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Old 06-28-2014, 12:14 AM   #1
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Inlets on the East Coast

Just ran across this video of Fort Pierce Inlet. This is the one we use regularly. As inlets go it is a good one. The conditions shown are not at all unusual. It can be better or much worse. An ebbing tide can create havoc. One of the pecularities of the inlet is that with a SE wind the waves can break diagonally across the entrance. That makes it a little tricky to move off a wave, and make a steering correction at the same time. It will be trying to push you out of the channel.

I thought it would be interesting if some others could show their regular inlets.



Here's is another. Lou doesn't like it when solid water is going over the top of the boat.

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Old 06-28-2014, 02:26 AM   #2
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Great post. I hope others will post along with some commentary.
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:44 AM   #3
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This first is a sloppy inlet. In fact borderline to me to run for fun...rescue or emergency would be one thing...but the guy did a decent job of timing and boat handling from what I could see. It's labeled Hillsboro Inlet.

The next is labeled as a sloppy inlet...he should watch the first video. I think it's Great Egg Inlet in NJ and doesn't really get a whole lot better...

Goes to show different expctations, experience, mindset...etc..etc...

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Old 06-28-2014, 02:38 PM   #4
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I'm not one for drama at inlets. Here's me coming in from overnight to the Clearwater, FL inlet and docking at the Clearwater Beach marina - all time lapse.
http://youtu.be/4HpEOAI7ReU

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Old 06-28-2014, 03:39 PM   #5
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Geat Egg has it's challenges but I'm not sure if I would label it a sloppy inlet? It was dredged last year after Sandy. Now one north or Holgate aka Little Egg there's actually 2 paths in is a nasty inlet or what I would call sloppy. The North shoaling is almost out to the LEI Bell. It is quite interesting since it shoals to almost 3 miles off shore. I have seen plenty of sport fishing boats not attempting to come in via Little Egg hit the shoal more than 2 miles offshore. These are the same guys who don't keep their radio on channel 16 so no one including the commercial towers who sit out there waiting for their daily tow can warn them. You go from 50 to 60 feet of water to ankle deep water depending on where you hit the bar. To me the bar is very obvious with the breaking waves and spray. I have watched many sail boaters and some trawlers lose their dreams once they get stuck and the waves pound the boat to pieces.
About 3 years ago a 42 Cat owned by a couple that was retired and cruising the ICW and coastal waters lost their boat and dreams. I still remember the skipper a woman say our boat is made of Kevlar it will be okay. That didn't work out so well the USCG eventually had to air lift the husband and wife off the boat her husband was disabled and wheel chair bound. She left with her purse and nothing else. 3 days later the commercial towers SeaTow and Boat US were still picking up pieces of the boat.
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Old 06-28-2014, 05:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jeffrey S View Post
I'm not one for drama at inlets. Here's me coming in from overnight to the Clearwater, FL inlet and docking at the Clearwater Beach marina - all time lapse.
Clearwater inlet - YouTube

Hi Jeff,

Clearwater and Venice Inlets are probably the most straight forward on the FL West Coast. Boca Grande Inlet is not far behind. I don't really call the San Carlos Bay entrance an inlet because it is so sheltered behind Point Ybel. Clearwater and Venice are two inlets that I have used at night with no problems.

That being said, you know that they are not the same as the East Coast inlets. The Gulf and Atlantic are two different animals, and the currents in the inlets are usually draining very large bays and rivers. If you need to use an inlet often enough you will get caught. I don't like drama, but boating on the East Coast makes inlet running a necessary skill.
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Old 06-28-2014, 06:14 PM   #7
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I don't like drama, but boating on the East Coast makes inlet running a necessary skill.
I've probably been through 100 inlets with this trawler. 97 of them were on the east coast from Government Cut to Block Island. With proper planning, the "drama" I had at Clearwater is about as bad as it gets. I also have St Augustine and Winyah Bay crossings on time lapse - they're even more boring.

