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Old 08-30-2016, 09:36 AM   #1
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league city tx to st pete fl

i am considering a boat near houston in league city tx and would need to move the boat to my home port in st pete fl.
i was talking to a knowledgeable captain and he said to wait for a north wind for a few days and go out galveston bay and follow the coast to the mississippi delta. according to him the intercoastal in texas and louisiana is chock full of commercial traffic and it's narrow and very time consuming. he said there are seven locks that can take hours to navigate through.
after you reach mississippi you follow the intercoastal to carribelle and then another gulf run to st pete.

does anyone have any other suggestions? or something to ad?
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:45 AM   #2
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It would be good to know something about the boat the trip is to be made in. Most people I know would use the ICW, especially in a new to them boat. The weather has been terrible lately with lots of offshore thunderstorms, hopefully that will change before too long.
I believe the Industrial Canal lock in New Orleans is closed to traffic till some time in November so check on that.
Good luck!
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Old 08-30-2016, 09:59 AM   #3
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i am considering a boat near houston in league city tx and would need to move the boat to my home port in st pete fl.
i was talking to a knowledgeable captain and he said to wait for a north wind for a few days and go out galveston bay and follow the coast to the mississippi delta. according to him the intercoastal in texas and louisiana is chock full of commercial traffic and it's narrow and very time consuming. he said there are seven locks that can take hours to navigate through.
after you reach mississippi you follow the intercoastal to carribelle and then another gulf run to st pete.

does anyone have any other suggestions? or something to ad?
What kind of boat??? Waiting for a norther has absolutely no positive impact on your trip if you are buying a motorboat. It is not uncommon for sailboaters to wait for a norther simply because they can ride the north wind offshore towards their destination. If you go offshore in a powerboat, you want NO wind.

As far as the ICW goes, there are 5 sets of locks if I am counting them all. Calcasieu, Berwick, Morgan City, Harvey and Industrial. The first 3 locks their purpose is usually saltwater intrusion...not an elevation change. So USUALLY the lock master will just let you slide right through. The Harvey and Industrial locks are on each side of the Mississippi and are traditional locks. The Industrial locks are the only ones I have been significantly delayed by and that was "only" a 2 hour delay. It is VERY busy. It does help to have a female working the radio here...I'm not kidding! There are a few pontoon bridges that yto have to get thru but they are usually very accommodating.

Bottom line...I would go offshore if it is pleasant. But the Gulf is rarely pleasant. The ICW is easy and the fact that there is commercial traffic is not a big deal. If you are buying a big planing powerboat it would behoove you to always coordinate your maneuvering with the tow operators. Your wake actually does have the ability to piss them off and even endanger them. If you aren't making a wake, then it is still a good idea to talk to them just to know what they are doing and you can coordinate passing.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:02 AM   #4
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league city tx to st pete fl

I did that trip last summer, but the reverse direction. After going through the Nola locks I swore I would never do that again and instead jump outside and go around. I caught the Mississippi at flood stage when I went through, and even though I went through on a Sunday it took all day to go through the two locks because of heavy barge traffic. Trying to hold for hours in the flooded Mississippi waiting on the Harvey lock was stressful. However, my dad was with me on the trip and he didn't think it was all that bad, so I could have just been a stressed out mess.

There are some members here who have gone around Nola I think. Maybe Dimer2?

Edit:

I echo Baker's rec to use the radio when passing/encountering barges in the ICW when you have a question. You really do need to let them know what you want to do, and they will tell you if it's Ok. I failed to do this recently-- tried to go around a barge and thought I had room and ran aground. If I would have radioed ahead I'm sure the captain would have told me to wait while he repositioned so I would have room. The tow captains are usually very helpful.

