The ICW is a wonderful journey, north and south BUT if you’re tired of the slow zones, bridges (Alligator River bridge closure?) and constant overtaking of slower boats consider this shortcut around the entire Alligator – Pungo Canal in NC. This is an open water passage from the Neuse River mouth to Croatan Sound up to Coinjock, NC. You only save 18 miles BUT the time savings is incredible in a 7knot boat. You can run on autopilot in open water instead of traversing narrow cuts and canals. Unfortunately the fixed bridge crossing to Roanoke Island is only 45 feet air draft preventing most sailboats from using this route. Still want to try this in a sailboat? Run east of Roanoke Island in Roanoke Sound Channel where there is a 65 foot bridge. Marshes Light is a new marina that looks interesting. Tell ‘em Captain Chris sent you.
After departing Adams Creek or Oriental, NC follow the ICW northward in the Neuse River to the opening into the bay. The ICW veers west at marker NR into the Bay River.
Use these landmarks as references to open water towards Coinjock, NC. These are not guaranteed waypoints for navigation. I used MapTech Chartkit Region 6 Seventh Edition for reference. and created initials NC 1 thru NC 8 to enter in my GPS. North Carolina 1-8. Remember to check my coordinates against the newest charts for accuracy.
1. Marker, 24 ft, NR (Neuse River), intersection of Neuse River and Bay River (ICW veers west).
NC1 N35.06.6 W76.28.5
2. Brant I Shoal, Marker 40 ft. BI
NC2 N35.07.8 W76.17.4
3. Bluff Shoal, marker 41 ft. BL Caution, chart shows 10 ft water here.
NC3 N35.12.9 W76.04.4
4. Long Shoal, Marker 15 ft. LS2
NC4 N35.33.8 W75.43.7
5. Stumpy Point, Marker 35 ft. N
NC5 N35.42.9 W75.37.7
6. Roanoke Marshes, Marker 42 ft. RM
NC6 N35.48.6 W75.42.0
Go through Croatan Sound and under two fixed bridges. The older bridge is only 45 ft air draft preventing most sailboats from passing underneath. Some older charts (year 2000?) may not show the newer 65 ft bridge so be aware you will see two bridges on the horizon as you near them. Yes, you are in the correct location.
7. Reeds Point, Marker 42 ft. Red #3
NC7 N35.56.7 W75.46.6
Cross Albermarle Sound to entrance of North River at Camden Point. Coinjock is north up the river.
8. Camden Point, Marker 16 ft. Green #173
NC8 N36.08.5 W75.53.6
Depending on your speed, weather and available daylight we have used a few anchorages along this route.
- Adams Creek at the 90 degree turn just before entering the Neuse River.
- Oriental, NC. We go under the bridge and anchor to the left. This is a more open area and no sailboats can pass beneath the low fixed bridge.
- Bay River just after turning west from the Neuse River ICW at marker NR.
- Anywhere along the lee side of Croatan Sound near either bridge.
- Just above Camden Point in the lee.
Great Prime Rib Diner for two at Coinjock Marina. We recommend you stop here and enjoy this huge delicious dinner. Leftovers for days afterward.
Chris & Alyse Caldwell
Captain Chris Yacht Services
Just completed that transit today 10/26 in a power boat with 39″ draft. Passed several sail boats. no problem with depths. Bridge clearance board read 65′
Dead head at entrance outside the channel southbound. Favor the green