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    • Skidaway Narrows and Other Low Clearance AICW Bridges ALMOST Gone – Captains Mark and Diana Report

      High-Rise Bridge Under Construction to Replace Skidaway Narrows Bascule Bridge

      On the Water GuidebooksAs usual, our strategic partners, Captains Diana and Mark Doyle, founders and owners of On The Water ChartGuides, give us a penetrating insight into the topic of cruising the AICW. In this case, our dynamic cruising duo brings to light the eventual disappearance of low level AICW bridges.
      While some may find the demise of these opening spans a bit of a nostalgic experience, I, for one, will be happy to see the last one fall. Over the years, I’ve waited far too long, and worked too hard to say off the fenders at the Wappoo Creek Bridge, south of Charleston, or pulled all my hair out at the old, now long gone, Sunset Beach pontoon bridge. Soon, as Mark and Diana note, all of this will be but a bad memory!

      Hi Claiborne,
      Diana and I went by Skidaway and took this picture for you. And it got us to thinking about the slooooooow demise of low clearance bridges.
      Bridge by bridge, as easments and budgets allow, ICW low-clearance bridges are being replaced by high-clearance fixed bridges. For example, two legendary bridge pinch-points, Jordan Lift Bridge and Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge, are now merely landmarks to note on the chart as your boat passes underneath.
      The Skidaway Narrows Bascule Bridge (STM 592.4) will be next, with the construction of a new 65-foot bridge scheduled for completion in July 2013. Currently they are working on the substructure, driving pilings, pouring footers and building retaining walls, none of which impacts boat traffic along the ICW.
      The next bridge to succumb: the dreaded Dominion Boulevard Bridge (aka Steel Bridge), with a very restricted morning and evening schedule and only 12 feet of vertical clearance.
      Recently the Coast Guard Bridge Office approved a proposal to replace it with a 95-foot high-rise fixed bridge.
      This means that the days of “oh-dark-thirty” early-morning departures from Hospital Point anchorage to clear the troublesome trio of the Jordan, Gilmerton, and Steel bridges may someday only be a distant memory among veteran ICW cruisers.
      Best and see you On the Water,
      Captains Mark & Diana Doyle

      Even though the demise of the old style bridges is way more `convenient’, we can’t help feeling the loss of a part of Americana as the old structures tumble, one by one, into the annals of history. Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge (and its crusty but friendly bridge tender) is especially missed, as is the Titusville (Max Brewer) Swing Bridge. We probably won’t miss Wappoo Creek as much, but still, after hours and hours of relaxed cruising, one needs a little stimulation to get one’s blood circulating again, and Elliot Cut/Wappoo Creek never failed to provided the necessary stimuli. Does anybody have any inside information regarding the replacement of the Socastee Swing Bridge?
      Capt. Norman Quinn

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    • Coast Guard Assists 3 from Sailboat On Pasquotanke River, South of Elizabeth City, NC, Near AICW Dismal Swamp Alternate Route St. M. 59

      After reading the USCG article depicted below, we immediately began researching this incident. If there was a piling waiting just below the surface to ambush the keel of any cruising craft, we wanted to find out about it forthwith. Well, one cool week later after an even half dozen calls to the Elizabeth City, NC USCG Small Boat Base, we were getting seriously frustrated. None of our calls were being returned, even after more than one thorough explanation that we were just attempting to provide information to the cruising community which would avoid a repetition of the incident in question.
      Thus it was that we turned to our friends at the Elizabet City Convention and Visitor’s Center, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, for help. Less than 24 hours later, a promptly returned called solved the mystery. Many, many thanks to Captain Susan for clearing up this question.
      Turns out the semi-sinking took place well south of the downtown Elizabeth City Waterfront, along the eastern banks of the Pasquotank River, opposite the old blimp factory (northwest of marker #4). It seems that somehow the vessel in question had wandered into shoal water abutting the river’s eastern banks, near the charted position of “Elizabeth City Beach.” Even a quick gander at chart 12206 shows plentiful evidence of submerged pilings along this shoreline. Just stay anywhere within striking distance of the main AICW/Pasquotank River channel, and your vessel can easily avoid a similar fate.
      Case closed, mystery solved!

      PORTSMOUTH, Va. ‘” The Coast Guard assisted three people aboard a sailboat that was taking on water in the Pasquotank River near Elizabeth City, N.C., Saturday. [9/1/2012]

      A member aboard the 32-foot sailboat Grace contacted Coast Guard Sector North Carolina watchstanders at approximately 2:45 p.m. reporting their boat hit a submerged piling, were taking on water and had 14 inches of water in the boat.