I would also install AIS-- the tow captains can see me on AIS before coming around a corner and many times will radio me telling me their intentions.
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:08 AM   #5
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In a new to me boat I would definitely do the ditch, you'll be in reach of TowBoat if there is a problem. As has been said, the locks prior to the Mississippi are no problem. After the Harvey Lock you head down the river and then out the other side since the Industrial Lock is closed, although depending when you make the trip it may be open again. On the other side of the Mississippi the ICW starts again on the other side of Mobile Bay. We've made that trip twice and jumped out at either Pensacola or Panama City and headed across to the west coast of FL, Tarpon Springs or Clearwater.
Going offshore depends on your fuel range. One way is to head to Venice, LA to refuel and then out the other side of the river.
I definitely second the recommendation of an AIS transceiver.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:26 PM   #6
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league city tx to st pete fl

Depends. What kind of boat? Anything over 40' trawler should be easy if the boat is in good condition. I did the offshore trip about 2 months ago from Kemah to Nola. Daylight only, never more that 10 miles offshore. Follow outside the 20' depth contour. Choose your weather. Plan the trip so you are near the mouth on one of the navigable entrances at night such as Sabine River, Calceseau River, Atchafalaya River, Grand Isle and anchor upriver inside/above the Jetties but outside the channel for a safe night. Skip Tiger Pass, it's really shallow. Once past the mouth of the Mississippi head north to Gulfport and it's all easy from there.

Contrary to what you may have heard, barring tropical weather, the Gulf of Mexico in late summer is often quite calm and a peaceful ride. In daylight the rigs are a non-event they are spaced plenty far apart. Cheapest fuel I found was in Venice, La, $1.72/gallon

And yes the Industrial locks are closed and looks like they will be for a couple of more months.


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Old 08-30-2016, 12:42 PM   #7
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Not my cup of tea. We always went out using the fairways, no worry about platforms, beautiful nights at sea. We've done Clearwater to Galveston and Mobile Bay to Galveston with just the two if us. Loved every minute of it.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:47 PM   #8
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As other have said, we really need to know more about the type of boat to give you the our best answers.

Waiting for offshore winds isn't a bad idea at all. As long as you can hug the coast you should have a nice ride.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:48 PM   #9
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Contrary to what you may have heard, barring tropical weather, the Gulf of Mexico in late summer is often quite calm and a peaceful ride.


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You are mostly correct but it is a general statement. We have had some really crappy weather this year....and it is crappy right now....and has been for a couple of weeks. But yes, July thru September is usually nice. Hell january can be nice...but it will only be nice for about 24-36 hours before the next system starts its influence.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by McGillicuddy View Post
Depends. What kind of boat? Anything over 40' trawler should be easy if the boat is in good condition. I did the offshore trip about 2 months ago from Kemah to Nola. Daylight only, never more that 10 miles offshore. Follow outside the 20' depth contour. Choose your weather. Plan the trip so you are near the mouth on one of the navigable entrances at night such as Sabine River, Calceseau River, Atchafalaya River, Grand Isle and anchor upriver inside/above the Jetties but outside the channel for a safe night. Skip Tiger Pass, it's really shallow. Once past the mouth of the Mississippi head north to Gulfport and it's all easy from there.

Contrary to what you may have heard, barring tropical weather, the Gulf of Mexico in late summer is often quite calm and a peaceful ride. In daylight the rigs are a non-event they are spaced plenty far apart. Cheapest fuel I found was in Venice, La, $1.72/gallon

And yes the Industrial locks are closed and looks like they will be for a couple of more months.


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This sounds like what I would like to do next time. Finding a good anchorage seemed difficult looking at the charts but I guess it can be done.

Thanks.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:53 PM   #11
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As other have said, we really need to know more about the type of boat to give you the our best answers.

Waiting for offshore winds isn't a bad idea at all. As long as you can hug the coast you should have a nice ride.
In theory, I understand what you are saying. BUt seas and chop build rapidly even in the lee on the gulf. It is just too shallow. The only way I would do this is if you could stay within a mile or two...other than that, you are in for a nasty ride. And a "mile or two" in our neck of the woods is shallow water wrought with hazards...namely...shallow water. And that would be even more stressful and more threatening than driving the ditch. Just my opinion.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:53 PM   #12
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:00 PM   #13
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Boat has had extension engine service and it does have AIS
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:44 PM   #14
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In theory, I understand what you are saying. BUt seas and chop build rapidly even in the lee on the gulf. It is just too shallow. The only way I would do this is if you could stay within a mile or two...other than that, you are in for a nasty ride. And a "mile or two" in our neck of the woods is shallow water wrought with hazards...namely...shallow water. And that would be even more stressful and more threatening than driving the ditch. Just my opinion.
Like I said, if you can stay close to shore.
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