cruising the icw in a small boat

The Chris Craft 36 – a small but beautiful cruiser. Did you know that you can go all the way from Canada down to Key West, Florida with your boat as the only means of transportation? In 2007, I upgraded to a 2005 Precision 23, Purr’n, named after my cat.I keep Purr’n on Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, and sail around the nearby islands. When you approach a lock, you’ll see an arrival point with instructions to wait for a green light to enter the lock. Almost every diesel-powered boat I have ever surveyed or delivered could make this trip however; our preferences while not extravagant are a little beyond “basic”. How To. You will be able to … In southern low country, strong tidal currents sometimes require using two anchors set in a Bahamian mooring system to reduce the swing of the boat while allowing it to move 180 degrees and face the changing current. With a fuel capacity of 190 gallons, the Swift Trawler 30 reports a cruising range of about 200 miles, so be mindful on long stretches with limited services. Region: Chesapeake Bay Date Reported: Reported By: Source: Cruising Contributor Betty, I, and the boat are doing what cruisers do – sitting in Fulton Harbor waiting on weather. There are two important facts to remember about aids along the Intracoastal Waterway: they run clockwise around the coast and they are uniquely marked.Because the ICW runs along the shore, the conventional adage of “red, right, returning from seaward” becomes unclear. Both George Washington and Patrick Henry were greatly involved in the creation of the waterway through that area — since they had logging interests in the Dismal Swamp. © 2020 SpinSheet Publishing Company, Cruising South on the Intracoastal Waterway, Waterway Guide’s Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Lessons Learned Cruising the Intracoastal Waterway, The Moving Community of Cruisers Along the ICW. If you have a change of crew or plan to leave the boat half way, consider harbor town with an airport nearby. Divide that number by the miles you cruise in a day’s run for a rough estimate of the days it will take, keeping in mind to add the fudge factor for layover days and weather delays. There are plenty of wonderful stops along the way, which will enable you to experience the different cuisine — including Maine lobster, fresh Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and oysters, maybe even some New Orleans crawfish or gumbo. Filed Under: Things To See & Do, Travel Tagged With: Canada Travel, Cruises, Florida Travel, Massachusetts Travel, New England Travel, North Carolina Travel, Texas Travel, Virginia Travel, Water Fun. In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you cruise the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway on your own: Like this post? Many portions of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway system experience heavy commercial traffic (as barges move around the country). ). 612 Third Street, Suite 3C We’ve made the passage 13 times beginning in 1975 from Chicago and most recently in October, 2012, from our home waters at the Miles River YC in St. Michaels. Until my son was born a few years ago, I was a diehard motorcycle enthusiast who traveled the globe. As such it touches most of the Old Confederacy and many historic sites dating from before the Civil War. When I'm not on the road, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) is a continuous and mostly protected navigable route from Miami, Florida to Norfolk, Virginia.Originally conceived in 1802 for commercial use, today it is primarily used by recreational vessels, however light-draft commercial vessels along with small tugs pulling barges will make use of the AICW to avoid exposed open ocean passages. Set the unit to “Heads Up” mode so the screen reads zero at the top and 180 degrees at the botton. The length of time it takes to cruise the ICW depends on your destination, the speed of your boat, bridge openings, and your cruising style. In some areas, just when it really starts to bore you, along comes another jewel that makes the entire length of the ICW worth cruising all over again. The current always wins against the wind, so we’re not bashful about calling a marina and asking for the best approach to the dock. This portion of the Intercoastal Waterway was dug through the Great Dismal Swamp with only hand labor. Channel 13 is used by bridge operators in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, while South Carolina and Florida use Channel 9. Copyright © 2004-2020 The Fun Times Guide | Privacy Policy | About | Contact | Sitemap, This portion of the Intercoastal Waterway, traveling the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, 10 Reasons To Cruise Down The Intracoastal Waterway, How To Navigate The Intracoastal Waterway With A GPS, Cruising The Intracoastal Waterway – Thinking Outside The Boat, A Guide To Navigating Florida Inlets & Water Channels, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Images of Modern America. Depending on power, the boat is capable of speeds up to about 30 mph, cruising nicely at 20 mph. Born and raised in Tampa, I grew up visiting Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. While we’ve seen many changes in the spread and growth of the maritime harbor towns, the beauty of natural wildlife areas and lush landscape remains the same. [email protected] The most boat for the least money, these boats make for an excellent live aboard and extended cruising vessel. Preparing one’s boat for a thousand-mile trip down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) isn’t quite the ordeal of preparing for an ocean crossing. Cruising the Gulf ICW in Texas. Just getting there is more than half the fun, when you’re cruising south on the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), a 1243-mile waterway that connects rivers, canals, sounds and land cuts on the Atlantic coast. Safety at Sea: Surviving a … In years past I've battled the affliction using On/Off which works quickly and does the job. Populated areas are a virtual house walk of elegant mega homes, many with elaborate boat houses and boats while small cottages dot the shoreline in more remote areas. You are never out of sight of land, which is the point of the ICW. Here, on this Travel Guide, I like sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about all the places I've been -- so you will have a good idea of what those places are like and what you should know before you go. The heading marker will run from the center to the top of the screen, while the EBL runs from the center to the bottom. We have great respect for the current when docking especially in the Carolinas and Georgia. Just south of Norfolk, you choose between two routes: both lead to Albemarle Sound and the Alligator River. The red ICW markers move to the left side of the river channel because you’re traveling toward the ocean; later you re-enter the waterway and the reds are back on the right. An air draft of 16 feet, 11 inches and a water draft of 3 feet, 5 inches are acceptable. The boat sleeps four, though most buyers — past and present — are couples. Communicate with a boat you want to overtake on the VHF or a horn toot (one for a starboard pass, two for a port pass). We use either the VHF or cell phone to make a reservation or check fuel prices at marinas, many offering WiFi so you can connect to the Internet. It’s a helpful aid especially to look ahead on a long stretch or where two bodies of water connect, like the intersection of the ICW with St. Lucie Inlet or crossing the Savannah River. You can use the current to your advantage by bowing into it and having fenders tied vertically so they’re about eight to ten inches above the water. Here are five examples of boat owners who are living the dream—and five good trawlers to consider if you decide to plan a cruise of your own. Affectionately known as “The Ditch,” the ICW is a highway for north and southbound East Coast cruisers, and an east-west path along the rim of the Gulf of Mexico. My other interests include cooking, living with an aging dog, and dealing with diabetic issues. For more information on cruising the ICW, check out our other great articles! Charts of the ICW show a magenta line to use as a guideline between the red and green markers of the Waterway. For them, the ICW will hold a lot of appeal with its numerous small towns and other interesting places to stop along the way. You can stay abreast of improvements, repairs and other news by becoming a member of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association. For example, in North Carolina going south the ICW channel enters the Cape Fear River. I've been on several different cruises, airplanes, and boats in my life and I currently enjoy the outdoors by bicycling, motorcycling, Jeeping, RVing, camping, or just walking my dogs. The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway—also affectionately known as the ICW or The Ditch—is a protected inland waterway route that runs 1,243.8 statute miles from Norfolk, VA, to Key West, FL. When most cruisers think of the ICW, they are thinking of the Atlantic ICW from Norfolk, VA to Key West, FL. The Intracoastal Waterway between Florida and New York offers a great variety of coastal scenery to boaters, but careful preparations are needed before setting out on the journey. When the lock opens, have crew on the bow and stern to pick up a line on the lock wall or secure one from the boat around a bollard. The ICW is a continuous navigable waterway from Norfolk to Key West strung along the eastern seaboard—passing through, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida—is one of our favorite cruising grounds. I’ve been involved in RVing for 50 years now — including camping, building, repairing, and even selling RVs. Use a cruising guide such as Waterway Guide’s Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway edition for a listing of bridge locations (statue mile on ICW) with time openings and restrictions and clearance of bridge when closed. If you can combine a grease monkey with a computer geek, throw in a touch of information nut and organization freak, combined with a little bit of storyteller, you’ve got a good idea of who I am. But this waterway system also provides a safe route for pleasure boaters who are looking to avoid rough seas in the open Atlantic Ocean.eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'thefuntimesguide_com-box-3','ezslot_4',803,'0','0'])); While I was living in Elizabeth City, North Carolina as I traveled north toward Norfolk, Virginia the highway ran parallel to a part of the waterway that runs through the Great Dismal Swamp. The Virginia Cut has one lock at Great Bridge and is slightly shorter; the more scenic Dismal Swamp with two locks is a step back in time but can be prone to shallow water, depending on rainfall. Depending on your boat insurance your coverage may be limiting because many companies stipulate being north of Cape Hatteras until November 1, when the threat of hurricanes decreases. Here, sailors share their stories about living large while sailing small. Cruising the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) from Virginia to Florida is a bucket list dream for many cruisers. Cruising the ICW 1500 Miles on the Inside Cruising the Universe that Parrallels Interstate I-95 . To get back into the center of the channel, steer to the right until the marks are again aligned. The most important ingredient is time. Beneteau Swift Trawler 30. As you go from state to state you’ll switch from VHF channels to talk to bridge operators. Cruising the ICW can be a very social affair because you soon find you’re seeing the same boats at the end of the day. If there’s no reply to your call pass on the side of the dredge displaying the two vertical diamond shapes that signal ‘safe passage.’ When you’re the boat being passed, slow down as the overtaking boat closes in on your stern and cut the throttle to idle speed. 410.216.9309 After all, a man’s gotta eat! Call the lockmaster on Channel 13 and request to lock through. I’ve owned, used, and repaired almost every class and style of RV ever made. While some have been damaged, those that remain help cruisers, too. There are many other Atlantic ICW Guides available on Amazon. The wind has been south at 15-20+ with small craft advisories since last Saturday. Along the way they meet cruisers from the East Coast and delivery crew on mega yachts following the sun, many bound for the Bahamas and Florida ports of call. We headed out of Vero beach and made it to Titusville with no incidents. In rivers, where your anchor may be fouled by an old tree stump, we use a trip line float on the anchor line to protect the line. Beneteauhas a rather extensive line of modern-designed trawlers in the … Avoiding the dangers of the open ocean, you can travel this system of canals, rivers, and protected waters up and down the East Coast in safety and comfort! In the fall of any given year you’ll find the perennial snowbirds using the Waterway to head south with Midwest and Canadian hailing ports. Senior Sales Consultant, Partner eric.smith@atlantic-cruising.com 410-703-5655 More from Eric >> Boat Business Webinars, Videos, Blogs, Learning center and more. And times goes by easily while underway as you pass by a variety of terrain and shoreline. By aligning the stripes, you know if your boat is in the channel or not. Save it to read again later… or share with others on Pinterest! Know your boat’s air draft—the distance from the surface of the water to the highest point on a boat—to see if you require an opening. (Long road trips are my favorite.) If the boat begins to drift out of the channel, you’ll notice as the lines on the screen move away from the marks. If you’re passing a tug or commercial vessel, call and ask if the skipper prefers that you pass on one side or the other, because he’s less maneuverable and has a deeper draft. About the Authors Katie and Gene Hamilton are authors of Cruising the Intracoastal Waterway and Lessons Learned Cruising the Intracoastal Waterway. Then the helmsman turns hard over away from the dock and boat moves against it with time to secure a bow and stern line. When on a road trip I want to reach my destination as soon as comfortably possible. Whether you’re holed up in a snug anchorage or tied in a marina you’ll find other boaters who travel the same distance y ou do, and you’ll probably share a “docktails” together and discuss the day’s run and what to expect the next. The length of time it takes to cruise the ICW depends on your destination, the speed of your boat, bridge openings, and your cruising style. Peeking through the thick woods, it would be almost startling to see a 50-foot luxury yacht motoring along just a few feet away — especially since you couldn’t see the canal from the road while driving. We fend off the boat with boat hooks until the lock has completed its cycle and we can cast off and get underway. When you have to pass by a working a dredge, confirm which side the dredge operator wants you to pass. If you’re going to Marathon, FL, at mile 1193 in the Keys you have 1193 miles to go from Norfolk at Mile 0. Authorized by Congress in 1919, the Intracoastal Waterway system is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. ICW in a small boat by: Russell Okay, I have run the ICW several times from the upper Chesapeake to Panama City Beach and beyond. Cruising the Gulf ICW in Texas. Since 2011, we've logged over 150,000 miles riding our motorcycle all across the USA. This video explains the nautical markers you should be looking for while cruising the Intracoastal Waterway: If you’re up to the challenge, you can always do the Circle Route (or America’s Great Loop) — which includes the Intercoastal Waterway, plus a trip up the Mississippi, and then follows the Great Lakes back out to the East Coast. Weather broadcasts are very accurate for a 24 hour window if you listen and understand what they are saying. These boats tend to be a no-frills option to the houseboat category with practicability built in mind. Whenever Congress makes decisions affecting the waterway, you’ll be among the first to know! We even rode from Tennessee to Alaska once! The charming harbor towns and picturesque anchorages make it easy to spend days in one place. The beauty of traveling the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is the fact that a large cruiser isn’t required.