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Archive For: SC – 7 – Dawho River to Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff

  • Depth Report from Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, AICW Problem Stretch Mile 517


    Our thanks to Captain Hospodar for this report which is good news for all 5ft+ keels through this Problem Stretch. However, last year, depths of less than 5ft were reported via ARGUS readings at the south end of the Cut. Tidal range is 5-7ft here and is certainly a factor in deciding to take the Cutoff or use the longer alternate route, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=141157. Be sure to click the ARGUS option at the top of the ChartView page.

    My wife Pat and I traveled through the Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff into the Coosaw River on 10/25/16 one hour and 40 minutes after low water, staying wide of G “177” then traveling through the middle of the waterway and then slightly favoring the northwestern side of the channel between R “184” and G “185”, we found no less than 7 ½ feet of water throughout the area.
    Captain George Hospodar

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW/Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Shoaling Extending Southeast at Combahee Light, St. Helena Sound, AICW Alternate Route


    Cruisers wishing to avoid the regularly shoaling Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff by using the alternative route (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=145074 and http://cruisersnet.net/145808) downsteam in St. Helena Sound to the Combahee Bank, then northwestward upstream on the Ashepoo River to rejoin the ICW, will want to pay close attention to depths as you round the Combahee Bank Light.

    SOUTH CAROLINA – ST HELENA SOUND: Shoaling
    Shoaling has been reported extending from Combahee Bank Light (LLNR 4040) approximately 1NM in a southeast direction. Depths are reported between 5-15ft at Mean Low Water, while Chart # 11517 shows between 22-25ft. Mariners are advised to transit the area with extreme caution. Chart 11517 LNM 28/16

  • Captain Jim Healy Discusses the Waterway from Charleston to St. Augustine

    Longtime cruiser and SSECN Contributing Editor, Captain Jim Healy, shares his knowledge and experience in these observations on this portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Thank you Jim!

    The entire region from Charleston to St. Augustine has high tidal ranges, ranging from 5′ at St. Augustine to as much as 9′ in Savannah/Beaufort/Charleston.  Those high tidal ranges create swift tidal currents, and especially for first-times, docking is easiest in the 1/2 hour before and after slack.
    There are many areas of shallow water in the region.  The very best resource for current data on low water and caution areas is available via www.activecaptain.com.  Two other  websites that all ICW travelers should know about are www.waterwayguide.com and www.cruisersnet.net.  I’m sure you are familiar with the Waterway Guide book series.  The “Salty Southeast Cruiser’s Net” (SSECN) is  really a boating group.  It was founded by Claiborne Young.  After Claiborne’s untimely loss, the group continued in operation.  The Cruiser’s Net website specializes on the US Southeast.  There is some duplication of material between the WWG site and the SSECN site, but there is unique value to both.  Both are excellent resources for fuel prices, marinas and anchorages.  These websites would make a good sidebar for any ICW article.  Two of these websites require registration – SSECN does not – and all three are free, and all are very useful to ICW boaters.  Both WWG and SSECN also have smart phone apps that duplicate and augment website information and are very useful on small-format devices.
    There are some generalizations that apply to the region, including the stretch from Georgetown, SC all the way south to below Fernandina Beach.  In some of those areas, boats drawing more than 4′ will want to consider not traveling at low tide; especially celestial low tides.  The Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for dredging the ICW.  USACE is funded by state congressional delegations.  In recent years, the money congress allocates to dredging has been diverted to “more pressing needs,” and so many areas of the ICW are shoaling, and in fact, the ICW resource is slowly being lost; well, allowed to die, really, by congress.  There is a not-for-profit called the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association.  The Executive Director is Brad Pickel; bpickel@seahavenconsulting.com.  That would make another sidebar for any article on the ICW.  There are some local knowledge bypasses around some shoal areas.  All of the cruising sites above can provide additional detail.
    Renting a car in any of these venues greatly expands what a boating visitor can see and do.  Some, but not all, marinas have courtesy cars.  Generally they can’t be used for long periods, but they are useful for re-provisioning when needed.
    Hope this helps.
    Jim
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Ft. Myers, FL
  • Report from Fenwick Cut, AICW Statute Mile 511


    Fenwick Cut slices through a narrow neck of Fenwick Island and connects the Ashepoo River with the Stono, north of the infamous Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff which Captain Healy wisely avoided by taking the alternate route east around Combahee Bank in St. Helena Sound, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=145808. The alternate route adds about 5 statute miles to your route.

