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    • An Update on Dataw Marina, near SC AICW Statute Mile 521.5


      Dataw Island Marina, completely destroyed by Hurricane Matthew, is a former Cruisers Net sponsor and we wanted to give you an update on their progress at rebuilding. The marina is located just a short distance south off the Waterway via Parrot Creek, then Morgan River, west of marker #6, along the southern banks of the Morgan River. A wonderful, intimate marina and a great stopover!

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 28, 2018
      CONTACT:      Laura McCarthy, Director of Marketing & Communications
      (843) 379-3056 / CELL (912) 224-7611
      datawmarketing@islc.net 

      Dataw Island Announces Purchase of Marina

      Beaufort, SC — The Dataw Island Owners Association (DIOA) is pleased to announce its purchase of the marina property located on the north end of the island. The Carolina Ballroom erupted in applause when Assistant General Manager, Lori Murdaugh, opened the sealed envelope provided by an independent voting organization and read the results of the vote: more than 93% voted in favor of purchasing the marina property.
      In the months leading up to the vote, the Owners Association worked with several committees and staff to research options, produce financial forecasts and viability studies, and present a series of educational meetings for members, including ten focus group meetings designed to garner member feedback.
      Based on the comments and surveys from the focus groups, the Long Range Planning Committee developed a recommendation to purchase the marina property and repopulate the dry stack and rebuild the shoreline dock, which was the option favored by 97% of the 300+ focus group attendees.

      Throughout the past several months, many owners took to the DatawNet, an email list serv for member-to-member communication, to express their thoughts.
      “When we purchased our property planning on Dataw to be our future retirement home one of the attractions was the marina. We are not boaters, in fact for me the golf was a larger attraction, but we both fell in love with the beauty of the marina. After Matthew’s damage we were heartbroken,” said Bill and Carol Reid, property owners who have not yet moved to Dataw. “We are fully behind the recommendation and hope the rest of the community feels the same.”
      Member John Keet, a boater, also expressed his love of Dataw and the marina, saying, “We love the beauty of Dataw and the Lowcountry in general. The spirit of cooperation between the island residents is very refreshing; everyone is supportive of activities/amenities that enhance the quality of life here on the island even when we may not be directly involved with them. My wife and I both feel truly blessed to live here. There is just a tremendous sense of calm that comes over us as we cross the causeway. I’m certain that many of you feel much the same way. I experience that sense of calm when I on my boat.”
      The overall sentiment most members expressed on the DatawNet was reinforced by a “Yes” vote to purchase the marina complex and to once again make it an attractive “second entrance” to this private community. In addition to the marina itself, Dataw will (upon closing in February) also take ownership of the boat yard, run by Ace Basin Boat Works, and Sweetgrass Restaurant, operated by a local restaurant group managed by Palmer Sims. The Owners Association is pleased to continue the partnership with these proprietors and welcomed them as neighbors at an impromptu celebration at Sweetgrass that immediately followed the vote announcement.
      DIOA has an action plan ready to launch that includes several marina rehabilitation projects as well as partnering with marina professionals who will run the day-to-day operations, under the supervision and control of Dataw management. Any future development, expansion, contraction, or repurposing of the Marina Property will initially be subject to review and agreement by the DIOA Board, and ultimately determined by the vote of the membership. For now, though, Dataw members are just ready for the return of full marina operations.
      Whether boaters or not, many members appreciate the beauty of a functioning marina and are glad to support it purchase. Member Claudia Peebles summed it up well, saying “We all enjoy a walk out on the pier even if we don’t boat. We all want to take in the view (made better when populated by beautiful boats).” Noting her support of the marina despite not being a boater herself, Peebles added, “It’s just the right thing to do.”

      The DIOA thanks the many volunteers who spent countless hours over the last two years, and thanks the members for their support to move forward with the purchase and rebuild.

