SC Cruising News – AICW, Belle Isle to Sullivan Island (Statute Mile 410 to 464)
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
Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, continue to generously share their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter. Mt. Pleasant is on the eastern shore of Charleston Harbor. Thank you Jim and Peg!
Today is 10/26/2018. Full moon tides. Sanctuary and Crew Departed Georgetown, SC at 07h30 and traveled to Mount Pleasant, SC.
We transited McClellanville southbound between 10h36 and 19h55. According to Aqua Maps, the tides were +6.08′ falling at 10h36 and 6.0′ falling at 10h55. Virtually high tide; how in the world did I do that?
G35A 14.2′ low reading between markers
11.1′ low reading between markers
10.7′ low reading between markers
11.3′ low reading between markers
11.7′ low reading between markers
Subtracting 6.0′ from the least of these depths, MLLW would be (10.7′ – 6.0′) = 4.7′. That DOES NOT account for negative tides during celestial low tide periods. I transited this area in the visual center of the waterway.
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We transited the Mount Pleasant range southbound from Isle-Of-Palms to the Ben Sawyer Bridge between 13h49 and 14h05. Aqua Maps put the tide at +1.9′ falling at 13h49.
Mt. Pleasant Bridge 10.6′
Swinton Creek 8.9′
Conch Creek 14.7′
Inlet Creek 12.2′
Subtracting 1.9′ from the least of these depths, MLLW would be (7.3 – 1.9) = 5.4′ We found the best water in the visual center of the waterway, which is different from previous years. Again, additional planning is needed for negative tides during celestial low tide periods.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, FL
Monk 36 Hull #132
The waterway south of McClellanville all the way to the Ben Sawyer Bridge has been shoaling for years and Cruisers Net still recommends mid to high tide for passage through this section. Our thanks to Bill Reymolds for this report posted on Bob423. See Reminder, another report from last Fall.
I would just like to reinforce earlier comments about the stretch south of McClellanville. We found at 5 feet above low tide water depths below 9 ft and places. Would not want to do that at low tide or even near low time.
This stretch of shoaling has been a Problem Stretch for some time and just recently, see https://cruisersnet.net/171976. Our thanks to Bill King for this onsite report confirming shoaling and groundings, as well as good advice about mid to high tide passage.
Crept through at 30-minutes after low tide. This entire stretch between the bridges is a very challenging area. We draw 4′. Stayed in center most of the time for 5′-8′, favored the red side opposite the small inlets for double-digit depths. Just south of the high rise bridge, it is shoal on the red side. A sailboat with 5.5′ draft was aground; 50′ sportfisherman was just off center to red side and being pulled off as we approached. Much less stressful to do this stretch at mid-tide or more.
The stretch north of the Ben Sawyer Bridge around marker 118 has been a Problem Stretch for years and, as Phillip Mullins notes, the channel is constantly shifting, negating area dredging very quickly. Cruisers’ Net continues to recommend mid to high tide for passage through this stretch.
Return back to our home Marina yesterday at very dead low tide. Made it through the breach Inlet section but read five and six foot deep at the lowest point. From the Isle of Palms Connector Bridge North to Isle of Palms Marina it is 6 ft for several yards before you get to the marina. Saw 5 and 5.5 feet several places. Was able to stay close to marker 118 as we passed along beside it at 6.1 feet. Does not look like the dredging 2 years ago lasted very long. Thought u might want to pass this along to the cruisers.
77 Miles in one day – that is definitely a good day’s run, especially through the numerous shallow spots in that stretch. Such tidal luck may be a once in a lifetime occurrence! And that fact that both Downtown Marina of Beaufort and Isle of Palms Marina of Charleston are CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS had a lot to do with it! Well done Phillip.
Left Beaufort South Carolina two hours after low tide from the downtown Marina and caught the incoming tide up the Beaufort River it continued through the Coosaw back into the Waterway and all the way back to Isle of Palms. Could not believe it. 42-foot sail and we averaged 6.6 knots. Saw 7.5 and 8.10 several times. Never had a head current. Could not believe it. Please pass this along to the Northbound Cruisers this spring.
This trip usually takes us two days but on this occasion it took 10 hours.
This stretch of shoaling has been a Problem Stretch for some time, see https://cruisersnet.net/153694. Our thanks to Phillip Mullins for this most recent warning.
Just south of IOP connector high-rise bridge Isle of Palms South Carolina red day mark 118.
Middle of channel on the magenta line it was four feet deep two hours after low tide on May 2nd.
You must hug the Daymark 118 to get around this low spot in the Waterway. It is not marked and I have seen no information about it.
There is 10 to 12 feet next to marker 118.
