Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Intracoastal Yacht Sales, a long-time SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, offers full service brokerage representation from three locations, Wrightsville Beach, NC, Little River, SC and Charleston, SC. You will want to see these two offerings!
For some of us older Waterway cruisers, the continuing replacement of swing, bascule, lift and pontoon bridges with high rise fixed spans is a loss of history. On our family voyages, each bridge we encountered was an experience – an opportunity to deal with current, with timing, and to communicate with an unknown, often unseen Waterway tender serving boaters with their own personalities and special ways. I know it’s progress, but it is also a sterilization process, like old mom and pop shops being replaced by malls. And, like malls, once you have seen a high rise bridge, you have seen them all. Thanks to Tom Beaty for submitting this notice from wral.com. See also http://cruisersnet.net/157769
NCDOT approves funding to replace Surf City swing bridge
SURF CITY, N.C. — The days are numbered for the iconic swing bridge connecting Topsail Island and the mainland at Surf City on the North Carolina coast. Read More
Media outlets report that the state Department of Transportation has approved a $53 million low bid from Balfour Beatty Infrastructure of Wilmington to replace the bridge with a 65-foot-high fixed-span bridge.
The new bridge will also have a path for bicyclists and pedestrians.
The old swing bridge has been in operation for more than 60 years.
Construction on the new bridge could start as early as this fall and the new span should be open in 2020.
This intersection was dredged in early 2016 (http://cruisersnet.net/154951) and a Nav Alert (http://cruisersnet.net/158529) was posted in July re shoaling here. But, as Mark and Leslie Fields report, Hermine may have further altered the channel. Thank you Mark for this warning!
Hi, just a note to help those who are starting south. We are traveling southbound (I know, we’re early!) on SV Valkyrie, a Cal 34 with a 5′ draft. On Thursday, Sept. 8, we ran hard aground in what should have been the middle of the ICW channel where it intersects Mason Inlet (south of the Figure 8 Island Bridge at Marker 121). There is apparently severe shoaling from the recent storm. We were unable to get loose without calling for assistance. TowBoat US had to work hard to get us off the sand shoal, but we were able to continue our journey.
Boaters passing through that area should be aware that they must hug the private docks adjacent to the inlet intersection and give the green marks plenty of room to port when headed south.
We took the other inlet intersections slowly and cautiously and didn’t have more problems through that stretch (currently just south of Southport NC).
Mark and Leslie Fields
SV Valkyrie, Southbound ICW
This shoaling is at the intersection of Mason Inlet and the Waterway near Howe Point.
****NC – NEUSE RIVER TO MYRTLE GROVE SOUND – NEW RIVER TO CAPE FEAR RIVER****
An area of shoaling has been reported IVO of New River – Cape Fear River Buoy 121 (LLNR 39597) in the AICWW St M 280 near Mason Inlet Crossing. ACOE reported a depth of 2.2ft at MLW. Mariners are urged to use caution when transiting this area. NC BNM 357-16 Chart 11541 LNM 28/16
With a closed vertical clearance of 12ft, the Surf City Swing Bridge crosses the Waterway at Statute Mile 261, southwest of unlighted daybeacon #69. This proposed replacement is good news for locals and for cruisers. Please note the comment submission deadline of July 8.
NC – ALBERMARLE SOUND TO SUNSET BEACH – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY (AICW) – BRIDGE REPLACEMENT
The purpose of this notice is to notify mariners, adjacent property owners, and government agencies that the North Carolina Department of Transportation proposes to replace the NC 50/210 (Topsail Island) Bridge at AICW mile 260.7, at Surf City, Pender County, NC. Presently, in the closed position to vessels, the charted vertical clearance of the existing drawbridge is 13 feet above mean high water (MHW) and unlimited vertical clearance in the full open position, with 92 feet of horizontal clearance between the fenders. The proposed replacement would be a fixed bridge that will provide a vertical clearance of 65 feet above MWH, with a horizontal clearance of 120 feet. The bridge piers would be designed for vessel impact with no fender system to be constructed. Comments should be forwarded to the above address attention (dpb) no later than July 8, 2016.