    Fenwick Cut, northbound at 09h10 DST 4/27/2015:

    8.6 ft observed today, mid-channel, south entrance
    +1.8 ft tide level per Garmin chart plotter almanac, therefore
    6.8 ft MLLW control depth transiting the cut

    Jim
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fenwick Cut

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Good Depths Reported at Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, AICW Problem Stretch Mile 517


    Skipper Hale’s passage is what we can all hope for through this Problem Stretch. However, as recent as this past October (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=145007), depths of less than 5ft were reported via ARGUS readings at the south end of the Cut. Tidal range is 5-7ft here and is certainly a factor in deciding to take the Cutoff or use the longer alternate route, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=141157. Be sure to click the ARGUS option at the top of the ChartView page.

    Ashpoo Coosaw cut off. We are north bound and arrived at the south end 1.5 hour after low water. We were carrying +1.5′ as we entered. The lowest we saw was just inside G185 we had over 6 feet but we might have been too far to the right. At G177 we had 20 feet of water. Clearly it is quite dependent on where you are, and there were times we were hunting a bit to find the best water. 30 or 40 feet to either side of our track could have been quite different,I think you can still take 4″ draft through at low water. There were three trawlers ahead of us the largest one was 50 feet and she was almost half an hour head of us. I think this passage is doable for most of the tidal cycle. Certainly the 4 hours before high water and 2-3 hours after high water. A sailboat half an hour behind us followed our track and instructions. They saw nothing less than 8.5′
    Cheers,
    Tom Hale
    Northbound on the ICW
    Charleston SC

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW/Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Detailed Report on Ashepoo-Coosaw Alternate, AICW Statute Mile 517


    Once again we are indebted to Captains Mark and Diana Doyle for this excellent report from the alternative route to Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut-off which is a perennial shoaling spot. As the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut-off has silted in further, we have had several reports of the use of an alternate route to by-pass the shoaling, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=145074. For a chart of Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut-off, scroll northwest on the chartview and don’t forget to check Argus from the top bar to see the shoaling.

    Hi Larry,
    Diana and I ran the alternative route out into St. Helena Sound and around the Ashepoo Coosaw Cut-Off the other day … and found deep water all of the way.
    For those interested in evaluating the option to avoid this ICW Trouble Spot [Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut-off], here’s a depth-annotated track and survey report:

    Ashepoo Coosaw Cut-Off Alternative: St. Helena Sound Route

    Diana and I transited the Ashepoo Coosaw Cut-Off Alternative on November 22nd, 2014 with about two-thirds tide and falling. (Small-scale overview, screenshot at upper right.)
    The (northern) relevant tide station, Seabrook, has a Spring Tidal Range (STR) of 7.3 feet and our height of tide was 4.5 above MLLW.
    Our plan was to run a southerly course, along the deeper charted waters west of Fenwick Island, through the marshes west of the Otter Islands, and into St. Helena Sound to round Combahee Bank and then proceed northwesterly up the Coosaw River to rejoin the ICW near R186 and STM 519.

    A few observations on this alternative route:
    1. The alternative route is longer than the preferred ICW Magenta Line route but avoids the Ashepoo Coosaw Cut-Off ICW Trouble Spot. At lower water stages, some cruisers may wish to evaluate this option.
    2. There are few significant navaids to follow for this alternative route. The route is fairly well charted, but unaided.
    3. St. Helena Sound can often be “boisterous” and busy with shrimping traffic.
    4. We experienced water depths of no less than 16 feet (11.5 feet adjusted for MLLW) on the transit. The lowest water was along Fenwick Island, then deepening into the 20s and 30s, and even 40s, 50s, and 60s for the St. Helena Sound and Coosaw River portions.
    5. Note that we chose to move farther easterly of the extending shoals at Combahee Bank than some other reports have advised. There are varying reports of success, although also noting substantially less water, by splitting the charted dayboard on Combahee Bank and the charted 15-foot shoal. Shrimpers and other locals have reported substantially more water eastward of the 15-foot pocket, which we experienced during our depth survey (see primary screenshot to right).