      Sector North Carolina watchstanders dispatched a crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat ‘“ Small from Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City to assist. Once on scene, the RB-S crew removed the three people from the boat and took them to Lambs Marina in Camden, N.C.
      Tow Boat U.S. is scheduled to salvage the boat.
      The sailboat is not blocking the channel and there are no reports of pollution.

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Above Incident

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    • Belhaven, NC Guest Dock Welcomes Boaters – Captains Mark and Diana Report (Statute Mile 135.5)

      On the Water GuidebooksWe have run several earlier articles here on the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net concerning the relatively new Belhaven Town Dock (see /?p=77961 and /?p=86346). Now, we are treated to an in-depth report on this facility, courtesy of our “On The Water ChartGuides” strategic partners, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle.
      Note that Belhaven’s new city dock is located along the northern shores of Pantego Creek, just west of SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Belhaven Waterway Marina! Follow the “Chart View” link below to see the exact location!

      Hi Claiborne,
      As the summer draws to a close and folks saddle up to begin the migration south, we just wanted to remind everyone that Belhaven, NC now has another option for visiting boaters’”and it’s free! For now at least’¦
      The town completed a guest dock on “Wynn’s Gut,” a small cut right along the town’s waterfront. The dock is located on the side of a small channel, alongside a sidewalk with benches and picnic tables. The town promotes the tie-up as “room for nine 30-foot boats.” There currently are no utilities, but pump-out is planned and will be less than $5, thanks to funds from the Clean Vessel Act. The town also hopes to add electricity and water in the future.
      We visited the dock a couple of months ago, and surveyed depths of 4.5 to 7 feet alongside. There is room for several boats, but the “cut” is narrow and shallows quickly along the opposite (western) side. In other words, it may be easy to pull in, but larger vessels might have trouble turning around to exit.
      Dredging is planned but currently this convenient and affordable option in Belhaven is probably best for somewhat smaller vessels with moderate draft. Larger trawlers, cats, or boats with limited maneuverability, are better served by the anchorages and Belhaven Waterway Marina or Dowry Creek Marina.
      Here is a picture abeam the guest dock, looking southwest back out to Pantego Creek.
      Belhaven has always been a popular cruiser’s stop. The village has a handful of fun little restaurants. It’s also one of the few places along the ICW where you can access a hospital by boat. The supermarket (and fast food and discount store) is along State Highway 99, best accessed from the dinghy landing at the fixed bridge upriver.
      I’ve included a sample page from our new ICW AnchorGuides showing the two Belhaven anchorages and the new town guest dock.
      Best and see you On the Water,
      Captains Mark & Diana Doyle

      Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For the Belhaven Town Dock

      Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Pantego Creek Anchorage

      Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Belhaven Waterway Marina

      Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Marina Listing For River Forest Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Belhaven Town Dock

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    • All Welcome at Harbourgate Marina, AICW Statute Mile 347

      A Marina That's As Luxurious As It Is Convenient Close to Myrtle Beach with clear sailing to the Atlantic. The Harbourgate Marina Village is your gateway in North Myrtle Beach to all the excitement aDockmaster Susie Watkins is one of the most knowledgeable and professional marina operators in all of South Carolina. You can scarcely coil you lines at a better place than Harbourgate Marina, and they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

      Always Welcome in North Myrtle Beach at HARBOURGATE MARINA. Call early to make your reservations. 843-249-8888
      Transient Rate $1.50 or say you saw our ad on Cruisers’ Net.
      A Friend of Claiborne.
      Susan Watson

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

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

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    • New Manager at Jekyll Harbor Marina, AICW Statute Mile 684.5

      Jeykyll Harbor Marina... a Cool Place to Beat the HeatJekyll Harbor Marina lies along the easterly banks of the AICW’s passage through Jekyll Creek, immediately south of the 65-foot fixed bridge. These good folks are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, and one heck of a friendly stop!

      Cruising News:
      New manager @ Jekyll Harbor Marina. Scott Todd has assumed the position of Marina Manager and is determined to deliver the best service on the ICW. The marina is looking forward to many improvements and updates as Scott and his team work hard to make JHM the place to be. Jekyll Harbor Marina is a Clean Marina and will welcome transients and long term boaters. Enjoy the nice weather and a safe harbor this winter as you travel the ICW.
      Sonny Reeves

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Georgia Marina Directory Listing For Jekyll Harbor Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Jekyll Harbor Marina

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    • Anchorage Marina Coverting To Attractively Priced Boataminimums (Statute Mile 206, Atlantic Beach, NC)

      Located on the Southern Outer Banks in beautiful Atlantic Beach, NC, Anchorage Marina boasts a protected, deepwater harbor, making it a perfect spot for deep sea fishing as well as sound fishingAnchorage Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, is accessed from the AICW by way of a well marked, southward running channel, just west of the Morehead City Turning Basin. If you are in the market for a boataminium wet slip in the Beaufort – Morehead City, NC area, run, don’t walk to get in contact with Captain Jim (see below). This sounds like one of the BEST deals I’ve heard about in many a year!

