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DrWelsh 02-28-2019 04:27 PM

Off Shore Georgia
We just purchased a Mainship 430 located near Annapolis, MD. We will be bringing her back to Florida beginning the Middle of March. I have been told the in intercostal in Georgia can be tricky and some have advised going off shore at Savannah. Thoughts...experience. If we do go outside is there an issue with the Gulf stream?

Sailor of Fortune 02-28-2019 04:39 PM

You'll be well inside the Gulfstream if you jump out at Savannah and reenter at Jax or St Augustine.

DrWelsh 02-28-2019 04:50 PM

Off Shore

caltexflanc 02-28-2019 04:59 PM

We've done Georgia both ways, as well as a combination of inside/outside in a bigger boat than your 430. We actually prefer the inside, as it is a cruising destination unto itself, with beautiful anchorages and interesting destinations, including many offshoots and alternatives of the ICW. It's not all that tricky, especially if you pay attention to the tides. Get a copy of the Waterway Guide Atlantic Intracoastal edition, and browse both their's and the Cruisernet websites.

It's certainly no trickier than many inside cruising areas of Florida.

O C Diver 02-28-2019 05:29 PM

Georgia AICW is very easy as long as you stay in the channels and as already mentioned plan your travel in the shallow areas with consideration to tides. I have done that stretch close to ten times being in most of the bad areas near low tide. There is no place that is fun to cruise when you're constantly watching the depth sounder. So, I make sure to avoid the bottom third of the tide cycle in the bad areas.

Also, if you're coming South in the Ocean in March, you may wait longer for a weather window than it takes you to travel the whole AICW in Georgia.


menzies 02-28-2019 05:43 PM

After you travel through the Rock Pile, the Georgia AICW will be a piece of cake!

BandB 02-28-2019 06:19 PM

Wifey B: What's your goal. If it's slow cruising and seeing the sites on the water then inside. If it's getting quickly to the next marina, then it's outside. If you're going to take weeks to cruise south, probably in. If you're trying to find the fastest way to head south then more out. :)

menzies 02-28-2019 06:23 PM

Why do I get this great urge to sing the Hokey Cokey?

djmarchand 02-28-2019 06:24 PM

March isn't the best time of year on the Chesapeake. Even April can be cold, windy and wet. The weather starts getting nice there in May.

I have done the Ga ICW maybe 6-8 times and I really don't like it. It is flat, windey and lots of salt grass as far as the eye can see. If the weather will allow I would go offshore.

After coming down the ICW you can head out from Hilton Head through Calibogue Sound or Port Royal Sound until you are in deeper water- 50' plus and then follow the coast down to Brunswick if you just want to do daylight legs or on to St Mary's inlet if you want to do an overnighter. Maybe all the way during daylight if you get an early start and can cruise at 12 or so knots. You will be inside of the Gulf Stream if you stay reasonably close to shore.


Ski in NC 02-28-2019 06:31 PM

I try to avoid Georgia ICW not because of safety concerns, but because it adds so many miles to the trip. If you have seen SC ICW, GA looks about the same. Lots of good inlets to duck in and out of.

No worries about hitting gulf stream current unless you go WAY out, like over 50nm. I just run where I am well clear of the shoals, something like 5nm off the beach.

psneeld 02-28-2019 07:52 PM

If you plan on anchoring up every night...the inside isn't a whole lot longer as getting far enough offshore to miss the shoals requires quite a bit of in and out versus south.

It really will depend on your cruising style (speed/hrs per day/overnights) and your interests.

The bad spots as Ted on Slow Hand described aren't all that bad but can be challenging at dead low.

