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
The SSECN has had a Navigation Alert posted for this intersection since August 5, 2013 due to reports and LNMs about severe shoaling. Until the dredging is completed, the need for caution in any passage through the Waterway/Mason Inlet intersection is still warranted.
NC – MASON INLET – DREDGING
Mariners are advised that the Dredge CHESAPEAKE will commence dredging operations in the Mason Inlet area on January 21, 2016. The project includes dredging in Mason Inlet, Mason Creek and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. A pipeline will be placed along the shore of Mason Creek crossing Banks Channel and onto the Figure 8 Island beach on the Atlantic Ocean side. The project will continue until approximately March 31, 2016. The project will be conducted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The dredge operator will be standing by on channels 13 and 16 VHF-FM. Any concerned traffic should call 30 minutes prior to expected time of passage.
Chart 11541 LNM 4/16
US 74 Bridge has a closed vertical clearance of 20ft and crosses the Waterway in the heart of Wrightsville Beach.
NC – ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY (AICW) – NEUSE RIVER TO MYRTLE GROVE SOUND – NEW RIVER-CAPE FEAR RIVER
– BRIDGE RESTRICTIONS
To accommodate the 2016 Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Half and Full Marathons, mariners are advised that the S.R. 74 Bridge, across AICW mile 283.1, at Wrightsville Beach, NC will remain in the closed position to vessels requiring an opening from 5 a.m. through 10 a.m., on Sunday, March 20, 2016. Mariners able to pass under the closed span (20 feet above MHW) may do so, and should adjust their transits accordingly. Chart 11541 LNM 2/16
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
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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
Topsail Channel Anchorage lies northwest of the charted marsh island southwest of the Topsail Channel’s unlighted daybeacon #14.
Just off the ICW with an easy entrance and exit. We found 10 foot of water at one hour before high tide. As you enter stay pretty close to the markers until you get up to the docks, at that point favor the dock side. We anchored just south of the charted shoal between the marker and the line of crab pots to the west. There is some high speed traffic past this point, but that stops when the sun goes down. You can hear the ocean surf. 4 bars on Verizon Air Card. If you are northbound, this is a good place to stay and than catch the Surf City Bridge opening, 3 miles north, the next morning.
The Motts Channel cuts into the southeastern/eastern flank of the AICW, a short hop south and southwest of the Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge, just past the host of marina facilities which congregate south of this span. This channel is often used by cruisers heading for Seapath Yacht Club, and on their way to and from the very popular anchorages on the Banks Channel, which comprises the eastern extreme of the Motts cut.
Over the years, the west end of the Motts Channel, near markers #25 and #23, has shoaled and periodic dredging has been required. Captain Booke’s advice is in response to an earlier Navigation Alert for this channel, http://cruisersnet.net/?p=105878
There is plenty of water coming off the ICW into Motts Channel if you put your boat against the southern shore. Mid Channel is usually shallow.
The SSECN has imposed a “Navigation Alert” for the intersection of the AICW and Mason Inlet since August 5, 2013, and a warning has appeared concerning these waters in a USCG Local Notice to Mariners (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120325). We have had also several additional reports of shoaling on these troubled waters since our Nav. Alert was issued (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=127818). Below, Captain Sonia and crew confirm the need for extreme caution in any passage through the Waterway/Mason Inlet intersection.
We grounded there with a 5,5ft draft. While our rudder was free, our keel was stuck and our depth sounder showed 5 ft. We could however not move. We were towed by Seatow and fell onto our side and was towed for about 60 feet on our side before stabilizing. Our rudder was bent and our boat twisted, which resulted in serious damage. As we understood from both Seatow and Boatus, the barges create pockets with walls over an extended area. Be very careful and pass within 20 feet of the docks [red side].
Not having been there I can’t speak for this particular grounding, but in many similar situations I have seen and been involved in on the ICW the best course of action when aground is to put an anchor out towards deep water and wait for tidal help before trying to get off. Near Mason Inlet there is usually at least 3 or 4 feet of tide. Many times I have pulled my own boat off of groundings with no damage by doing this. Often you can pull the bow around towards deeper water as the tide helps and then winch yourself in the right direction. Generally, within the ICW you are sheltered from wave action and there is no great danger in simply waiting. On the other hand, trying to tow a boat off that is hard aground often leads to damage. Of course if the boat hit near high tide and/or you are in an exposed location that would alter your choices.
We came through this area, southbound about one hour after low water on 1/23/2014. We were aware that this was a problem area and were moving very slowly. As we proceeded the depth started to decrease very rapidly. We kept moving towards the red side and finally found enough water, we draw about 3 1/2 feet, to get thru. We did kiss the bottom once. This is not the place to be at low water.
This agreement between USACE and the NC DNR is certainly good news for cruisers since the inlet intersections with the Waterway have always been notorious areas for shoaling. The article below is from the Port City Daily of Wilmington, NC and was sent to us by Captain Tom Beaty. For the complete story, go to: http://portcitydaily.com/2013/12/10/state-federal-agreement-lands-to-keep-shallow-draft-inlets-open/
North Carolina and the federal government have finalized a deal to continue dredging in shallow navigation sites like Carolina Beach Inlet and the Shallotte River, touted as crucial components of the coast’s economy.
Announced Tuesday between the N.C. Department of Environment & Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it provides an outline for resumed maintenance of federally authorized shallow-draft inlets and channels through September 2017.