    Again, no recommendation being made here. Just sharing data. Captains are responsible for their decisions and outcome.
    Best,
    Captains Mark & Diana Doyle
    m/v Semi-Local
    www.OnTheWaterChartGuides.org

    CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE:
    ashpoo2

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Combahee Bank

  • Still Another Alternative to the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, AICW Statute Mile 517

    We have had lots of discussion (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=141157)  on bypassing Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff by heading southeast to Combahee Bank then northwest to return to the Waterway south of the Cutoff. Now Skipper Dammeyer offers another alternative by heading almost due west from Combahee Bank into Morgan River to SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Dataw Island Marina. Slipper Dammeyer and I had a chance to compare navigation notes this week just before he headed south from Charleston. If Dataw Island Marina is in your float plan, this is a logical choice of routes.

    Larry,
    Thanks for the encouragement to take the alternative to Ashepoo Coosaw cut. We arrived at Fenwick [Cut] about 2:30 or a couple of hours before low. We motored out and down the Ashepoo in calm seaway, went below the Combahee Bank and across St Helena Sound all the way to green 11 below pelican bank and found 25-30 ft of water to turn up Morgan Creek to Dataw Marina. Saving us from having to motor up the ICW and then crossing at Parrot Creek.
    Thanks again,
    Rick Dammeyer
    S/V Promise, Catalina 445, 5ft draft

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Combahee Bank

    Click Here For The Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Dataw Island Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Dataw Island Marina

  • Report from Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, AICW Problem Stretch Mile 517


    This report comes to us from Dan and Jaye Lunsford’s log of their voyage through South Carolina, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=145002. And, as reported by our good friends Mark and Diana Doyle: For those transiting South Carolina, Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff continues to be a problem area and carries LESS THAN 5 FEET MLLW. For an alternative to Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=134342

    SM 517 Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff: Stay at least a couple of boat lengths off G177 at the entry (“square the corner”) for 10′ MLLW. At the exit, R184 was reported destroyed; a new temporary drop aid (floating can) was placed there on Friday — we met the Coast Guard small boat that was doing the work on their way back. Slightly favor that NW side between R184 and G185, but time the tides if necessary, we saw 5′ MLLW here briefly.
    Dan Jaye Lunsford

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW/Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • A SC Waterway Mini-Guide from Little River Inlet to Beaufort, AICW Statute Miles 349-517

    Many thanks to Skippers Lunsford for providing very recent reports from six shoaling areas between Myrtle Beach and Beaufort. Three of these areas have been designated SSECN Problem Stretches and their descriptions are listed below.
    For a recent report on McClellanville, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=144354
    For a 2013 ACOE survey of area north of Ben Sawyer Bridge, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=125717
    For a 12/2013 report on Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=129101
    For an alternative to Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=134342

    Hi there. We just came through this area in the last week, a bit ahead of the pack, so thought we’d pass on what we found at the traditional trouble spots to help those who come behind us (a copy of what we posted on a couple of Facebook groups). Thanx for all you do.
    Dan and Jaye Lunsford

    SM 349-352 The Rockpile: This stretch has numerous rock ledges on the sides of the channel so its important to stay in the middle. Not quite as scary as it sounds, but its the first time on the journey that the ICW is anything but mud if you do make a mistake. The ledges are very easy to see at low tide, and there is plenty of water depth even at the lowest tide. On weekends it can be crowded with power boats who may want to pass you if you are a slower sailboat and there really isn’t a lot of room to move over.

    SM 430-435 McClellanville: Time the tides here if at all possible. If you’re really motivated you can tiptoe your way through; we saw 6′ MLLW, but so much simpler to just give it a couple of hours.

