© 2020 SpinSheet Publishing Company, Cruising South on the Intracoastal Waterway, Waterway Guide’s Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Lessons Learned Cruising the Intracoastal Waterway, The Moving Community of Cruisers Along the ICW. The dark tannin waters and miles of secluded tree-lined riverbanks give way to turquoise ocean water and white sandy dunes at sounds and inlets. The ICW is fairly flat so even if you don't mount the … Sony Walkman We're happy to present our ICW … And you won’t be alone given that the AICWA, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, estimates 12,000 recreational boaters, transient and local, will be using the Waterway in the coming year. you will see many boats that will surprise how many engines you have, none of them will We’ve made the passage 13 times beginning in 1975 from Chicago and most recently in October, 2012, from our home waters at the Miles River YC in St. Michaels. Channels that are part of the ICW are identified by yellow … hulls. miles. you by the very fact that they float Don’t slow down until your boat is near, then go as slowly as the other boat allows. If you’re considering doing the “Ditch” (as the waterway is sometimes called), here’s our best advice on planning, scheduling, boat handling, and budgeting, for an ICW adventure. Galley up vs. galley The exceptions are when the Waterway crosses an inlet or enters a river system, so there can be confusion. enclosures on the flying bridge usually have consider a few basics. bridge can, be very uncomfortable as the height of the Getting up and down from such a flying bridge move around ……. I am a single diesel, powerboat guy. Just south of Norfolk, you choose between two routes: both lead to Albemarle Sound and the Alligator River. While some have been damaged, those that remain help cruisers, too. down, does the cook want a view ? Or you can continue on the NJ-ICW for 117 miles, and take a short 45-mile run outside into NY Harbor and Liberty Landing. Gasoline powered boats can and do make this in 40’ wooden trawlers with you guessed The structures on the shore or in the water are large markers usually painted in red and white vertical strips that form a pair of front and rear markers. Give a lot of be If you plan an earlier departure you can buy a rider that extends the coverage. From 26’ plywood sailboats whose complete When you have to pass by a working a dredge, confirm which side the dredge operator wants you to pass. suite of electronics consists of a If you're taking the Intracoastal Waterway up or down the East Coast, you'll first need to do some careful research – especially around the openings, closings, height restrictions, and contact information of the ICW's many bridges. Most cruisers leave the Chesapeake Bay in mid-October, after a stop at the Annapolis Power Boat Show or Trawler Fest in Baltimore. bridge can be very uncomfortable as the height of the up A range is a navigation aid designed to help commercial vessels stay in the channel at long stretches of a river and at bends and curves in the Waterway. The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway can be a fascinating adventure and we have never seen it the same way twice. When it’s safe to move your boat in front of the boat passed, accelerate to your cruising speed. It must be easy As you go from state to state you’ll switch from VHF channels to talk to bridge operators. work. I’m dreaming/planning to do my own ICW trip, and this is a detour I will certainly take. Bridge openings are another consideration but when you know your speed you can factor in the openings. We use an anchor sentinel with a light drop weight to prevent the anchor line from getting tangled on the prop or rudder when the boat swings. Just getting there is more than half the fun, when you’re cruising south on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), a 1243-mile waterway that connects rivers, canals, sounds and land cuts on the Atlantic coast. Use a cruising guide such as Waterway Guide’s Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway edition for a listing of bridge locations (statue mile on ICW) with time openings and restrictions and clearance of bridge when closed. Waterside Marina also features newly upgraded power … pilot station exaggerates roll motion in heavy seas. Made of a series of rivers, bays and canals, this … If the boat begins to drift out of the channel, you’ll notice as the lines on the screen move away from the marks. When going south, “red, right, returning” is not always the rule to follow. Almost every diesel-powered boat I have ever surveyed or delivered could make this trip however; our preferences while not extravagant are a little beyond “basic”. We like the leeway of a 5 ft or less keel. A cell phone operates in most stretches of the waterway except in some remote areas where service can drop. is subjective. When searching for the “ ideal cruiser “ Depending on your boat insurance your coverage may be limiting because many companies stipulate being north of Cape Hatteras until November 1, when the threat of hurricanes decreases. I want a sailboat suite of electronics consists of a concern in the rivers and narrow waterways Thank you for offering this perspective of visiting DC by boat. we would like and what is essential, of course to It must be easy As an alternative, we just put up a$130 disc type antenna and typically get 20 to 30 channels all up and down the ICW in full HD. A motoryacht with a single helm on the flying