I’m the dock master at Port Royal Landing Marina in Port Royal, SC. The shoaling going on just north of Beaufort at the Ashepoo-Coosaw cutoff is too low to navigate at low tide now with most trawlers and virtually all sailboats. How the dredges get through I don’t know.
One alternative to dredging this area is to move the ICW one inlet closer to the ocean. If you go east out the Coosaw River to the Ashepoo River you will see its inlet at Otter Island. This inlet is a natural river with fresh water influx and is about 20′ in depth at the mouth at one point is about 15′ then back to 20′ at the Fenwick Cut. If traveling south you would take a left when clearing the Fenwick Cut and travel close to Otter Island into the Coosaw River.
I live across the sound from this water and it is the way us locals travel now.
When entering the Ashepoo River From the Coosaw River you should be closer to the beach at Otter Island than to the port channel marker. The shoal is shoaling there as well but not near as hard. As a rule I use, when north bound, if I see 12′-15′ of depth I will steer to starboard until I see about 20′.
The Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff’s bottom is V shaped, meaning the channel is in the middle of the cut. 6-8 months ago it was much deeper with 9′-10′ of depth last year. Capt Ted took a 45′ trawler through about a month ago and only found 3′ of depth.
Well this is a bad thing with the cut off! But, it would be nice if reporting vessels would post the state of the tide in their reports. If Capt. Ted had 3′ at low water very bad, but if there is 5′ at high water, not so bad. Cygnus ll draws 3’4″
Capt. Mike Wright
We did take this alternate route a couple of years ago when heading north at low tide. We decided to avoid the cutoff and go the long way around. It worked well with our 6′ 3″ draft. The only advice I would give is to give the Combahee Bank plenty of respect. It would appear to be shoaling further southeast.
Does this alternate route turn up the coosaw river north of combahee bank or do yu have to go around the bank on the southeast end?
Fenwick Cut - Click for Chartview
Combahee Bank - Click for Chartview
Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fenwick Cut
Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Combahee Bank