    SM 460 shoals before Ben Sawyer bridge: 4′ MLLW, so its really important to time the tides here. Favor the north side of the channel from before G117A to G119.

    SM 471 Wappoo Creek Bridge: This operator is REALLY a stickler for time; bridge is closed during rush hour opens every 1/2 hour during the middle of the day (check the complex operating schedule) but if you aren’t waiting at the bridge before the opening, the operator will not hold even a moment but will make you wait for the next one.

    SM 501-504 Watts Cut: Although not listed as a traditional trouble spot, there are numerous shoals to 6′ MLLW along this reach. In a slow sailboat it’s hard to time the tides to have water here, and also water at the next trouble spot.

    SM 517 Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff: Stay at least a couple of boat lengths off G177 at the entry (“square the corner”) for 10′ MLLW. At the exit, R184 was reported destroyed; a new temporary drop aid (floating can) was placed there on Friday — we met the Coast Guard small boat that was doing the work on their way back. Slightly favor that NW side between R184 and G185, but time the tides if necessary, we saw 5′ MLLW here briefly.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the Waterway south of McClellanville to Awendaw Creek

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW North of Ben Sawyer Bridge to Isle of Palms Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW/Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • More on the Alternative to AICW/Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff Tested, off Statute Mile 517


    An earlier report recommended an alternate route to the Ashepoo Cutoff, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=134342. Skipper Ross also reports on this slightly longer, but deeper water, with a warning about the southeast end of Combahee Bank.

    Because we would have been at the Ashepoo Coosaw cut at low tide, we decided to take the alternate route out St Helena Sound before heading up the river beside Fenwick island. There is a spot where the chart is incorrect. Just off the ocean end of Combahee bank, there is a place charted as 21 to 22 ft deep. It is actually 10 ft at low tide. The rest of the charted depths are close to correct. Although this route is 5 miles farther, it is an excellent alternative to “The Cut”
    Richard Ross MV Chez Nous

    I second the above. You do not want to pass closer than 1/2 mile south of the Combahee Bank marker, and even then keep a wary eye on the depth sounder.
    A much less stressful alternative to the cutoff at less than high tide.
    Larry Shick

    I should have realized when we first published the initial message above from “Chez Nous” that these good people pilot an ARGUS research vessel. As you will see below, ARGUS project leader, John Hursey, forwarded us this very useful chartlet, showing the soundings taken by Chez Nous. Note the color change in the sounding circles at the two spots indicated by the red lines. This shows soundings around 10 feet were taken at these locations!

    Hi Claiborne,
    This just in from M/V Chez Nous, passing southeast of Combahee Bank in St. Helena Sound:
    Just off the ocean end of Combahee Bank, there is a place charted as21 to 22 ft deep. It is actually 10 ft at low tide.”
    John

    ashepoocoosawalternateargus

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Combahee Bank

  • Alternative to AICW/Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff Tested, off Statute Mile 517


    In reponse to an earlier SSECN posting on an alternate to Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120938), Captain Mullins and crew took the Round-your-elbow route into St. Helena Sound to avoid the Cutoff and did so successfully.

    On our trip south on an Ocean Alexander 58, 4 ft. draft, we determined that we were going to transit the Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff at low tide so we decided to turn left, heading south, after we passed through the cut at Fenwick Island. The Ashepoo river had 20 to 25 ft. of water in the middle and we followed it to the mouth, exited and went out in the St. Helena sound, turned north and bypassed the problem stretch all together. I would recommend this route for anyone with a 4 or 5 ft. or deeper draft heading into that area.