      Jim and Katherine Bailey, the owners of the Anchorage Marina in Atlantic Beach, NC and the developer of several other marinas and waterfront projects in eastern North Carolina has exciting news. After many years of permitting and planning, they are converting the Anchorage into a condominium marina. There will be over 110 slips in the newly renovated marina, featuring both fixed and floating docks for boats up to 70ft LOA.
      This Fall they are offering a huge 40% discount on the first 10 slips sold. The regular price is $3500 per foot but with the special discount, they are being offered at just $2000 per foot. Dues are also very reasonable and vary from $12.50 per month to $42.00 per month, depending on the size of the slip. This is by far the best value for a great marina in years.
      The Anchorage is the premier power boat marina in the area, offering both diesel and non-ethanol gasoline, a fully stocked marine store, and the areas best boat ramp. The marina is in a veery well protected basin with parking behind almost every slip.
      Contact Jim at 252-241-1200 or by email at

      Please click here to learn much more about Anchorage Marina’s Attractively Priced Boataminimums

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    • Good Repair Yard Discovered in Southern Georgia (off St. Marys River, on North River, near St. M. 712)

      Now, here’s a note from a satisfied customer of a boatyard (St. Marys Boat Service) that I’ve somehow managed to miss knowing about for the past 30+ years. After seeing Captain Sipe’s note below, which originally appeared on the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list, I e-mailed and asked for more specific data on this yard’s location. Captain Sipe promptly replied, and placed this position at 30 44.628 North/081 31.518 West, on the eastern shores of North River, north of the pulp and paper mill overlooking the western banks. North River itself runs off St. Marys River, a short hop east of the like named village.
      Sounds like this place may be a good one to know about!

      Just a note . . . about my experience at St. Mary’s Boat Service.
      I made the run from Brunswick Landing Marina to St. Mary’s after spending 3 months at BLM to have Maerin hauled to replace the transmission coupling, do the bottom and buff the hull. I had visited SMBS [St. Marys Boat Service] in June to look into having the haulout done when I completed my project on a 46 GB Classic at BLM. Rocky, the manager told me to get in touch about 2 weeks prior to my anticipated arrival to arrange for a date. He was most helpful in accommodating my needs, and although he was at capacity, made room for me and assured me he’d be able to help me out. He was as good as his word, and I arrived in the morning on a high tide. The North River is fine for my 5 ft draft but can be a bit skinny at low tide, and the haulout well is nearly dry at low. I arrived just after the high, and tied up on the end of the well. He had originally planned to haul me late in the day, but hustled some boats around to get me hauled shortly after my arrival.
      The whole experience was outstanding. The care with which they handle the boat was impressive. I was hauled, pressure washed and blocked by 2PM. They require dust collection for sanding, and they provide a portable dust collector and sander with sanding discs for DIY use,
      included in the cost of the haulout. I needed some help with tools for the coupler replacement, namely a jack and blocking. Rocky provided a porta-power with different attachments, and told me if I needed some manpower I needed only ask.
      I was there for 10 days, and completed all the work I set out to accomplish. There are a few sets of Biljack scaffolds available which I utilized for buffing the hull, and when all was completed, he made sure he was ready to get me back in the water promptly, today- Sunday! In addition, I needed to return my rental car to JAX, so he followed me to the airport and brought me back to the yard. Wouldn’t let me pay for his fuel for the trip.
      All in all, I’d heartily recommend the yard for anyone needing a place to haul and do their own work, or have them do it. They have 2 travel lifts, the largest is 50 ton. The haulout well is about 19 ft wide, and about 12 ft at high tide. Rocky says they can do about 65 ft. length. Customer service is the objective there, and I don’t know what I’d have changed to improve the experience I had, other than perhaps temps lower than 97 and a little less rain! The cost of the haul and 10 days blocked was less than $1K for my 43 foot boat. Quite reasonable IMO.
      Oh, perhaps the question as to why I ran to St. Mary’s when BLM has a yard with a 50 ton lift? Absolutely no DIY.
      Steve Sipe
      Solo 4303 “Maerin

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Marys Boat Service

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    • High Praise for Sunbury Crab Company Restaurant and Marina, Medway River off AICW Statute Mile 620

