Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sources of Information for the ICW Trip

Here is the handout from the presentation we did at the SSCA gam last month, on resources for making the trip down the ICW from Norfolk, VA to FL.  We had a table filled with maps and books and nautical charts in various formats from various publishers, and screen shots of websites and apps.  This probably worked a lot better at the live presentation, where folks could see and touch the charts and guidebooks, but at least, here are links to the websites and other resources that are available to help you make the trip.
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Paper Charts

Maptech Regions 6 and 7 (these are the big 17 x 22 charts organized like a AAA trip-tych, cost around $120 each)

Inlet Chart Book by Steve Dodge (These are the major ocean inlets back into the ICW, not the ICW itself. book size about 8-1/2 x 11; about $20)

ICW Chart Book by John and Leslie Kettlewell (spiral bound, book size about 8-1/2 x 11; same scale as the Maptech charts but smaller so they show less of the surrounding area; about $60. 6th edition is out now)

Guide Books (those marked with an asterisk are SSCA supporters)

*Doziers Waterway Guides: (great info for going ashore, what to see/do in town, marina ads, aerial photos)

*Skipper Bob's Anchorages: (very simple text-only summary of anchorages, free docks, and bridge info)

*Managing the Waterway: (I describe this as a "piloting" guide. For each section of the waterway, all the info about shoals, anchorages, marinas, bridges, WX channels for VHF, phone numbers for bridges, and text tidbits about local history, wildlife, culture are on each 2-page spread.)

*Anchor Guide for the ICW: (This is the book with the small charts for each anchorage including depth soundings, direction of best wind protection, and many other details.)

The Great Book of Anchorages:

Maptech's Embassy Cruising Guides:

The first 3 - Active Captain, Cruiser's Net, and Dozier's, all three have info on shoals, problem areas, anchorages, and marinas, so use whichever works best for you.  I review all three when planning our navigation for an area, but find that the greatest strengths of each are different.
Active Captain: (crowdsourced; my first choice for finding a good boatyard wherever we happen to be)
Cruiser’s Net: (professionally reviewed; my first choice for finding out about shoals and problem areas)
Dozier’s Waterway Guide: (professionally reviewed; my first choice for local news)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: (This is the North Carolina district; has links to other regions.  Note that the Corps refers to the ICW as the AIWW - Atlantic Intracoastal WaterWay)
U.S. Coast Guard Local Notice to Mariners:


Accuweather: (different weather analysis than NOAA)
NOAA: (no ads; you’ve already paid for this service with your taxes)

The Weather Channel: (their ipad app has a nice layout)
Weather Underground: (loads faster than new version; this is just repackaged NOAA data, some people prefer this format)


PassageWeather: (wind strength map like a grib file, looks forward about 6 days)
(and many many more, but don’t forget WX on your VHF!)


  (The first seven are ones I use, the rest were suggested by attendees)

Charts and Tides (Navimatics, about $25 at the iTunes store - turns your phone into a chartplotter, and links to active captain website)

RadarScope (shows which way storm cells are moving, about $10)

Sky View (names constellations, stars and planets, $2)

Drag Queen (anchor watch; free)

iAIS (gives AIS info if you're in cell phone range; free)

BoatUS and SeaTow both have apps (free)

NOAA, WeatherUnderground, etc, have apps (free)

most of the online forums such as Sailnet, Cruiser's Forum, etc all have apps

Smart Buoys (for those 8 - 10 big yellow informational buoys in the Chesapeake Bay)

Compass i



Tide Graph

Wind Alert

Radar Now (Android)


(and many many more)

SSB Radio Nets

Radio Nets: (if you have an SSB, this website lists all the cruisers nets, time and frequency to listen in)

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I'm trying to crowdsource this presentation -- if you have other good websites or apps, please tell me about them in the comments.

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