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    • Waterway Shoaling Headlined, Post and Courier, Charleston, SC

      The link below takes you to an article by Prentiss Findlay, headlined in the Post and Courier as “Low-Tide Effect Grounds Boaters,” about three of our “favorite” spots: i. e. AICW Problem Stretches at McClellanville, Breach Inlet (Isle of Palms) and Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff. Every SSECN reader can confirm the troubles brought on by lack of dredging all along the Intracoastal. It is somewhat comforting that shoaling is finally making the front page of a SC newspaper. Will something be done? Keep watching your depthfinder and holding your breath!

      Skipper Divers sends good news about funds for dredging:

      This morning’s Charleston Post and Courier reports that Charleston County Council has appropriated $500,000 towards dredging the ICW at Breach Inlet and McClellanville. Here is the link:
      Tom Divers

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

      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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    • Report from AICW/Browns Inlet Intersection Problem Stretch, Statute Mile 237

      Skipper Matthews sends a fresh report on a Problem Stretch south of Swansboro. The intersection of the Waterway and Browns Inlet has been the site of shoaling for some time, as well as a mysterious underwater hazard.

      Came through here on May 25, 2014 at 745am. This one spot is mentioned here as a problem. Most advice says `stay to the red side’ which I have during 4 passages without incident. However this last Sunday, going southbound, I passed a trawler going northbound a few miles south of this spot. Later on channel 16, I heard his call to USCG and his tow service with the words `engine runs but prop not turning’. As USCG was contacting him and asking him to verify his position, he did. N34,36.41, W077,13.84. The same spot.
      There are multiple references which mention bent shafts and struts, and damaged props. Most shoaling reports merely mention that someone got stuck or kicked up some mud. This is one of the few that consistently mentions damaged hardware.
      On a prior visit, I photoed a tug stuck here:
      Notice the prop wash to the side. I hailed him but no answer. Saw him later heading south, obviously freed.
      Ben Matthews

      Came through that spot (Browns Inlet) at low tide with no problem. Draft 5 feet. May 30, 2014.
      Raymond W. Smith – The `Firer Dog’

      We went through the Brown Inlet area (marker 63) May 23 at near low tide with 10 ft at low tide. Just follow the marks. The problem is the temporary red and green are way off the normal channel and look like the are for a side channel. They are also in a straight line but they are for the intracoastal waterway marks.
      Henry Booke

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

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

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    • Shortcut Tested, Snows Cut/CapeFear River Intersection, AICW Statute Mile 299

      This shortcut that runs northwest from the western end of Snows Cut to the Wilmington bound Cape Fear River has been a temptation and a hazard for several years, see /?p=105372. Skipper Matthews did not leave all his good sense behind, because he went slowly, kept an eye on the depthfinder, was able to do a 180 and escape the shoal. It’s a tough rule to remember, but all charted channels are not necessarily navigable.

      I left good sense behind and tried this channel Memorial Day weekend 2014. It dropped to 3 foot fast! Was lucky enough to turn around and make it back to deep water after a good barnacle scraping. I draw 3-1/2 feet.
      Ben Matthews

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Non- Shortcut

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    • New Shipyard and Marina Coming to St. Augustine, San Sebastian River, off AICW Statute Mile 780

      The San Sebastian River departs the Waterway to the northwest at statute mile 780. The new facility will be upstream on the western shore across from San Sebastian marker #20. Land address is 255 Diesel Rd, St. Augustine 32084. For the full story, go to:

      St Augustine Shipyard is part of a proposed Merchant Marine Community located on the west bank of the San Sebastian River, southwest of Historic Old St Augustine. In addition to the marina, commercial development plans include a pedestrian `promenade’ offering a variety of shops, restaurants and lodging.
      The Shipyard Marina is under construction with restaurants, shopping and offices in various stages of planning and approval and is scheduled to open in September 2014.

      Thank you for this wonderful service.
      Ron Cousino

      san sebastian2

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of New Shipyard

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    • Severe AICW Shoaling at Black Mud Channel (New Topsail Inlet)/AICW Intersection, Statute Mile 270, May 22, 2014

      Late breaking information as of late May, 2014, shows that, very much in keeping with the reports below, shoaling has built up rather alarmingly from the seaward side of the AICW channel, near marker #99A. It appears that, at the current time, the best plan is to traverse this section mid-way between #99A, and a new dock which will be spied abutting the northwestern banks. HOWEVER, it is also possible to get too close to the mainland shoreline.
      We strongly suggest that all cruising craft traverse this troubled intersection at idle speed, and preferably as near to high tide as possible!
      Good luck, you may need it!

      New Topsail is a problem a hundred yards before 99A till you clear 99 by the same distance. On 4-22-14 our sailing vessel with a 4′ 3’³ draft was temporarily grounded on the green side of the channel. This happened very near low tide. Passage is no problem at this time if vessels run the red side of the channel close to the many docks on that side. At the time of our grounding another sailboat with a draft of 6′ 7’³ ran the `red side’ without a problem.
      We were able to hoist our sails to free the vessel and also passed through staying close to the various docks on the red side (extreme left side of marked channel).
      Jim Murtha

      Hello Claiborne,
      Transiting Topsail Sound today at 11:26 AM. Sailboat was hard aground inside the channel at green marker 99A, Topsail inlet area. He called us and advised taking green with wide berth. The skipper was awaiting tide and expected to be able to get off by @ 2:00 PM. We passed by and saw 6 feet abeam of him.
      Michele Boulay
      SV Simple Life