Mark P 02-28-2019 08:31 PM

We use ICW around Hilton Head quite bit. For the part from Beaufort SC to Savannah, just follow the channel markers, all clearly marked. If you are outside and need to duck in near Hilton Head, I would use the Port Royal Sound at the north end of HHI, not Calibogue Sound at the sound end near Harbor Town. Port Royal is deeper and marked.
If you go south from Hilton Head on the ICW, the only area where you need to be extra careful is entering Fields Cut. If going south on the ICW, at the entrance of Fields Cut, you will pass G-47 on your port side, and G-48 on your starboard side. You will then see R48A that will appear to be about 50 feet from shore. You must then pass R48A ON YOUR STARBOARD SIDE going south. It looks out of place, it is not. See attached picture. My vessel's starboard side going north at Fields Cut is about 60-70 feet from shore. Look at all the water off the portsde of R48A - hopefully link works. 4258.JPG&scaleType=contain&width=1024"] 4258.JPG&scaleType=contain&width=1024

geoleo 02-28-2019 08:59 PM


Originally Posted by DrWelsh (Post 745120)
We just purchased a Mainship 430 located near Annapolis, MD. We will be bringing her back to Florida beginning the Middle of March. I have been told the in intercostal in Georgia can be tricky and some have advised going off shore at Savannah. Thoughts...experience. If we do go outside is there an issue with the Gulf stream?

Inside its way longer due to twisting ICA - also zillions of knats tall savanna reeds average 12 ft high. cant go safely at night lots of high currents---Very few places to stop. Outside much much faster - no Gulf stream---can go 24 hours a day ---- so a northerly breeze Ok--- best breeze of course would be from west if you are close in easterly OK if weather is calm Don't go if winds are over 12 from N-10 from east--12 from west and 10 from south.

menzies 02-28-2019 09:19 PM


Originally Posted by geoleo (Post 745176)
Don't go if winds are over 12 from N-10 from east--12 from west and 10 from south.


jefndeb 02-28-2019 09:26 PM

If you do slug up that ditch...try to go through "Hell Gate" and at least mid tide. Marker 87-92....

Daddyo 02-28-2019 10:15 PM

All good advise. Outside is great if conditions allow. Inside can be tedious and a bit monotonous.

psneeld 03-01-2019 06:32 AM

Like a lot of a mythical trip both inside and outside based on your speed and desired cruising day length.

See just how much time is really required to do both.

I have found that in a 6.3 knot boat and 6-8 hr travel days....there are only so many places to go in/out and the distances between the nearest marina/anchorage and offshore cruising course are pretty far so going outside is really not that much of a timesaver.

Also, in March, its a windy month with lots of strong, fast moving cold fronts. So keep an eye on wind speeds. But at that time of year I have never encountered many if any bugs, the marsh grass isn't a factor and with daylight getting longer...many of the larger sounds are navigable well into dark times as they are wide and deep. The tides are large but tidal currents seem to be no better or worse than some other areas...

Ski in NC 03-01-2019 08:15 AM

Yea, if you intend to duck into an inlet every evening to get anchorage, just stay inside. The miles wasted going in and out inlets from offshore makes that non productive.

When we are in travel mode going from NC south, we generally run offshore from Cape Fear to Fernandina. Either run fast (18-22kt) or if we run slow, we run all night and stay out.

menzies 03-01-2019 08:35 AM

Re nipping in and out - here is our journey outside in the opposite direction last summer, just to give you an idea of anchorages and distances.

Chesapeake! The Outside Run – With a Ton Of Fun Along The Way! |

And a couple of posts describing the inside run on the way back south.

jdud133 03-01-2019 08:43 AM

Everything is subjective. What do you want to accomplish during your cruise. We found the Georgia ICW to be easy. The anchorages are peaceful and beautiful. It was also less crowded that the rest of the ICW because so many people seem to be wary of travelling through Georgia. We went from the New River SC to Jacksonville Beach FL in three days with stops in the Wahoo River and Umbrella Creek to anchor. We draw 3.5 and travel at about 7.5 knots. We kept an eye on the tides but did not worry too much about depth. The Waterway guide was helpful in pointing out potential hazards.

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