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Combahee Bank

  • Less Than 5 Feet (MLW) of Water Found on the AICW/Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch (St. M. 517) –

    Our good friends, and SSECN strategic partners, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, founders and owners of “On The Water ChartGuides” (http://www.onthewaterchartguides.com/), give us an updated, graphic report below, relaying what they discovered as they navigated through the AICW – Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch on 11/16/13! Note that the Doyle’s soundings were taken near mid tide, so to calculate MLW depths, you must subtract 5.5 feet from their soundings depicted below. Applying this correction, Diana and Mark noted “multiple soundings of LESS THAN 5 FEET IN THE AICE CHANNEL NEAR MARKERS #184 AND #185. CLEARLY all cruisers piloting vessels larger than row boats should transit this AICW Problem Stretch at mid to high tide ONLY!
    Incidentally, Diana and Mark have recently published a new edition of their immensely popular “ICW CruiseGuide.” Click on the book graphic to the above left for more details, and to place an order!

    Hi Claiborne,
    For those transiting South Carolina, Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff continues to be a problem area and carries LESS THAN 5 FEET MLLW.
    I’ve attached a printable high-resolution file of our November 16th survey report and depth-annotated track.
    Hopefully, SSECN readers cruising this area will find the report useful.
    Best,
    Captains Mark & Diana Doyle
    m/v Semi-Local
    www.OnTheWaterChartGuides.com

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW/Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • How to Avoid the AICW Shoal at the Northeastern Tip of the Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff AICW Problem Stretch (Statute Mile 516.5)

    The Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff section of the AICW consists of a man-made canal which connects the Waterway between Rock Creek and the Coosaw River. Some two weeks ago, the SSECN posted an IMPORTANT “Navigation Alert” about severe shoaling at the northeastern end of the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff, near marker #177. (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119918). Now, our good friends, and frequent SSECN contributors, Captains Jim and Peag Healy give some very useful advice below as to how this hazard can be avoided.

    There is advice in many places to take G’177′ very wide. That correct advice is not new; it has been the case for years. That particular post drys at low tide, and always has. That danger is very easy to see at low tide, but it would be easy to ground near that post at high tide, so as is the case with all daymark posts in the southeast, stay away from them. They mark shoals, not channels.
    That G’177′ problem is very easy to see at low tide. The post is dry! It jumps out at you! But at high tide, it would be very deceptive. That’s what the problem is at that particular daymark. I “take my half out of the middle.” 🙂
    Be well, my friend
    Peg and Jim Healy

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Depth Report from Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, AICW Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 517

    Our good friends and frequent SSECN contributors, Captains Peg and Jim Healey, have sent us up-to-the-minute depth findings on the southwesterly section of the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff AICW Problem Stretch. This man-made canal connects the AICW between Rock Creek and the Coosaw River.
    On 7/31/13, we published one of many reports by fellow cruisers that soundings had deteriorated at the southwestern tip of the Cutoff (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120036).

    Sanctuary draws 4-1/4 feet. We transited the Ashpoo-Coosaw cut on Novenber 2, 2013, at 13h15, which was 1h20 before low tide, +0.9′ datum on the tide almanac. This was not a period of celestial high/low tides.
    The Ashpoo-Coosaw cut consists of two parts. The problem part is the southern cut, located between Rock Creek and the Coosaw River. The very worst part is at the point where the cut joins/enters the Coosaw River.
    In the southern Ashpoo-Coosaw cut, however, we saw actual depths of 4.9′ mid-channel at G’179.’ Then again, maybe 4.7′ just south of R’184′ G’185.’ The most current advice we found was to favor the red center-quarter of the channel at R’184′ G’185.’ We took that advice, and we got through. Very skinny water.
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Successful Passage through Ashepoo/Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch, AICW Statute Mile 517

    Captain Poovey is responding to a Navigation Alert we posted in August of this year ( http://cruisersnet.net/?p=121335 ) concerning shallow depths in the Ashepoo/Coosaw Cutoff in which the ACOE mentioned marker #185 in the southwestern portion of the Cutoff as an area to watch.