      ###
      Dataw Island is a gated golf, tennis and boating lifestyle community located fifteen minutes outside of historic downtown Beaufort. The island features two recently-renovated golf courses by designers Tom Fazio and Arthur Hills, a tennis center, a community center with workout and massage facilities, three restaurants, world class croquet lawns, bocce, kayaking, and more. The community has also been ranked the number one best retirement destination in South Carolina by Best Retirement Destinations and is the recipient of the 2017 Bliss Award for “Happiest South Carolina Community” as well as the “2018 Club of the Year” (South Carolina Golf Association) and one of four USTA private clubs named “Outstanding Tennis Facility.”
      www.dataw.com

      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

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    • Healy Report: Mount Pleasant, SC to Beaufort, SC, AICW Statute Miles 465-536.5


      Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, continue to generously share their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter. Thank you Jim and Peg! 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, a Cruisers Net Problem Stretch.

      Today is Saturday, 10/27/2018. Sanctuary and crew traveled 75 StM from Mount Pleasant, SC to Beaufort, SC. High tide in the region was right around 12h00.

      The Dredge Tenacious is working at the northern entry to the Dawho River. The Dredge answers on VHF 13 and VHF 65. The Dredge DOES NOT monitor VHF 16, which was a severe surprise and consternation to a lot of pleasure craft today, who nevertheless continued valiantly to try to raise him on VHF 16. Approach the dredge slowly, and follow his directions. Don’t forget to thank him for his work, which of course is to our benefit!

      We entered Watts Cut at the McKinley-Washington bridge at 11h30. The minimum we saw in the cut was 13.7′ at +7.7′ on the tide. That makes the control depth (13.7 – 7.7) = 6.0 ft at MLLW. We followed the visual center of the cut except I cut the corner at Green 135. DO NOT cut the corners. Where I was, I would have had a problem of the muddy sort at low tide.

      We entered Fenwick Cut at about 12h30. The tide station at Edisto Beach was reporting +5.6′. We saw 12.4′ in the cut, so control depth was (12.4 – 5.6) = 6.8 ft. Southbound, we saw red lateral R162 on a piling. The chart shows a red R162A on a piling and a floating R162B. There is a piling there for R162A, but no dayboard is present. We did not see a floating Red nun there, either. Net is, come down the S. Edisto river, and turn into the center of the cut. There is shoaling along both shorelines, so don’t cut the corners. Line up and go through along the visual center.

      The Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff is in two halves. Southbound, we entered the northern half at 12h45, with the tide station in that cut showing +6.2. Depths were in the range of 17 feet, so I didn’t pay much attention there. The southern half was dredged in the spring of 2018. There was severe shoaling at the junction of the Cut with the Coosaw River. We cleared that area at 13h00, with the tide at +5.8. We saw 11.9′ depths in the visual center of the entrance between G164 and R185, so the control depth would be (11.9 – 5.8) = 6.1 ft. I guess I would say the spring dredging helped at the junction of the Coosaw river, but did not do much to otherwise deepen the southern half of the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut. At least most boats don’t have to do the St. Helena Sound route at this time.

      We’re just coming off full moon. We faced strong 2.5 kt ahead currents on and off all day, and particularly up-stream on the Coosaw River. That made for a tedious slog up the river. But at the divide at Brickyard Creek on the Beaufort River, we picked up speed and did very well for those last 8 miles into Beaufort. These strong flood and ebb currents will affect slow boats.

      Jim

      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, FL
      Monk 36 Hull #132
      MMSI #367042570
      AGLCA #3767
      MTOA #3436

      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 Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff Problem Stretch

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    • A Good Ride from Beaufort to Isle of Palms, SC, AICW Statute Mile 536-459

      The Downtown Marina Of Beaufort, SC, 1006 Bay Street Beaufort, SC 29902 (843) 524-4422 or Marker #239 on ICW
      Isle of Palms Marina is located on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway, northeast of Charleston at Mile 456.5 and south of ICW Marker 116. 50 41st Avenue

      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.
      Phillip Mullins

      Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Downtown Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Downtown Marina of Beaufort

      Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Isle of Palms Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Isle of Palms Marina

