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Old 10-28-2015, 07:02 PM   #1
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City: Pittwater
Vessel Name: Liberty
Vessel Model: 57 foot Halvorsen
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Posts: 196

Hi all,

I am wanting information regarding Cruising the ICW. We live in Australia, and I would like to come across and do a section of the ICW and wanting information on whether you can Charter self drive vessels ( probably around 42 - 50 feet ) and also what is the nicest part to do ( I know this will open up a lot of opinions ) and the best time of year.

I would like to do an area where you can cruise for the day, and pull up at a new town and spend a day looking around etc and move on.

I await your feed back

Cheers Chris D Liberty 2015
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:22 PM   #2
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Vessel Name: Bijou
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 5,290

Heard good things about these folks. West coast FL is hard to beat. Good marinas. Good anchorages.
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:28 PM   #3
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City: Fort Myers, FL... Summers in the Great Lakes
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Vessel Model: Cherubini Independence 45
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What time of year? If you plan to come in the next 5 months, Florida would be the only section I would consider. Probably need to be more specific on what you want in cruising area. SE FL is basically drive through city after city. SW FL is more a mix of smaller cities and some less developed areas. If you want to do it in the next 5 months, consider starting out of Fort Myers. Southwest Florida Yachts will likely have a boat that will work for you. They are well thought of on the forum.

I'm tired of fast moves, I've got a slow groove, on my mind.....
I want to spend some time, Not come and go in a heated rush.....
"Slow Hand" by The Pointer Sisters
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:34 PM   #4
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City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 8,276
I second SW Florida as a great cruising area, and there are charter boats there. The other area I would favor is the Chesapeake Bay. No exactly on the ICW, but immediately to the north of where it starts.

There are many cruising guides to the Chesapeake. You will be immersed in early American history.
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:41 PM   #5
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City: Jacksonville
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Join Date: May 2014
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Start at St Augustine and cruise up to Charleston.

St Augustine, Jacksonville (side trip down the St Johns towards Palatka), Fernandina, St Mary's, Cumberland Island, Jeykll Island, St Simons, Savannah, Hilton Head, Little Tybee, Beaufort, Charleston - and a hundred small places in between.

No concrete jungles, all marshlands, small old Americana towns and so much history that you can taste it.
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:27 PM   #6
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City: Pittwater
Vessel Name: Liberty
Vessel Model: 57 foot Halvorsen
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Thanks Everyone,

Sounds like my cup of tea !!! will start and do some research.

I may come back with some further questions over time.

Cheers Chris D Liberty
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Old 10-29-2015, 05:20 AM   #8
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City: Laidley
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Hi Chris.

There are heaps of folks over in the states who have posted their trips on the I C W and some of them are very interesting and informative, the journey of Michief by Matt is worth watching.

Pity we do not have an intercoastal gere in Oz.


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Old 10-29-2015, 07:37 AM   #9
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There are limited charter outfits on the east coast chartering bareboat in the 50' range. Closer to 42 will give you more options. And a 50' boat will limit you from some of the marinas in some places.

The time of year will dictate where you go. Having done both the Chesapeake and AICW both have their charm and you can't go wrong with either. Time is also a factor. 2 weeks vs 1 week will give you more options. Remember you can only go as far as half your charter period. And of course your charter location will dictate where you go. You can't visit the Chesapeake chartering out of Florida. So my recommendation is to get a general feel for where you want to go and see if you can find a charter outfit that meets your needs.

The ICW on the SE Florida side is very urban south of Melborne. SW Florida is more rural with the exception of Tampa and Ft. Myers. North of Florida the ICW is for the most part rural. Navigating through GA, SC and NC can be a challenge but there is plenty of info available to help. During the summer you will need Air Conditioning. In Florida Winter temps are pleasant w/o Air Cond and is the most popular time for cruising.

The Chesapeake is almost all rural and as Don (moonstuck) mentioned full of history. It's easy to navigate and with a little planning a new town can be visited every day. The Chesapeake is generally done from late Spring to mid Fall. July and August will require Air Conditioning.

We are currently on the Chesapeake headed south. We'll stay on the Chesapeake for another week or two hoping to see the leaves change and enjoy some of the Fall festivals these small towns are famous for.

Good luck in your search and keep us posted.
Tampa Bay
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Old 10-29-2015, 07:37 AM   #10
City: Here
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Check this out Primer for First Timers on the ICW

Not quite what you asked for but worth a look.

Cruising the NY State Canal System
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Old 10-29-2015, 11:38 AM   #11
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The ICW in the Tampa Bay area is nice though traffic can get heavy on weekends. I've never been on the ICW in South Florida, but I've heard nightmares about traffic and endless no wake zones. Plus, it's very urban as mentioned before.

The Gulf ICW in the Florida panhandle is nice and quiet, but not too many places to visit. Also, winter is not a good time there either as it can get uncomfortably cold with the north winds blowing down from the tundra.

The Chesapeake Bay is a great cruising area with literally hundreds of sheltered harbors and coves, and small towns to visit. And boat traffic is pretty light except on busy summer weekends in more populated areas. I wouldn't recommend going in the middle of the summer, though, as the weather can be particularly hot, steamy, and VERY hazy. Also, the large number of sea nettles (jellyfish) will discourage you from jumping in the water to cool off. Go in the late spring or very early summer. Autumn is nice, too, but the sea nettles will still be around. Of course, avoid the winter time.
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