The waterway south of McClellanville all the way to the Ben Sawyer Bridge has been shoaling for years and we thank Charles Ridley for this reminder warning. SSECN still recommends mid to high tide for passage through this section and see /161140 for another problem with this area.
Traveler 12-29-16. Left Isle of Palms for Harborwalk, Georgetown, SC. If almost 2 hours on either side of low, don’t go thru the stretch of about 10 miles south of McClellandville. If draw over about 2′ won’t make it.
This leg of Jim and Peg Healy’s sojourn through South Carolina begins in the Waccamaw River, south to Winyah Bay, then turns west into Estherville Minim Creek and ends on Isle of Palms, home to CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Isle of Palms Marina. Again, our sincere thanks to these very experienced cruisers for sharing their experiences and expertise with all of us.
The southbound minimally marked entrance to Minim Creek from Winyah Bay requires careful lookout or you will pass it, especially on an outgoing tide. And as a sidebar on Minim Creek, see Minim Creek Ferry.
Sanctuary and crew traveled south from Socastee, SC, on the Waccamaw, to Mt. Pleasant, SC, on Tuesday, 10/17/2017. Low tide in the region was early afternoon (13h30). The entrance to the Estherville-Minim Canal at Winyah Bay is very shoal for at least the first 1/2 mile. The Esterville-Minim Creek Canal and the Fourmile Creek Canal have both continued to shoal. We saw spots at 6-1/2 ft at 1/3 tide.
We managed – poor planning – to arrive at McClellanville at dead low tide (10/17/2017, 13h51, +0.1 ft above MLLW). Our depth sounder transducer is 30” below the waterline, and it quits when it get’s to 2 to 2-1/2 ft above a soft bottom or weeds. Today, it quit. So, I don’t know how deep the water really is. What I do know is, Sanctuary draws 4-1/4 ft. What I learned for certain is, the bottom of the ICW around McClellanville is soft mud. I had slowed to just above idle, (never approach anything faster than you’d want to hit it). We never got stopped making way, but there were spots where I could feel the soft mud throwing the boat around. One of many times I really, really liked having a single engine boat with a prop and rudder protected by a beefy full keel. We never encountered anything hard; nothing that went “bump” along the hull. The stretch between G”35″ and R “48” is definitely the worst long stretch (4 miles) on the ICW at this point. Not bad when the tide is in, but 4 ft or less at low tide, and worse yet if celestial low tide. Southbound, check the tide station called “McClellanville, Jeremy Creek” before departing (or passing by) Georgetown. To stay clear of the McClellanville mud at MLLW, ditch out up above McClellanville and wait for a better tide if you’ll arrive at low and your boat draws more than 3 ft.
Those who have done this stretch of South Carolina ICW in the past know there are some very impressive, long docks extending from shore. Many show signs of very significant storm damage. Several that had nice multi-deck sun shelters top were tipped over and lying in the water (well, lying in the mud at low tide). Many of the docks and access-ways had decking missing, we assume from waves and high water lapping at them from beneath. We saw sunken floats and many pilings askew. We did not see any flotsam, but I would definitely keep a sharp lookout throughout the region. Crab pot floats are everywhere. In fast currents, floats bob underwater. Be on the lookout…
There has been generally more transient boat traffic than I expected this early in the season. Don’t know if that predicts more traffic later, or maybe they’ve all already come through, so slower later??? The big go-fast boats we’ve encountered have generally been gentlemen about passing, but it’s on you if you’re a slow boat to keep a sharp eye out astern for approaching, overtaking traffic.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Rock Creek, Pasadena, MD
Monk 36 Hull #132
Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Isle of Palms Marina
For a complete list of Sponsoring Marinas along this route, go to SC SSECN Sponsoring Marinas
This hazard is just north of the Waterway’s crossing of Dewees Creek and Dewees Inlet.
Our thanks for his kind words and for forwarding this report goes to Hank Pomeranz of Carolina Yacht Care and Southport Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, located just west of the Cape Fear River along the northern banks of the Waterway hard by flashing daybeacon #2A. And, of course, our thanks to Robert Blakely for being a “cruiser helping other cruisers!” Thank you Rob!
Here’s a report from Skipper Rob Blakely of M/V Asolare that I think is worth sharing as we start to gear up for the Transient season.
Rob, both Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net (SSECN) (cruisersnet.net) and Waterway Guide (waterwayguide.com) are outstanding organizations supporting cruisers. Suggest you check them out if you haven’t already.
From: Robert C Blakely
Date: September 30, 2017 at 6:32:18 PM GMT+2
To: Hank Pomeranz
Subject: Hazard in ICW
Just before Isle of Palms between makers 106 and 108 is this beast sticking out of water. It is in the channel about 20 ft I would estimate. This is a low tide so at high tide it would not be visible. Had friend in small boat check it out closer and he said it is stationary. Is there a way to report?