Copies of Public Notice 5-1364 which describes the proposal in detail can be obtained by calling (757) 398-6227 or by viewing at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=pnBridges. Chart 11541 LNM 24/16
Incidents of rude, reckless powerboats have been reported for years now and most likely you have suffered much the same danger either in an anchorage or underway in the Waterway. Then again, you meet these same thoughtless, insane drivers on every Interstate. So…I do not have an answer other than to GRIN AND BEAR IT.
I was amazed at the amount of speedboats running thru the anchorage on plane. A constant parade on a Sunday afternoon. Many seemed to enjoy the sport of slaloming between anchored boats on half plane putting out big wakes. Then to my total amazement, a marine sheriff boat came thru, on half plane, and did nothing about the speed boats running thru here!
They really don’t seem to care about basic safety and courtesy in Wrightsville beach. The cop must have been on his way to patrol the bathrooms.
Note that this shoaling is in the Inlet proper, not in the Waterway.
NC – CAROLINA BEACH INLET – SHOALING
Mariners are advised that an area of shoaling has been reported in the vinicty of Carolina Beach Inlet between buoys 1 (LLNR 30265) through 6 (LLNR 30290). The report indicated shoaling of 2.0 feet at mean low water. Mariners are urged to use caution when transiting this area. Chart 11534 LNM 52/15
This shoaling, at the intersection of Black Mud Channel (New Topsail Inlet), has had a Navigation Alert posted for shoaling since May 0f 2014. See http://cruisersnet.net/nav-alerts/new-reports-of-shoaling-at-new-topsail-inletaicw-intersection-statute-mile-270-may-12-2014/.
NC – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY (AICW), TOPSAIL, NORTH CAROLINA SHOALING CONDITIONS AT AICW MILE MARKER 271
Mariners are advised of shoaling on the AICW at Mile Marker 271 in Topsail, North Carolina. A significant shoal has been observed in the vicinity of the Howards Creek Channel intersection with the AICW to depths as low as 2 feet at mean-low water. The shoal extends approximately 300
yards along the eastern side of the AICW from approximate position 34º21’18.00’’N, 77º40’53.00’’W to 34º21’13.00’’N, 077º41’02.00’’ with depths varying between 2 feet to 5 feet at mean low water. The Coast Guard has established an additional two aids to navigation in the navigation channel to mark best available depths of water which vary between 5 feet and 7 feet at mean low water.
• NEW RIVER – CAPE FEAR RIVER BUOY 98C. In position 34-21-14.12N, 077-41-02.33W
• NEW RIVER – CAPE FEAR RIVER BUOY 99C. In position 34-21-13.20N, 077-41-01.78W
Mariners are highly encouraged to obtain the most recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington, North Carolina District hydrographic survey information, shoaling condition and controlling depth at:
Mariners should use caution when navigating in this area. The aids to navigation in this area may not be charted and may not be marking best water due to continually shifting shoals. Consult Local Notice to Mariners, 5th Coast Guard District for the latest positions and status of aids to navigation at: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=lnmDistrict®ion=5
Chart 11541 LNM 51/15
Winston Fowler sends a recommendation for a BBQ restaurant that he feels you cannot pass up. The winter months along the Waterway are perfect for good BBQ! Wrightsville Beach Marina is on the southeast side of the Waterway below the HWY 17 bridge in the heart of Wrightsville Beach.
This is one GREAT place for cruisers to get a flavor of SOUTHERN BBQ, that is only 2.7 miles from Wrightsville Beach Marina. Awesome.
Snows Cut Bridge crosses the canal of the same name connecting the Waterway between Masonboro Sound and the Cape Fear River, at Statute Mile 295.7, west-southwest of marker #161.
Had to wait for a lower than high tide yesterday to go under the bridge. At 1 hour post high, it was just less than 64 feet.
Dockside Marina guards the AICW’s northwesterly banks, west of Motts Channel’s westerly entrance. Our thanks to Skipper Herl for his continued reporting as he and Sandy travel south.
