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Captains Landry and Baier Report on AICW Problem Stretch North of Charleston Harbor, Statute Mile 460

Posted by Larry Dorminy | Posted on 11-14-2013

Cruisers’ Net has posted reports of shoaling in this Problem Stretch (which the ACOE terms as “behind Breach Inlet”) for months now. (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120335). And we are once again greatly indebted to Captains Susan Landry and Chuck Baier, owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” (http://www.tgboa.com) for providing the superb, in-depth article below. THANKS CHUCK AND SUSAN! Please read on!

Claiborne, We transited the ICW from Dewees Creek past the Ben Sawyer Bridge at 0830 this morning, November 7, 2013. Here are the depths that we found. First, we did study the Corps of Engineers most recent survey to determine on which side of the channel the deepest water could be found. It appeared to us that favoring the red side would be best, and that is what we did. We are southbound, so take that into consideration for the report.
All depths reported would be at low tide for today. Before the Ben Sawyer at red “118″ we found 8.2 feet at about 30 feet off the marker. The depths increased to 10 feet as we approached Swinton Creek. Very near the crossing at Swinton Creek the depths were 6 feet. Here is a situation where many may get confused. The currents at Swinton Creek and several other crossing of the ICW near inlets are very strong cross currents. As we crossed the creek we were set immediately off to starboard and pushed out of the channel due to the incoming tide. Fortunately the depths as we crossed these creeks were 17 to 20 feet where the current has scoured them out. But if running on autopilot, the course would not be corrected enough to get the boat back into the channel before hitting shoal waters. We have also found that if set by current, looking ahead will give us a false sense of still being in the channel. But if we look behind us, it becomes very apparent the we have been pushed far out of the channel. We recommend hand steering through this stretch and looking forward as well as behind to determine where the boat is. The speed and direction of these strong currents will depend on whether the tides are incoming or outgoing and how strong the currents are at that particular
time. Now back to the depths.
Approaching green “117″ the signboard is missing and the piling only is sticking about 6 feet out of the water and angled toward the channel. Passing Swinton Creek we found depths of 7 feet, then dropping to 6 feet. As we approached first opening to Breach Inlet, the depths were 5.8, then 5.3, then 4.5. At the intersection of Breach Inlet, the depths were 12 feet with very a strong cross current. Beyond that point to the second crossing at Breach Inlet we saw depths of 10 to 12 feet until we reached Inlet Creek where we briefly had 6 feet. The depths came back to 10-12 feet, which
continued until the Ben Sawyer Bridge. Beyond Ben sawyer we never saw anything less than 12 feet.
As you can see, there is one very shallow area at low tide in the 4- to 5-foot range, so boats with deeper drafts will need to transit at higher tides. With tides in the 5- to 6-foot range for this area, that allows plenty of depths for deeper drafts. We hope this will help all of those that transit this section of the waterway after us. We will keep you posted on any other issues we find.
Chuck and Susan. Trawler Beach House
The Great Book Of Anchorages <http://www.tgboa.com/>
Navigation Notices <http://www.marinalife.com/navigationUpdates/index.cfm>
Our Blogs
Trawler Beach House <http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot.com/>
Voyages of Sea Trek <http://sea-trek.blogspot.com/

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Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

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Newest ACOE Survey of AICW Problem Stretch north of Ben Sawyer Bridge, Statute Mile 460

Posted by Larry Dorminy | Posted on 10-21-2013

Click for Chartview

The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net has posted reports of shoaling in this Problem Stretch (which the ACOE terms as “behind Breach Inlet”) for months now. (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120335). Our thanks to the US Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston, SC for providing SSECN with the newest (October, 2013) survey of this Problem Stretch. Once again, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is honored to be the FIRST means by which the US Army Corps of Engineers chose to get this critical information into the hands of the cruising community.
By looking closely at the area in the center of the survey, hard by Marker #117A opposite Swinton Creek, you can see MLWW corrected depths of AS LITTLE AS .2 FEET ON THE SOUTHERN (SOUTHEASTERN) TIER OF THE WATERWAY CHANNEL, and even the northern section, which has always been the deeper part, MLW soundings can run to only 4.2 ft depths.
Need we say it, cruisers piloting craft of almost any draft MUST time their passage of these waters for mid to high tide!

