It almost goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway, that the Georgia stretch of the Atlantic Intacoastal Waterway is the most difficult section of the entire Waterway passage from Norfolk, VA to Miami, FL. Such AICW Problem Stretches as Little Mud River and Jekyll Creek are enough to make any captain lose their religion.
Below, Captain Grogen gives us all some good, general advice about keeping to the best depths possible in these waters.
Time to comment on the “rules of the mud bottom channels”. The deepest part of the channel is probably NOT going to be in the middle. Water current on a falling (ebb) tide runs faster than water on a rising (flood) tide, and the faster water cuts a deeper channel. So, the deepest place in a tidal channel is the outside bend in a falling tide current. The next deepest place is the outside bend on a rising tide current. On some curves where the curve is outside for both the ebb and flood, to will find very deep water and the possibility that the curve is even outside the charts. The situation at MM 704 is a good example of that. On some S curves you will find shallow water in the center of the channel. At low tide look at the banks, along a steep bank you will find deep water close to the bank,
along a gradual bank, shallow water. In some of the cuts that have been dredged, it isn’t always obvious which way the water flows, so you just have to observe which way the water is flowing at a given tide state. So, read the channel by looking at it, and don’t follow the magenta line on your chart plotter. Frequently, your chart plotter will show you in the marsh, and there have even been some places where the deepest water is outside of the buoyed channel! When your depth finder is showing less than the chart, wonder slowly back and forth looking for the deep water, sometimes the deep channel isn’t very wide. You actually learn a lot about a channel at low tide when you can really see it.