Another avenue of information is to post question to a very active US based version of YBW regarding local knowledge of the US ICW. You could try: http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com/recent-f.php
It's free - good luck
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Thread: USA intercoastal waterways
26-02-12, 18:16 #31
27-02-12, 16:34 #32
US Forums for ICW information
There are two forums that are quite active in reporting status and problem spots on the US IntraCoastal Waterway. Both show frequent updates from boaters who are actively cruising the waterway and report on water depths, new hazards in the channels, bridge construction, dredging operations and any of the other many things that might impact easy transit for yachts.
Both are free and both have the option to show the information superimposed on the latest official US NOAA navigation charts. You will need an internet link to access the sites while underway but that can be done with a cell phone data connection to your laptop. Cell coverage is quite good most of the way but there are a couple of isolated sections where you will find no signal.
28-02-12, 14:14 #33
Just to add to all the excellent experienced comments.
If you are going North coming from the Caribbean in the spring, it can use up much of your allotted visa time trundling the ICW. There are for example bits through Georgia where it snakes back and forth to cover very little 'straightline' distance.
Dont forget that 'outside', the Gulf Stream could be whizzing you North night and day and you could be enjoying the Chesapeake in one tenth the time and cost of day hopping the ICW.
I have sailed quite a lot of the southern section and mobo'b north a bit too.
Mobos are an absolute pain to BE ON as every sailboat is obsessed with their wake-it is quite difficult to overtake smoothly unless flat out so in restricted speed zones, SailorSam is doing 6kn with his genoa and yanmar, MoboMike at 6.5 kn is dragging half the sea in his wake until he can get clear and back up on the plane....coupled with all the opening bridges and congested bits, the constant accel/decelleration and idling uses a LOT of fuel v innefficiently.
The consequence to SailorSam is that unfortunately you can end up spending some of this wonderful scenic route time sailing in parallel with a stream of noisy mobos in close proximity..
After you have popped over to Canada( visa/time out) before heading back south for winter, then the ICW really scores when the 'Northers' are blowing and the Gulf stream is not a nice place to be.* Please add your own smiley cos the 'choices' seem a bit wubbish