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    • More Shallow Depths South of McClellanville at AICW Statute Mile 431

      As you approach the southside of McClellanville on the AICW, please heed earlier advice to favor the red side, especially in the stretch between markers 37 and 38. Please open the links below for more information and a Chart View of this area.

      After anchoring in the South Santee River we headed for Isle of Palms yesterday morning ( 11/5/2010 )’¦ we traversed the McClellanville stretch 2 hours after high tide (falling) all seemed well in the middle of the channel until we sited depths in the 5 foot range in 3 different places through that run ‘¦ all in mid-channel ‘¦ had our water tanks been full, we’d have grounded for sure.

      Transited the area today about 2 hours before low tide. While we did see the occasional 8′ or 7.9 we saw nothing approaching 5’ while following the channel. The channel does indeed favor the red in general (that is, it is NOT in the center of the water) but it was quite possible to transit in relatively low water.
      Captain Leigh

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the “Alert” Section of the AICW South of McClellanville, SC Where The Shallow Water Described Above Was Encountered

      Click Here To View An Earlier Posting on this Area

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    • Possible Marker Confusion at AICW/Crooked/Brickhill Rivers Intersection, AICW Statute Mile 703

      Captain Botkin is responding to this week’s Spectacular Grounding photo posting and the Georgia AICW stretch to which he refers is the Cumberland Dividings, long a trouble spot for shoaling. Take his advice: look at the marks and be sure that they are AICW marks with either a gold square or gold triangle! Also, click the link below for Captain Adam’s explanation of ICW markers.

      There’s a similar situation at about MM 703 where the Crooked River intersects the Brickhill River just south of the Cumberland Dividings. R62 looks like a marker for the Brickhill River, but it’s not. The chartplotter shows you aground, but you must honor all these red markers as ICW markers. Turn off your chartplotter! And ignore the magenta line!
      Captain Danny Botkin

      We will be going thru this tomorrow morning timed with a higher tide’¦.but thought I would let you know that a power boat ended up aground there at r60 for several hours and there was a lot of talking to southbound boats by Tow Boat US who was waiting for some tide to come in and help float them out of a bad situation’¦..wakes from passing boats evidently had washed them even further into trouble’¦.we could not see this from our anchorage but listened. We were aground here last year and have copious notes on our paper and elect. charts. Beware as of Nov 7th 2010 this continues to be a real problem.
      Captains Sami and Barry

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Cumberland Dividings

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Section” Listing For Cumberland Dividings

      Click Here To View An Article on ICW Markers

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    • A Good Explanantion of AICW Markers

      As old timers like me would say, the addition of the gold squares and triangles to ICW markers years ago was the best thing since sliced bread! They really assist at intersections where multiple sets of marks may occur. It’s hard to believe, but sadly true, that there are ICW boaters who have never noticed the small squares and triangles. Captain Adams does an excellent job of explaining their meaning and their use.

      Here are my thoughts on the spectacular grounding in Georgia. First, if the chart plotter was working properly I doubt that the chart plotter was in error. I’m not sure that a lot of people understand that the markers and buoys in the ICW are dual purpose. on each of the ICW markers or buoys you will see either a yellow triangle or a yellow square and it doesn’t matter if the marker or buoy is red or green. When traveling from say Boston, Mass. to Brownsville, Texas you would keep the marker with the yellow triangle on your starboard side and the yellow square on your port side for the entire trip, and do just the opposite when traveling the reverse direction. A lot of people say that when going south keep the yellow triangle on the starboard side. However, when traveling south on the West Coast of Florida this would put you out of the channel. Rather than to use north or south I like to use the terms `Land side (yellow triangle)’ or Sea side (yellow square)’. One last thing I would like to point out is that traveling the ICW going through Georgia and South Carolina, the Red and Green markers swap sides in the channel depending on which inlet you are passing (going in either direction) so red right returning is not really true if you are relying on that old saying. You have to pay attention to the Yellow symbol on the marker to determine which side to pass on and all of the electronic charts I have ever used have always been right on. I can’t tell in the picture if the yellow indicator is a square or triangle but it has to be a yellow square if you would pass to the east as indicated by the boater who passed by. So my guess is that this was an operator error.
      I see this happen a lot where people with a lot of money go out and buy a big fast boat without any experience or navigational knowledge (there are hundreds of Sea Ray stories). They are told to keep the red markers on their right side and sometimes this is what happens, so it’s obviously the chart plotters fault since they kept the red marker on their right side. Use your electronics as a tool not a rule and reference your paper charts often and plan in advance. Keep your eyes ahead and stay alert, and when in doubt, slow down and assess the situation.
      John Adams, Captain, USCG Master aboard MV Ithaca

