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    • South Carolina Navigation Alerts


      Please note that “Alerts” listed in this section are arranged in a rough north to south geographic format.
      “Alerts” are messages from your fellow cruisers which pertain to navigational problems or changes along the waters of the South Carolina coastline. These “Alerts” are real concerns for South Carolina mariners, and might range in subject matter from new shoaling to a missing aid to navigation.
      “Alerts” should be differentiated from our “AICW Problem Stretches” section. “AICW Problem Stretches” are sections of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway that seem to have perennial problems. Even after dredging, shoaling tends to reappear within a relatively short period of time.
      If you have arrived here, seeking information about AICW long-term concerns, be sure to also check out our “SC AICW Problems” section by going to the red, vertical menu on the right side of all Net pages (except Chart View pages). Click on “South Carolina” and a drop down menu will appear. Now, click on “SC AICW Problems.” A page will open listing all the problem stretches along the South Carolina portion of the Waterway

    • Severe Shoaling, AICW Statute Mile 360.5, 9/8/2016

      This area of shoaling is at the northern end of an already narrow channel between the NC/SC state line and Socastee Bridge. This shoaling will be a problem for deep draft vessels. Mid to high tide is recommended.

      Severe shoaling has been reported in the vicinity of Little River-Winyah Bay Daybeacon 22A (LLNR 33710.5 [33°44.5204N / 078°51.9515W, 33.742006 / -78.865859]) and Daybeacon 25 (LLNR 33735 [33°43.9158N / 078°53.2605W, 33.731930 / -78.887675]). A temporary Buoy 22A has been set in approximate position 33-44.5094N/078-51.9702W (33°44.5094N / 078°51.9702W, 33.741823 / -78.866170) . Little River-Winyah Bay Daybeacon 22A has been temporarily changed from a non-lateral aid to an NW on pile (diamond shape, white day boards with an orange reflective boarder). The approximate width of the channel from the pier on the east side to TEMP Buoy 22A on the west side is roughly 60ft. The pier on the east side is not lit and the width of the channel with the extreme shoaling on the west side poses a serious hazard to navigation. Mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting the area. Chart 11502, 11504 LNM 36/16

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Mile 360.5

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    • Shallow Water in Minim Creek Canal, AICW Statute Mile 415, 8/31/2016

      This area of shallow water is at the south end of the Estherville Minim Creek Canal which begins at the Waterway’s exit southward from Winyah Bay.

      The U.S. Coast Guard has found at low-tide depths of less than 5ft of water in the middle of the channel between Winyah Bay-Charleston Harbor Channel Light 4 (LLNR 34120 [33°11.7192N / 079°16.3300W, 33.195320 / -79.272167]) and Winyah Bay-Charleston Harbor Daybeacon 5 (LLNR 34125 [33°11.4410N / 079°16.5012W, 33.190683 / -79.275020]). Mariners are advised to use caution while transiting the area. Chart 11532, 11534 LNM 35/16

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Minim Creek Canal

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    • Severe Shoaling at Entrance to Jeremy Creek, McClellanville, SC, AICW Statute Mile 430, 10/1/ 2013

      Jeremy Creek - Click for Chartview

      Our contact at the US Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, has just forwarded the most recent (9/27/13) official USACOE survey of depths on Jeremy Creek. While depths have improved slightly over last December’s survey (see /?p=103937), you can see that the center of the channel is c. 3.5ft. However, the survey does show that better depths – 4.9ft – are found on the starboard side of the channel when entering and channel depths improve farther upstream. All depths shown on this survey are corrected for Mean Low Water. Until and if dredging can be accomplished on the southern portion of Jeremy Creek, entrance and exit at times near low water will be relegated strictly to vessels with less than 5ft draft!
      Now, why is this such a big deal? Well, Jeremy Creek provides the only water access to the charming village of McClellanville, South Carolina, and its marina, Leland Oil Company. The shoal depths at the entrance to Jeremy Creek are going to be a real obstacle to visiting both this marina and the adjoining community.
      Fortunately, there is a 5.5 to 6 foot tidal range in this region, so most cruising craft will be able to navigate southern Jeremy Creek near the time of high tide. Of course, having to time your travel around the tides can be a major inconvenience to cruisers.
      Everyone in McClellanville is hoping that the USACOE will dredge Jeremy Creek soon, but, as of this writing, there are no definite plans to do so. Let’s hope this dredging happens soon!
      In the meantime, ALL mariners bent on a visit to McClellanville and/or Leland Oil Company, NEED TO TAKE THIS INFORMATION INTO ACCOUNT!