Robert C. Blakely, CFP, AIF, ChFC
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER
1022 Hutton Lane, Suite 109, High Point, NC 27262
With a vertical closed clearance of 31ft, Ben Sawyer Bridge is the last bridge before Charleston Harbor when southbound.
South Carolina Intracoastal Waterway marine traffic to be restricted for Ben Sawyer Bridge work
CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT from Post and Courier
Isle of Palms Marina is on the east side of the Waterway north of the Charleston Harbor.
The Isle of Palms Marina had lots of water over the bulkhead but the docks are in good shape. The fuel dock, store and deli are ope for business, 6:00am to 8:00pm 7 days a week.
The waterway passing McClellanville all the way to the Ben Sawyer Bridge has been shoaling for years. And, as Phillip Mullins advises, SSECN still recommends mid to high tide for passage through this section.
Good water up to Jeremy Creek, then you have to wait at least 1 hr. after low tide. Stayed on magenta line all the way to red day mark 42. I draw 5 ft and came through 2 spots that were 4.8 ft but was able to plow through. Rest of the time had 6.0 ft or better. If you are not comfortable with this, I suggest you wait until 2 hrs after low tide.
The waterway south of McClellanville all the way to the Ben Sawyer Bridge has been shoaling for years and SSECN still recommends mid to high tide for passage through this section. [As Tom Hale points out below, this should read “at risk of shoaling” for this section. Dredging often lasts only weeks. SSECN is delighted to get reports of good depths from Tom and from Raymond Smith.] See /162153. Our thanks to Capt. John Wampler for this photo from his GPS which displays 3.5ft between markers 38 and 37 just south of McClellanville. Another picture worth many words!
This was at high tide!!
Our thanks to Dave Boxmeyer for this report and warning. Dave is referring to George Hospodar’s October comments on this Problem Stretch, /160670. Unlike the Chesapeake, crab traps are not the usual hazard in the Waterway.
I agree with George, we came through here yesterday at dead low tide and found no less than 5 foot of water under the boat. We draw 3 1/2 feet. The larger problem are the crab traps. They are everywhere, shore to shore and the channel is no exception. Took us a lot of “S” turns, but we managed to miss them all. You have to really pay attention to the depth finder and out the window in this stretch.
The waterway south of McClellanville has been shoaling for years and as this LNM reports: /159671. Even with Captain Hospodar’s favorable experience, SSECN still recommends mid to high tide for passage through this section.
My wife Pat and I traveled from Mile 430 to 435 on 10/24/16 one hour after low water, staying in the middle we found no less than 6 feet of water throughout the area.
Captain George Hospodar
The waterway south of McClellanville has been shoaling for years and as the LNM reports below, funds are not available for dredging. SSECN recommends mid to high tide for passage through this section.
SOUTH CAROLINA – AICW – CASINO CREEK TO BEAUFORT RIVER – WINYAH BAY-CHARLESTON HARBOR: Shoaling Extended.
Shoaling has been reported in the vicinity of Winyah Bay-Charleston Harbor Light 35 (LLNR 34235 [33°4.6474N / 079°27.5501W, 33.077457 / -79.459168]) and Daybeacon 42 (LLNR 34260 [33°3.3526N / 079°30.4338W, 33.055877 / -79.507230]). The reporting source also indicates that the depth of the water between Winyah Bay-Charleston Light 38 (LLNR 34245 [33°3.9434N / 079°29.0818W, 33.065723 / -79.484696]) and Daybeacon 42 (LLNR 34260 [33°3.3526N / 079°30.4338W, 33.055877 / -79.507230]) is approximately 4ft; however the depth is charted at 7ft. The ACOE has no future plans for dredging due to budget restrictions. Further information can be found on the ACOE Charleston website http://www.sac.usace.army.mil/ Mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting the area. Chart 11518 LNM 37/16
This Problem Stretch is perennially the source of shallow water reports and over the years we have received numerous complaints of skinny depths in this narrow Waterway channel, from south of the intersection with Jeremy Creek and McClellanville to Statute Mile 435. As always, SSECN recommends mid to high tide passage if you draw 5ft or more! Our thanks to Captain Bob Crenshaw for this onsite report.
Extremely low water at SM 430 between 430 and SM 432 at Jeremy Creek
We were coming north in our 42 trawler with 4 foot draft and encounter extreme low water with ranges from 4 to 6 feet. This occurred between SM 430 and 432 at Jeremy Creek near McClellanville. We had to monitor depth finder and pull back to idle speed as we mover thru the low water.