      Seems that your explanation is a convulated way of saying that red marks are triangular and green marks are square. The reflective gold marks are also triangular and square so that you may ascertain the shape in the dark.
      I too teach my students, GREEN TO SEA. Thus, they are able to ascertain which color is on which side.
      Yes, many inlets intersect the ICW and can cause confusion; St. Augustine comes to mind.
      Capt. Guy

      The idea that the `yellow’ marks identify the ICW is simply not totally true. They are used on all Federal Waterways. North bound on the ICW arriving in Stuart has 2 #2 markers (with yellow symbols) close to each other. They should be passed to your port northbound. If you are heading west on the Okeechobee waterway to cross the big `O’ you will find a red marker #2 with a yellow mark that must be taken to your starboard. It is only 200 yds from the other #2 (complete with yellow symbols). Don’t take my word for it. Check it out your self and be very careful when Federal Waterways intersect.
      Captain Ed Potter

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    • Important – Boarding Incident in Volusia County (between New Smyrna Beach and Mosquito Lagoon)

      Last night (11/3/10), my telephone rang about 9:15 pm. It was a fellow cruiser, who has since asked not to be identified, and whose name I will protect as a “confidential source.” He verbally described a surprising incident which had occurred on his craft a few hours before, during which his vessel was boarded by Volusia County sheriff deputies, “with weapons drawn.” I urged the skipper in question to forward an account of the incident via e-mail in the morning (today, 11/4/10), and the note below is the result.
      Let me pause here for a moment to note how gratified all of us are at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, that the skipper involved in this incident chose to contact us as his first line of inquiry into this less than calming incident. We are proud the Cruisers’ Net can serve as spokesperson for the cruising community in matters of this ilk.
      I had a second telephone conversation with the captain this morning, to determine further details, and to make sure the boarding took place in Volusia county. All my questions were answered, and it was indeed determined that the boarding took place in Volusia county waters. It seems logical, therefore, to conclude that the law enforcement officers involved were deputies of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department.
      I further called an area government employee, whose name I will also protect as a confidential source, and was told among other things, that there is a member of the county sheriff’s department who can be “heavy handed.”
      So much for the facts, as I have discovered them. I will now take the liberty of wandering into some editorial comments.
      First, let me make it crystal clear that I am NOT a lawyer, so the opinions expressed here are in my role as a Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net editor. Furthermore, it is always possible that I am not in possession of all the facts, but can only comment on what I know thus far.
      It seems to me that the incident described below can be divided into two areas of concern. First, there is the issue of the $250.00 citation for failure to secure an overboard discharge valve. Clearly, this is a legal question upon which I, and most other cruisers, are not qualified to comment.
      The real cause of my concern is the manner in which the boarding took place, and the MSD inspection was conducted. No asking of permission to board, and approaching the vessel’s captain with loaded weapon drawn, seems beyond the proverbial pale to this writer. Is this how Volusia county wants to treat its waterborne visitors? I think not!
      And, let’s be very careful NOT to tar all government officials and agencies in Volusia county with the same brush. I, myself, for many years have received one of the warmest welcomes on the Waterway at New Smyrna Beach City Marina, and have always found this community to be a shining example of Florida charm!
      The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net eagerly asks the cruising community to PLEASE pass along full accounts of any MSD inspection of your vessel in Volusia County waters (or anywhere else in Florida for that matter). And, may we be so bold as to advise that everyone proceed along this section of the Waterway with the greatest of caution.

