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OfftheGrid 03-10-2013 05:26 PM

My wife and I hope to be sailing up the ICW leaving Corpus Christi Tx. the last part of the year. Being new to sailing do most people use the ICW to travel along the Gulf Coast ? We are both retired and in no big hurry to get to a set place at a set time. There seems to be alot to see along the ICW and we would like to see as much as possible. I have be using Active Captain and they show a few anchorages along the way. Any advise on places to see or places to avoid along the way would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in Advance.



PBzeer 03-10-2013 05:59 PM

Re: Icw
From Galveston, weather and skill permitting, I'd go out to the Gulf and up to the Sabine River, or if you can go overnight, the Calcesieu River. There's no good anchorages until just before Port Arthur/Beaumont, and there's a lift bridge the next day that requires a 4 hour notice if you're higher than 50'. The only other "bad" stretch is between the Mermetau River (a nice anchorage) and Morgan City. We followed a barge through the night on that stretch.

Barges will be your constant companion all the way to New Orleans.

ellenwhite2 03-10-2013 09:16 PM

Two very nice guides are: Cruising Guide to the Texas Southern and Central Coast by Jay and Buffy Corzine and Skipper Bobs Gulf Coast Edition. The Corzine's hail from Rockport and they have cruised all over So Tx coastal waters. Even with our 6' draft, we were able to come up the ICW from Rockport to FL with these guides and of course Active Captain. (Can't say enuf good about those guys!) We anchored or took a slip each nite. As stated previously, it can get tedious passing thru bridges, locks and dealing with barge traffic, but certainly is do-able. Hope this helps. Enjoy retirement!!

ellenwhite2 03-10-2013 09:19 PM

Oh and another plus for ICW passage in TX and LA especially: AIS! AIS!! AIS!! If you don't have it, seriously consider getting it!

OfftheGrid 03-11-2013 08:31 AM

Re: Icw
Thanks I'm sure this will be a great help.


RTB 03-11-2013 10:33 AM

Re: Icw
We are on a mooring ball here in Boot Key Harbor, waiting to cross to the Bahamas. We left Kemah, Texas on November 15. We travelled the ICW from Galveston to Pensacola. You will get used to the barge traffic quickly, and it's no big deal, really.

You can check our blog, and go back to the beginning post. On the map, it shows every stop that we made. I used Active Captain to plan our trip, as well as some advice from a friend from Texas, who was about 2 weeks ahead of us. Where is the Light Switch? | sailing away with R & B

All but one travel day after Pensacola was offshore, coastal cruising. Our airdraft is 50', and bridges determined that we go outside. We were able to do the ditch from Port St. Joe to Apalachacola, a nice short day travelling on a beautiful stretch.

If you want to get farther south, you'll have an overnight crossing from Apalachacola (or Carrabelle) to Tarpon Springs, or Clearwater Beach. It's going to be at least 145 nm, depending where you leave from, and your chosen destination.

Once in Clearwater, you can resume ICW travel to Ft. Meyer's Beach. From there, it's outside again, except a short trip inside from Marco Island to Ten Thousand Islands if you are shallow draft (4').

Go for it! It's a great trip with much to see.


OfftheGrid 03-12-2013 09:10 AM

Re: Icw
Thanks RTB this is the Info that my wife and I are looking for. We can't wait to cast of the lines and be on our way.


sunnyside 03-20-2013 02:59 AM

Re: Icw
If you go to there is a destination wiki site on the top left that I created using all the best information out there and my own personal data. Use that as an additional guide. Buffy and Jay book is great and we used it sailing to Army Hole on Matagorda Island where we meet them when he was writing his next edition.

I created a booklet of Cruising Destinations on the Gulf Coast called a Quickie as a pdf for your digital tablets and soon a waterproof booklet. I was so frustrated with the big textbooks of cruising info. So I created a quick reference guide for uptodate anchorages, restaurants, marina, weather, and cruising aids for each Gulf Coast state.

OfftheGrid 03-20-2013 10:06 PM

Re: Icw
Thanks Sunnyside all the info that i can get makes the Admiral feel safer. I am going to check out the site that you told me about. It sounds like it is loaded with great info.


sunnyside 03-22-2013 11:12 AM

Re: Icw
Great OfftheGrid, traveling the ICW is fun - best to get at least a AIS receiver to help communicate with oncoming barges because it gives their name and call sign to see how to pass. Just stay well away from their prop wash especially around any bend (north of Sargent) since it knocks up a lot of dirt that can block your water intake on your engine-killing the engine. We know from previous experience.

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