Originally Posted by Bone Fish
... I will be moving a new (to me) boat from Sandy Hook NJ to its new home in the Chesapeake in a few weeks. Can anyone advise me on the current
conditions of the ICW in New Jersey
? The boat only draws three feet, so that doesn't seem to be a problem. What about speed restrictions? How much of the run is speed limited or impractical to do much more than 10 knots? ...
You mention a 3 foot draft
, but no "air draft
." This comes into play below Atlantic City, where there are several bridges with a 25 foot height limit. But back to the main focus.
The NJ ICW heading south begins at Manasquan. IOW, from Sandy Hook you have approximately 22 NM along the coast to Manasquan Inlet. You can enter the NJ ICW there, and after negotiating quite a few bridges and some current-related issues in the Point Pleasant Canal
, you can follow the NJ ICW south to Atlantic City. Some typical inside distances are about 15 NM from Manasquan to Toms River, and then close to 50 NM down to Absecon Inlet at Atlantic City. Along the way you will find any number of marinas
and quite a few good anchorages
such as Bay Head
, the Toms River, near Forked River, behind Long Beach Island, etc. From Sandy Hook to Atlantic City should be about 2 travel days. If you are making 10 knots you will have a pretty easy time of it, although there are a number of stretches behind Long Beach Island with restricted speeds (5 MPH if I remember correctly). Practically speaking there are no draft limitations for your case, although there are quite a few places where strict attention must be paid to the chart, particularly near Manahawkin and in the vicinity of Little Egg Inlet.
Once at AC you must decide whether to continue inside or run offshore
to Cape May. The offshore route
is approximately 38 NM from the inlet to Cape May Harbor. Inside, you must be able to negotiate the fixed bridges mentioned above. More importantly, the ICW between AC and Cape May is known for much shoaling and many speed-restricted portions. Very few traveling boats use this route
, and of course practically no saliing boats.
If you do decide to travel some of this route inside, you will most likely enter at "The Squan" and exit to the outside at AC and continue on to Cape May. It's a lovely ride at this time of year, especially with light traffic. It is however not designed for "making time."