      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Jeremy Creek

      Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Leland Oil Company Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Leland Oil Company Marina

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    • Shallow Water South of McClellanville Documented, AICW Statute Miles 430-433

      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!!

      John Wampler

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

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To The Northern Portion of This AICW Problem Stretch

      Comments from Cruisers (3)

      1. Raymond W. Smith - "Fire Dog" -  March 10, 2017 - 6:08 pm

        Was back and forth this winter, no problem. Just check your tides and follow the MARKS and get off the throttle!!!!

        Reply to Raymond
      2. Tom Hale -  March 10, 2017 - 4:07 pm

        You reference that there is shoaling all the way to Ben Sawyer Bridge is out of date. The Isle of Palms stretch near 117 A was dredged in 2015 and that problem area seems to be resolved. I’ve been through 3 times in the last 10 months, and twice since Hurricane Matthew. I do not see any problems in that stretch, and that is over 10 miles south of the McClellanville trouble area.

        Reply to Tom
      3. Mike Cam -  March 8, 2017 - 10:54 am

        Tuesday 7 March 17 McLellanville R42 to G35 about 15min before mlw. Made it through by zig-zagging at 2-3kts searching for water. We draw 4ft but we have a 24ft beam so we need a very wide path.
        Mike Cam

        Reply to Mike
    • Shoaling Reported Inside South Jetty, Charleston, SC near AICW Statute Mile 469, 5/21/2013

      Dynamite Hole – Click for Chartview

      Dynamite Hole is a marked channel opening in the south jetty, at the ocean side entrance to Charleston Harbor. The shoaling location is described below by Captain Mullins.
      Local mariners often use this route as a short cut, particularly when entering Charleston Harbor from the south. ALL captains who contemplate taking this passage should read the message below with the greatest care!

      May 1, 2013
      There is a large shoal that has grown on the seaward side of Ft.Sumter adjacent to the Dynamite Hole area. We found it and spent 6 hours high and dry and had to be pulled off by Tow Boat US. There has always been a shoal about half way out from the ship channel while trying to go through Dynamite Hole, but it has been about half way between the green side of the channel and the cut itself. Now, this shoal has extended to about 100 ft. to starboard of the green channel marker while making passage offshore. We were not trying to go through Dynamite Hole when we hit, but were just to starboard of the green channel marker.
      We hit it under full sail and hit 4 times before we stopped on a falling tide.
      It is not marked by any buoys or signs and is not shown as a danger area on my GPS charts.
      The prudent sailor should stay in the shipping channel until at lease half way through the jetties going to sea.
      Philip W. Mullins (Phil)
      S/V Katash
      Isle of Palms, SC

      Hi, how close in time were you to low tide? I’ve gone thru Dynamite Hole a couple of times. Are you suggesting not using it any more or to go past the marker (as you head out to sea) marker on starboard and then turn south and head thru the cut in the jetties. Looks like that would avoid the shoaling.
      Skip Hardin.
      S/V Platypus

      Cruising News:
      Re the question “how close to low tide did you go aground” It was about 2.5 hrs before dead low tide. You can still go out Dynamite Hole, but I would pass Green “21” to seaward then turn south to Dynamite Hole, keeping the cut well to your west as you progress to the cut.
      Phil Mullins

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at South Jetty

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    • VERY IMPORTANT – Extreme AICW Shoaling at Northeastern Entrance to Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff, AICW Statute Mile 516, 6/29/2013