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    • Healy Report: Isle of Palms to Port Royal Landing, SC, AICW Statute Miles 457-539


      The Downtown Marina Of Beaufort, SC, 1006 Bay Street Beaufort, SC 29902 (843) 524-4422 or Marker #239 on ICW
      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 histori

      This leg of Peg and Jim Healy’s voyage through South Carolina takes them through Charleston Harbor and south to Beaufort, home of CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, Downtown Marina and Port Royal Landing. The infamous Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut at Mile 517 is a Problem Stretch notorious for shoaling and channel shifting. And, as always, Cruisers’ Net is grateful to these experienced cruisers for sharing their observations and advice.

      Sanctuary and crew cruised from Mt. Pleasant, Isle of Palms, to Beaufort, Port Royal Landing, on 10/18/2017.

      Mt. Pleasant Range – The area from StM 460.0 to 460.5 is shoaling. We passed this area mid-channel at about 07h10, near high tide (+6.0), and saw 11.5 feet of water. The control depth would be 5-1/2 feet at low tide, less on a celestial low.

      Dawho River, North Creek, Watts Cut – We transited this area between 11h50 and 12h15 (+3.0 –> +2.7 ft) and saw areas at 8.5 ft. The control depth for this area is about 5.5 feet at low tide, less on a celestial low.

      Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut – This cut is in two parts; the north section that connects the Ashepoo River and Rock Creek and the South section that connects Rock Creek to the Coosaw River. The North cut is not a concern at this time. We transited the South section at 13h15, 1-1/4 hours before low tide (+0.5 ft). Favor “G181,” the outside radius of the curve there, and then favor red at the entrance, floating R”184.” Do not cut the corners here; follow the centerline of the cut out into the deeper water of the Coosaw River. There is a 5-1/2 ft sandpile at the entrance. We slowed for our passage, and never saw less than 5-1/2 ft.

      Hope this is useful.
      Jim

      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Rock Creek, Pasadena, MD
      http://gilwellbear.wordpress.com
      Monk 36 Hull #132
      MMSI #367042570
      AGLCA #3767
      MTOA #3436

      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

      Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Downtown Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Downtown Marina of Beaufort

      Click Here To View the South Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Port Royal Landing Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Port Royal Landing Marina

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    • Shelters Open for SC Barrier Island Evacuees

      From scemd.org

      You will need to bring these items with you to any emergency shelter:

      • Personal identification, Prescription and emergency medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items.
      • It’s also important not to forget items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, and other items for family members who have unique needs
      • If you have a restrictive diet, you will need to bring your own food for meals.
      CountyShelter NameAddressStatusPet Friendly
      ColletonColleton County Middle School1379 Tuskegee Airmen DriveOPEN 
      JasperRidgeland High-Junior-Elementary Complex250 Jaguar TrailOPEN 
      RichlandDent Middle School2721 Decker BlvdOPEN 

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    • Dataw Island Marina Remains Closed, off AICW Statute Mile 521.5


      In case you missed this from our October Hurricane Matthew reports, SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Dataw Island Marina,  /154086, is completely closed and it may be a year before they are able to re-open. We wish them the very best in their recovery.

      Dataw Island Marina, SC – Mile 521.5
      Rick said all floating docks destroyed. No fuel and no transients until further notice. 
      Just taking care as best possible those current full time customers who make Dataw Island their home port.

      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

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    • 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

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    • Report on ICW Debris and Ladys Island Marina, Beaufort, SC, AICW Statute Mile 536.5


      Ladys Island Marina - Beaufort, SCThis report on the Waterway from Oriental, NC to Beaufort, SC comes from longtime Cruisers’ Net Special Correspondent, Captain Jane Tigar. Note especially her observation about reduced bridge clearances. Over the last several years, Ladys Island Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, has been undergoing big improvements in the marina portion of this property under the direction of owner, Kelly Ryan, as confirmed by the positive comments SSECN has received. Ladys Island Marina is located on Factory Creek just east of Ladys Island Bridge.

      Hello Larry
      From Michael Tigar and Captain Jane, now on M/V Tara
      We went from Oriental to South Harbour Village and then from SHV to Ladies’ Island Marina (Beaufort, SC) in these past two weeks. We did not see any debris other than a large floating log in the Waccamaw — but those show up there at other times. The rivers are higher than normal, and boaters should indeed watch the effect of wakes on homes and docks. The higher than normal tides in Charleston and on South to the Coosaw meant that bridge clearances were less than optimal. The McKinley Bridge, MM 501.3, showed only 61.5 feet as we passed, and two large catamarans were waiting for the tide to go down. All in all, a good trip.
      Second item — Hertz in Beaufort SC will deliver a car to Ladies’ Island Marina if you give them notice and it is during their regular hours (before 5pm). “Yes Indeed Thai” restaurant on Boundary Street was a really good place to eat.
      Best
      Michael and Captain Jane

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Ladys Island Marina

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

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    • Changes in Store for Ladys Island Swing Bridge? AICW Statute Mile 536


      Ladys Island Swing Bridge has had conflicts between road traffic and vessel openings for several years, see /?p=35995. Our thanks to good friend, John Kettlewell, for sending along this article from Sounding’s Trade Only section, prompting several well-said comments. With a closed vertical clearance of 30ft, Ladys Island Bridge crosses the waterway at Statute Mile 536.

      See /?p=147653 for a 4/3 response from USCG 7th District.

      Coast Guard seeks limits on bridge openings in South Carolina
      Posted on March 23rd, 2015
      Motorists won’t have to stop as much for openings of a major South Carolina barrier island swing bridge, but operators of large recreational vessels might have to find a new route.
      The Coast Guard is planning a trial run in April to limit the number of large boats that pass through the Richard V. Woods Memorial Bridge in tourist destination Beaufort, S.C.
      Known locally as the Woods Bridge, the swing bridge connects downtown Beaufort with Lady’s Island and the outer Sea Islands in Beaufort County. Because of the presence of the Intracoastal Waterway, the bridge is required to open frequently for boat traffic to pass through.
      Details of the trial period are pending from officials with the Coast Guard bridge division in Miami. However, local officials believe it will include restrictions on the hours when non-commercial vessels can pass through.
      `If it’s a commercial vessel, it’s one thing, but if it’s a pleasure boat, it’s another,’ city interim manager Bill Prokop told The Beaufort Gazette.
      Log-book records show that the swing bridge opened nearly 4,000 times during a two-year period, with 660 of those for commercial boats.
      In October, Beaufort County and Beaufort city officials sent a letter to the Coast Guard bridge branch requesting a change in when and why the bridge opens, county engineering director Rob McFee said. The vehicle traffic delays cause an estimated $2 million loss annually for the community because of lost time and other economic factors, the letter said.
      County and city officials requested restrictions on the passage of non-commercial boats during daytime rush hours.
      `Not only do the drawbridge openings affect daily traffic and local economics, it also has a dramatic effort on emergency response. A revision in the opening schedule could potentially resolve many of the resulting daily impacts,’ the letter stated, according to the paper.

      Gentlemen;
      I’m a resident of Lady’s Island and an active cruising boater. The issue involving the proposed limiting of the Woods Bridge to two waterway openings during the day is ludicrous. Much of the issue involving increased auto traffic out onto Lady’s Island is brought about by allowing the building of big box stores out on the Island. The cost to build a road over a bridge is very high, so why do we encourage increased traffic loads on our bridges by bringing people from the mainland to an Island to shop?
      The Woods Bridge is already on a restricted opening schedule during rush hours and on the hour and half hour during the rest of the day. Many sailboats typically spend a night in Beaufort. It’s a two day run for them from Charleston, and a full day run from Savannah, so they arrive late afternoon and leave early morning, and need the bridge opened so they can head north or arrive going south. If they miss these two opening times, they are screwed!
      Let’s be good county/city planners, and keep the big box stores off the Island and keep the auto traffic down so we can keep the AICW functional.
      Charles Gorgen
      ODYSSEE
      Consultant, Marine and Industrial Lifting Systems

