Hampton Roads Traffic Patterns - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast
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Old 04-20-2012
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Hampton Roads Traffic Patterns

Coming south from the Cheaspeake into Hampton Roads and into the Norfolk harbour reach channel, is it best to stay to the green markers' side? I know the navy is along that side and it would seem that I might be too close for comfort since I would want to be out of the main channel. Staying on the red side would seem to be exposed to more traffic plus you're going through a naval maneuvering area according to the charts.
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Re: Hampton Roads Traffic Patterns

It's been awhile, but I stayed far to port ( green side) but still in the channel.
We let the big ships pass us to our starboard.

When I was there, there were two navy gun boats cruising up and down just outside the channel between us and the fleet....watching us the whole way. I'm guessing you're only 50 to 100 yards from the fleet at that point.
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Re: Hampton Roads Traffic Patterns

I've been on both sides, with no notice taken by any authority. I would keep to the west side though (starboard going south).
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Re: Hampton Roads Traffic Patterns

I stay on the RED side when passing Norfolk Navy base. The reason is that the river makes a dogleg bend to port just south of base (and commercial docks) and if youre on the green side (Elizabeth River) it puts you 'head on' with oncoming traffic coming from Norfolk and many times these boats (especially the large tour boats) are moving a full speed and usually come close to 'cut the corner' of the dogleg leaving little room for a boat on the 'green' side to maneuver. These large 'tour' boats seemingly are usually 'racing' the commercial traffic and if a tour boat runs close to the point of the dogleg and a fast tug, etc. 'splits' from the corner of the dogleg .... it will leave you BETWEEN the two full speed boats coming almost head on.
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Re: Hampton Roads Traffic Patterns

Thanks for the responses. It's been 20 years since I've taken the boat down the ICW and at that time I anchored in Willoughby Bay. When leaving that bay the next morning I stayed on the green side going south since I did not want to venture out into the wider open expanses of the river with large traffic going every which way. This time I want to anchor at Hospital Point so going down the red side might be better even though it looks like I'll be exposed to more traffic.
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