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nelsonsmoody 06-05-2006 09:56 PM

Height Iwc Bridges And Depth Of Water
Does Anyone Know The Lowest Bridge? My Mast Is 57' And My Boat Draws 6'. Am I Too Tall Or Too Deep For The Iwc? Any Information Or Web Sites W/info. I Sail In Long Island Sound Ct. , Block Island Sound Ri And Ma.

camaraderie 06-06-2006 11:04 AM

ICW depth and bridges
I assume you mean the ICW from Norfolk to Miami annd not the W. Coast of FL or Gulf coast which are quite a bit more shoal and have lower bridges.
From Norfolk to Miami you will have NO problems with bridges except for the Julia Tuttle bridge in Miami...You can avoid this by going outside from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami which is a daytime trip in good weather and is a heck of a lot more pleasant than negotiating the 17 opening bridges between the two cities.
Depths will be much more of an issue for you as shoaling in numerous spots and lack of dredging has increased. We too have a 6ft. draft and very recently came north on the ICW without bumping BUT...
  • We did a LOT of pre-planning and knew the trouble spots before trying them. Skipper Bob's guide and website is a must have and Tom & Mel Neals bi-weekly updates on the Forum under East Coast Alerts are critical. We marked up our charts accordingly and planned our daily trips to take advantage of tides where needed. Since GA and SC have 8ft can get through anywhere if you can wait.
  • We DID go offshore between Georgetown SC and Beaufort NC as we judged the shoals and lack of enough tidal help too difficult in Southern NC at Lockwoods Folly and Little River Inlet. Trip was an easy "overnighter" in settled weather. This may not be an issue by the time you go as dredging is planned for both these areas.
  • You also need to get the hang of buoy to buoy motoring on the ICW, making rounded turns and staying in the channel despite wind/current and distances between markers. We've seen numerous boats with shallow drafts aground in places where plenty of water was just a few yards away. Looks easy but motoring for 10 hours a day...a few moments of inattention can result in a grounding.
Hope this helps...Have a great trip and try to allow time for exploration as there are lots of great little and big towns along the way!

4square 06-11-2006 10:59 PM

I am in S. Carolina right now. 57 feet is no problem for any fixed bridge on ICW. 6ft draft will get you on the bar if you don't pay attention to ALL your data ALL the time. We draw 5ft 6inches and have bumped 3 times so far. All due to our own inattention. It is a full time job for the two of us. Jack D

nelsonsmoody 06-14-2006 07:01 PM

thank you both.
I have some research to do.
the information was every helpful.
once again thank you

JagsBch 01-25-2007 09:05 AM

Boy this is not cool. I have a 6' draft to contend with.

PBzeer 01-25-2007 09:47 AM

As a side note.....lowest fixed bridge west of New Orleans is 71', except for one 48 footer that is bypassed by the GIWW Alternate between Rockport and Corpus Christi. Depths are fairly constant at 12 feet mid-channel, but can shoal steeply towards the banks.

camaraderie 01-25-2007 10:48 AM

Jags...the key is careful navigation. Dredging has taken place in NC and the really bad areas are fixed. No bumps even with 6ft. this past April/May.

Vasco 01-25-2007 11:32 AM


Just went under the Julia Tuttle (lowest bridge on ICW) last month with a Whitby 42 ketch, a Morgan 382? (the Brewer designed one) and a Beneteau 423, I was in a Ben 393. Everyone got under ok. I went through the center draw and the others went through the span west of the center draw. We measured the sticks the day before but I forget the exact measurements. The spans on either side have good water and are a foot or two higher than the center span. They say the east span is even higher than the west one. We usually go outside from Lauderdale to Miami but it was blowing so badly we decided to go inside rather than wait for weather.

chuck5499 01-25-2007 01:02 PM

Vasco -- what was the highest mast height you took under the tuttle bridge - i am in miami and have a 56' mast on a 40' Jeanneau and thought a few times of trying it on the west side at low tide but have not yet
chuck and s/v soulmates

Vasco 01-25-2007 01:18 PM


I don't think you'll have a problem. (easy for me to say :)) The east side is higher than the west side. We went through at higher than half tide if my recollection is correct. I think the 423's mast was about 57 ft with his vhf antenna. If you go through the west span stick close to the east as it gets lower towards the west, vice versa for the east span. When you get close it's easy to see where the maximum height is.

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