      Dear Claiborne,
      I am the owner of Gulfstar 50 cruising sailboat . . . . I have been bringing the boat from Newport RI to southern Florida and points south for the last 14 years.Today,wed Nov. 3,2010, I was transiting the AICW from New Smyrna, Florida, southbound. I had come in from offshore last night, shutting my sanitation valves and diverting them to holding tanks as is my practice when onshore. They are remotely located and accessible only to me. My crew has no knowledge of their location.
      At 1000 while I was below cooking bacon, my crew who was driving, yelled to me “we are being boarded by police”. We gave no provocation for this incident. I prepared to shut off and secure the stove, hot liquid bacon grease,propane,flame etc. Next thing I see is an officer right next to me in the corridor of the galley with a .45 caliber automatic weapon drawn and pointed at my chest. “Get on deck” he ordered.
      These officers never asked permission to board. We were cruising at 7 knots. 2 of the 3 officers had jumped on board . The remaining officer fell back in my wake in his boat, while the other officer (the one who had drawn his weapon on me), put dye in my heads and flushed. The boat behind said he saw no dye. So my tanks were retaining the discharge. The other officer on board proceeded to issue me a $250. citation for one “unsecured valve”
      In conclusion, I think this type of unprovoked assault on an innocent cruising boat is inappropriate to say the least . It is uncalled for and an overreach of power. We had done absolutely nothing wrong. and we were not discharging anything overboard. my crew did not know where the. valves were. I was the operator of the vessel and was in total control of the sanitation system, yet I was given a citation (under gunpoint) referencing 327.53 which says I must do what I had already done.
      Name Withheld by Request

      I issued a Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Alert on the above posting at approximately 2:45 pm on 11/4/10. As I suspected, this Alert created a firestorm of comment and protest (see below). Very significantly, several fellow cruisers who are citizens of Volusia County e-mailed the Volusia County Sheriff’s office, and copied them on my alert and link to the above article. Speaking through their information officer, the Sheriff’s office has responded with the note below.

      Thanks to all who’ve written to inquire about this incident. Unfortunately, the events as depicted on the web site posting don’t convey all of the relevant facts surrounding the incident in question.
      First off, the author is in fact correct that no provocation with law enforcement had occurred prior to the boarding. However, it should be clearly understood that no provocation is required, or even permission needed, for law enforcement to board a craft for the purposes of conducting a lawful inspection. The reality is that transient crafts moving through the waterways within our jurisdiction have been known to dump sewage into our waterways on many occasions. Along with ensuring boating safety and compliance with the rules of the water, the prevention of sewage dumping is another responsibility taken very seriously by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and its Marine Unit. I feel certain that everyone with an interest in preventing the pollution of our waterways appreciates our efforts in this regard.
      With that in mind, some key facts were omitted from the description of the encounter on November 3, 2010. Most notably, when our deputies boarded the craft, they ordered the two occupants on the top deck to stay where they were. In direct defiance of the deputies’ order, one of the passengers ran to the cabin area, where noises could then be heard that sounded as if compartments or drawers were being opened. Not knowing the intent of the passenger or the reason for his failure to comply with their orders, and fearing that he may have been reaching for a weapon, a deputy did in fact draw his duty weapon for officer safety purposes.
      This in no way was inappropriate, an over-reaction or an unprovoked assault, as alleged by the writer. Given the sequence of events, this was an entirely appropriate and necessary act on the part of the deputy until they could secure the occupants and gain control of the scene. To those on this web site who are questioning the actions of our deputies, I ask you to think for just a moment what you would have done in the same circumstance. Given the dangers that law enforcement officers face every day on the job, I also ask you to stop and consider what might have occurred if the passenger was, in fact, reaching for a weapon and the deputy had not drawn his weapon for protection. Our deputies are trained to exercise restraint. But they also are trained to draw their weapons if they perceive the potential for harm. Waiting for the danger to be upon them is tragically too late to react.
      Lastly, it should be noted that the inspection of the craft did result in the discovery of a discharge valve that was not properly secured, as required. As unsettling as these events may have been for the occupants of the craft, the events would have transpired much differently had all of the occupants simply complied with the lawful commands of law enforcement.
      Gary Davidson
      Public Information Officer
      Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

      During the evening of 11/5/10, I once again spoke with the Captain whose vessel was boarded. He/She said that he/she was overwhelmed with the response generated by the Cruisers’ Net. Furthermore, he stated that “I’ve made my case, and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office has made theirs. I’d like to leave it at that.”
      And, we shall certainly honor his/her wishes.

      Click Here To View Comments from Fellow Cruisers on the Volusia County MSD Boarding

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    • Spectacular Grounding off the Georgia AICW (near Statute Mile 643)

      The spectacular grounding, photographically reported by Captain Laura Bender below, took place on the Georgia portion of the AICW where the Waterway moves south from Crescent River into Old Teakettle Creek. As Captain Laura notes, STAY EAST OF #158A!!!!

      GA. SM 643. Red marker 158A. Plotter picked up wrong side of marker. Stay east of 158A.

      We also saw this boat yesterday (but Skip wouldn’t let me take a picture.) What the photo doesn’t show is that there is another red marker close by and just to the left. It appeared to us that someone wasn’t paying attention. Once he got off he continued to fly down the AICW at top speed.