      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.
      Back to the survey, one area of concern is our old friend, the “AICW Problem Stretch,” at the southwestern tip of the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff (Statute Mile 517). We are publishing a separate article about the worsening shoaling here, near marker #185 (see /?p=120036).
      HOWEVER, what really got both Captain Mike’s and our own attention were the survey results depths, hard by marker #177 AT THE NORTHEASTERN ENTRANCE TO THE ASHEPOO-COOSAW CUTOFF (hard by the Waterway’s intersection with Rock Creek)!
      As you will see in the below graphic, supplied to the SSECN by the USACOE, low water depths of as little as 1-foot, are now to be found hard by the northern side of marker #177. YIKES!!!!
      These grounding depths can be bypassed by not approaching #177 closely, and favoring the NORTHERN SIDE of the AICW channel from a point 200 yards or so east-northeast of #177, to the point where the channel swings farther to the southwest, and enters the main body of the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff. Again, as shown in the USACOE survey snippet below, even at low water, minimum 6.5 foot depths can be held by following this plan of action.
      Of course, this all sounds much easier on paper (or, in this case, on the screen), than when you are on the water. Clearly, the passage from Rock Creek into the northeasterly entrance of the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff (or the other way around), is now an area that demands MAXIMUM ALERT from all cruisers, and the most cautious navigation of these waters.
      There are two aspects of this shoaling that we find particularly troubling. First, this is the first we have heard about shoaling near marker #177, and, secondly, Captain Verdolini informs us that there is no immediate budget available to dredge this troubled section of the Waterway.
      WE ASK THE HELP OF THE CRUISING COMMUNITY TO HELP US DISTRIBUTE THIS VITAL, BREAKING INFORMATION TO OUR FELLOW CRUISERS. If you belong to other nautical lists or forums, please direct members of such associations to this “Navigation Alert” posting at /?p=119918. 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.
      It almost goes without saying, but we are going to say it anyway, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is declaring a Navigational Alert for these waters, and I have no doubt this Alert will remain in effect, until dredging finally takes place along this stretch of the AICW.
      We would also very much like to hear from members of the cruising community who have cruised the AICW within the last thirty to sixty days between Charleston and Beaufort (or the other way around). Did you find shallow depths near #177? What did you find to be the best means to bypass this shoaling? PLEASE send your data to EditorialDirector@CruisersNet.net. Your fellow cruisers can’t wait to hear from you!
      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!!!!

      Note Soundings to the West of Left Pointing Red Arrow

      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

      Update as of 7/30/13 – After publishing the article above, we immediately brought this situation to the attention of Brad Pickel, Executive Director of our strategic web partner, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Assocation (http://www.atlintracoastal.org/). As you will see from his message below, Brad took action immediately, and we HOPE the meetings he describes will shake loose some additional funds for dredging these problem waters SOON!

      Thank you Claiborne. I have followed up with the Charleston District and the message you heard was correct. This area along with Breach Inlet are priority areas for maintenance, but there are no funds currently available for these efforts. If funds were to become available, it would be through a supplemental or emergency appropriations bill. Some of our board members and I will be meeting with representatives of Senator Graham and Senator Scott’s staff tomorrow and we will definitely bring these concerns to their attention. I will let you know of any additional feedback I receive on this topic.
      Brad Pickel
      Executive Director
      Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association

      And, responding to our request for information from the cruising community, several captains have responded. Note that all either swing wide of #177, or came through at half to mid-tide. SMART!

      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 did not encounter the shoaling your alert mentioned near marker 177, but I stayed wide of that marker.
      Peter Denoncourt
      S/V Kite

      We passed marker 177 today 8-3-2013 at about half falling tide. The marker was on dry ground. However there was plenty of water ( 15 to 20 ft ) if you take the turn wide. Of a much greater concern was the rest of the cut to marker 185, in some places we only say 5.2 to 5.7 ft under our boat while on plane. I can only imagine there is very little water in this cut at full low tide. Be very cautious when transiting this area.
      David Doyle

