Reports of shoaling south of Fernandina Beach have been coming in for several years and prompted a USCG Hazard Warning in May of last year (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=140702). Our thanks to cruising writer Robert Sherer, New Intracoastal Waterway Cruising Guide, for sending these charts and waypoints to guide you through the shoals.
There is a 10 ft MLW path through the shoals south of Fernandina that I took on October 28, 2015.
Depart channel 300 ft before R16 aiming for the tongue of deep water shown on chart (Garmin) at a heading of 275M for 17.8 MLW.
Run along the 12 ft contour line next to shore until the tongue of deep water ends as shown on the chart, then aim for G1 which will be at 245M, pass by 30 ft for 13.4 MLW, higher along the way.
Important: do not turn immediately around G1 (shoals), continue for 170 ft, then turn due south for 500 ft before turning towards deep water as shown on charts on the green side close to shore. Run just outside the 12 ft contour line down to G3 and G5, 200 ft off. 10.4 MLW entering the 12 ft contour line, deeper after that.
This passage is difficult because you’re avoiding three shoals:
– one is in the middle of the marked channel in the bend that’s down to 3 MLW
– the second one comes out off the eastern shore just south of G1
– the third one is further south coming off the western shore
None of these are marked.
After six years of passing through here, I’ve settled on the above description, it works for no less than 10.4 MLW. The depths were adjusted for not only the tides but also for the higher than normal water levels as reported by the Fernandina weather station. This passage would be easy if buoyed properly, the route has been constant for the pass five years.
A chart of the route:
For those wanting the exact path, here are the waypoints with the usual disclaimers (things can change on the ICW)
N 30° 39.804
W 081° 28.596
N 30° 39.805
W 081° 28.730
N 30° 39.853
W 081° 28.938
N 30° 39.803
W 081° 29.082
N 30° 39.713
W 081° 29.084
N 30° 39.613
W 081° 29.030
N 30° 39.409
W 081° 28.968
N 30° 39.254
W 081° 28.970
N 30° 38.824
W 081° 29.024
Author of “2015 ICW Cruising Guide” available on Amazon.com
Daily blog at fleetwing.blogspot.com