      Duh! Isn’t the east side the `correct’ side of all the red/even ATONs in that area of the AICW and clearly marked as such on the chart? Can’t help but wonder if the autopilot wasn’t at fault here; it certainly couldn’t have been human error!
      Bob McLeran

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    • Detailed Report on SHALLOW Depths in Jekyll Creek, AICW Statute Mile 683

      Captains Bob and Helen continue their detailed reports from their southward voyage through Georgia.
      As many of you already know, the Jekyll Creek section of the AICW, south of St. Simons Sound, is one of the worst “AICW Problem Stretches” on the entire run from Norfolk, VA to Miami, FL.
      Note that Captains Bob and Helen’s reading below were taken only a hour before high tide. With a tidal range of approximately 8 feet, that means we must subtract at least 7 feet from the soundings below to discover what depths would be at MLW. Notice that means there would be 1 FOOT of water near marker #18 at low tide!!!!!!!!
      Clearly, cruisers MUST plan to traverse this section of the AICW as near to high water as possible!

      Larry, we hit Jekyll Creek about 1 hr 15 min before high tide.
      Jekyll Creek, High Tide 1503. Entered Creek at 1345 Draft 5 ft
      R8 = 18.6 ft,
      G9=18.6 ft,
      R10 = 13ft,
      G..11=13 ft,
      R20=13ft (Time 14:04),
      R20A=11.5 ft,
      R24=16 ft,
      Exit Creek 1415
      Good Run down the middle of the marks. You need to play the tides Mid-to High
      Captains Bob and Helen aboard M/Y ALLEZ

      And, Captain Pascal chips in with the notes below. Though he doesn’t say it, I deeply suspect his readings were taken near high tide as well.

      I came thru Jekyl on the Oct 30th (70′ MY, 6+ draft) and noted the following:
      10’MLW all the way from northern creek entrance to G13
      At G13, I aimed straight for R16 until about 200′ north of being abeam of the range marker, then turned to port to intercept the range. on this path, the shallowest water i found was about 7 to 8′ MLW just before the range and then on the range, all the way to G19 which I passed about 100′ away.
      The key here, like many other places is to go slow and feel your way thru for best water as the channel is very narrow. it’s easy to stray off just 30′ and find very shallow water.

      G19 on range found 2.7′ corrected for MLLW. [Transit Jekyll Creek] Definitely [at] 1/2 [tide] or better.
      Captain Ed Potter

      11/3/10 9:30 am local, low tide today is at 12:47pm
      PASSED GREEN #19 mid channel & saw 8.5 ft the rest of the cut the readings were around 11 ti 12t.
      Mike & Barbara aboard M/V Elan

      Well,clearly different cruisers are finding very different depths in the AICW/Jekyll Creek. See Captain Rogers note below.
      I suspect these soundings differ because some are lucky enough to find the best water, while others are encountering shallows “in the AICW channel.” Jekyll Creek is still, in our collective opinion, the #2 problem stretch on the entire run from Norfolk to Miami (with Little Mud River as the #1 problem)

      We came through Jekyll yesterday(11/3/2010) an hour before low and saw no less then 8 feet. I called Jekyll Island Marina and talked with them before transitting because of what I had read. They said they had seen no problems and depths were good and just stay in the channel. They also said going through at low was a good idea because you can definitely see where the channel is. I used the range marks and they were right on.
      Richard Rodgers

      Click Here To View the “AICW Problems” Entry For Jekyll Creek

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    • Report on Depths through Little Mud River, AICW Statute Mile 655

      With a tidal range in this area of almost 8 feet, using Capt. Poovey’s observations, MLW would be less than 3 feet at green marker #195, confirming earlier reports of depths at or near three feet at low tide through this stretch.

      Subject: Little Mud River
      Welcome to Georgia where the people are nice and the water on the ICW is shallow!
      Traveled through this area heading south Tuesday, Oct. 26. Noted lower panel (Red Panel/White Stripe) on range marker was missing adjacent to channel marker Green “185.”
      Also noted that channel marker Red “188” was missing. As to depths these observations were made starting at 11:39 AM at marker Red “190” and ending at 12:02 AM at Green “195.” (35 to 55 minutes past high tide), mid channel.
      Red “190”- 19.5 ft.
      100 yards south of Red “195”- 13.6 ft.
      Red “192”- 15.2 ft.
      Halfway between Red “192” and Green “193”- 13.0 ft.
      Green “193”- 12.0 ft.
      Red “194”- 12.0 ft.
      Halfway between Red “194” and Green “195”- 11.3 ft.
      200 yds. north of Green “195”- 10.7 ft.
      Green “195”- 13.9 ft.