      We passed marker 177 northbound around June 1st of this year at near mid-tide. I had noticed a shoal off 177 before at low tide so our strategy was to `square the corner’. By this I mean we continued into Rock Creek unitl mid-stream before turning starboard and we would continue at the middle of Rock Creek when southbound until turning to port only when we are centered at the Ashepoo-cut off Canal. ‘˜best of luck, Aythya crew
      Stewart Force

      CAVALIER cruised the AICW north past markers 177 and 185 on 23 June 2013 about 2 hours past high tide. We draw 5 feet and at no time saw less than 7 feet at both areas. We stuck to the center of the channel. No issues.
      Jeanne and Terry

      Regarding the Marker 177 at Ashepoo cut-off and Rock Creek. I passed this point at medium tide about June 1st of this year without noting a problem. I have seen a shoal off 177 before at low tide and my strategy has been to “square the corner”. By this I mean proceding to the center of Rock Creek before turnng starboard when northbound & proceding to the center of the cut-off canal before truning to port when southbound. Hope the conditions of the waterway are maintained. Thanks for your alerts,
      Aythya crew

      Passed marker 177 southbound yesterday afternoon at low tide. Swinging wide of the marker at about mid- width of the cutoff there was over 20 ft of depth until well past the marker. Much shallower at the western end past #185.
      Tom Divers
      M/V Tanqueray

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    • Important – Foul Bottom on Wimbee Creek Anchorage, near AICW Statute Mile 523, 6/18/12

      After following the mostly sheltered waters of the AICW running south from Charleston, while cruising to Beaufort, South Carolina, cruisers might well be excused when they exit the southwesterly entrance of the Ashepoo – Coosaw Cutoff, for gasping just a bit at the wide swath of open waters which spread out before them. This mighty body of water is the Coosaw River, which the AICW follows mostly west to the northern entrance of Brickyard Creek (thence south to Beaufort).
      Our very good friends, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, have obviously explored these waters themselves over the past couple of decades while researching their superb “Managing the Waterway” series of guide books.
      As you will read below, one stream where they had dropped the hook before was Wimbee Creek. This stream cuts off from the Bull River, which itself makes into the Coosaw’s northern flank near Statute Mile 521 (see chart to the above right). HOWEVER A VERY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE GREETED OUR EXPERIENCED CRUISING DUO ON THIS OCCASION!
      As you will read below, Diana and Mark discovered the hard way that a portion of Wimbee Creek has a very foul bottom. Farther upstream (see below), it’s apparently safe (or at least “safer”) to drop the hook, but the creek’s waters, southeast of charted “Chisolm,” where chart 11518 shows a sounding of “11” feet, are definitely off limits!
      The SSECN is declaring a Navigational Alert for these waters!

      Hi Claiborne,
      On June 10, 2012, we anchored in Wimbee Creek, a popular anchorage off Bull River, running north of the Coosaw River in South Carolina. In 13 feet (MLLW) we deployed a Bruce anchor with 120′ of chain, compensating for the expected additional 7 feet of tide in this area. Like nearly all our surveyed anchorages in Georgia and southern South Carolina, we anticipated high current.
      Unfortunately, within a few hours our ground tackle started behaving abnormally. At first we attributed it to opposing wind and current, but it was soon apparent something more serious and unusual was occurring.
      The wind continued to climb and thunderstorms could be seen advancing so we decided to retrieve the anchor and re-set. We were stopped short at about 60 feet of chain’”in 13 feet of water’”stuck on something so large that any attempts by the windlass or by “running over” the anchor merely pulled our bow down!
      We were stuck, short-scoped, with strong thunderstorm activity predicted throughout the night, but with no choice but to wait for TowboatU.S. to bring a diver the next morning.
      We payed back out the recovered 60 feet of chain and spent an uncomfortable night.
      Roy Stegall, a cruiser on s/v Gideon who works part-time for TowboatU.S. Port Royal, and Gene Clark, an experienced diver, arrived on the scene at 0745 hrs. the next morning. It took Gene a couple of hours of blind handwork in the tannic, murky high current to get control of the situation.
      His report from down-under: A wide area of huge “rocks”‘”which we later determined were likely dumped construction debris from an old foundation’”covered the mud bottom. Some of the chunks were half the size of the TowBoatU.S. vessel! As the strong winds and currents continuously shifted, our chain had actually been pulled UNDER one of these huge boulders, requiring a rolling hitch and hard horizontal yank using the TowBoatU.S. vessel to pop it free.
      This was no ordinary anchor-fouling. The anchor was free and about 20 feet from the boulder. This was a chain-fouling!
      A resident yelled out from his dock that a nearby trawler, anchored further up the creek on what looked like a back-up nylon rode, had just lost its anchor and chain in the same area and was waiting to try to locate it.
      So this area is a serious hazard and has claimed at least two boats.
      The problem site is south of the center of Wimbee Creek, off the second residential dock. Do not anchor anywhere near the first through third docks. Instead, proceed further up the creek, and stay well off the shore.
      The chartlet below shows our new anchored position, the fouled area, and the depths (and tides) we read thoughout this anchorage.
      Our heartfelt thanks to the excellent team at TowBoatU.S. Port Royal for safely turning around what could have been an even worse situation!
      Best and see you On the Water,
      Captains Mark & Diana Doyle