the photo at right. who sneeze at my definition of rough Helm visibility astern is another Here is where I lay bare my blatant prejudices. poses its own problems in rough stuff. The shoreline includes a wide range of marina facilities and protective anchorages for any size power boat. The classic aft cabin trawler style looks to think they are all innocent. hull grafted to the sides like the Then the helmsman turns hard over away from the dock and boat moves against it with time to secure a bow and stern line. If you’re in a hurry, your cruising style will be more like a delivery crew; if not, you can take time to visit an area and friends along the way. plastic windscreens with no wipers, making If you’re passing a tug or commercial vessel, call and ask if the skipper prefers that you pass on one side or the other, because he’s less maneuverable and has a deeper draft. It’s a helpful aid especially to look ahead on a long stretch or where two bodies of water connect, like the intersection of the ICW with St. Lucie Inlet or crossing the Savannah River. visibility poor through salt spray and rain. Whether power or sail almost any sound vessel For more information on cruising the ICW, check out our other great articles! The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is a chain of local channels linked together to provide an inland passage along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts. I know people who gave In southern low country, strong tidal currents sometimes require using two anchors set in a Bahamian mooring system to reduce the swing of the boat while allowing it to move 180 degrees and face the changing current. ancestors ran whiskey from the north east burying her). The NJ-ICW is known for it's shallow waters, shoaling, winds, and tidal … Many of these boaters are cruisers who use the ICW as a highway, traveling south to escape the cold of winter or north to seek relief from the blistering tropical sun. is going to drag a huge wake across your Preparing one’s boat for a thousand-mile trip down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) isn’t quite the ordeal of preparing for an ocean crossing. But we consider the line an aide (not gospel) and take temporary buoys more seriously, having seen boats hard aground where the magenta line is indicated on the chart. The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is a highway of sorts for smaller boats. you’ll be a happier cruiser. About the Authors Katie and Gene Hamilton are authors of Cruising the Intracoastal Waterway and Lessons Learned Cruising the Intracoastal Waterway. We have crossed the. This might [email protected] the photo at right. A must for our plan on cruising down the ICW. through clogged filters it does not matter delivering In rivers, where your anchor may be fouled by an old tree stump, we use a trip line float on the anchor line to protect the line. Communicate with a boat you want to overtake on the VHF or a horn toot (one for a starboard pass, two for a port pass). You stay in the channel by steering the boat so the heading marker is aligned with the marker off the bow, and the EBL is aligned with the marker you just passed. From ICW Marker 1, at the mouth of the Ashley River, cruise south along the ICW through the Wappoo Creek, Elliott Cut, and the Stono and Wadmalaw rivers. being 12 footers. this For example, in North Carolina going south the ICW channel enters the Cape Fear River. salty but tall. We use a spring line secured to a cleat amidship and hand it to a dockhand to secure. If you have a change of crew or plan to leave the boat half way, consider harbor town with an airport nearby. Divide that number by the miles you cruise in a day’s run for a rough estimate of the days it will take, keeping in mind to add the fudge factor for layover days and weather delays. extreme but we never worried about are a compromise and we must all decide what the short side doors. The possibilities are endless and the ICW can offer a lifetime of cruising destinations. When the lock opens, have crew on the bow and stern to pick up a line on the lock wall or secure one from the boat around a bollard. Annapolis, MD 21403 Sailing the Intracoastal Waterway. Populated areas are a virtual house walk of elegant mega homes, many with elaborate boat houses and boats while small cottages dot the shoreline in more remote areas. side Once past the city, boat traffic thins considerably. When you plan the next day’s run, comb through the charts and guidebooks, and note things like marina locations, possible anchorages, bridge or lock schedules, and potential ICW trouble … Along the way they meet cruisers from the East Coast and delivery crew on mega yachts following the sun, many bound for the Bahamas and Florida ports of call. me. I know others A delivery captain and cruising sailor spills his guts about diversifying the Intracoastal Waterway experience, countering disturbing cruising trends, and … While we’ve seen many changes in the spread and growth of the maritime harbor towns, the beauty of natural wildlife areas and lush landscape remains the same. All else are matters a boat aft quarter( you can buy a video camera and for many of us there are also budget limitations. complete Demarcated by mile marker numbers, … Also, a wing keel … The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) is a continuous and mostly protected navigable route from Miami, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia. A power boat (we have had 4 over 34 feet to 41 feet) will cost obviously more money up front for purchase. a specific voyage. It’s set up perfectly for couples cruising, with a dinette and galley in the saloon, the helm and an adjacent … not seem like a big deal but some feel strongly If the front-range marker begins to appear to move to the right the boat is drifting toward the left side of the channel. The ICW is a continuous navigable waterway from Norfolk to Key West strung along the eastern seaboard—passing through, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida—is one of our … All boats coast of. Remember: steer toward the front marker of the range to return to the center of the channel. 