    Passed through here this afternoon [10/7/13] from the north. Abreast of Marker G-185 at 12:42 PM I measured 10.6′.
    Bob Poovey m/v Threadbare

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ashepoo/Coosaw Cutoff

  • Shoaling at Southwestern Tip of Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff AICW Problem Stretch Confirmed AGAIN (Statute Mile 517) – Captains Mark and Diana Report

    For the last eight weeks or so, the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff (canal) section of the South Carolina AICW (north of Beaufort, SC) has been the subject of an ACOE survey (FIRST seen here on the SSECN), multiple SSECN postings, and a joint call from the SSECN, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association, and the South Carolina Marine Association, suggesting members of the cruising community contact the SC US Congressional delegation, and ask them to support a special appropriation to dredge these waters. (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119918, http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120036 and http://cruisersnet.net/?p=121335).
    Now, our good friends, and SSECN strategic partners, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, founders and owners of “On The Water ChartGuides” (http://www.onthewaterchartguides.com/), give us an updated, graphic report relaying what they discovered as they navigated through the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff’s southwesterly mouth on 8/26/13.
    NOTE THAT THE DOYLE’S SOUNDINGS WERE TAKEN AT MID-TIDE, MEANING THAT YOU MUST SUBTRACT 4.4 FEET FROM THEIR SOUNDINGS TO DISCOVER WHAT MLW DEPTHS WOULD BE. As you will discover, there is at least one spot along the southeastern flank of the Waterway, a short hop northeast of marker #185, that would be less than 3 feet at low water!
    YIKES!!!!!! We need to get these waters dredged NOW!!!!!
    Incidentally, Diana and Mark are just about to publish a new edition of their immensely popular “ICW CruiseGuide.” Click on the book graphic to the above right for more details, and to place a pre-order!

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Dredging NOT in the Forecast for Ashepoo/Coosaw Cutoff AICW Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 517

    This extract, cherry picked from a recent Local Notice to Mariners, refers to the AICW Problem Stretch known as the Ashepoo – Coosaw. This man-made canal connects the AICW between Rock Creek and the Coosaw River.
    Some two weeks ago, the SSECN posted an IMPORTANT “Navigation Alert” about severe shoaling at the northeastern end of the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff, near marker #177 (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119918). A little later, we also published reports by fellow cruisers that soundings had also deteriorated at the southwestern tip of the Cutoff (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120036).
    Partnered with the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association and the South Carolina Marine Association, we subsequently asked for the help of the cruising community in securing a “special appropriation” to have these waters dredged (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120893).
    The official notice below confirms that dredging cannot take place here due to budgetary restrictions. Until and if the money is found to deepen this AICW Problem Stretch, either wait for high to mid-tide or see Tony Constant’s recommended alternate route: http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120938

    South Carolina-AICW-Winyah Bay – Charleston Harbor-Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff: Severe Shoaling

    The ACOE of Charleston, South Carolina had just finished an official survey of the AICW from Charleston, SC to Beaufort. Two patches of severe shoaling exist; the first appearing at the northeastern tip of the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff near Ashepoo-Coosaw C/O LT 177 (LLNR 35195). The other area is at the southwestern tip of the Ashepoo-Coosaw C/O between Ashepoo-Coosaw C/O DBN 180 (LLNR 35195.3) and Ashepoo-Coosaw C/O DBN 185 (LLNR 35205.2). Further information can be found on the ACO Charleston website at http://www.sac.usace.army.mil/ The ACOE has no future plans for dredging due to budget restrictions. Mariners are advised to transit the area with extreme caution.

    Claiborne,
    We just got the alert and request to contact our legislators with regard to the AICW shoaling problems in South Carolina. We live right on the AICW in Hilton Head, and frequently see the long dredge strings being towed back and forth between Florida and North Carolina. We’ll get their attention when shoaling is so bad that they can’t move their dredges to all those other places where they do dredge!
    K. C. Moore, Jr.

