be a treacherous inlet. Hope he is off by now.

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The 40-foot sailboat is beached in St. Johns County at Anastasia State Park after getting stuck early Sunday morning. First Coast News spoke to the boat's owner, who said he was not hurt and that he sailed from Spain and was trying to stop in St. Augustine on his way to Maryland.
https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/new...re/ar-AA1nSV8H
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Old 05-05-2024, 01:47   #2
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

Interesting.
"... A vessel typically gets stranded on a St. Johns County beach two to three times a year, Braddock said ..."
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Old 05-05-2024, 03:26   #3
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

I've been in and out St. Augustine inlet a few times and IMHO it requires perfect conditions and a high sun for visibility. I don't recommend it for casual use.
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Old 05-05-2024, 03:38   #4
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

We arrived at St A in the middle of a thunderstorm whiteout, lightning everywhere, breaking waves everywhere, shrieking wind, and dredge with a line of buoys out, other boats around showing up on AIS and blurry radar. We went around in circles under motors for an hour till it blew over just before sunset, yes a scary entrance at times as are 80% of those inlets along south eastern USA.
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Old 05-05-2024, 04:41   #5
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

I've been in and out of the inlet, once went out on a pretty boisterous day and ended up turning around and coming back.

But I can't say that I find it particularly difficult. It's well marked by standard buoys. Just stay in the channel.

There used to be an old square-rigged sailboat that would take you out for harbor tours. When we did it they sailed in and out of the inlet, even tacking as needed a couple of times.

So I'm not sure where the stigma comes from for this one.

But - for sure - stuff happens.

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Old 05-05-2024, 05:08   #6
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

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But I can't say that I find it particularly difficult. It's well marked by standard buoys. Just stay in the channel.
Maybe things have changed, but when I did the inlet there were just a few beachball buoys that were moved all the time to roughly indicate the channel. It was very easy to wander a bit outside the deep water and go aground.

Here's an old article on the inlet: https://www.staugustine.com/story/ne.../#.UMdmh6PoMlQ

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"Either conditions favor going in or out or they don't," he said. "Either a helmsman has local knowledge or he doesn't. Either you navigate prudently or you don't. Any one of these 'don'ts' can equal loss of property or life and an inlet is a tough place to find out your maintenance or seamanship is lacking."
I see that Navionics shows regular buoys, but no depths on the chart. I am always wary of channels with this notice:
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Old 05-05-2024, 06:25   #7
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

"he has 7 days to remove the vessel before being charged penalties"
Wow-tight schedule....
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Old 05-05-2024, 06:48   #8
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

St. A has a tough inlet. There are shifting sand bars on either side, which are quite noticeable due to the braking waves.

The channel is marked...sorta...kinda....last time I went thru' there, the entry channel has a zig-zag approach offshore and the buoys are known to shift

I have touched bottom here trying to get in. Bottom conditions can vary from one day to the next.

Tried to leave once in a nor-easterly wind condition against incoming tide, but could not get out and had to turn back.

Would simply not attempt a night time entry under any condition.

Only 30 miles to the north is the Mayport entrance, a dredged ship channel, well marked, etc, by far the better option.

Local knowledge is certainly a plus trying to negotiate that channel.
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Old 05-05-2024, 07:12   #9
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
Maybe things have changed, but when I did the inlet there were just a few beachball buoys that were moved all the time to roughly indicate the channel. It was very easy to wander a bit outside the deep water and go aground.

Here's an old article on the inlet: https://www.staugustine.com/story/ne.../#.UMdmh6PoMlQ



I see that Navionics shows regular buoys, but no depths on the chart. I am always wary of channels with this notice:
In 2012 we "Seek local knowledge" at St Augustine by contacting the Tow Boat US contractor and were told to just hug the greens--"it is a simple inlet". Well, he didn't tell us that the main buoy for the dog legged section was 2 miles south from hurricane Sandy passing through a few weeks prior.

We missed the dogleg, went aground and pulled into the surf. I got the anchor set just before we were on the beach, but we were still in the breaking waves and were being dropped hard on our keel with each passing wave. It was hard enough that our mast looked like a spaghetti noodle and I could see the shock wave go up and then return down our mast. The bagging also took our adjustable genoa line cars and somehow pulled them forward, increasing the length of the line to their clutch enough that it hung into the water and wrapped around our prop.

The situation was bad enough that no boats could get through the surf, so they had to call the Search and Rescue jetskis out of Jacksonville to get us a line.

Come to find out that we were the fifth boat that week to go around in the same spot.

We made a lot of mistakes -- going into the setting sun; hurrying to get into port; not watching other boats enter/exit before taking our turn, and not listening to our guts when it told us to bail out. It was a hard earned lessen, but it has served us well since.

We've since gone through there a few more times, and it really isn't that difficult, but when things go wrong, they go wrong qucikly.
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Old 05-05-2024, 07:16   #10
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

We have been in and out of StA a dozen times now. I wouldn't do it in bad weather or at night. Our first time we arrived from Charleston faster than planned and ended up doing circles for 2 hours waiting for the sun to come up. I have found that markers to be okay. Stay away from the rocks when coming in that are to the port. Once you get land on both sides it gets better.

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Old 07-05-2024, 04:16   #11
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

It would help if people stating that they've gone in with/without problems would state their vessel specifics. Lots of difference between a 18" draft center console, and a 7' draft boat sail or powerboat for instance.

Also, you'd think the authorities would be actively working to assist the vessel in distress, rather than looming threateningly in the background promising penalties if the boat is not removed . . .
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Old 07-05-2024, 04:23   #12
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

Coming thru' the actual " entrance" land cut is not where the problem lies.
The problem area is offshore. This is where the shifting shoals are located.
Once thru' the cut, the navigable channel is well marked, headed towards downtown.

It's not an easy inlet, that is for sure.

Local boats have the option of becoming a SeaTow/ BoatUS member, that will come and drag yer buns outa a jamb, but foreign boats are pretty much on their own.
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Old 10-05-2024, 07:06   #13
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

I’m local and saw the vessels mast from the deck at the yacht club the day after it was grounded. The mast is not there now, and we’ve had a few days of good weather so I presume it’s been pulled off.

I’ll watch the local news…

I’m in and out of the inlet every few days now, getting the boat ready for our Regatta in the Abacos adventure. Sands shift - there was a sport fish aground on vilano when we did it a couple of days back. I’ve gone in during the night with an outbound current behind the tow boat us… gnarly!
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Old 10-05-2024, 10:20   #14
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

It is definitely not an all weather entrance. I have bumped the bottom with 8 ft draft at low tide. If I was coming from Europe and couldn't pick my weather the St Johns river entrance would be a no brainer.
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Old 10-05-2024, 10:22   #15
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Re: Boat on beach St. Augustine

Adventuress draws 6.5’ and I’ve had 9’ at my lowest. Pucker moments.
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