Arrived about 6:15, had a good run today, the wind has calmed down and we are in the skinny protected area. We still had lots of rain but that is nothing as long as we don’t get a lot of wind. We stopped at Dockside Marina for the night, they have been great even though we came in in a downpour. Stopped in and had dinner after we got all set up and everything was good. The food, the service, and the dock help. Not a word of complaint, just did what we had to do to get tied up and electrified. I would stop here again any time.
We did not take any time to explore the area, we are trying to stay ahead of the circulation out in the Atlantic.
Phil and Sandy Herl
Harbor Village Marina guards the Waterway’s northwestern shore hard by flashing daybeacon #94. Our thanks to the Herls for this report.
Harbor Village Marina, NC
Harbor Village Marina is just off the ICW. Just north of Wrighsville Beach. They have really nice floating docks and we were put on the outside wall finger docks. The dock master was there to help us get hooked up and gave us a ride in the golf cart to the dockmasters office to get checked in. It’s a long walk in fact that evening I just dropped the dinghy into the water and used it to get some ice. The office and fuel docks were just across the fairway and to the left of where we were docked but the walk would have been all the way around the marina. It was just a one night stay; we left early the next AM.
Phil and Sandy Herl
Intracoastal Yacht Sales, a long-time SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, offers full service brokerage representation from three locations, Wrightsville Beach, NC, Little River, SC and Charleston, SC.
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This reminder comes to us from Skipper Rohrkemper who relates a bridge incident in which the bridge tender incorrectly stated that the clearance boards were reading the vertical clearance at the center of the span. USCG Officer Rousseau’s response is quite clear: clearance boards give the least vertical clearance available, normally found at the outer edge of the span, and charts indicate the maximum vertical clearance above MHHW at the center of the span. With a closed vertical clearance of 20ft, the Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge crosses the AICW at Statute Mile 283, southwest of marker #125.
Approaching the Wrightsville Beach/ S.R. 74 bridge southbound on 10/30/2014, at high tide at Masonboro Inlet, the clearance signboard read 14′. The bridge tender confirmed that the signboard was measuring clearance at the center of the span and not at the lower shoulders. A December, 2013 version of Chart 11541 lists the clearance as 20′ (at center). Was the bridge tender wrong? Tide was high but not 6′ above MHHW.
I have looked into the Wrightsville Beach question. The clearance boards are most likely reading correctly. The gauges show the vertical clearance of the bridge at the lowest point across the channel 13.5 feet at MHW (outer edges of channel). The Chart shows the clearance of the bridge at the center of the spans. We normally do not mark this clearance on the chart. It is normally what the clearance is at the lowest part of the bridge across the channel 13.5 feet at MHW. Probably at some point in the past it was requested to mark the center and highest point (This point would only be in that exact spot of the bridge). Legally the bridge owner still needs to show the clearance gauges for the lowest clearance across the channel. NCDOT is going to check to make sure the boards are reading correctly. Hope this clears up this question.
Bridge Program Manager
United States Coast Guard District 5
Since May of 2014, we have been receiving warnings of shallow water through this stretch and also the admonition to steer close to the docks on the red side of the channel: http://cruisersnet.net/?p=140638. Skipper Ross confirms this issue with his advice.
Black Mud Channel, mile 270. There are two floating green markers close to a dock on the north side. The red markers are on the dock!! Take it slow. We had 7.5 feet at low tide here.
Like the National Park Service in the Outer Banks, Carolina Beach State Park Marina closed in anticipation of Hurricane Arthur, but they have now re-opened for boaters. The entrance channel to the marina cuts off southward from the AICW, at the western end of Snows Cut, between markers #163 and #165.
The US 74 Bridge has a closed vertical clearance of 20ft and crosses the Waterway in the heart of Wrightsville Beach. For a Local Notice regarding a reduction in clearance in June, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=140201
The Wrightsville Beach Bridge is operating on it’s published schedule. I arrived there at 1300 today in time for its regular opening. The bridge tender was helpful and courteous. He tried four times to contact a sailboat captain who was having radio trouble and even delayed the opening so the sailboat could make it. One o’clock is .9 foot from high tide and the bridge markers showed 16 foot clearance. I confirmed that with the bridge tender. Since the bascule bridge was shaped like an arch I asked the tender if there was any more room to work with. He stated that was all he could say because of “liability”. I believe there was about two feet more in the center. In fact the NOAA chart shows a 20 foot vertical clearance.