      Gentlemen:
      We are active boaters who depend on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (A-ICW) for safe travel north and south each spring and fall. We have recently become aware of a proposal requested by the City of Beaufort, SC, which would limit the opening schedule of the Woods Bridge (Lady’s Island Bridge) in Beaufort, SC, to just two openings during the business day. This letter is based on my understanding that the City of Beaufort has proposed a schedule of openings at 10h00 and 14h00 daily, so essentially, every four hours.
      For the USCG Bridge Branch, allowing such a schedule is not consistent with the public interest and would be a violation of the public trust and public responsibility. It would also be a seriously negative precedent for the United States’ network of Federal Intracoastal Waterways.
      For the City of Beaufort, it demonstrates an utter disregard for the needs, safety and wellbeing of ICW users. It is irresponsible of the City of Beaufort to propose such restrictive conditions on top of already severe restrictions. Whatever happened to the City’s promise years ago to return to a 1/2 hours opening schedule after the completion of the second span of the south bridge?
      Improperly planned over-deveopment on Lady’s Island is not justification to confiscate access to the public trust waterways of the United States. The dual bridges at the south end of Lady’s Island provide access for emergency responders. The second span was justified in part based upon just that access. If emergency response capability on Lady’s Island is inadequate, that is the fault of inadequate city and county planning, not the fault of waterway users. South Carolina has utterly failed to maintain it’s waterways, and many areas near Beaufort have become impassible at low tide in throughout the region. The entire ICW region from the Savannah River in the South through Georgetown in the North has been allowed to shoal and presents a serious hazard to navigation interests at low tide. Being confined by daily waterway closures in Beaufort affects the safe transit of boaters through the entire 200 mile region.
      Having to deal with the natural tide cycle against an artificial schedule of man-made waterway closure creates potentially dangerous conditions. The passage of summer thunderstorms does not respect the time-of-day. The proposed confiscatory schedule creates a severe hardship for waterway users. Weather, poor waterway maintenance and short hours of daylight create dangerous conditions for waterway users forced to out-wait lengthy waterway closures.
      This proposal is inappropriate and disrespectful of the public trust for federal waterways.
      Respectfully,
      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

      Well said Jim. You’re one of the many `regulars’ that use the AICW every spring and fall. If Wal Mart wants to build a store on Lady’s Island, maybe Wal Mart should build a third, high bridge, out to the Island, not create over taxing of the existing bridges such as to further restrict bridge openings.
      Hope to see you as you pass through Beaufort in a few weeks.
      Chuck Gorgen
      Consultant, Marine and Industrial Lifting Systems

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Bridge Directory Listing For Ladys Island Bridge

      Comments from Cruisers (12)

      1. Miami -  May 24, 2015 - 7:38 am

        We are sitting at Beaufort waiting for a 9am opening on Sunday morning since 6 this morning. Three boats have called for an opening.
        This is criminal and we must email. call do what ever we can to stop this insanity.
        There is no way to make Charleston in one day or come the other way.
        Please write all SC relevant politicians, Beaufort officialdom and the CG!
        Thanks

        Reply to Miami
      2. John Kettlewell -  April 3, 2015 - 11:36 am

        I suspect this is just an opening salvo from Beaufort in the hopes they can get the openings cut back to once an hour. Even then, it would cause a bottleneck for cruising boaters. When southbound there are some reasonable anchoring opportunities near the bridge, but when northbound the best bet would be to simply motor up and down the river until the next opening. All of these anchorages are current swept and not comfortable, except in the calmest conditions. Tieing up to the seawall south of the bridge is theoretically possible, but it is rough and not a comfortable spot. Even with the current schedule a lot of boaters get caught waiting for the bridge until after dark during the fall migration.

        Reply to John
      3. Capt David Burnham -  April 3, 2015 - 5:50 am

        I can see all vessels on the AICW over 30 feet in height quickly becoming registered commercial vessels…eh?

