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Old 09-27-2018, 07:53 AM   #1
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Delaware bay transit

We will be running up the bay from Cape May to the C+D canal in about two weeks. I've done it a few times but not in 5 or 6 years. I've always had good weather and tides. Also have always run the ship channel but am looking for advice on wether the over the flats route is worth doing. It's shorter but I wonder about crab and fish pots, shoals etc. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-27-2018, 08:16 AM   #2
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Yes there's crab pots and oyster stakes, but better than fighting ship traffic if a busy day.

If you REALLY need the current push then the channel is your better bet.

Depending on boat speed, about 3 hours after low tide works best for me or a half hour sooner. You get most of it once past False Egg Island Point anyway....and running out to Brandywine I think is a split decision anyway.

I am leaving in about 3 weeks and follow the weather closely as I will pick weather or tide after balancing the good and evil of both.
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Old 09-27-2018, 08:16 AM   #3
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I've only traveled the Delaware bay & river while staying in the ships channel because each of the 6 or so times I've done it I've been in a faster boat ,not a trawler, & short cuts weren't an issue (they certainly are now!). Regarding crab pots, on the Delaware as everywhere else,they're going to change location depending where the waterman are finding them that time of year. If you encounter a line of them at a certain depth, chances are they're going to be everywhere in that depth range. You'll probably be best off to wait until the date nears & see how the water looks at that time.
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Old 09-27-2018, 10:11 AM   #4
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We went down and then back up Delaware Bay a couple weeks ago. Mostly the shortest route over 15' or more water depth. IOW, mostly not in the channel. Had the current mostly with us, each direction, transit times chosen for that on purpose. (Once weather dates looked good.)

We ran down on plane to Cape May, came back from Lewes at trawler speed mostly due to fog.

Didn't see many crab pots. Definitely stayed outside the channel on the way back up in heavy fog.

Had some useful conversations with a couple northbound container ships and a couple southbound tugs as we came back north. They all seemed to be surprised that a rec boat was also on Channel 13.

FWIW, we stayed at Delaware City on the way over there, and then at Chesapeake City on the way back. Decent marina and restaurants available at both places.

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Old 09-27-2018, 11:30 AM   #5
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There are crab pots but not like the Chesapeake Bay. Come out of the canal jetties and head for Miah Maul light. If you leave an hour after low tide at 7 knots, you will have a favorable current all the way to the C&D canal entrance. Any wind 20+ will be a crappy short chop, especially NW.
When you get to the ship channel, keep 13 or 16 on and watch behind you. The smaller freighters run 20 knots all the way up to the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
Have a safe trip.
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Old 09-27-2018, 06:44 PM   #6
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Agree with all -
Play the wind and the tide together if you can.
You can come out of the CM canal and run in 15'+/- water and reach the shipping channel without issue. Don't stray to far east or you will be in REAL shallow water.
Crab pots on usually in a line that can be seen and you can run through.
Good luck
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Old 09-27-2018, 07:52 PM   #7
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I went much of the way down the bay in the channel and the angled over to the channel into Cape May. No issues with deprh, although I didn't do it at low tide. Regarding crab pots, the crab season is mostly over. Doubt you will see many.

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Old 09-28-2018, 05:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Yes there's crab pots and oyster stakes, but better than fighting ship traffic if a busy day.

If you REALLY need the current push then the channel is your better bet.

Depending on boat speed, about 3 hours after low tide works best for me or a half hour sooner. You get most of it once past False Egg Island Point anyway....and running out to Brandywine I think is a split decision anyway.

I am leaving in about 3 weeks and follow the weather closely as I will pick weather or tide after balancing the good and evil of both.
Fighting ship traffic? Geez, it's not like meeting or having to pass tugs with tows three barges wide on the Illinois River with just 30 yards on either side between the barge and the channel markers, several during a typical running day. The ship channel on the Delaware is PLENTY wide.
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Old 09-28-2018, 05:45 AM   #9
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Semantics...I'm sure he could've used inconvenienced or troubled or hassled or another adjective. I guess his point was it is fine to run outside of the channel but you have to be on the lookout for crab pot buoys instead of ship traffic.
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Old 09-28-2018, 07:19 AM   #10
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Or being contacted on the radio about my intentions.....whatever... I like to relax, not have to reach for the radio, and NOT get hit by 6 foot or more wakes from Reedy Point south...

But thats just me..... having towed through crowded, narrow parts of the ICW, yes I can manage to avoid the occasional commercial traffic in just my own single vessel AND look and sound professional about it...unlike many Delbay transient pleasure boaters being pleaded with by ships pilots for their intentions.

The OP did ask about transiting Delbay on the flats...which I do predominantly...and avoiding GIANT VLCCs just happens to be one of the added good things.
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:48 PM   #11
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I generally stay out of the channel for the reasons given above and have made that trip a lot over the years.
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Old 10-03-2018, 05:59 AM   #12
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Watch that jetty by Reedy Island.....

Hatteras 58 Hits Jetty and Sinks in Upper Delaware Bay, Same Area Where Nordhavn 47 Hit Jetty and Sank Two Years Ago | Cruising Odyssey
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:15 AM   #13
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That jetty catches a suprising number of people...yet.... I have no idea how unless they are trying to pass through it to get from/to the anchorage and never refer to a raster chart. AND..... then never identify the "gate" marks. Which is exactly what the Hatteras did wrong it sounds like.

It's kinda out of the way if you are just transiting.
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:18 AM   #14
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<<and never refer to a raster chart>> There's a lot of that these days....

So where IS the proper entrance to the anchorage? The "1" and "2" just South of the island?
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:24 AM   #15
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Yes....unless someone knows something new or different.

Just looked at the NOAA ENC chart viewer..... thats exactly why I use Raster charts until they put a log more work into any other type charts....that is as long as there IS a Raster for the area.
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Old 10-03-2018, 07:19 AM   #16
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Yep, another one bites the dike. Its submerged at mid to high tide. Some charting formats show it solid, some as only dashed lines. If you are zoomed in too much or did not look at it ahead of time, it kind of looks like a cable crossing.
Hope Creek Jetty and Pea Patch Island dike are also similar submerged "frequent fliers" for the local rescue companies.
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:04 PM   #17
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That's why I like Raster charts...clear, double dashed lines marked Reedy Island Dike...at all zoom levels...

Hard to miss.
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:49 PM   #18
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The S57 chart of the area clearly shows the jetty, as do the paper charts, as do the electronic raster charts, as does our Garmin chart plotter (an older version). There's a lot to be said for having several chart sources when navigating unfamiliar water for the first time, or at the very least consulting a paper chart! Hard lesson learned. We've anchored behind Reedy Island at least a half-dozen times in the past 20 years of boating; the jetty has always been there, as has the marked break for getting through the jetty. It's a nice, fairly protected, place to spend the night.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:28 PM   #19
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“Just looked at the NOAA ENC chart viewer..... thats exactly why I use Raster charts until they put a log more work into any other type charts....that is as long as there IS a Raster for the area.”

Plus 1 on Raster charts. Sh** disappears on Vector charts. Just sayin.
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Old 10-08-2018, 05:32 PM   #20
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The only reason to go through there is to anchor out behind Reedy. Did it once and there was a marked pass through on the dike. As I recall we had to wiggle through the northern channel to keep on our way. I liked anchoring over at the Cohansey better if wind conditions were right.
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