This shortcut that runs northwest from the western end of Snows Cut to the Wilmington bound Cape Fear River has been a temptation and a hazard for several years, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=105372. Skipper Matthews did not leave all his good sense behind, because he went slowly, kept an eye on the depthfinder, was able to do a 180 and escape the shoal. It’s a tough rule to remember, but all charted channels are not necessarily navigable.
I left good sense behind and tried this channel Memorial Day weekend 2014. It dropped to 3 foot fast! Was lucky enough to turn around and make it back to deep water after a good barnacle scraping. I draw 3-1/2 feet.
Late breaking information as of late May, 2014, shows that, very much in keeping with the reports below, shoaling has built up rather alarmingly from the seaward side of the AICW channel, near marker #99A. It appears that, at the current time, the best plan is to traverse this section mid-way between #99A, and a new dock which will be spied abutting the northwestern banks. HOWEVER, it is also possible to get too close to the mainland shoreline.
We strongly suggest that all cruising craft traverse this troubled intersection at idle speed, and preferably as near to high tide as possible!
Good luck, you may need it!
And, before we close, MORE INFORMATION IS NEEDED FROM FELLOW CRUISERS WHO HAVE SUCCESSFULLY TRAVERSED THIS INTERSECTION. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO USE THE “COMMENT” FUNCTION BELOW, OR CLICK THE “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” BUTTON AT THE TOP OF THE RIGHT SIDEBAR ON ALL (EXCEPT CHART VIEW) SSECN PAGES!
New Topsail is a problem a hundred yards before 99A till you clear 99 by the same distance. On 4-22-14 our sailing vessel with a 4′ 3″ draft was temporarily grounded on the green side of the channel. This happened very near low tide. Passage is no problem at this time if vessels run the red side of the channel close to the many docks on that side. At the time of our grounding another sailboat with a draft of 6′ 7″ ran the “red side” without a problem.
We were able to hoist our sails to free the vessel and also passed through staying close to the various docks on the red side (extreme left side of marked channel).
Transiting Topsail Sound today at 11:26 AM. Sailboat was hard aground inside the channel at green marker 99A, Topsail inlet area. He called us and advised taking green with wide berth. The skipper was awaiting tide and expected to be able to get off by @ 2:00 PM. We passed by and saw 6 feet abeam of him.
SV Simple Life
Transited this area 5/22/14 about 8AM. G 99A was waaay over on the north/mainland side, only about 150′ from the shore where a dock is under construction. We honored the buoy, squeezed in between the buoy and the construction, and saw 8′ depth (reduced to MLW). The current LNM lists 99A as “damaged” but not “off station.”
Just in case it hasn’t been reported, as of 5/15/14, there is extreme shoaling just north of Wrightsville Beach, NC at marker number 99A, where Black Mud Channel enters the ICW. Vessels drawing more than 3 feet, maybe less, must stay to the extreme west side of the channel. This is the red side, but no red marker is located at this position.
Rudy and Jill
Black Mud Channel – 5 foot draft sailboat transited one hour before high tide on 5/17 and saw only 7 feet on extreme left side of the channel off the docks.
We passed here headed north on 5/27/2014. We were directly in between the green marker, and the new dock, and had 6′ under our boat at low tide. The channel is quite narrow. The green buoy will look out of place as it is so far toward the red side, but it is not.
AICW Black Mud Channel MM 270
We can confirm that 99A has been moved. On June 1/14 We passed half way between 99A and the docks, and saw 8ft MLW. This passage is very narrow.
Richard Ross M/V Chez Nous
I later passed by markers 99 and 99a at exact high tide (1425). I have a four foot draft and passed through the area without incident. I honored the green markers at about 20 feet. During the passage I never showed less than 9 feet of depth. There is a boat docked at marker 99a with its bow protruding into the new channel.
One boat can easily pass while two could be a problem.
Thanks again for your great service.
Nordic Tug 37