This is the online version of the ICW Planning Guide published by Chesapeake Bay Media. Like its print companion, this site is all about how to plan your trip then getting there and back again. And making it easy. For long distance travelers, just knowing where the next fuel dock lies can take a load off. If you're venturing into new territory, it's good to be able to pinpoint ahead of time where you can eat, buy groceries, plug in and pump out-maybe even play a few rounds of golf. And it's good to know how long it might take you to get there. Or if there are any bridges in your way. After all, the object of the cruising game is to have fun.
Start by rolling over and clicking a state from the map to the left. Once you've arrived on the state map page, you can select one of our participating intracoastal waterway marinas by rolling over the yellow dot and clicking on the marina name that pops up. