On 5/9/13, as part of a North Carolina Wish List, we posed the following question:
Statute Mile 311 – OK, I really, really need your help on this one. Immediately west of AICW marker #8, a cooling canal makes into the Waterway’s northern shores. This is one of the only anchorages in NC, that I have never had the opportunity to personally research and sound. I have been into this stream by boat (not my own, and this vessel lacked a sounder), and I observed that vessels anchor in the squared off cove along the western banks. However, I’ve also been told that there is an entrance bar with a low tide, shallow water problem. I would really appreciate it if as many of you as possible contribute a full account of this anchorage and its depths.
We anchored here mid April 2013. Getting in was no problem. As I recall we were close to low water and the depth was 6 ft or more. We anchored beyond the Ramp, just where the stream narrows down. Did find one spot with 4.5 ft a bit west of the canal but beyond the ramp. It was about 7 ft where we anchored. There were quite a few boats in the wide area before the ramp. Quiet and protected.
I’ve anchored in the cooling canal four times. Anchoring in the actual canal is fine, holding, depth and protection are good although it can be tight when wind blow 90 to the canal. A minor issue are the passing boats going to/from the boat ramp, but that dies down at night. Anchoring in the basin however is a different story. The first time I tried the basin I was able to find good depth away from other boats. Since then I’ve always been unable to find good depth away from the permanently moored boats (we draw 3ft). I no longer try to anchor in the basin.
Regarding the canal at Marker 311, during my first year cruising I moored there for a few days – woke up at 4am toacrashing sound and to find me at 45 degrees in the dark!
The bottom is hard sand in some areas – but soft mud elsewhere. I just drifted off overnight. Had to wait 10 long hours but she self righted in the end and floated off as if nothing had happened.
Having learned that lesson, I’ve moored there several times since without incident. Use a heavier anchor and make sure it’s firmly set……
[Minimum depth I observed] was around 5ft low tide – there is a floating red marker to keep to starboard when entering the canal.
There is a nice park there with toilets. Also a bike ride away, plenty of shops including a great fresh fish shop and a cheap barber and a great pastry shop. It’s a well weather protected basin – but watch that anchor!
Hope you are well
There is a shoal bar which may possibly, depending on your draft, be cleared at high tide. But then you have to time your departure to safely exit. Holding is ‘average’ and during higher winds you will see boats dragging anchors and “beached”. To be forewarned is to be forearmed!