I've been caught about 4 times with difficult inlet crossings. I fully realize that it can happen. But most of the time it happens when you ignore weather or are pushing to make a particular destination (sure, it looks good enough to go...). There's also wind against current which is a big no-no on narrow inlets.

And of course, you have to be willing to turn around. Weather looked great leaving Cumberland Island out St Marys inlet about 3 years ago. Then we got out in the inlet and the predictions didn't match reality. So we turned around and anchored back at Cumberland Island. The longer we've been cruising, the quicker we are to do that. I think there's a deeper message there.
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Old 06-28-2014, 06:50 PM   #8
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I have spent a lot of time at St. Augustine. Yes, the inlet there can be a piece of cake. Then again it can be a tiger. There is a big problem there of markers being off station from the rough seas. Any inlet can be milk toast calm, and then in a few hours be a boiling cauldron. Timing tides and local knowledge of shifting bars are important. The Coast Guard or the towing services can usually help you with that local knowledge.

The St. Marys River entrance is wide and deep enough to bring in a Boomer Sub to Kings Bay. I have entered it when messy, but not dangerous. On an ebbing tide we did throw solid water over the top of the boat into the cockpit. So much so that it took a half day at Fernandina to wash all the mud off the boat.

Fishing and returning from off shore is when most get "caught" having to negotiate a rough inlet. Notice I said rough. That does not necessarily mean dangerous. Sometimes it's best to find an alternative, or just wait for better conditions. According to your figures it seems about 4% of your bar crossings have been in rough conditions. That seems below average, but maybe not.
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:36 PM   #9
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Merrimack River entrance, Newburyport, MA. Always a fun ride:-)

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Old 07-14-2014, 02:52 PM   #10
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And nobody is wearing a PFD in the cockpit of that sports fisherman?? Maybe its a natural selection thing the dumb ones are supposed to die.?
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:33 PM   #11
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And nobody is wearing a PFD in the cockpit of that sports fisherman?? Maybe its a natural selection thing the dumb ones are supposed to die.?
Yup. Helps the gene pool.
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Moonstruck View Post
Hi Jeff,

Clearwater and Venice Inlets are probably the most straight forward on the FL West Coast. Boca Grande Inlet is not far behind. I don't really call the San Carlos Bay entrance an inlet because it is so sheltered behind Point Ybel. Clearwater and Venice are two inlets that I have used at night with no problems.

That being said, you know that they are not the same as the East Coast inlets. The Gulf and Atlantic are two different animals, and the currents in the inlets are usually draining very large bays and rivers. If you need to use an inlet often enough you will get caught. I don't like drama, but boating on the East Coast makes inlet running a necessary skill.
I've seen Venice Inlet breakers all the way across the opening this spring. Wind W at 30. The surfers must have put out an all-call as the parking lot was full of their vehicles!
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Old 07-14-2014, 08:56 PM   #13
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When I used to live in New Jersey the inlets could be pretty wild. The safest thing was to avoid but if you had a fast boat 14+ k you could run in on the back of a wave by adjusting speed. On the CG video toward the end they started to run with the waves. The danger of allowing the breaking waves to run up your stern coming in is broaching. I think going out is easier because you can see the breakers coming and get a better judgment of how bad it is and get them on the bow. The entire coast of Jersey had inlets that needed caution when conditions riled the waters.
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Old 07-14-2014, 09:09 PM   #14
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No videos, but I am something of an inlet "collector", having been and/or out almost all of the navigable ones on the east and west coasts, primarily in the Hatteras but some in smaller boats, fishing and bareboat charters. Even the Class A inlets (which I categorize as those suitable for cargo and military warships) can be very challenging in semi-wrong conditions let alone bad ones; picking your tide and weather is essential. They all have their quirks, many are constantly changing just as the chart indicates, having up to date local knowledge is invaluable. I think a lot of people are overly scared of them, and thus miss out on some very nice cruising options. Certainly better to be over-scared than over-confident though!
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