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

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Shallow Depths Confirmed on “AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge” Problem Stretch (Statute Mile 460)

Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 09-06-2013

For the last year or two, the AICW channel north of Charleston, SC Harbor, between the Isle of Palms and Ben Sawyer Bridges, has been an SSECN designated “AICW Problem Stretch. Recently, these waters were the co-subject (along the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff) of a joint call from the SSECN, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, and the South Carolina Marine Association, suggesting members of the cruising community contact the SC US Congressional delegation, and ask them to support a special appropriation to dredge these waters. (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=121335).
Now, our good friends, and SSECN strategic partners, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, founders and owners of “On The Water ChartGuides” (http://www.onthewaterchartguides.com/), give us an updated, graphic report relaying what they discovered as they navigated through the Waterway north of Charleston on 8/27/13.
NOTE THAT THE DOYLE’S SOUNDINGS WERE TAKEN AT MID-TIDE, MEANING THAT YOU MUST SUBTRACT 2.3 FEET FROM THEIR SOUNDINGS TO DISCOVER WHAT MLW DEPTHS WOULD BE. As you will discover, there are a few spots southwest of the Swinton Creek intersection that would only carry as little as 3 feet at MLW!
YIKES!!!!!! We need to get these waters dredged NOW!!!!!
Incidentally, Diana and Mark are just about to publish a new edition of their immensely popular “ICW CruiseGuide.” Click on the book graphic to the above right for more details, and to place a pre-order!

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

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ACOE Confirms Shoaling on “AICW Problem Stretch” North of Charleston Harbor, Statute Mile 460

Posted by Larry Dorminy | Posted on 08-28-2013

Cruisers’ Net has posted reports of shoaling in this Problem Stretch (which the ACOE terms as “behind Breach Inlet”) for months now. (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120335). The US Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston, SC has made dredging these stretches their #1 priority. Now, we just have to find some money/”supplemental appropriate” to get the job done!

SOUTH CAROLINA-AICW-WINYAH BAY – CHARLESTON HARBOR-ISLE OF PALMS-SULLIVANS ISLAND: Severe Shoaling
The ACOE of Charleston, South Carolina has reported the location of severe shoaling in the AICW between Charleston Harbor and Winyah Bay near Isle of Palms and Sullivans Island in South Carolina. An area of severe shoaling exists between Winyah Bay-Charleston Harbor Daybeacon 117A(LLNR 34510.5) and Winyah Bay-Charleston Harbor Daybeacon 119(LLNR 34520). Further information can be found on the ACOE Charleston website at http://www.sac.usace.army.mil/ The ACOE has no future plans for dredging due to budget restrictions. Mariners are advised to transit the area with extreme caution.
Chart 11518

My neighbor in a Sportfish (5′ Draft) found the bottom at low tide last week near [the AICW channel running past] Isle of Palms.
Be safe and take care-
Bob

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

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More Reports of Shoaling on “AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge” Problem Stretch (Statute Mile 460)

Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 08-05-2013

It’s no accident that the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association is pushing very hard to have this Problem Stretch dredged (which they term as “behind Breach Inlet”), and, along with the AICW’s passage through the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=5480 and http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119918), the US Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston, SC have made dredging these stretches their #1 priority. Now, we just have to find some money/”supplemental appropriate” to get the job done!

We traveled this section 8-2-2013 leaving McClellanville just as the tide started back up at the marina dock. Traveling on plane in an express cruiser we saw 8 to 11 ft under our hull most all the way. The last mile or so going into Isle of Palms I did see readings down to 5 and 6 ft. Keep in mind we traveled mid channel by the “sticks” paying no mind to any “pink lines ” on the chart plotter. Magneta lines can be a good guide but nothing beats eyes on the sticks and following the marked channel.
David Doyle

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

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Report from AICW Problem Stretch North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge, Statute Mile 460

Posted by Larry Dorminy | Posted on 06-08-2013



Statute Mile 460 - Click for Chartview

The AICW is shoaling badly along its southern and southeastern flank between the Ben Sawyer and Isle of Palms Bridges. MLW depths of as little as 2 feet have been noted by an official November, 2012 US Army Corps of Engineers survey.

I came through this stretch at exactly low tide on June 2, 2013. I stayed to the preferred north side, but bumped bottom and plowed mud almost continuously from G119 to just before Isle of Palms bridge. I draw 5.5′ and made it, but don’t recommend it.
Bill Raynor

More on Shoaling in AICW Problem Stretch North of Ben Sawyer Bridge, Statute Mile 460

Posted by Larry Dorminy | Posted on 05-21-2013

Shoaling North of Ben Sawyer - Click for Chartview

From earlier reports and as Captain Mullins confirms, the water gets thin between AICW markers #111 and #119, north of the Waterway’s entrance into Charleston Harbor. These waters have been designated an SSECN Problem Stretch and caution should be exercised through the AICW channel past the Ben Sawyer Bridge and the Isle of Palms.