        Reply to Capt
      4. Capt David Burnham -  April 3, 2015 - 5:48 am

        So the best solution to the whole problem is a new canal from Cowen Creek to the Morgan River. That would move the swing bridge to southeast of the airport on hwy 21 and keep the residents of Lady’s Island smiling…:D

        Reply to Capt
      5. Capt David Burnham -  April 3, 2015 - 5:20 am

        Changing to a once an hour bridge opening would require a place on the Beaufort waterfront northeast of the swing bridge where boats can tie up to wait for the bridge to open or until a commercial vessel comes along. This is the solution on the Okeechobee Waterway in Florida while waiting for the locks to open on schedule.
        I have had to put my 33′ 6.5 foot draft sailboat aground to avoid a commercial tug and barge at the swing bridge when the northbound barge decided to use the northerly side opening that I had lined up to use for my southbound course. Fortunately for me, the second tug detached from the barge and came over and pulled me off the hard sand bottom AND the bridge tender left the bridge open until I cleared the opening.
        A 65′ bridge at this location would only bring the ire of owners of vessels who require 70′ or more of clearance…but boaters are used to being the martyrs when it comes to automotive traffic or private waterfront property owners who demand the boating public fall on their swords for their minority interests.

        Reply to Capt
      6. Wally Moran -  April 2, 2015 - 6:56 pm

        That’s 4 openings a day. Since we don’t know how many are on weekends, or before the scheduled morning shutdown, we can’t evaluate just how big a problem this really is, can we? Frankly, it seems that City Hall is giving in to a bunch of whining.
        And this $2 million in lost economic activity? Crap. Who ‘estimated’ that? Where is the proof of it? How about the opposite side of that coin, people staying downtown to avoid an opening and spending a little more? That’s every bit as valid an estimation as this one.
        Beaufort SC has made a HUGE deal out of wanting to be ‘boater’ friendly, and have done a superb job of it thus far, as I should know, having led 18 sailboats there on a sponsored rally last fall. The city showed us a wonderful time, for which I again thank them.
        One of the participants, now heading north, is making a point of spending two further weeks there to continue exploring and enjoying the town. That’s how great it was. Several more will be stopping for overnights or multiple days.
        This may just change their plans – Beaufort risks losing all the ground it has made on attracting boaters with this foolish plan.

        Reply to Wally
      7. Jim Healy -  April 2, 2015 - 3:19 pm

        Make no mistake, this is another test case pitting boaters and boating interests against shore-side communities. Beaufort has been unfriendly about that bridge for years. (I always called it the Lady’s Island Bridge.) This is the same issue boaters face with “All Aboard Florida.” A precedent here will spread like wildfire along the ICW. Imagine the pain getting through places like Wrightsville Beach, NC!

        Reply to Jim
      8. James Newsome -  March 30, 2015 - 8:19 am

        The proposal, if accepted and adopted by the USCG Bridge Branch, will change the operating schedule for privately owned boats to the bridge opening only at 10:00AM, 2:00PM, and unrestricted from 6:30PM to 6:30AM. Essentially, boater will only have two opportunities to pass through the bridge during normal traveling hours – 10 am and 2 pm.

        Here’s contact information for the folks making this request and the USCG Bridge Branch. I think they need to hear from the cruising community. Also, there doesn’t appear to be a provision for any period of public input other than direct contact with these folks. In particular, I suggest reaching out to the two USCG contacts listed. The ultimate decision is theirs and there is no guarantee that the local government officials in Beaufort will relay our concerns since they are asking for the change.