      Not To Be Used For Navigation


      Did I luck out! Two years ago, I anchored in that exact same spot (well, obviously, not exactly the same; I’d still be there).

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position on Wimbee Creek, Southeast of Chisolm

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    • Report on Depth at AICW Passage Through Southern Ramshorn Creek, AICW Statute Mile 570, June 19, 2013

      Ramshorn Creek - Click for Chartview

      Last year’s shoaling near marker #40 at the southern foot of the Ramshorn Creek, north of Fields Cut, prompted a Navigation Alert and this area remains one requiring keeping a keen eye on your depth. The addition of another marker, as Captain Bell reports, should help.

      Cruising News:
      A red buoy has been added opposite G39. I found that the water depth between the two was less than six feet MLW. I was mid channel when I pass the two markers that are less than 100 feet a part.
      Dave Bell

      We just came thru here at near low tide and quite frankly, I think this spot is worse in some respects than many of the others that get more press (Hell’s gate, Mud River). The red buoy mentioned above is correct, however, at low tide, this buoy was setting on dry ground. As you approach from the south, yo can easily drift too much to the east at `G39’³ and be on bottom, meaning as you pass `G39’³ and think you need to turn to the right (starboard) as you enter the creek, then you are stuck on bottom. But, if you are at above low tide and see the red marker floating there and get too close to it, you are on ground and if a falling tide, then `oops’. This is especially tricky if the winds are blowing either easterly or westerly. We tried to help a boat get off, but it was too windy, but fortunately for him, it was a rising tide. We passed within 5′ of him (yes, five feet) and had 7.5 feet. only a few feet away is the red marker (nun).
      John Winter

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at the AICW’s Route Through Southern Ramshorn Creek

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    • Shoaling Confirmed in Northern Fields Cut, AICW Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 574, 8/20/2014

      The intersection of Northern Fields Cut and the Wright River lies north of the intersection of the Waterway and the Savannah River. Shoaling at this Problem Stretch has always been an issue and, even with last year’s dredging, shallow depths might be expected. This new Local Notice confirms earlier reports of severe shoaling as reported on May 21st, see /?p=141095.

      There is shoaling directly in the middle of the AICW in Fields Cut. A depth of 2FT was reported in approximate position 32-05.185N/080-56.022W (32°5.1850N / 080°56.0220W, 32.086417 / -80.933700) during low-tide and poses a hazard to navigation. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area. Chart 11507 LNM: 33/14

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

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Northern Fields Cut

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Ray Schmidt -  August 22, 2014 - 8:34 pm

        Subject, Northern Fields Cut shoal

        FYI, 3 years ago, coming north in the spring, a barge/push boat were coming up behind me so I idled on the side and told the tug captain that I would wait until he passed since I was not familiar with this area. He said I would have no problems as he passed and then he went aground. By the time he managed to push the barge through the shoal, there was a line of boats behind him and me. I called him and thanked him for moving the shoal for us.

        Reply to Ray
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