    And, messages like the one below are the result of not keeping up with AICW maintenance dredging:

    We have decided to cancel our trip South this year for this very reason. Probably would have been our last since we are turning 70 this year. How sad to watch this wonderful waterway be ignored, when it means so much to so many.
    It truly saddens me to see all that’s going on … or not going on … in our wonderful country.
    Please keep up your good work of keeping people informed and, hopefully, safe !
    Best Always,
    John

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position on the Northeastern Tip of the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, Near Marker #177

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

  • Important – Alternative to AICW/Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 517

    Boaters are our business and our only business. We are located directly on the ICW, and offer Exceptional Lowcountry facilities and hospitality. The Beaufort/Port Royal area is a beautiful and historiCaptain Constant’s (dockmaster at SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Port Royal Landing Marina) report below is yet another confirmation of the many reports we have posted on the SSECN about AICW shoaling in the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120036). And, just last Friday we appealed to the Cruising Community, for help in lobbying the South Carolina US Congressional delegation for a “supplemental appropriation” that would allow the US Army Corps of Enginners to dredge the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff, and the AICW, north of Charleston, where it passes behind shallow Breach Inlet (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120893).
    Captain Constant’s  suggested alternate route to avoid the Cutoff seems valid, and his is Local Knowledge – always good to have! Cruising south, the “bypass” would begin by turning southeast on the Ashepoo River (downstream), at the southern end of Fenwick Cut, then continuing downstream to Combahee Bank in St. Helena Sound. After CAREFULLY bypassing the “Combahee Bank” shoals, this route then turns northwest and heads for the Coosaw River, rejoining the Waterway near statute mile 519.5, west of marker #186.
    Unfortunately, both the route around the “Combahee Bank” shoals, and the AICW route near the point of rejoining the Waterway west of #186, are very sparsely marked, and the open waters from St. Helena Sound could kickup with an outgoing tide and easterly wind. THE USE OF A WELL FUNCTIONING GPS CHARTPLOTTER IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED WHILE TRAVERSING THIS ALTERNATE ASHEPOO-COOSAW CUTOFF BYPASS ROUTE!
    In spite to these challenges, until and if dredging is accomplished in the Ashepoo – Coosaaw Cutoff, this alternate passage may be preferable to the shallow depths in the Cutoff, particularly at low water.
    SSECN would like to hear from ANY other cruisers who have made use of this Ashepoo – St. Helena Sound – Coosaw River alternate route. PLEASE share your experiences with our fellow cruisers. You can use the “Comment” function below, or send e-mail directly to EditorialDirector@CruisersNet.net. Thanks in advance!

    I’m the dock master at Port Royal Landing Marina in Port Royal, SC. The shoaling going on just north of Beaufort at the Ashepoo-Coosaw cutoff is too low to navigate at low tide now with most trawlers and virtually all sailboats. How the dredges get through I don’t know.
    One alternative to dredging this area is to move the ICW one inlet closer to the ocean. If you go east out the Coosaw River to the Ashepoo River you will see its inlet at Otter Island. This inlet is a natural river with fresh water influx and is about 20′ in depth at the mouth at one point is about 15′ then back to 20′ at the Fenwick Cut. If traveling south you would take a left when clearing the Fenwick Cut and travel close to Otter Island into the Coosaw River.
    I live across the sound from this water and it is the way us locals travel now.
    Tony Constant

    Captain Constant offers further advice on the Ashepoo/Coosaw Rivers junction at Combahee Bank.

    When entering the Ashepoo River From the Coosaw River you should be closer to the beach at Otter Island than to the port channel marker. The shoal is shoaling there as well but not near as hard. As a rule I use, when north bound, if I see 12′-15′ of depth I will steer to starboard until I see about 20′.
    The Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff’s bottom is V shaped, meaning the channel is in the middle of the cut. 6-8 months ago it was much deeper with 9′-10′ of depth last year. Capt Ted took a 45′ trawler through about a month ago and only found 3′ of depth.
    Tony Constant

    Well this is a bad thing with the cut off! But, it would be nice if reporting vessels would post the state of the tide in their reports. If Capt. Ted had 3′ at low water very bad, but if there is 5′ at high water, not so bad. Cygnus ll draws 3’4″
    Capt. Mike Wright

    We did take this alternate route a couple of years ago when heading north at low tide. We decided to avoid the cutoff and go the long way around. It worked well with our 6′ 3″ draft. The only advice I would give is to give the Combahee Bank plenty of respect. It would appear to be shoaling further southeast.
    Captain Richard

    Does this alternate route turn up the coosaw river north of combahee bank or do yu have to go around the bank on the southeast end?
    Jake Smith

    In answer to Captain Smith’s question above, we recommend rounding Combahee Bank, by carefully passing to the east and south of this shoal, staying well south of the one unnumbered, but lighted marker which denotes its position. Then, set a course to the northwest, passing southwest of marker #12. Use your chartplotter to keep to the wide channel while continuing northwest to rejoin the AICW, west of marker #186. Hope that helps to answer your question!

