Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015 Cruising Guide to the ICW

I've been asked by several cruisers where they can find all my reviews of shallow spots in one place. The answer of course is on Active Captain but they are scattered across many hazard markers in the database. So as a summer project I've just completed a guide to traversing the ICW with inclusion of a chart and comments on each hazard we encountered on our 2015 spring trip from Key West to New York. Each hazard has a full page with its own chart and details on how we safely passed through, about 140 hazards in all. 

In addition to the hazard guide, I've also included chapters on getting ready to cruise that been expanded from what's posted on the blog. The guide tops out at 195 pages (there are a lot of hazards on the ICW!) I submitted my first draft to Amazon last night and hopefully will get approval within a week. I have to first publish in paper before publishing in ebook format. The guide is formatted to be read on an iPad or equivalent, one page per hazard with a full color chart. There are around 50 links which only work in ebook format, of course, that make finding the many references to apps and internet resources much easier. 

The book will be in full color as will the ebook but I doubt the charts will come out well on a Kindle, you'll need a tablet to take advantage of the color charts and photos. I might mention that this is hardly a money making proposition. The ebook conversion comes with upfront charges and I hope to recover the cost modestly through Amazon sales. I picked Amazon mainly for the convenience cruisers would have in obtaining an ebook copy of the guide. The pricing is not settled yet but it will be in the range of $4.99 to $9.99. I don't have a potential price yet for the hardcopy. It has 195 full color pages so it will cost a little. 

To give you an overview of what's included I've copied the table of contents below. In the ebook version each line of the table of contents will link to the referenced page in the guide. Look at the table and tap the hazard you're interested in and the ebook will jump to that location. 

Table of contents

As an example of what's included, here's page 89 in the guide. Not every page will have hydrographic survey results, I've included them where they were available.

Shoaling by Lockwoods Folly

Lockwoods Folly is a traditional shoaling area so you will need to read the latest reports to see current conditions. There are four hazard markers shown above, starting from the right and working to the left, as if going south in the fall.

- Hazard marker 1:  Favor the red side by the first hazard marker, otherwise stay in the middle of the channel per the Garmin charts, they are accurate through here.

- Hazard marker 2:  Continue in the middle of the channel per Garmin charts for 14 MLW. This area has been dredged. Favor the green side by R36 for 9 MLW, the water is thin 100 ft before R36 and 500 ft after R36, then return to center of the channel. After passing R40 (still in channel!), follow the channel around the bend, don't aim visually for G41, follow the shape of the channel on your chartplotter.

- Hazard marker 3:  Dredging was in progress in the spring of 2015, plenty of room to pass by.

- Hazard marker 4:  Just follow the markers for at least 9.0 MLW in April 2015
14.3 MLW 100 ft off R46
9.0 MLW 50 ft off R46A
14.7 MLW 20 ft off G47
13.5 MLW splitting G47A and R48

Wilmington District ACOE hydrographic survey of 5/11 & 5/17/2015 is shown at right. You can see the curves the buoys will take you through.


Any comments and suggestions would be appreciated. It's been a gargantuan undertaking, more than I thought when I first started but I think it may be useful for cruisers on the ICW