        United States Coast Guard District Seven
        Bridge Administration Branch
        Miami, Florida
        Chief, Bridge Branch
        Mr. Barry Dragon
        (305) 415-6743
        Email: Barry.Dragon@uscg.mil

        Bridge Permit Section
        Mr. William (Gwin) Tate
        (305) 415-6747
        Email: William.G.Tate@uscg.mil

        Beaufort County, SC Administrator
        Gary Kubic
        County Administration Building
        100 Ribaut Road, Beaufort, SC 29902
        Post Office Drawer 1228, Beaufort, SC 29901
        Phone: (843) 255-2026
        Email: gkubic@bcgov.net

        Beaufort County CitizenGram Feedback Form
        http://www.bcgov.net/Feedback/feedback.php?SID=8

        City of Beaufort , SC
        William A. Prokop
        Interim City Manager
        1911 Boundary Street
        Beaufort, SC 29902
        (843) 525-7070
        Email: wprokop@cityofbeaufort.org

        Reply to James
      9. Jill Hough -  March 27, 2015 - 3:35 pm

        This bridge is already closed to recreational boats on weekdays from 7-9am and 4-6pm. What further “weekday rush-hour” restrictions can they be asking for?
        It seems that South Carolina is determined to make impossible an ICW passage through the state, with the lack of dredging, and now what seems will be an onerous change to an already restricted bridge opening schedule.
        Jill Hough

        Reply to Jill
      10. Lee Haefele -  March 26, 2015 - 5:55 am

        The Ladys Island Bridge is already closed 7-9AM and 4-6PM, I am not sure how they can say that there is a problem in rush hour. There is a particular problem, fully caused by the City of Beaufort, SC. When southbound the bridge blocks access to the City Marina. The bridge is closed until 6PM and then the marina PROMPTLY closes at 6PM, exactly when boats arrive needing dockage. There are long traffic tie-ups in daytime non rush hours at the bridge. This is an area of strong, changing, reversing currents. It is not possible for a displacement boat to estimate their arrival time. If the bridge schedule is cut back, many boaters will have long waits as it is not possible to change speed enough, given the currents, to meet the opening times at this location. It would seem that this is a candidate for a new 65′ fixed bridge.

        Reply to Lee
        • Fran H -  March 15, 2016 - 11:51 pm

          I live on Lady’s Island and work in Burton. If anyone traveling from Beaufort to Lady’s Island or the outer Islands thinks there is NOT a traffic problem when this bridge opens and closes, they are delusional. I’ve lived at my residence since 1976. The growth on the Lady’s Island side is enormous and once the Wal-Mart is built, it will be a nightmare. It already is when the Woods Bridge breaks down. The McTeer Bridge is not adequate to accommodate traffic to or from Lady’s Island, St. Helena, Fripp Island, etc. The only solution to this issue is to build another bridge or limit the bridge openings. Traffic backs up well beyond Bellamy Curve during rush hours in the evening. I can’t even imagine what traffic is going to be like should a hurricane head to Beaufort. Well, actually I can. During Hurricane Fred it took two hours to get from Lady’s Island to the National Cemetary on Boundary… and 11 hours to get to Atlanta. People will need to evacuate Beaufort a week in advance of hurricane at the rate the population of Beaufort is growing on the Lady’s Island side.

          Reply to Fran
      11. Cap'n Geech -  March 25, 2015 - 8:23 pm

        I can see it now… I come up to Lady’s Island bridge on my 135′ commercially documented mega-yacht and I’m denied an opening. The $12 an hour dip schitt on the switch cannot understand the difference between a multi-million dollar piece of hardware and a POS dragger headed for home. Arguement ensues leading to my calling USCGD7 and get the same lame response. Twice an hour, I can handle. Once an hour would infuriate me!!

        Reply to Cap'n
    • Still Another Alternative to the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, AICW Statute Mile 517

      We have had lots of discussion (/?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

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    • 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 /?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 /?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

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    • 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 /?p=144354
      For a 2013 ACOE survey of area north of Ben Sawyer Bridge, see /?p=125717
      For a 12/2013 report on Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, see /?p=129101
      For an alternative to Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff, see /?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

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    • 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 /?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

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    • 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 /?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

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    • 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

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    • 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 /?p=119918, /?p=120036 and /?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

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    • 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 /?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 /?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 3’4’³
      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′ 3’³ 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

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    • 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 /?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 /?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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    • 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
      http://www.OnTheWaterChartGuides.com

      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).
      Donovan

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

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