Sunday, April 9, 2017

Titusvile - Looking ahead

I spent the day looking northward along the ICW to see the latest status of all the inlet crossings. There has been a lot of progress over the winter. North Carolina has been very busy dredging inlets including Lockwoods Folly, Shallotte, Browns Inlet and several more. I've put together a guide that I will be using and thought I'd share it with the blog readers. All the dredging ought to make the trip north much easier this spring.

In the listing of problem areas below, the links given will always show the latest ACOE depth survey. The Wilmington District ACOE keeps the same URL for each problem area chart so when clicking on the link, you may bring up a more recent chart than the one I display in this article. You can check on the date of the survey along the right edge of the chart and compare it to the listed date in my article. At any rate, follow the latest chart for navigation help.

The ACOE surveys often provide waypoints that provide the most leeway through the shoaling at the inlets and I've listed each group of  ACOE waypoints when given. I've used all the waypoints in my trip down the ICW this fall but obviously not the updated ones produced by the ACOE since then. However, I will be using them as I go north starting in April and will be posting my results in my blog at and on Active Captain using my handle, Bob423. As always, the captain takes full responsibility for his or her vessel. After all, things change on the ICW if you haven't noticed. Yesterday's waypoints may no longer be good the next day although usually it's not that bad.

I've found the best way to use these waypoints for me is to have a dedicated device such as an iPad with all the routes preloaded. Mixing in these waypoints with all your other waypoints may cause problems with repeating names. I use a Garmin chartplotter for my navigation but I will be using my iPad and the Garmin Mobile app for navigation when using the GPX file routes. I've found the Garmin app to be the simplest for loading of GPX routes.

Browns Inlet surveyed 12/8/2016
Browns Inlet surveyed 12/8/2016 at MM 238.2 and page 75 in 2106 ICW Cruising Guide. This was the home of the famous "S" curve but it was dredged 12/8/2016 so now it's a straight path through. Take care on the position of the buoys, especially G61A. It wasn't yet moved as of the survey date (see chart). It may have been moved later.
ACOE waypoints as of 12/8/2016 (your chartplotter has an option to use this format as input, it's the format used by the ACOE so I kept it to prevent errors in changing to other formats).
WP1:  77° 12' 41.141"W    34° 37' 22.840" N
WP2:  77° 14' 24.662“ W   34° 35' 57.233" N
WP3:  77° 14' 50.020" W   34° 35' 35.677" N

New River surveyed 3/15/2017

New River Inlet surveyed 3/15/2017 at MM 244 and page 76 of the Guide. It's been dredged but it's filling in again near 72A. Look closely at the ACOE waypoints, they show a zig-zag course to avoid the shoaling near 72A. Follow WP 3, 4, 5,and 6. They are the critical waypoints. The others just follow the channel.

New River ACOE waypoints as of  3/15/2017
WP1  77° 19' 2.276" W 34° 32' 43.274" N
WP2  77° 19' 6.255" W 34° 32' 43.252" N
WP3  77° 20' 53.152" W 34° 33' 12.153" N
WP4  77° 20' 59.302" W 34° 33' 9.001” N
WP5  77° 21' 3.751" W 34° 33' 10.538” N
WP6  77° 21' 9.414" W 34° 33'12.492" N
WP7  77° 21' 34.139" W 34° 32' 57.686" N

Topsail Survey 2/15-28/2017
Topsail Inlet surveyed 2/15-28/2017 at MM 270.5 and page 79 of the Guide. The inlet crossing has been dredged but the buoys had not been moved as of 2/15-28/2017, take care. Now it's a straight shot through. Hopefully the buoys have been moved for the spring migration.

Topsail ACOE waypoints as of 2/15/2017:
WP1:  77° 40' 18.157” W  34° 21' 38.757" N
WP2:  77° 40' 23.894” W  34° 21' 35.137" N
WP3:  77° 40' 34.129" W  34° 21' 28.720" N
WP4:  77° 41' 8.790"  W   34° 21' 8.226" N
WP5:  77° 42' 1.042" W    34° 20' 38.127" N

Masons Inlet Crossing surveyed 12/22/2016
Masons Inlet surveyed 12/22/2016 at MM 280.2 and page 80 of the Guide. In the Guide it's referred to as Howe Point, the nearest landmark, but the ACOE calls it Masons Inlet. This is the passage where you hug the dockhouse. I'm surprised it hasn't been dredged yet. Perhaps it will be by the time we all go north.

Masons Inlet surveyed 12/22/2016:
WP1  77° 45' 40.975"W  34° 16' 22.998" N
WP2  77° 46' 50.528”W  34° 15' 5.961" N
WP3  77° 46' 54.252"W  34° 15' 4.626“ N
WP4  77° 47' 1.707" W   34° 14' 53.809" N

Carolina Beach surveyed 3/24/2017

-Carolina Beach Inlet surveyed 3/24/2017 at MM 293.7 and page 83 of the Guide. In the Guide it's called Myrtle Grove Shoaling. Notice that the ACOE waypoint 3 takes you on the wrong side of G155 unless it's been moved. This is an exciting passage at max current and you'll do a double take if you follow the ACOE waypoints when you see that green buoy (unless it's been moved).

Carolina Beach surveyed 3/24//2017:
WP2  77° 52' 55.006” W 34° 4' 59.836" N
WP3  77° 52' 57.417" W 34° 4' 44.313" N
WP4  77° 53' 1.983" W 34° 4' 41.142" N

Western end of Snow's Cut, survey 11/8-9/2016
Snows Cut at MM 296. Snows Cut isn't even in the Guide, it was fine in May of last year. However, it looks like there's been active shoaling down to 3 MLW in southern end of the cut in the middle of the channel. The ACOE waypoints have you doing a zigzag course through the southern part of the cut going outside of the charted channel south of the bridge for the deepest water. The turn into Snows Cut from the north is not routine either, you have to swing wide to the green side, there's shoaling at the turn.

Snows cut ACOE waypoints as of 11/8-10/2016
WP1  77° 53' 21 .183" W   34° 3' 38.277" N
WP2  77° 53' 24.777” W    34° 3' 31.232" N
WP3  77° 54' 38.333" W    34° 3' 8.476“ N
WP4  77° 54' 58.817" W    34° 3' 7.587“ N
WP5  77° 55' 3.851” W      34° 3' 6.076" N
WP6  77° 55' 6.429" W      34° 3' 6.864" N

Lockwoods Folly surveyed 3/14/2017
Lockwoods Folly Inlet at MM321 and page 88 in the Guide. The passage has been dredged. The buoys should have been moved to correspond to the dredged channel by the time you reach the inlet but double check, it's a straight shot through now

Shallotte River Crossing survey of 9/12/2016 at MM 328 and page 89 of the Guide. Just follow the buoys.

Shallotte surveyed 3/27/2017
Shallotte Inlet Crossing survey of  3/27/2017 at MM 330.5. It's been dredged!

Florida and North Carolina have been doing most of the dredging. In Florida the shallows on the ICW opposite Ft Pierce were being dredged. There were two dredgers on site, one for mud and one with a huge drill that looked like it could go through rock. Dredging is also underway for Ft Matanzas and hopefully for other spots. I'll be updating my blog as I go north to relate what I've encountered. All in all, it looks like a better trip north than this fall. After all, in the fall Ann and I had hurricane Matthew's eye go right over the top of us. We're looking for calmer weather this time.

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