We began hearing of extreme shallows at Hell Gate last year, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=145174 and http://cruisersnet.net/?p=146335. Now Captain Healy gives us up-to-date confirmation that MID TO HIGH TIDE is a requirement for passage through Hell Gate. This is trusted advice…TAKE IT!!
As of 4/22/2015 at 19h45:
Egg Island, GA, tide data: L – 17h09
Range: -0.2 to +8.0
Readings at 19h45: +2.8
– NB, one-half way between G91 and R89: 6.2′
– At G89: 5.8′
– 100 yards north of G89: 5.6′
Conclusion: minimum depth at normal low would be 3.0′, less for celestial low tides; not navigable at low tide for most cruising boats. Channel is narrowing, and tidal currents require careful attention.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently northbound at Hilton Head, SC
Monk 36 Hull #132
Unluckily, I had to pass both Hell Gate and Jekyll Creek at dead low tide the last couple of days. Both were 4 feet. Jekyll was 4 feet from beacon 20A to 13. High banks of mud less than 50 feet on both sides means the channel cannot be more than 100 feet wide when full. I consider this to be a no passing zone. Hell Gate was 4 feet from just before beacon 89 for another few 100 feet. I draw 3′-9″ and just had my Fathometer rebuilt, so I now have confidence, but have not touched bottom recently for the final accuracy test.