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Old 06-02-2014, 10:05 PM   #121
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Once you have done the inside once, outside becomes very appealing in good weather. But I think everyone should do the inside at least once to see the sights and decide for themselves what is worth skipping.
We will alternate in and out, but generally short runs in, long runs out. We do what we call leap frogging. For instance heading north we may make quick outside work of one stretch and spend time in towns in the next one. Coming back we'll go outside and skip the towns we spent time in going out, then stop and visit the other towns. We might skip from Myrtle Beach to Beaufort NC going up but then spend time in Wilmington and Bald Head returning.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:23 PM   #122
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If you are going to be doing the AICW several times, there will be plenty of time to see it all inside. Whenever the weather will allow, we run outside. Comfortable seas don't happen all the time. I love the good inlets---Ft. Pierce, St. Johns River, St. Marys River, Savannah River, Port Royal Sound, Charleston,
Cape Fear River, and Beaufort Inlet. We will use some of the others on a need basis, but don't try to plan on them. With a 10% margin, we have about a 400 mile range, but don't like to do over 300 to 350. With good conditions we can do that in a long day.

That being said, the SC and GA sections of the AICW are unbelievable. Everyone should run them a few times. Something different every time.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:19 PM   #123
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Gearing Up

Planning to depart in mid-September.
After a bit of research we're planning to obtain the following equipment:

2 spring lines of 1.5 x boat length
A second anchor with rode ( I'd like to stow it in a padded bag or something similar to keep it "soft" )
A portable depth sounder for dinghy and back-up
What is best (easiest) way to know the tides ahead?

Any comments or suggestion will be well received.
Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:20 PM   #124
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Planning to depart in mid-September.
After a bit of research we're planning to obtain the following equipment:

2 spring lines of 1.5 x boat length
A second anchor with rode ( I'd like to stow it in a padded bag or something similar to keep it "soft" )
A portable depth sounder for dinghy and back-up
What is best (easiest) way to know the tides ahead?

Any comments or suggestion will be well received.
Thanks!
Have extra lines on board. They are cheap. You'll need a pair 30' or more for locks.

Tides - My Garmin plotter will display tides and currents. Homeport software (for a Garmin plotter) will also display tides and currents.

When I bought my boat (pre owned) there was a fender board stored in the lazarette. I took it out because it took up a lot of room. If there was one thing I should have had but didn't on my recent cruise from Charleston, SC to the top of the Chesapeake Bay, it was a fender board. Consider making one and learning how to use it to keep your boat from banging against fixed docks.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:30 PM   #125
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Read ahead each day or so...use these...

Cruisers' Net | Cruisers Helping Cruisers

https://activecaptain.com/X.php

http://www.waterwayguide.com/publications

also just ask here for local stuff where you are passing through. You can have real time info for most of the trip in hours if you ask here.

The trip is really no big deal if the boat and you for the most part are even just past beginner level.

The things that will cause real issues is if a bridge or lock is out and you have to do some drastic navigating and rerouting/planning to overcome.

this can help too...

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName...trict&region=5
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:31 PM   #126
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When I bought my boat (pre owned) there was a fender board stored in the lazarette. I took it out because it took up a lot of room. If there was one thing I should have had but didn't on my recent cruise from Charleston, SC to the top of the Chesapeake Bay, it was a fender board. Consider making one and learning how to use it to keep your boat from banging against fixed docks.
So helpful when you find yourself docked along some walls and if you're in a position you're required to raft. Also there are very large horizontal fenders and systems now available to serve that purpose, but they're quite expensive compared to making a fender board.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:34 PM   #127
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Get a tide app for your phone and/or computer if you don't have one on your plotter.

Remember that red ICW markers are always on the mainland side of the channel.

Remember that the ICW markers will be the only markers with the extra yellow reflective square or triangle symbol on them located above the number on the marker.

Remember to look behind yourself frequently to make sure you are really lined up with the markers and truly in the channel and to see if there is a faster moving vessel coming up from behind you.

Use Active Captain, Cruiser's Net and The Loop List for fairly up to date information. But take it all with a grain of salt.

Be proactively courteous so you get more waves than fingers.

Call marinas early in the day to reserve your slip. And sometimes you'll get a slip where one wasn't available if you mention you'd like to buy some fuel from them as well.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:01 PM   #128
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This is the chart book I use. Convenient size, easy to flip pages. As you read ahead each day and learn of trouble spots put a notated yellow sticky note next to the area.