This occurred at two hours before low tide. It was extremely nerve racking trying to find the deep water. When we arrived at our destination at Georgetown we were told,that two boats that had planned to stay at Georgetown had called in and said they had gotten aground in this area and had to wait for tide to come back.
We are unable to provide safe path in this area except monitor depth finder and try to search out low water.
Captain Bob Crenshaw
This article by Prentiss Findlay in Charleston’s Post and Courier is a second follow up to his earlier piece on much needed dredging in the Problem Stretch at Isle of Palms area of the Waterway, /?p=150352. As before, SSECN recommends SLOW passage at mid to high tide.
Inland Waterway at Breach Inlet to get long-awaited dredging
Prentiss Findlay Email Facebook @prentissfindlay
Nov 13 2015 12:26 pm Nov 13 4:50 pm
The Intracoastal Waterway at Breach Inlet will be dredged to improve navigation.
Dredging of the dangerously shallow Intracoastal Waterway at Breach Inlet between Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms begins this week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said.
`It’s long overdue,’ said Charleston County Councilman Dickie Schweers.
The county contributed $500,000 to the nearly $3 million effort which includes work in McClellanville to dredge a waterway channel for fishing trawlers.
Some $2.4 million in federal funds has been authorized for both projects.
`This project is a prime example of how collaboration between federal and non-federal partners for dredging can lead to increased waterway maintenance,’ said Brad Pickel, executive director of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association.
The waterway at Breach Inlet is almost dry at low tide because of shoaling, a condition in which sand builds up and blocks the channel. The authorized channel depth is 12 feet and the width is 90 feet.
Waterway dredging at the inlet will last about a week, said Glenn Jeffries, Corps spokeswoman.
Mile-long Jeremy Creek in McClellanville, which is part of the waterway, will be dredged starting in mid-January, Jeffries said.
`This schedule is tentative. Weather and machinery have a lot to do with a dredging schedule. But we will start in Breach Inlet for sure,’ she said.
The last substantial funding the Army Corps received for waterway dredging was in 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Waterway conditions at Breach Inlet at low tide have been blamed for boating injuries. `There’s just been a huge safety issue out there,’ said IOP City Administrator Linda Tucker.
A Mount Pleasant woman was seriously injured in a 2013 boating accident blamed on the shallow waterway. She was traveling in a 44-foot trawler drawing 3 feet 10 inches of water that hit bottom. The impact caused her to fall. Doctors determined she had a fractured vertebrae, a concussion and a broken rib. She spent two nights in the hospital, officials said.
IOP Marina and Charleston City Marina lose customers because recreational vessels often go offshore to avoid the waterway here, said IOP Mayor Dick Cronin.
`They just basically have bypassed our marina and the city marina to a large extent,’ he said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham’s office was instrumental in getting funds for the dredging, Cronin said.
`We had appealed to everybody and their brother,’ he said.
In McClellanville, Jeremy Creek is the route to two seafood processing plants. But it has become a muddy mess that idles trawlers for long stretches of the day, said Mayor Rutledge Leland.
`It’s getting worse and worse. Every time you see a boat moving anywhere from half-tide on down there’s mud boiling up behind it,’ he said.
After dredging, the creek will be eight feet deep at low tide, he said.
`That should help for a couple or three years anyway. It will start silting immediately. We’ll have to start arguing and lobbying and begging almost as soon as they get through but that’s the way it works to get ourselves into the next budget,’ he said.
The creek was created from mud flats as part of the original waterway project, he said.
Some states, such as Florida and North Carolina, have dedicated funding for waterway maintenance. The Florida Inland Navigation District collects about $20 million annually to pay for waterway maintenance in 12 counties. North Carolina funds waterway maintenance through boater registration fees and the gas tax.
This good advice was forwarded to us by Hank Pomeranz at Carolina Yacht Care of Southport Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! Skipper Wehmer has been communicating with Hank about Problem Stretches he had encountered. Funding for dredging the Problem Stretch north of Ben Sawyer Bridge has been approved but has not yet begun. See /?p=149544. SSECN continues to recommend mid to high tide passage for this stretch.
From connector bridge to Ben Sawyer:
Favoring the red side found more water as suggested. At G117A and B a sailboat in front of us drawing 6.5′ went aground staying to the far red side. They had approx. 1.5′ of tide. They radioed us and suggested to stay 40′ off of those buoys, which we did and had about 8′ MLW.
For the balance of the passage, the notes you provided were good. If you draw 6 feet or over, we recommend waiting until there is at least 3′ of tide before making the trip, however, other than grounding next to 117A, the boat in front of us made it through with 1.5-2′ of tide.
We are going to try to go outside from here to Fernandina, but if we do not, I’ll send you what we find.
S/V Island Bound