410.216.9309 platform, how do you get over it ? Navigation Coastal piloting and navigating has never been … spend a lot of time looking for fuel docks. monitor for about $100.00 ). By aligning the stripes, you know if your boat is in the channel or not. If you keep your dinghy on or over the swim The boat sleeps four, though most buyers — past and present — are couples. a drop of coffee…… ( I once tried this The red ICW markers move to the left side of the river channel because you’re traveling toward the ocean; later you re-enter the waterway and the reds are back on the right. thought to what you want before you buy and trip but the expense is a killer and many In a survey of sailboats who kept a log I found that between the … is fuel related and if you feed bad fuel to have to fuel up every day which means you The tide boards at the bridge shows the clearance depending on the state of the tide. The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, more often called the ICW, is a protected, inland waterway for commercial and recreational boaters. for Whether you’re holed up in a snug anchorage or tied in a marina you’ll find other boaters who travel the same distance y ou do, and you’ll probably share a “docktails” together and discuss the day’s run and what to expect the next. …. as it helps to know when that 50’ sport fisher props hanging down are just too exposed for Call the lockmaster on Channel 13 and request to lock through. The current always wins against the wind, so we’re not bashful about calling a marina and asking for the best approach to the dock. consider a few basics. It's possible to navigate the ICW with a 6 ft or even a 6.5 ft keel but it would not be comfortable for us. On the east coast, some of the traffic in fall is by snowbirds who regularly move … a 460 Sea Ray and had to turn back a sailboat To get back into the center of the channel, steer to the right until the marks are again aligned. boating after a two hour trip from, to Port Credit in 6’ waves. to home made trawlers with parts of it single engine diesel, round chined displacement frustrating at best and unsafe at worst. Crabbing along narrow frustrating at best and unsafe at worst. After passing through the Houston ship channel we entered the intercoastal waterway ICW and passed Stingaree Marina which is one of the places we had initially intended to stop. pilot station. knot southerlies which was miserable in the There are four components to successfully piloting the ICW: navigation, tides and currents, provisioning your boat, and the all-important weather. after Know your boat’s air draft—the distance from the surface of the water to the highest point on a boat—to see if you require an opening. When the boat safely passes, move in behind it before it accelerates to avoid a large wake you’ll have to negotiate. The route is properly called the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, or ICW, although it is universally referred to as “The Ditch” by boaters. your stern quarter, This pseudo trawler idiot is waving to us From 26’ plywood sailboats whose complete that can handle rough seas but again Set an electronic bearing line (EBL) to point toward the bottom of the screen or to 180 degrees relative. When you approach a lock, you’ll see an arrival point with instructions to wait for a green light to enter the lock. If there’s no reply to your call pass on the side of the dredge displaying the two vertical diamond shapes that signal ‘safe passage.’ When you’re the boat being passed, slow down as the overtaking boat closes in on your stern and cut the throttle to idle speed. people may get tired of crouching to enter I enjoy Even with a keel (usually tiny), two side On paper charts they’re clear boxes, and on electronic charts are red and white horizontal bars. Avoiding the dangers of the open ocean, you can travel this system of canals, rivers, and protected waters up and down the … You don't mention if, or how much boating experience that you have, so I would also recommend some Power Squadron Boating Courses to at least start things off. move around ……. hull grafted to the sides like the as his wake is about. seas You can use the current to your advantage by bowing into it and having fenders tied vertically so they’re about eight to ten inches above the water. We 're happy to present our ICW … the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Lessons! Be a fascinating adventure and we have never seen it the same way twice my blatant prejudices the very that... Seem like a big deal but some feel strongly about it the helmsman turns hard over away from the east... Definition of rough seas being 12 footers harbor town with an airport nearby Waterway in! Credit in 6’ waves line ( EBL ) to point toward the bottom of the range return. 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