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Windows Zoomed to the Location of This AICW Problem Stretch”

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    • Report on AICW/Jekyll Creek Depths (near Statute Mile 683)

      This is good news and good advice in light of recent reports of decreasing depths in Jekyll Creek.

      Submitted on 2010/10/26 at 6:22pm
      Just traversed Jekyll Creek an hour before MLW (according to my `Charts and Tides’ App on my iPhone ‘“ highly recommended!). I have a Beneteau 40 that draws 5’3 ‘“ came within inches of touching but never did. When you approach Green #19, stay in the exact center of the water you can see (there is hundreds of feet of exposed mud to either side of you at close-to-low tide). Great advice from the Jekyll Harbor Marina! It’s still pretty skinny (at low tide) from there to the bridge, but again ‘“ with a 5’3 draft I never touched’¦

      Click Here To View the “AICW Problems” Entry For Jekyll Creek

      Click Here For Another Report on Jekyll Creek

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    • Venice – Higel Park Anchorage And Latest on Higel Park/Venice City Dock (Statute Mile 58.5)

      This little note from Captain Fred contains two gems of cruising info. First, he reports on the anchorage just east of the Venice Yacht Club, which we call the “Venice ‘“ Higel Park Anchorage,” AND the current situation at the Higel Park/City of Venice Public Docks. Those of you who have been following along on the Net’s “Western Florida Cruising News” section know there was a huge controversy here a few months ago when the city of Venice began disallowing overnight dockage at this city facility.
      Also, it’s worth noting that swinging room is TIGHT in the “Venice – Higel Park Anchorage.”

      Subject*: Venice Florida
      Last night we anchored in Venice on the west side of the Intracoastal in that little pocket just to the east of the Venice Yacht Club. It was a nice quiet evening. There were two boats at the public dock. About 18:00 a Towboat Us went by and I asked him what the situation was re: staying at the Higel Park docks overnight was. Answer was that the prohibition on overnight dockage did not seem to be enforced. Two days earlier I had called the City Of Venice and been informed that overnight at the anchorage on the west side by the YC or in Roberts Bay was OK but not at the dock at Higel Park.
      There you are with the latest.
      Fred Sorensen
      OA 43

      This is not a good anchorage primarily because it is right along the channel that leads to the Venice Yacht Club on one side and along a shoal on the other side. As Ron said, people anchor too close together due to the restricted swing room. Best choice for a stop in Venice is to spend a few bucks and stay at the Crows Nest or the Venice YC. Otherwise, just keep on going.

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For The Venice – Higel Park Anchorage

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Dennis Sullivan -  April 3, 2012 - 8:00 pm

        Tried to anchor at Higel Park anchorage March 19, 2012, but found it too shallow even for our 3′ draft. Unable to find an anchorage, we docked at Marker 4 Marina which we can recommend. Well protected, good facilities, friendly people, and lower dockage rate than Crow’s Nest. Good restaurant, too. I read they were damaged by the hurricane but they are in business now.

        Reply to Dennis
    • Shinn Creek an Alternate Entrance to Wrightsville Beach – Banks Channel Anchorage, AICW Statute Mile 285

      With the problems at the entrance to Motts Channel (see Alert link below), Captain Shick recommends Shinn Creek which is two statute miles south of Motts Channel at Marker # 129. This is also the AICW/Masonboro Inlet intersection.

      The recommended (by towboat operators) channel into Wrightsville Beach is via Shinn Creek (ICW G129) and Banks Channel. Exit ICW at G 129. Wide, and no shoaling at all.
      Captain Larry Shick

      Subject: Shoaling in Motts channel Wrightsville Beach NC
      Saw several boats aground in Mott’s Channel this weekend while walking the docks at Wrightsville Marina. Was close to low tide. Two sailboat and a 50′ motor yacht. Have to favor the green marker. Red marker is still missing. Use Shinns creek as an alternate route.
      Jeff Chauvin

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Shinn Creek

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Anchorage Directory Listing For The Banks Channel – Northside/Wrightsville Beach Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Anchorage Directory Listing For The Banks Channel – Southside/Wrightsville Beach Anchorage

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