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SeaQuinn 08-18-2012 10:20 PM

ICW in a Nutshell
can someone tell me where I can find out what the boat size restrictions are on the ICW.....from the Hampton area going south. What is the tallest mast size you can have? Draft?
How long does it take to I guess mostly motor a sailboat down the ICW to Florida?
Arenthere plentiful anchorages? How much planning needs to go into the planning for bridge openings, currents, tides, anchorages etc.
Is there a site that gives this info?

capta 08-18-2012 10:54 PM

Re: ICW in a Nutshell
I've done the ICW many, many times. From when it was over 100 draw bridges to about 12 years ago.
Controlling mast height is 64 feet, period. That means antennas, windex, everything; 64 feet from highest high tide of the year (before global warming, of course).
We used to be able to carry 10 feet from Miami to Norfolk, but I hear that three is too deep in some ares of NC or SC, but that is in areas where you might be able to go out an inlet & back in farther down, but you will need local knowledge. We had a great time at Elizabeth city (they had specials for us delivery captains to entice us in to stay) but I have heard you can't get in any more & several towns have gone bust from shoaling.
Navigation in the ICW must be done as if you were captaining a tug drawing 10 feet pushing a 250 foot barge. The Corps of Engineers puts banks around the marks so the barges can't hit them. Stay away from the marks!
I don't know your boat's speed, but you can encounter up to about 6 knots of current in places. If you're slow, find a place to anchor until the tide changes.
Watching & understanding the buoys is very important. As you head toward a town, you have "red right return", but if you pass an inlet it can change to green on the right, BEWARE. Channels cross the ICW and that further confuses things.
I always use a highlighter to mark buoys as I pass as there are many places that look similar (some of my deliveries were SF boats & we did 35 knots!).
Anchorages are available, but you must see if you can make them in daylight. I'd plan a few marinas into your budget. How long? How fast are you? Remember, unless you've got x-ray vision, it's daylight only. I wouldn't count on the tide/ current tables being accurate, especially around inlets.
I've been all over the world, but consider the ICW from Ft. Lauderdale to Norfolk to be one of the greatest trips anywhere.
Good luck and I envy you; we're 73' high.

SeaQuinn 08-18-2012 11:17 PM

Re: ICW in a Nutshell
We are 58 feet high and can motor at 7 knots. I would like to plan a trip for late fall to Florida and then back again. I don't mind doing some practice runs to try things out.
We draw about 4' 8" so is the dismal swamp possible or not?

ebs001 08-19-2012 07:26 AM

Re: ICW in a Nutshell
Some resourses that I would recommend are Skipper Bob books, "Marinas Along the ICW" and "Anchorages Along the ICW". The latter gives bridge information which you will require. You can order them on line at Home | Skipper Bob Cruising Guides On his site he also has waterway updates. Another resourse is The Active Captain here which is an interactive cruising guide book and excellent if you have internet aboard.
With your specs you can do the Dismal Swamp. They close the canal from time to time because of low water so check before heading that route. If you plan to go as far south as Miami note that the Jean Tuttle bridge just north of Miami was designed by a dyslexic engineer and has only 56 foot clearance instead of the usual 65 feet.

Silvio 08-19-2012 08:16 AM

Re: ICW in a Nutshell
I concur with everything above and will add that the Salty South East Cruisers Network is a very good source for current ICW conditions. Take the alerts posted as though you were getting the info from a friend at the dock, it may be current, may be outdated or may be that the conditions have changed since someone passed through the area. Check 'em out at Cruiser's Net

Seaduction 08-19-2012 09:03 AM

Re: ICW in a Nutshell
The ICW navigational markers are distinguished from other navigational aids by a gold colored square or triangle on the signage. Greens have a gold square; reds have a gold triangle.

bvander66 08-19-2012 09:18 AM

Re: ICW in a Nutshell
We have done the ICW 4 times now, 6' draft and 50' mast, no problems.
Ditto on Skipper Bob and Active Capt, two of the best resources for this trip.
With your draft dismal swamp should be no problem, to make sure check with corps of engr before you depart Norfolk.
Couple of hints, don't religiously follow the magenta line on chart plotter, use the marks and read the water. Have a mike or handheld vhf in the cockpit, makes life easier for bridges/barges.
In NC, Ga there are some real shallow areas, but with the 7+'tides easy to get past if you play the tides.

wingNwing 08-19-2012 10:36 AM

Re: ICW in a Nutshell
I'm starting to like this one almost as much as Skipper Bob's: ICW Detail OnTheWaterChartGuides It lists the anchorages but has a little less detail about them than Skipper Bob does, and makes up for it by including marinas, phone #s, helpful hints, and some stories about the places you pass through.

eherlihy 08-19-2012 11:50 AM

Re: ICW in a Nutshell

Originally Posted by Seaduction (Post 911481)
The ICW navigational markers are distinguished from other navigational aids by a gold colored square or triangle on the signage. Greens have a gold square; reds have a gold triangle.

Adding to the above post; Here is a picture of how it works;

SeaQuinn 08-19-2012 12:06 PM

Re: ICW in a Nutshell
Thanks for all the help and advice! I will definitely check out the guides.

For those who have done Norfolk to long should I allow for the trip?
How about Norfolk to Charleston SC?

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