       Panoramic View of the Sunbury Harbor Relaxed Laid-Back Atmosphere Fresh Steamed Blue Crabs caught Daily Homemade Crab Cakes and Crab StewRestaurant offers a Full-Service BarSunday Home-Cooking LunchThe Sunbury Crab Company Marina lies off the AICW along the western shores of the Medway River, on the charted Sunbury Channel, north of Dickinson Creek. And they are A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

      I came in on a 40′ sloop Braveheart’¦Spent two-three days under repair en route to Southport NC Home Port.
      These People were Great To Me..Helped get me to rebuild shop and I found the Son’s who run the place to be Solid People..I was solo and had broke my finger a week before landing there..I want to Thank Them..Thank You
      I was the Gunsmith if you have forgotton me..
      Thanks Again,
      Mark Shibles

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Georgia Marina Directory Listing For Sunbury Crab Company

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Sunbury Crab Company

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    • Stricter Overnight Docking Restrictions at Georgetown Waterfront, AICW Statute Mile 403

      Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1776, Georgetown, South Carolina 29442Georgetown, SC has done a wonderful job of dressing up their waterfront with a long wooden “Harborwalk” that provides access to the very heart of downtown Georgetown. A number of the town’s leading restaurants and shops open onto the boardwalk which also offers free dinghy dockage for visiting vessels at anchor in the adjacent wing of Sampit River. Putting all this together, Georgetown remains one of our very FAVORITE ports of call, and a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR.
      However, when you visit Georgetown, please be SURE to pick up a wet slip at one of the local marinas, or anchor in the branch of Sampit River and then dinghy ashore. Overnight tie-up, for vessels or dinghy, has never been permitted at the Harborwalk docks, but obviously too many cruisers have failed to pay heed to the signs. Now, the local government is getting SERIOUS about it!

      Cruising News:
      I don’t know if it has been reported yet , the city of Georgetown , Sc. has always had signs on the town docks that read ” NO OVERNIGHT DOCKING PLEASE” now they have added signs that read “OVERNIGHT DOCKING PROHIBITED” with an ordinance no. and a fine of $1092.50!!! YES THOUSAND!!
      I can only assume they mean to enforce it! Over the years I have seen many boats tied up overnight especially during the boat migration seasons. The town fathers have obviously become boater unfriendly. I wonder if the Chamber of Commerce is aware??
      Bill Gaughan

      VHF 16 & 68 Located on the Sampit River, Harborwalk Marina is only a boardwalk away from Georgetown's Historic District, great food, shopping, etc. A safe harbor from bad weather and located in calmWe have this local response from our good friend, Chris Carroll of Harborwalk Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

      These docks were always meant to be for stop, shop, eat, etc. but not for overnight stay. Our local tour boats use them if they have a handicap passenger that needs to board as well as local pleasure boaters in for an hour or so.
      The problem arose from a few transient and local cruisers staying multiple nights and taking up the docks. One of the local tour captains decided to leave his boat there overnight in order to accommodate a handicap passenger early the next morning (since he was afraid someone else would get it that night). When he arrived the next morning, he had a $1,000 ticket. He went to court to argue the fact, since he watched others do it all the time and it wasn’t enforced. He semi won that battle as the ticket was thrown out and new signs were put up. The amount of enforcement still remains to be seen.
      I don’t think by any means this makes the City or county of Georgetown `boater unfriendly’. The docks should be used what they were intended for.
      There are (3) nice marinas downtown that offer nightly and hourly transient dockage when available. I should know, I operate one. Thanks.
      Chris Carroll, Harborwalk Marina

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s South Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Georgetown Waterfront Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Georgetown Harbor

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

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    • Tide Boards Missing on Croatan Sound Channel Bridges, off the AICW

      Croatan Sound Channel Bridges

      Croatan Sound connects Albemarle Sound to the north and Pamlico Sound to the south via a broad channel crossed by two sets of fixed bridges. The older, northernmost span has a vertical clearance of 45ft, and has LONG been the bane of sailors who must use the far more difficult Roanoke Sound – Old House channel to cruise south from the AICW/Albemarle Sound to Pamlico Sound, or the other way around. The southernmost twin Highway 64 bridges feature 66ft of vertical clearance, and one might think with their installation a few years ago, the older span would have been removed. For whatever reason, this has not come to pass.

      There are also no clearance boards on either of the bridges that cross the Croatan Sound.
      Keith s/v SAGA

      Note that both the NCDOT and the USCG have been apprised of the missing tide boards in Roanoke Sound and Croatan Sound. See article linked below.

      Click Here To Read an Earlier Posting on Missing Tide Boards

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Croatan Sound

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