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Old 07-15-2016, 08:16 AM   #61
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The horror stories of the ICW are unfounded.



Understand your charts and don't believe the magenta line.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:42 AM   #62
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I second Pgitug's comments regarding the ICW. For the past 2 years I was a co-leader for the SAIL ICW rally. We guided 20 boats south each year. I have had a chance to use a variety of charts and guides. The Doyle "CruiseGuide to the ICW", is a piloting guide and it is exceptional. No glitz, no advertisements just the facts, and unlike any other guide it can be used going north and south. Skipper Bob is bit out of date and has errors. The Doyle anchorage guides are far better. Anyone headed south in the fall ought to check into the Hampton VA Snowbird Rendezvous. The city puts on a great event with social events as well as ICW and cruising seminars.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:47 AM   #63
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Understand your charts and don't believe the magenta line.
The magenta line was first created in the 1920's.It was hand drawn on charts that were created with transits and chains. Those charts are amazingly accurate given the technology at the time.but with today's highly accurate GPS systems, the charts may actually be wrong by a hundred feet or more. Further, NOAA is unable to keep up with the rapidly changing topography and hydrography near inlets, so those who try to follow exactly on the magenta line are going to run aground. It was never intended to be a chartplotter route. It merely is like a trail of bread crumbs. Those who follow it like a chartplotter route are going to have trouble!
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:50 AM   #64
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The Doyle guides weren't around when we were cruising the ICW but I have looked at them and the website, even met the Doyles once, and I'd have to agree they are the current gold standard. I personally prefer relying on sources that have some accountability vs "crowd sourcing" from anonymous strangers of unknown ability or integrity. We also prefer to make our own decisions about where to go, based on available facts (such as the LNMs, COE, and other named, accountable trusted sources) rather than follow the crowd.

There were a few times when we weren't in synch with the tide, and used that as an opportunity to try a new anchorage and wait it out so we could pass through places like Little Mud River with zero stress. But for us, the journey was the destination.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:50 AM   #65
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With young children and an inexperienced wife you are, for all intents and purposes, solo. Your crew redundancy is non existent. Any reduced capacity on your part and this will become a "situation". Dropping the hook in the ditch and calling for help on a cell phone is one thing. Outside it escalates quickly.

Like inside, the weather outside can change, quickly. The corresponding change in sea state is exponential compared to inside. Getting back in can be uncomfortable at best. Inlets, as discussed ad nausea above, can be VERY tricky. When in doubt, stay out.

As someone pointed out, getting in and out can be a lot of miles.... and miles are time.

All that said, I have rounded Hatteras several times, both solo and with crew. Many of it in flat calm in the middle of the night, some of it not so calm and quite "sporting". I have taken the wife and kids on the big water, although much further South in Florida where the inlets are more frequent and closer together.

It's all part of the experience.

Note, mine was a 42 foot sail boat with a 12,000 pound keel. You didn't tell us what you have. 1 or 2 screws? (Semi) displacement hull? Weight? Sea Ray or KK makes a BIG difference.
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Old 07-15-2016, 11:00 AM   #66
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Understand your charts and don't believe the magenta line.
You are not and never really were supposed to believe the magenta line. It was and is just a reference line. Not an exact course line.

Thinking you need, should, follow it exactly is where so many people go wrong.
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Old 07-15-2016, 11:10 AM   #67
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I second Pgitug's comments regarding the ICW. For the past 2 years I was a co-leader for the SAIL ICW rally. We guided 20 boats south each year. I have had a chance to use a variety of charts and guides. The Doyle "CruiseGuide to the ICW", is a piloting guide and it is exceptional. No glitz, no advertisements just the facts, and unlike any other guide it can be used going north and south. Skipper Bob is bit out of date and has errors. The Doyle anchorage guides are far better. Anyone headed south in the fall ought to check into the Hampton VA Snowbird Rendezvous. The city puts on a great event with social events as well as ICW and cruising seminars.
Chris Doyle has his own ICW guide?
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Old 07-15-2016, 11:39 AM   #68
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Mark and Diana Doyle.

And whoops, apparently the very integrity they showed in running their operation has now led them to close it!

On the Water ChartGuides | Home of On the Water ChartGuides Foundation
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Old 07-15-2016, 01:03 PM   #69
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I think every body of water, every location is said by someone to be bad. The ICW dirty and shoals, the PNW too rough, Fort Lauderdale too crowded, Long Island Sound dangerous. They all hold something in common. They are great places for boating if you're prepared. It's that simple. The first time in an area you spend time learning all you can before starting and then you're very cautious. I've stopped completely before and sat a moment because something just didn't feel right. Well, it wasn't right. The floods had raised water levels so it was much changed from normal. I got my bearings and resumed. The first time going out and around Hatteras I made sure conditions were absolutely perfect. Since, I've gone in more normal conditions. 10' swells off the coast of Washington were entirely new to me. But the period was so long that they were nothing as I would have thought.