AICW abeam of Breech Inlet:
I’ve written about this area before but I am noticing an increasing number of sailboats aground during low tide. It is in the area where 3 creeks wash from Breach Inlet into the AICW. There are 2 green day marks north of the Ben Sawyer bridge and this bad stretch is shoaling between them. You can make it in a 5 ft. draft boat, but you must weave and bob a little to get through.
Philip W. Mullins (Phil)
S/V Katash

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

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Official Army Corps of Engineers Survey (as of November, 2012) of AICW Problem Stretch North of Charleston SC Harbor (near St. M. 460)

Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 11-14-2012

We are pleased and honored to report that the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net has dedicated friends at the various Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters who work hard to keep the cruising community informed about newly developing problems on the AICW. And, that is just what Captain Mike Verdolini has done by forwarding the official November, 2012 AICW depth survey pictured below.
Take a gander at the NOAA chartlet to the right, and you will quickly see that the survey in question centers on the Waterway, north of Charleston Harbor and the Ben Sawyer Bridge, between Inlet Creek’s northeastern mouth and Swinton Creek.
Take a look at the image below, and study the recorded, MLLW corrected soundings along the AICW’s southern/southeastern flank, between Inlet Creek’s northeastern mouth and Swinton Creek. Look at those 0.8, 1.1 and 2.5 foot (etc.) soundings. Think the Waterway may have a shoaling problem here?
Also, notice that this thin water along the AICW’s southern flank continues to a point well east and northeast of marker #117A!
For at least a year now, we have had these water designated as an SSECN Navigation Alert. Now, however, with this official USACOE information in hand, we are going to upgrade the difficulty of these waters to an “AICW Problem Stretch.”
ALL cruisers should proceed with the greatest caution through this section of the Waterway, preferably at mid to high tide, and favor the northern side of the channel somewhat.
WE ARE SEEKING INPUT FROM THE CRUISING COMMUNITY CONCERNING THIS NEW AICW PROBLEM STRETCH! If you have traversed these waters recently, PLEASE send us your soundings and impressions. You can simply follow the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” button/link found on the upper right of this and all (except Chart View) SSECN pages, or send your data directly to CruiserNet@triad.twcbc.com.
TAKE CARE!

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

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More AICW Shoaling Reported Near Isle of Palms, (Statute Mile 460)

Posted by Larry Dorminy | Posted on 07-22-2012

From earlier reports and as Captain Bell confirms, the water gets thin between AICW markers #111 and #119, north of the Waterway’s entrance into Charleston Harbor. While not yet designated an SSECN Problem Stretch, we have established a Navigation Alert for these waters and caution should be exercised through the AICW channel past the Isle of Palms.

Three days ago we had to wait for one hour past low water, which was “0″ tide, to pass between 117A and 119. Our sailboat has a five foot draft. We made two slow attempts to pass but ran aground mid channel and west or land side of mid channel. NOTE: while we waited for an hour past low tide we made an attempt to bypass the low spot by going around the Atlantic side loop. The chart shows deep water, which there is until you are 100 yards from 119, then there is a shoal that is less than four feet. So back to 117A you go.
David Bell

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

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Depths Decreasing through Isle of Palms, SC, AICW Statute Mile 460

Posted by Larry Dorminy | Posted on 11-04-2011

As Palmetto Moon reported last week, the water gets thin between AICW markers #111 and #119, north of the Waterway’s entrance into Charleston Harbor. While not yet designated an SSECN Problem Stretch, we have established a Navigation Alert for these waters and caution should be exercised through Isle of Palms.

Hi Claiborne,
Sanctuary and crew transited southbound through Isle of Palms, SC, at 08h30 this am (Thursday, 11/3/2011). It was low tide, and our chart plotter reported the current datum at +0.91 ft.
That stretch of 4 – 5 miles has some very shallow spots, with some depths in mid-channel as low as 5 ft. We heard others talking about what they were seeing, so I pursued a route slightly favoring the red side of the channel. We found no less than 6.9 feet. Here’s the detail:
At R’118′ – 7′ mid-channel, 9′ red side
At G’117A’ – 40′ – 50′ off the marker, 7.5′
At the un-named creek 1/2 mile north of inlet creek – 6.9′
At G’119′ – 7.5′ red side of channel (There are crab pots in this area on both sides of the channel. Some extend into the channel. To favor the red, we passed some of the crab pots on the red quarter to our port side. Found favorable water depths there today. Of course, the crabber will move the pots, so the advice remains, favor red.
At G ’121′ – 8.5′ red side of channel
With lower datum or celestial lows, this stretch would definitely be a problem for most cruising boats.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
Currently at St. John’s Harbour Marina, Charleston, SC
Monk 36 Hull #132

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

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