      Transited this area 5/22/14 about 8AM. G 99A was waaay over on the north/mainland side, only about 150′ from the shore where a dock is under construction. We honored the buoy, squeezed in between the buoy and the construction, and saw 8′ depth (reduced to MLW). The current LNM lists 99A as `damaged’ but not `off station.’
      Larry Shick

      Just in case it hasn’t been reported, as of 5/15/14, there is extreme shoaling just north of Wrightsville Beach, NC at marker number 99A, where Black Mud Channel enters the ICW. Vessels drawing more than 3 feet, maybe less, must stay to the extreme west side of the channel. This is the red side, but no red marker is located at this position.
      Rudy and Jill
      Deltaville, VA

      Black Mud Channel ‘“ 5 foot draft sailboat transited one hour before high tide on 5/17 and saw only 7 feet on extreme left side of the channel off the docks.
      Jane Fulton

      We passed here headed north on 5/27/2014. We were directly in between the green marker, and the new dock, and had 6’ under our boat at low tide. The channel is quite narrow. The green buoy will look out of place as it is so far toward the red side, but it is not.
      Berwick Duval

      AICW Black Mud Channel MM 270
      We can confirm that 99A has been moved. On June 1/14 We passed half way between 99A and the docks, and saw 8ft MLW. This passage is very narrow.
      Richard Ross M/V Chez Nous

      I later passed by markers 99 and 99a at exact high tide (1425). I have a four foot draft and passed through the area without incident. I honored the green markers at about 20 feet. During the passage I never showed less than 9 feet of depth. There is a boat docked at marker 99a with its bow protruding into the new channel.
      One boat can easily pass while two could be a problem.
      Thanks again for your great service.
      Jack Rollison
      Amanda J
      Nordic Tug 37

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at AICW/New Topsail Inlet

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Malcolm hunter -  April 4, 2015 - 2:41 pm

        Transitted northbound today 4/5/15 in 46′ sail Jean of Arran with draft of just under 6′. 15 mins before low carried minimum of 6′ 6″, favoring the red side.

        Reply to Malcolm
    • Shoaling Reported, Isle of Palms, Problem Stretch, AICW Statute Mile 459

      Isle of Palms Bridge - Click for Chartview

      Isle of Palms Bridge – Click for Chartview

      This reported shoaling lies north of Isle of Palms bridge in the vicinity of AICW marker #117 and is part of an area declared a serious AICW Problem Stretch in 2009. For a recent survey of the area, go to /?p=125717


      Photo by Fran Lavigne

      North of Isle of Palms bridge, SC. 3 boats 2 cruisers. 1 shrimp boat grounded in channel. CG in inflatable called me to assist. Our 42′ Chris. Frat. Easy Rider made it through barely. 4′ draft. Low tide now approaching Ben Sawyer bridge. Fran Lavigne.

      Photo by Fran Lavigne

      Photo by Fran Lavigne

      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

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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.’


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

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    • New Video Shows Why You SHOULD “Do the Dismal”

      Set in beautiful Camden Count, NC, the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center provides free dockage for cruisers' on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate RoutePLEASE, if you have even the slightest interest in ever cruising the Dismal Swamp Canal AICW Alternate Route, follow the link below to see a truly amazing video. The talented sailors who put this together employed one of those new drones for aerial photography. And, in addition to the canal itself, there are some truly stunning aerial shots of our good friends at the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center! DON’T MISS THIS ONE!!!

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    • Suggestions on Bridge Communication Etiquette

      Skipper Chappell’s comments follow on the heels of a lengthy discussion on a incident at specific Waterway bridge. See /?p=120963. However, the advice offered would apply to any bridge requiring communication with a bridge master.

      I do not condone any rude behavior by Bridge Tenders. I can explain a few things though. He probably turned the light off in the tender house to see you better. Also, bridges open on signal. You are required to request an opening via VHF ch9, visual signal, or horn (one prolonged blast followed by one short blast). Please read CFR33 part 117. Also, he asked for your boats name and homeport as required for filling out logs. Additionally, if he felt it was an unnecessary opening (again, see cfr33 part 117) there is a form to fill out for USCG action. Always know the height of your vessel and observe the clearance gauges. Know how to request an opening. Just because you show up at a bridge does not indicate that you request to go through. Frequently vessels approach a bridge, then turn around and go the other way, doing the tourist thing.
      Dave Chappell

      Dave makes some excellent points. I would add that you should use the VHF radio’“skip the other signals’“use the radio. I call even if there are other boats waiting’“I want to make sure that the bridge tender knows my intentions. Never assume the bridge tender can read your mind’“communicate!
      John Kettlewell

      One other point I should have made above is that 95+% of the time I have had no issues when passing through a bridge by establishing communication, following the bridge schedule and regulations, being observant of other traffic and conditions (like current and wind), and using commonsense. Yes, you do occasionally encounter a bridge operator having a bad day, but usually a calm voice, saying `please’ and `thank you,’ and using a little patience will make all good.
      John Kettlewell

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    • More on Mariner’s Disease – Mycobacterium Marinum

      Skipper Hart’s comments refer to a report by Jim Bertch chronicling his frightening experience with mycobacterium marinum, see /?p=118638.

      I went through merca with the exact symptoms of your marinum. Doctors were wondering until the culture came back. It entered through a fishing line paper cut just below my left pinky & went right to that middle finger and set in like concrete. Thats when the highly knowledgable Dr. McCallister of Panama City, Fl. started prepping me for my left hand to be changed forever but Doc finally nailed it after 8 days in quarantine & 2 surgeries. Can this come back as marinum if it decides to ?
      Jeffrey Hart

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