I think most people are well intended and want to be conservative in their recommendations. However, sometimes caution turns into fear mongering. Also, some are intimidated by areas they haven't been and perceive and report things worse than they really are.

There is no where you can go in a boat that can't potentially be dangerous. However, all the places we talk about here can be enjoyed under the right conditions.

As to ICW in or out, both can be fun. A mixture can be enjoyable. However, either can be safe and enjoyable.
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Old 07-15-2016, 01:37 PM   #70
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The first time going out and around Hatteras I made sure conditions were absolutely perfect. Since, I've gone in more normal conditions.
Curious as to what your origination point and destination(s) were.
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Old 07-15-2016, 01:40 PM   #71
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The fact is, crowd-sourcing works for this type of data. The people who don't like it seem to either have a competing product (although they're all disappearing) or they have some personal beef with me.

ActiveCaptain's relationship with NOAA is on year 4. They modify the magenta line when they update charts now because of ActiveCaptain - examples abound. MCGA in the UK does the same thing (since February) for their official nautical charts. I've been asked to be an advisor to NOAA for crowd-sourced information. There's more coming and NOAA wants to start collecting some itself (depth, tide, wind effects). There's a beta program in place through Coastal Explorer right now. There's also an IHO (international) group working on the collection of crowd-sourced information as well and I'm involved with them through NOAA.

The ICW has become easy with these internet tools that integrate into your navigation products for offline use (so no internet connection is needed). I honestly haven't touched bottom on the ICW since ActiveCaptain began in 2007 with the 6' draft of aCappella (I did touch and ground before then on the ICW). I'm TowBoatUS's best customer because I buy their unlimited package every year and never make any use of it. Red Head draws only 4.5 feet but you can bet I'll still be checking every hazard along the way to stay out of trouble.

The cat's out of the bag with crowd-sourced information. It's the best info you can get when you're in an environment that's changing. You just have to know how to use it and put a little thought into the evaluation. That's true when you buy something on Amazon, pick a restaurant on TripAdvisor, or consider a hazard on ActiveCaptain.
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Old 07-15-2016, 02:15 PM   #72
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I think every body of water, every location is said by someone to be bad. The ICW dirty and shoals, the PNW too rough, Fort Lauderdale too crowded, Long Island Sound dangerous. They all hold something in common. They are great places for boating if you're prepared. It's that simple. The first time in an area you spend time learning all you can before starting and then you're very cautious. I've stopped completely before and sat a moment because something just didn't feel right. Well, it wasn't right. The floods had raised water levels so it was much changed from normal. I got my bearings and resumed. The first time going out and around Hatteras I made sure conditions were absolutely perfect. Since, I've gone in more normal conditions. 10' swells off the coast of Washington were entirely new to me. But the period was so long that they were nothing as I would have thought.

I think most people are well intended and want to be conservative in their recommendations. However, sometimes caution turns into fear mongering. Also, some are intimidated by areas they haven't been and perceive and report things worse than they really are.

There is no where you can go in a boat that can't potentially be dangerous. However, all the places we talk about here can be enjoyed under the right conditions.

As to ICW in or out, both can be fun. A mixture can be enjoyable. However, either can be safe and enjoyable.
Good take. When I was 25 years old, I regularly fished off of Cape Fear in a 20 foot boat, single engine, no GPS (only Loran C), CB radio, barely enough fuel for the round trip (we carried an extra 12 gallons in a portable tank). Never got towed, never got seriously scared. Broke the Loran antenna one day, and ran in 20 miles with only a compass.

Maybe God saves drunks and fools (sometimes we were both, in the same day), but in this day of EPIRBS, GPS, and instantaneous smart-phone communication, we may have become overly cautious.

I apologize in advance for the thread drift.
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Old 07-15-2016, 02:25 PM   #73
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There is also excellent information available on waterwayguide.com and on cruisersnet.net. We have great and current charts but still look at the latest from these three resources (including Active Captain) when cruising the ICW. It may just be something new one person encountered yesterday and posted to one of the three sites. I've always believed in using all available information. Some may see it as information overload but I don't see it that way. It takes five minutes to look to see anything recent. You see reports of a missing marker and hazard from two days ago or someone who just passed through an area and found depths less than charted. And many times I look and see no new hazards reported.

One day perhaps all the information will be in one place, but until then we look in multiple places.

I definitely agree with Jeff on the contribution of crowd sourcing. Through other boaters is the only way to get the latest information. You have hundreds of thousands of people looking for any issues as opposed to a few. And it's easy to get someone else verifying their information.

