Below, you will find a summation of a 7/16/13 conversation with a southern Georgia captain , AND a 9/6/13 note (AND VIDEO) from Captain Sonny Reeves, who lives aboard at nearby SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Jekyll Harbor Marina. Both captains have long and up-to-the-minute experience with the AICW passage through Jekyll Creek. We think their collective advice is good, at least until the channel changes again.
Any of you who have taken the time to study our SSECN “AICW Problem Stretches Directory,” particularly for the Georgia coastline (see http://cruisersnet.net/category/ga-aicw-problems/) already know that the Waterway’s trek through Jekyll Creek is one of the real “problem stretches” between Little Mud River and the Georgia – Florida state line. And, the shallowest spot is found abeam of marker #19.
Our 7/16/13 conversation with the local captain, who wishes to remain anonymous, advises mariners to pass NO MORE THAN “20 or 30 feet” west of #19 (OFF THE MARKER), and Captain Sonny advises to “stay [within] 50-75 [feet] of the marker [#19]. By following these procedures, acceptable depths can currently be maintained, at least as of 9/6/13. Apparently, the real problem comes when cruisers attempt to follow the “magenta line,” and consequently pass farther west of #19 than they should!
OF COURSE, the AICW channel through Jekyll Creek is subject to continual change, and this advice, even though thoroughly steeped in local knowledge, should be taken with a proverbial grain of salt, and all captains should proceed through this stretch of the Waterway with more than the usual caution. Any groundings which might happen in Jekyll Creek, and any damage that might result from those incidents, are the sole responsibility of the vessel’s captain. (Don’t you just love “legal-ese!:)
And, of course, smart skippers will time their Jekyll Creek passage for mid to high tide.
Wise navigators will also make an advance telephone call to the good people at SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR Jekyll Harbor Marina (912-635-3137) to check on the very latest Jekyll Creek conditions. Both Captain Scott and Captain West can give you the latest. Now, that’s what I call SERVICE to the cruising community!!!!
In Captain Reeve’s video, linked below, he is traveling south. Note that AICW marker #19 lies on the east side of the Waterway. north of the fixed bridge at Jekyll Harbor Marina.
I checked on Green 19 today [September 5, 2013]. The best advisement I can give the season/s Snowbirds is to stay [within] 50-75 [feet] of the marker. Come through at mid to high tide IF they know the channel and mid to low if they don’t so they can see the channel and low water. The channel is narrow with mud banks on both sides. Today I saw no less than 7 feet weaving in the channel staying 50-75 feet from the visible banks of mud and markers. Most depths are 8-9 ft even off the marker Green 19.
Any Capt. coming through can call Tow Boat US or the Marina at Jekyll for local knowledge.
Video of Check: http://youtu.be/FQjWdt2VROk
Unless you can do this stretch on a higher rising tide, I suggest just going outside from St. Simon’s cut and come back in at Fernandina, and just miss the problem area.
In concert with Beverly Feiges (above) the last time we traveled the ICW thru Georgia we decided to avoid the state completely on the way back north, outside from Fernandina to Savannah River. If GA doesn’t care to make their waterways safe, we have no interest in spending money in the state.
I wanted to respond to Richards posting about avoiding Georgia because they don’t maintain their waterways. It really isn’t the state of Georgia that isn’t maintaining the waterway. They would love to have the dredging done and have lobbied hard for it. The Corps Of Engineers is responsible for dredging the waterways and maintaining them and they have not received any funds for dredging in years. So if you’re upset with someone be upset with Congress, budget cuts, sequester and more, but not the state of Georgia. This is one of our favorite sections of waterway and we play the tides and do what we need to when we transit. Of the approximate 90 miles, only small sections are a problem. This [same] applies to Florida and the Carolinas. Each state has their problem stretches. It’s all part of the adventure. Add to the blame list, the environmental regulations the Corps must deal with. If they received every dime they needed for dredging in Georgia, they couldn’t do most of it anyway because environmental regulations make it near impossible to dispose of the dredge material. We’ve written many blog posts and articles on the Georgia ICW and for us, it’s a don’t miss.
Chuck and Susan. Trawler Beach House
Came through Jekyll creek yesterday [9/8/13], timed it for high tide and saw 11.7′ at 19. Good advice to transit at no more than two hours off high.
We also passed through this area in January and again May of this year. On our January passage we called ahead to the Jekyll Harbor Marina for some “local knowledge”, as this has been a known trouble spot for years.
We stayed mid channel while transiting the section north of the Marina, with the recommendation to stay 50′ from ’19′, going through about mid tide. The result – no drama.
Take away from this is utilize the Jekyll Harbor staff for assistance, and avoid navigating the creek at MLW.
As for the comments regarding state’s responsibilities for dredging, in the absence of Federal funds several states have funded dredging on their own. This is in acknowledgement of the financial benefits derived from the ditch, both from recreational boaters as well as commercial interests. Georgia was one of the worst stretches along the ICW and though I love the area, I will do without the stress and go outside next trip – avoiding the state entirely.
Note: If you should choose to go offshore in the next few weeks, be sure to read this Navigation Alert http://cruisersnet.net/?p=122812