Advice on Hell Gate Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 602
We are always hearing of extreme shallows at Hell Gate and recent conflicting reports still indicate problems at low tide. See /153633 and /153843. This report comes from one of our friends in AGLCA. SSECN still recommends MID TO HIGH TIDE as a requirement for navigating through Hell Gate.
Hell Gate GA
As a general rule, this section is best attempted with a rising tide. I guided 5 sailboats through there last November 21, 2015 during the Sail 2015 Rally Down the ICW.. We entered Hell Gate at exactly dead low and proceeded slowly. Of the 6 of us all drawing between 4.5 and 6 feet only the 6 footer ran aground. We draw 4.5 feet and several of the other boats with us were 5.5 feet. We were fine at dead low. In my experience, it is best to stay off G 89 about 75-100 feet.
Reversing that route for north bound, stay center channel as you proceed into Hell Gate and then be on the west side of the as you approach G89, After the G89 continue north for about 300 feet before you actually take the turn towards the east. G89 does not exactly mark the actual bend in the channel After bend continue to stay west but then shift to the center of the channel as you approach the Vernon river.
The most recent crowd sourced charts show 4-5 feet in the channel at low water. Given that the tidal range here is 9 feet, If you approach Hell Gate an hour or two after low you will have plenty of water in the channel. If you would like to have a copy of my tracks, please PM me.