In this age of communication, more and more we live on the basis of information from others just like us. I know that I look at reviews online of most anything I buy. It's saved me many times. I don't know that I've ever stopped at a marina that I didn't look at their reviews on Active Captain. Sometimes the value is something as simple as one person advising the south dock is much quieter than the north.

The fear of crowd sourcing has always been someone putting in bogus information. Well, it's not nearly the problem I would have thought it would be and it's easy to recognize.

We are in an information age. I love it. I think of the person here who posted asking about Skagway and getting immediate responses in addition to what is own Active Captain.

This thread is a great example of crowd sourcing on a very small scale. Yes, conflicting views, but informative. You do have to sort through it.

I imagine 20 years ago. I wasn't out here cruising. However, you wanted to know if there were any issues between Southport and Myrtle Beach on the ICW. How did you find someone who had been there recently? I find today's advanced electronics valuable, but I find the information from others also valuable.
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Old 07-15-2016, 02:32 PM   #74
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Good take. When I was 25 years old, I regularly fished off of Cape Fear in a 20 foot boat, single engine, no GPS (only Loran C), CB radio, barely enough fuel for the round trip (we carried an extra 12 gallons in a portable tank). Never got towed, never got seriously scared. Broke the Loran antenna one day, and ran in 20 miles with only a compass.

Maybe God saves drunks and fools (sometimes we were both, in the same day), but in this day of EPIRBS, GPS, and instantaneous smart-phone communication, we may have become overly cautious.

I apologize in advance for the thread drift.
I use all those modern conveniences. However, I filter some of the information I receive. I know I consider conditions mild that others consider very rough. I guess somewhere along the line...actually I know when it was. It happened in October 2000 when I met someone....I lost my fear of the unknown. The old me would never have tried a zip line on Catalina and then another one later in our trip. I'm scared of heights in general. I was frightened the first time. However, I got a chance to view the area in the most incredible way. I experienced something the old me never would have. I strongly discourage foolhardiness but I've learned not to fear the unknown. I do try to educate myself on it in advance though.
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Old 09-30-2017, 02:30 PM   #75
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speaking of information - anybody have recent experience in
Moriches Bay
Moriches Inlet
Shinnecock Inlet

for a 3.5' draft sedan?
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Old 09-30-2017, 02:55 PM   #76
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Moriches has often been a little sketchy and apparently now more than ever.

Severe Shoaling At Moriches Inlet Poses Danger To Boaters - Remsenburg - 27east

I'd advise contacting the local branch of your towing service for current local knowledge
as well as the CG.
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Old 09-30-2017, 04:04 PM   #77
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Moriches has often been a little sketchy and apparently now more than ever.

Severe Shoaling At Moriches Inlet Poses Danger To Boaters - Remsenburg - 27east
thanks for that, Caltexflanc. it adds to the bad news I found in two comments about Moriches Bay on ActiveCaptain.

I was planning to come from Great South Bay then up Shinnecock Canal to Great Peconic so I can get to Essex, CT via The Race. Shortens the trip and lets us explore a new area.

I thought if Moriches Bay is too shallow for my 3.5' draft then I'll go outside at Moriches Inlet, and back inside at Shinnecock Inlet. hmmmm
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Old 10-14-2017, 09:27 AM   #78
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update on this thread for Morriches Bay and inlet:
I found two boaters who live on Moriches Bay, one a delivery captain and the other a diesel mechanic. Both told me that the shoaling is the worst ever in the past year, and the bay and the inlet are basically impassable except at the highest tides for a local going very slow and picking their way through. Lots of running rig has been damaged trying to get through

The shoaling is so bad that the government has given up dredging.

They report that Shinnecock Inlet and the channel to the canal is being well-maintained.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:37 PM   #79
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Buy one of the Waterway guides. Then sit and flick through it.

While everyone is different, and boat differently, my suggestion would be:

Go inside and do the ICW once. In all likelihood you won't stop at all interesting locations during that trip, but you will get a flavor of the towns and anchorages. Then, on other trips south, if you feel that wasn't for you or the missus, go ahead on the outside weather permitting.

We will be going up to the Chesapeake next summer. We will go outside until Hilton Head because we have done the inside up to there a number of times. But after that we will probably stay inside as much as possible going north.

Then coming back we will probably go outside, only because that will allow us to spend a few days more in the Bay.
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Old 10-14-2017, 08:48 PM   #80
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Go inside and do the ICW once. In all likelihood you won't stop at all interesting locations during that trip, but you will get a flavor of the towns and anchorages. .
We prefer to get the flavor one location or area at a time. We go inside to cruise to specific towns. Each trip we'll do different stops. We want to eventually explore the entire ICW but just not on one trip.
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