    Fenwick Cut - Click for Chartview

    Combahee Bank - Click for Chartview

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fenwick Cut

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Combahee Bank

  • Important – Shoaling WORSENS on Southwestern End of the AICW/Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff Prolem Stretch (Statute Mile 517)

    On 7/28/13 (a weekend no less), the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net received a telephone call from Captain Mike Verdolini, (Civil Engineering Technician, Navigation Branch, South Atlantic Charleston), at the Charleston, SC branch of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Captain Mike informed us that the Corps had just finished an official survey of the AICW from Charleston, SC to Beaufort. Two patches of severe shoaling had turned up, which he thought (quite rightly) should be brought to the IMMEDIATE ATTENTION of the cruising community.
    By the way, before going further, let me just say how honored we are that the US Army Corps of Engineers turned to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net as their FIRST MEANS to get this important information into the hands of cruising captains.
    One patch of NEW shoaling appeared at the NORTHEASTERN tip of the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, near marker #177. We have put up a separate posting/Navigational Alert, about these shallows at http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119918.
    The other area of concern appeared on our old friend, the “AICW Problem Stretch,” at the southwestern tip of the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff (Statute Mile 517), between markers #180 and #185.
    As you will see in the below graphic, supplied to the SSECN by the USACOE, low water depths on the southern-southeastern side of the channel, from the interior reaches of the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff, to a point southwest of marker #185, run from 5.6 to as little as 2.6 feet. SOMEWHAT BETTER DEPTHS CAN BE MAINTAINED BY FAVORING THE NORTHERN AND NORTHWESTERN SIDES OF THE CHANNEL, but even with this plan of action, low water depths of as little as 4.7 feet are quite possible.
    WE NOW STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT ALL CRUISERS WHO PILOT VESSELS DRAWING MORE THAN 3 FEET, TIME THEIR PASSAGE OF THE AICW/ASHEPOO COOSAW CUTOFF STRICTLY FOR TIMES OF MID TO (PREFERABLY) HIGH TIDE!
    WE ASK THE HELP OF THE CRUISING COMMUNITY TO HELP US DISTRIBUTE THIS VITAL INFORMATION TO OUR FELLOW CRUISERS. If you belong to other nautical lists or forums, please direct members of such associations to this posting at http://cruisersnet.net/?p=120036. Both year round Palmetto State cruisers, and those cruising south on the AICW this fall, need to be well aware of this new hazard long before they actually arrive on these waters.
    The entire Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net team promises to keep a very CLOSE EYE on this developing situation as we move into the fall, 2013 transient season. We will bring you fresh info just as soon as it is available. In the meantime, everyone take care on these waters, and, again, please let us hear about your experiences at #177!!!!

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

    Sir,
    In response to your call for feedback from cruisers who recently traversed the Ashepoo Coosaw cutoff:On Monday, 24 June 2013, I traversed this area southbound at dead low tide. I encountered very shallow water, around 3.5 feet, all the way from marker 180 to 185. My sailboat with a wing keel is aground when my sounder reads 4.3 feet, but the bottom seemed to be soft mud and I was able to plow through it, although at severely reduced speed because of the viscosity. (I had increased the engine speed to maximum rpm.) My position was the “magenta line” which travels down the middle of the cut in this area. Having passed marker 185 and into the Coosaw River, the water deepened and I was out of trouble. The tide tables predicted water depths to be 1 foot below mean low tide on this day.
    Peter Denoncourt
    S/V Kite

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