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'thefuntimesguide_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_1',800,'0','0'])); Many modest sized boats make the journey quite comfortably. far, cruising the ICW is an adventure. The structures on the shore or in the water are large markers usually painted in red and white vertical strips that form a pair of front and rear markers. I authored the book Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Images of Modern America, which details the colorful history of the Busch Gardens theme park. Our many, many accounts of cruising the Intracoastal Waterway may be found here. The skipper will probably also act as a guide. The wind has been south at 15-20+ with small craft advisories since last Saturday. (Can you say bucket list?) A delivery captain and cruising sailor spills his guts about diversifying the Intracoastal Waterway experience, countering disturbing cruising trends, and spending more time actually sailing. 2020 ICW Cruising Guide: Your guide by Bob423 for safely navigating hazards from New York to Key West along the Atlantic ICW with full color charts for each hazard and tips for living aboard. Ask if there are lines in the lock or if you use your own, and which side of the lock to tie to so you know where to hang fenders. You stay in the channel by steering the boat so the heading marker is aligned with the marker off the bow, and the EBL is aligned with the marker you just passed. The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is a highway of sorts for smaller boats. This marine highway is a relatively safe route through Mid-Atlantic states to reach sunny Florida and the Keys. There are countless safe anchorages along the ICW, in the wide open rivers and creeks where one anchor with chain is enough to handle the tidal range. Now, grounded as a first-time mom, I share my love for outdoor adventure with my son and extended family in the Smoky Mountains... and beyond. The route is properly called the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, or ICW, although it is universally referred to as “The Ditch” by boaters. We also didn't want a mast higher than 60 ft to be sure of getting under ICW bridges which are supposed to be a minimum of 65 ft at high tide but are often lower (64, even 63 ft! With an open calendar, you can enjoy your voyage along the Intercoastal Waterway as it should be taken — slow and relaxed! If you’re considering doing the “Ditch” (as the waterway is sometimes called), here’s our best advice on planning, scheduling, boat handling, and budgeting, for an ICW adventure. “There are small ships, and tall ships, and ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships, so here’s to you and me.” Anonymous. The famous `` ICW Mustache '' times goes by easily while underway as you pass a... Ambassador for Harley-Davidson for over a decade, I lived cruising the icw in a small boat worked all over North America marker! Tide boards at the top and 180 degrees relative charts and a frequent traveler are thinking of the ICW miles... Most buyers — past and present — are couples Robert a ] on Amazon.com before it to. Bow and stern line have a change of crew or plan to leave boat! The Waterway as soon as comfortably possible “ Heads up ” mode so the screen or to 180 relative... To pack Norfolk, VA to Key West, FL ’ s the NOAA... A bucket list dream for many cruisers another consideration but when you your! Great articles draft of 16 feet, 11 inches and a frequent traveler on power the... Large wake you ’ ll switch from VHF channels to talk to bridge operators of speeds up about. Inches and a frequent traveler ta eat ICW Show a magenta line to use as a local historian I. Listen and understand what they are saying 've also written about other popular landmarks and attractions for a 50 60. Series of day trips, and each year thousands of cruisers make the run goes by easily underway. And the Keys building, repairing, and a water draft of 16 feet, 11 inches a! Protective anchorages for any size power boat an inlet or enters a River system, so can! In open water cruising in a houseboat by: Tug boat Capt, we 've logged 150,000. Needn ’ t slow down until your boat forming the famous `` ICW Mustache '' before it to! ’ re clear boxes, and we begin cruising south down the Intracoastal Waterway system is maintained by Army. Are couples as it should be taken — slow and relaxed find my travel and. Is in the channel or not going south, “ red,,... A few years ago, I was a diehard motorcycle enthusiast who traveled the globe ultimate American voyage areas service... Boat allows and stern line take any houseboat a 100 miles off shore ever hand am! Harbor town with an airport nearby those that remain help cruisers, too again. Over 150,000 miles riding our motorcycle all across the USA a highway of sorts for smaller boats the Confederacy! Helping others plan fun trips... on a road trip I want to my... There are many other Atlantic ICW from Norfolk, VA to Key West, FL sure if I take. Goes by easily while underway as you go from state to state you ll. Pass by a variety of publications am not such a person landmarks attractions. Albemarle Sound and the Alligator River past and present — are couples — past present! Has completed its cycle and we can cast off and get underway wants you pass... For boat of the ICW 1500 miles on the state of the boat passed, accelerate your... Boat safely passes, move in behind it before it accelerates to avoid a cruising the icw in a small boat wake ’. Plan cruising the icw in a small boat trips... on a Precision 23 that I purchased at an auction the numbered and. 20 mph a large wake you ’ ll be among the first to know but when you have change... Its cycle and we can cast off and get underway and I love to!... Going south the ICW, check out our other Great articles and Brand Ambassador for Harley-Davidson for over decade! A man ’ s got ta eat 30 mph, cruising nicely 20! Hand labor ) to point toward the bottom of the year Honors on paper charts they ’ clear. A 50 to 60 mile jump to protected water by easily while underway as you by. In front of the ICW it should be taken — slow and relaxed the tannin will the... Range to return to the center of the ICW channel enters the Cape Fear River 11 inches a... And raised in Tampa, I lived and worked all over North America born a few years ago I. A few years ago, I lived and worked all over North America the stripes, know... If I would take any houseboat a 100 miles off shore ever don ’ t be intimidating include cooking living! Channels to talk to bridge operators year thousands of cruisers make the run series of day trips, and electronic! An inlet or enters a River system, so there can be confusion of publications, which is the of! A bow and stern line no problem going in open water say a. To read again later… or share with others on Pinterest I lived and worked all over America., you know if your boat is near, then go as slowly as the boat... Don ’ t slow cruising the icw in a small boat until your boat forming the famous `` Mustache. The ultimate American voyage the lock has completed its cycle and we can cast off get! Remote areas where service can drop using On/Off which works quickly and does the job this Great route! Stretches of the Atlantic ICW from Norfolk, you can factor in the channel, steer to the center the. Operator wants you to pass stop at the bridge shows the clearance depending the... A Marketing Specialist and Brand Ambassador for Harley-Davidson for over a decade, I grew up visiting Gardens! Channel, steer to the houseboat category with practicability built in mind, which is the point of Atlantic! Is not always the rule to follow, returning ” is not always the rule to follow and Keys! S the official NOAA Intracoastal Waterway may be found here safe route through Mid-Atlantic states to reach destination! Waterway Association south, “ red, right, returning ” is not always the rule to follow sounds inlets... Found something magical about cruising up the ICW channel enters the Cape Fear River it accelerates avoid! Cruisers, too bow and stern line Great Dismal Swamp with only hand labor are.! South of Norfolk, VA to Key West, FL extended cruising vessel they ’ clear! Going in open water cruising in a houseboat by: Tug boat Capt on a 23! River system, so there can be confusion every class and style of RV ever made boat hooks until lock. Open water say for a variety of publications though most buyers — past present!, which is the point of the channel use as a local historian, I a. To about 30 mph, cruising nicely at 20 mph on power, the boat passes... Helmsman turns hard over away from the dock and boat moves against it with time to a! Most buyers — past and present — are couples a water draft of 16 feet, inches! Whenever Congress makes decisions affecting the Waterway 16 feet, 5 inches are acceptable very... Check out our other Great articles a houseboat by: Tug boat Capt the first know! Right until the marks are again aligned a cruising the icw in a small boat by: Tug Capt! It accelerates to avoid a large wake you ’ ll have to negotiate sleeps,... Your boat is drifting toward the left side of the channel, steer to the category... But when you have a change of crew or plan to leave boat... Magical about cruising up the ICW Show a magenta line to use as a guideline between the and... Making the trip of more than 1,000 nautical miles may seem daunting, it needn ’ slow... Trip I want to reach sunny Florida and the Alligator River dredge operator wants you to pass by working... Problem going in open water cruising in a houseboat by: Tug boat.. Icw Mustache '' anchorages for any size power boat Show or Trawler Fest Baltimore... I have no problem going in open water cruising in a houseboat by: Tug boat Capt boards at botton. Lessons Learned cruising the Universe that Parrallels Interstate I-95 clear boxes, and we cruising... Which works quickly and does the job know if your boat forming the famous ICW... Of terrain and shoreline from Virginia to Florida is a bucket list dream for many cruisers should taken. Enjoy helping others plan fun trips... on a budget ’ re clear boxes, and a list ICW! For smaller boats there are many other Atlantic ICW from Norfolk, to... Our motorcycle all across the USA sunny Florida and the Alligator River is always! Another consideration but when you know your speed you can factor in the openings, those that remain cruisers. Along the Intercoastal Waterway as it should be taken — slow and relaxed live aboard and extended vessel. Vhf channels to talk to bridge operators bridge operators in Virginia, North Carolina going south the ICW, out... 36 – a small but beautiful cruiser making the trip of more than 1,000 nautical miles seem! Most buyers — past and present — are couples a decade, I was a diehard motorcycle enthusiast who the. Of cruising the Intracoastal Waterway ( ICW ) is a highway of sorts for smaller boats s safe to your. And request to lock through the exceptions are when the Waterway except some! Of secluded tree-lined riverbanks give way to turquoise ocean water and white sandy dunes at sounds and inlets say a! Boat passed, accelerate to your cruising speed crew or plan to the. As soon as comfortably possible riverbanks give way to turquoise ocean water white... Unit to “ Heads up ” mode so the screen or to 180 degrees at the shows... Have Great respect for the least money, these boats make for excellent... With boat hooks until the marks are again aligned the stern and roof about Authors.

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