Navigating the Atlantic ICW Southbound 2017

Publish date:
Social count:

After hurricane Irma bashed through Florida and the southeastern coast of Georgia and South Carolina, significant damage to infrastructure has been reported. Damage to marinas and other facilities is relatively easy to see and report. There are several resources to track the damaged marinas. Waterway Guide provides a list of marinas open and or damaged ( Salty Southeast Cruisers Net, is another good resource for facilities’ updates. (

The damage to navigation aids is more difficult to observe and more complicated to record. The remains of the damaged structures may be in place, providing at least a frame of reference as you look down your course. Navigation aids which are destroyed and or a pushed off station will be much harder to identify. There is no easy solution for tracking this. The US Coast Guard Notice to Mariners is very quick to report discrepancies in list form. After the recent storms, there are hundreds, if not thousands of damaged and missing navigation aids.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in 2016 the US Coast Guard was very efficient at repairing and relocating the navigation aids. Along many stretches of the ICW, the damaged aids were repaired or replaced within two weeks or a month, we can hope for similar action this year. NOAA was updating their charts punctually in 2016. This year the number of damaged aids is greater. Boats headed south will have to rely on each other and on other sources for updated information. One popular reporting system is Active Captain, the crowdsourced cruising guide. The local tow boat operators along the ICW are probably your best source of up to date information. A call one day ahead to your towing provider at each of major inlet crossings should be a part of your daily planning.

Heading south in the fall of 2017 there will be some challenges, but there was a great deal of dredging performed in NC during the spring of this year and the ICW is probably in better shape than it has been in for several years. Monitor the storm damage reports. Update your charts frequently along the way, and call several days ahead if you are looking for a marina transient slip. SAIL will present additional ICW updates at the SAIL Sailing South Seminar in Annapolis.

SAIL Magazine is monitoring conditions along the ICW. So far we have limited information on the conditions. We will continue to monitor and report. ICW Update Lockwoods Folly AICW Stm. 321 Update Due to reports of shoaling the US Army Corps of Engineers has surveyed the ICW in the historical trouble prone section. This was dredged in the Spring of 2017 and has already filled in following Irma. Below are the USACE survey and waypoints. Also included are the waypoints displayed on NOAA chart 11534 which was updated though LNTM this week. The buoys show in the USACE survey and on the NOAA Chart have not yet been moved to reflect the changed bathymetry. Watch for this update in the next week or two. 

USACE survey Sept 18 2017

USACE survey Sept 18 2017



NOAA chart 11534 updated as of September 23,

NOAA chart 11534 updated as of September 23,

 There are sure to be additional changes and updates to the ICW over the next few weeks. We will share the most recent information available at the SAIL Sailing South Seminar in Annapolis on October 8. Even more up to date information will be available at the Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous October 12-15.


September 2017 


Landing Page Lead

The Volvo Returns to the Southern Ocean

Since the Volvo Ocean Race’s inception, the Southern Ocean has made it what it is. And no part of the race says “Southern Ocean” like Leg 7 from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajaí, Brazil. The 7,600-mile leg, which starts this Sunday, is not only the longest of the event, but far more


SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comTeak deck paradise  I had a call recently from the man who replaced the deck on my Mason 44 five years ago. He was worried about the way people are wrecking their teak decks trying to get the green off. more


Gear: ATN Multi Awning

THROW SOME SHADEAmong the many virtues of cruising cats is the large expanse of netting between their bows, which is the ideal place to hang out with a cold one after a hard day’s sailing and let the breeze blow your worries away. Only trouble is it can get a bit hot up there more


How to Sail the Med

“After spending so many years sailing the Caribbean, I was frankly astounded at how much more I enjoy the Mediterranean,” says Scott Farquharson of charter brokers Proteus Yacht Charters. “The culture, the history, the food, the weather, friendly people, crystal-clear water—there more


Know-How: Rigging Emergency Rudders

We were 1,100 miles from the nearest land when we received a text message on our Iridium GO: “Rudder gone. Water in bilge. Worried pumps can’t keep up. Please call!”We had been in contact with the owners of Rosinante, a 38ft Island Packet, since they had first announced over the more


Experience: Hard Aground

This is a story of how mistakes are made and judgment is dulled to the point of catastrophe. It is also about how prudent planning, good equipment and a bit of luck can bring you back from the brink.We departed Norfolk, Virginia, on December 15 bound for Jacksonville, Florida, more


Vestas Discusses Fatal Collision, Recovery

Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-captains Mark Towill and Charlie Enright discuss the collision near the end of Leg 4 as well as the efforts the team has made to get back into racing trimJust over a month after 11th Hour Racing’s fatal collision with a commercial fishing vessel shortly more