The Intracostal Waterway Chart book: Norfolk, Virginia, to Miami, Florida

Right on about the red being on the land side. That is true in all but a few places such as the Cape Fear River. The big things to look for are the gold triangles and squares denoting the ICW markers. The gold never changes sides. The gold triangle is always the land side no matter if it is on red or green.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:02 PM   #129
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The gold never changes sides. The gold triangle is always the land side no matter if it is on red or green.
True. And if the yellow symbols are on day shapes or can and nuns they will match the shape of the marker they are on.

http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/1/...ations/486.PDF

PG. 25/26

And that ICW chart book Don mentioned is a great tool.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:25 PM   #130
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True. And if the yellow symbols are on day shapes or can and nuns they will match the shape of the marker they are on.
.
Capt. Bill, I know you are a very experienced mariner, but I think this is not always correct. When the ICW travels along a returning from sea channel toward the sea the green markers will be on the starboard side going south. They are to be considered a red for the ICW and will have the gold triangle on them. Red is considered a green ICW marker with the gold square on them. The converging channels I can think of are at the Cape Fear, Panama City, and for a short way at Pensacola Pass. Just something to watch out for.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:53 PM   #131
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Coming into Panama City from East Bay as you go under the bridge the markers change. If you take the Green daymark on your port there is trouble. A very shallow shoal covered with oysters is there. It will play hell with your running gear and the bottom of your boat. It has the gold triangle on the square green day mark. It has caught many boats.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:55 PM   #132
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In addition to Don's good advice, if you're using a chart plotter, I'd suggest not blindly trusting the magenta line, which often doesn't reflect current conditions. There were a few places on our trip that the line would put you squarely on shoals. We found that paying attention to the nav aids was a lot safer.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:55 PM   #133
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I think these folks are doing the best job now, guide wise. They cooperate with crusersnet too, and their real time soundings of difficult spots are excellent. I'm a long time Waterway Guide and Cruisersnet fan, but right now if I had to pick one source this would be it.

On the Water ChartGuides | Home of On the Water ChartGuides Foundation
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:04 AM   #134
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Here's one I learned that I wish someone would have told me years before I realized it...

Never pull into a marina after 2:00 pm. In fact, try to not pull into a marina after noon. Take an intermediate stop, anchor out the night before, or make shorter hops. If you do that, you'll have an extra day (and maybe your only day) to really spend at the facility.

A corollary to that is to go shorter distances each day. We use to plan on 60-80 nm days every time we moved. Then we reduced that for 50 nm. Today, a 35 nm day is a long one. 20 miles is nicer. We have an occasional 45 or 50 but we try to make them rare. I wish it hadn't taken me about 9 years to realize that.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:32 AM   #135
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Here's one I learned that I wish someone would have told me years before I realized it...

Never pull into a marina after 2:00 pm. In fact, try to not pull into a marina after noon. Take an intermediate stop, anchor out the night before, or make shorter hops. If you do that, you'll have an extra day (and maybe your only day) to really spend at the facility.

A corollary to that is to go shorter distances each day. We use to plan on 60-80 nm days every time we moved. Then we reduced that for 50 nm. Today, a 35 nm day is a long one. 20 miles is nicer. We have an occasional 45 or 50 but we try to make them rare. I wish it hadn't taken me about 9 years to realize that.
That's advice I'll take now instead of waiting the 9 years to have the same realization. Capt. Bill's advice about looking back at the last marker to align yourself in the channel is one I learned about the hard way. And thanks, Don, for noting that little switcheroo of marker colors at Panama City. I'm noting that on my chart book right now (for the Admiral, of course).
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:38 AM   #136
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The ICW yellow marks that don't match the main marker color are a ot more common than just a few places...potentially every place the ICW crosses a major rive/inlet system there's a possibility one of the river marks may be on the side of the ICW to warrant an opposite marking.

The philosophy is if following the ICW ignore color and just look for yellow shape...of course 99% of the time the daymark colors are fine...but you better either know or have backed it up with a glance at a chart.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:58 AM   #137
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The yellow shapes mark the ICW but they are very hard to see from a distance.

I pre-plan my routes using Garmin's HomePort software and then upload the routes to my plotters. Then it's just a matter of following the line on the plotter.

I will say this though before someone else feels the need to point it out:

What you actually see in front of you comes first, then the markers and then the route shown on the plotter. There are places on the ICW where your plotter may show your boat on land next to the canal or river.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:31 AM   #138
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Yes, look for the yellow shapes on any color day mark or buoy when crossing another channel. You can and will have opposing color/shapes depending where the ICW crosses other channels. What is often a problem is when a "private channel" intersects and they have placed their red or green markers near the ICW.

Also, when available USE RANGE MARKERS I have found them to be one of the best aids when available. Day or Night. If the lower range light is to the left of the upper steer to port, likewise if the lower range is to the right steer to Starboard if you can line them up you are good.

If you meet a Coast Guard vessel tending the aids feel free to contact them on the radio and find out the direction they have been working and any changes they have made. That is usually the most up to date information that you will ever find.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:34 AM   #139
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Ron:
There are places that my chart plotter did indeed show me on land next to the waterway. The chart plotter was right.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:43 AM   #140
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........... Never pull into a marina after 2:00 pm. In fact, try to not pull into a marina after noon. Take an intermediate stop, anchor out the night before, or make shorter hops. If you do that, you'll have an extra day (and maybe your only day) to really spend at the facility.............
That's true if it's a "destination" marina or town but not if you're trying to make time or get to somewhere else. Some marinas aren't worth staying at for a day.
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