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Old 19-03-2020, 15:27   #1
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Motoring the ICW with limited experience

Hi!

My husband and I recently bought a boat. It is located in Norfolk, VA and we are in charleston, SC. My husband has been on sailboats a handful of times and we both took the basic keelboating course. However, I dont feel that confident. My husband seems to think we should be perfectly fine motoring it down the ICW with the limited experience we have. Does this sound reasonable or would hiring a skipper be a better idea? Thanks!
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Old 19-03-2020, 15:40   #2
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

it takes no skills to motor the ICW and cause nauseous emissions

I regularly sail the ICW on boats without engines. I suggest you sail off shore because it is generally much less work and you arrive much sooner.
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Old 19-03-2020, 15:43   #3
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtinjulianna View Post
Hi!

My husband and I recently bought a boat. It is located in Norfolk, VA and we are in charleston, SC. My husband has been on sailboats a handful of times and we both took the basic keelboating course. However, I dont feel that confident. My husband seems to think we should be perfectly fine motoring it down the ICW with the limited experience we have. Does this sound reasonable or would hiring a skipper be a better idea? Thanks!
No problem

You will have fun , plenty of nice places to stop

Avoid night passages

Learn about bridges

Get comfortable with the vhf Ship to ship and ship to shore

Mind your manners ... for instance . when a vessel needs to overtake you , proper manners is for you to slow down and let him pass

Keep your speed and wake down

Say hello to commercial traffic ... this tells them that you are alert
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Old 19-03-2020, 15:46   #4
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

This was in the off topic forum, so I moved it to general sailing.
If your in a normal boat, be sure to get first tow Insurence either Boat US or Seatow, and I would recommend something that has active captain on it, whether an IPad or tablet and maybe Aqua Map or other nav software.
You will be fine, good thing about the ICW is you can go as slow as you like and don’t have to “push” things, offshore and Wx can turn ugly and that without experience can get ugly, especially when the closest harbor is a day or more away.

If your in a large Uber expensive boat with a huge Insurence coverage, maybe your Insurence Co would want a pro?

65’ is considered about tallest stick for the ICW and depending on where you are, I’d want 7’ or less draft.
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Old 19-03-2020, 16:30   #5
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

No problem provided both of you are comfortable behind the wheel since it will always have to be manned (no turning on auto-pilot and using the head).
I just did it for the first time (with a bit outside as well) this year and mostly enjoyed it.
I had an iPad with Navionics which was really useful. I also have a Garmin chartplotter but found having ActiveCaptain built into Navionics was really useful, almost necessary. Reason being is you can't always figure out at the start of the day where you'll be before end of day so need that info on anchorages or marinas handy.
Buy a handheld VHF since you'll be monitoring it constantly as other boat traffic will contact you to request a pass or for bridges. That's another reason Navionics was so useful as it gave me all the bridge info I needed (clearance or opening times or how to request an opening). My mast is 58' so no worries about fixed bridges - I'd be on pins and needles anything over 63' and not doable at 65'+.
Enjoy!
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Old 19-03-2020, 16:37   #6
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

No reason why you cannot try a day or two and if you do not feel comfortable then get a delivery skipper.
Try and not let your husband be a helm hog. I am twice the weight of my wife so its much easier if I am the deck boy while she helms our yacht.
Cheers
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Old 19-03-2020, 17:47   #7
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

Motor down the ICW to Morehead City NC. You can get good chances to hoist the sails in Albemarle and Pamlico sounds. From Morehead it's easy to take a couple day sails out in the big blue to gain some confidence. After a couple nice days, you'll probably be comfortable making the outside jump - you could take a couple days straight to Chaz or take an overnighter to Southport, enjoy a couple days of there, then do another overnight jump home. Watch the weather, see the sights, get comfortable learning your own boat - and have fun.
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Old 19-03-2020, 18:00   #8
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

Congrats! A few nice long days of tedium motoring down the ICW is actually not a bad way to start shaking down your boat Nothin stopping you from a throwing a few sails up along the way as well.

If you have a diesel onboard, especially one that has been sitting for a while, make sure you replace the fuel filters. Also have spares onboard and know how to change them out in a pinch. Clean the tanks and the fuel lines if you can. You'll eliminate the majority of issues you might encounter with the engine if you know you're giving it clean fuel.

Have fun!
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Old 19-03-2020, 18:17   #9
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

Get the Waterway Guide. Practice docking and undocking. Use YouTube- lots of good tutorials. Get the Waterway Guide.
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Old 20-03-2020, 07:31   #10
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

Boy. Boat_Alexandra, that's a bit judgemental, not to mention questionable, advice to someone who stated they are oflimited experience and nervous.
Folks, go for it in the ICW and listen to the helpful good advice offered by other respondents.
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Old 20-03-2020, 08:16   #11
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

Some of the most enjoyable cruising experiences we have ever had were motoring on the ICW.

Get tow insurance, make sure you understand the rules of the road with regard to barge tows (you want to know what the heck they mean when they ask for a two whistle pass on the radio, for instance) and go for it!
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Old 20-03-2020, 08:30   #12
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

Go Slow, I'm a holder of the Merchant Mariner Master Credential and have completed ASA 101 through 106. I have recently delivered 2 yachts from Conn. to Key Largo. Stop at Coin jock and have the prime rib and Hanks in Charleston for the shrimp and Grits. If your husband and you would like, I will accompany you on your journey, free of charge. Just provide hot coffee in the morning and food and I would love to guide you home. I'v done it, studied it and would love to help you. Actually, getting on a boat would be a pleasure as my Tartan isn't set to get splashed until May. Anthony Addeo 516.978.0072
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Old 20-03-2020, 08:35   #13
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

We have completed the ICW a few times, and my suggestion is that you begin your travels each day just before low tide, and travel only on a rising tide. That way if you run aground (and you will), the rising tide will easily lift you off. Between navigation and other boat traffic, you will need to concentrate a fair amount, so plan to limit your travel to about 6 hours per day.
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Old 20-03-2020, 08:49   #14
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

Given your lack of experience and confidence, with a boat that is new to you, I'd recommend that you get a captain to go with you the few days it would take to get to Morehead City. Maybe one of your instructors would make a deal to teach you your boat.

You can probably do it on your own, but there will be stressful moments that can be avoided.

Be sure to check out your captain's references. One of my friends with a lot of experience in boats to 60 ft hired a captain for his initial ICW voyage on his new 84 ft powerboat. The 'captain' ran him aground in the first 3 hours and bent the props.
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Old 20-03-2020, 08:49   #15
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Re: Motoring the ICW with limited experience

The most common inconvenience during ICW cruising in the Southeast is soft grounding on the shifting sand and mud. Play close attention to your position where there are cans and nuns marking a channel as these are moved to adjust for changes in the depth. Because of this DO NOT rely on following the magenta line on a chart plotter, but use your direct observation to follow the best laid curve between the reds and greens. The use of parallax (the relative movement of the distant shore beyond a marker) can be critical to your success when there are changing cross currents. Remember that you will not always be heading in the direction your vessel is pointed due to these currents. Note that you will maintain a course directly toward a marker if the background shore shows no relative movement to the marker. To pass at the center between to opposing red and green markers each should appear to move further abeam at the same rate during your approach. This simple use of parallax is often overlooked. Most people who run aground in the ICW have deep water port or starboard of their track.
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