ICW Caution Areas July 2019

25 Jul

A cruise down the ICW is relatively easy to navigate.  There are some sections which have historically been  shallow and prone to shifting with constantly changing channels. This list covers many of the known problem stretches.  With up to date Navionics charts and with Aqua Map Master cruisers have available better charts and better information than ever before.  The following list covers includes some recently dredged areas which are already  shoaling in.  You can take time to mark  your charts  now so that you will have advanced notice  of these areas when you plot your daily route this fall.  If  you have not updated  your charts recently  do  it now and do it monthly between now and the time you head south.  I will continue to monitor the reports of ICW changes and will alert readers to changing conditions.

  1. The bridges and locks in the Virginia Cut, and or the conditions in the Dismal swamp have all experienced mechanical issues and storm damage. Some years the Dismal Swamp suffers from a heavy bloom of duck weed. Robert Peake the lockmaster at Deep Creek 757.487.0831,does monitor it and will alert cruisers if he feels it is to the point that it will clog cooling systems, Check for updates.
  2. Bogue Sound Atlantic Beach Bridge. Mile 209. Construction  work may restrict the width of the channel.
  3. Bogue Sound R10 and R10A at mile STM 210 Severe shoaling in channel will be only 6 feet at MLLW
  4. Bogue Inlet, Swansboro STM 230 Depths are OK as of 4/2019 Watch out for strong cross setting currents
  5. Browns Inlet STM 239. Was dredged in 2018 and has started to fill in on the green side.
  6. New River Inlet STM 245. Has a dip in the magenta line where it crosses the New River. Watch for updates. In particular be careful near R72A. This buoy has drifted off station several times this year.
  7. Black Mud Channel STM 270. Dredged spring of 2017, but already filling in on the green side.
  8. Mason Inlet SM 280 Dredged spring of 2017, but a shoal at G129
  9. Carolina Beach Inlet STM 292 Dredged spring of 2017.
  10. Snows Cut Strong Currents  reports of shoaling on the east end at G161 and near the west end in vicinity of G163.
  11. Lockwoods Folly STM 320 constantly changing. Was dredged in April 2019 but is filling in at near G47A
  12. Shallotte Inlet. STM 330 A traditional problem area. Dredged spring of 2018, but conditions can change.
  13. Estherville Minim Creek Canal. STM 410 North end, there is a shoal about 400 feet into the canal. Expect as little as 6 feet at MLLW.
  14. Santee River crossings. 410 to 420 There are reports of shoals encroaching shoals near R4-G5 and at R18.
  15. South of McClellanville. STM 430 to 433 A known problem area with only 4.5 feet at low water. Watch for updates as this stretch has been getting worse.
  16. Isle of Palms STM 460 to 462 Several shoals have built up and been dredged in 2019. This area should be clear for the falloff 2019 unless a hurricane changes it.  However due to the number of crossing and intersecting streams and inlets, this entire stretch should be transited carefully if it is near low tide.
  17. Dawho River. STM 498 Dredged in early 2019. But the channel is very narrow.
  18. Ashepoo River and Ashepoo Coosaw Cutoff. STM 513 to 518 despite dredging in 2018 there are already reports of shoals in several places. Transit on a rising tide. Watch for updates from early southbounders.
  19. Brickyard Creek near stm 529 a shoal is encroaching from the north side of the channel
  20. Hell Gate (note, this is NOT called Hell’s Gate) STM 601 A known problem area with only 4 feet at low water. Watch for updates as this stretch has been getting worse. There is some expectation that this channel might be dredged in the summer of 2019.
  21. Little Mud River STM 653 to 656 A known problem area with only 4.5 feet at low water. Watch for updates as this stretch has been getting worse.
  22. Jekyll Creek STM 680 to 684 Dredged in spring of 2019 But has been a problem area in the past 6 years.
  23. Cumberland Dividings STM 704 A known problem area. There is plenty of water if you stay on the greens Watch for updates.
  24. South of Fernandina. STM 717. Best water will be found along the west side of the bend. Stay far to the west. There is also decent water on the east side , but not as deep. There is a shoal in the middle so get to one side or the other.
  25. Sawpit Creek STM 730 stay on the red side and away from G49 and G49A.
  26. George Channel. STM 735 Stay to the Red side. Reports of shoaling. We had no trouble in the spring. Watch for reports from early Southbounders.
  27. Fort Matanzas. STM 781. Dredged spring of 2017, but shoal has already returned. Stay close to the western shore. Particularly at R80B through this traditional trouble spot.
  28. Ponce Inlet. STM 840-842. Several reports of shoaling at R18 and R18A . Watch for reports from early Southbounders.
  29. Lucie inlet STM 988. This is another historically troublesome area with frequent shoaling. It has been dredged.  Watch for reports from early Southbounders.



  1. Al Scott

    Re: “up to date Navionics charts” – in August, 2017 the Newport Marina (“Newport Yacht Club”) in Jersey City NJ on the Hudson River across from Manhattan closed. I sent 2 messages to Navioincs concerning through the iPhone app yet it still shows the marina. The breakwater and all piling sand docks are gone.

  2. SAIL the ICW

    The West Coast has some terrific cruising. Here on the east coast we are fortunate to have an inside waterway for almost 1500 miles. Until you have made the trip a few times, it is hard to figure out where all the exit ramps are! So as a primer this is a resource. Actually navigating the route with due regard to weather, tide and current is a 4 dimensional chess game.

  3. JB

    While I doubt that I will ever run the ICW (I’m on the Pacific side), I’d like to say thank you for such a detailed, obviously well researched article.

    Kudos to you!

Comments are closed.

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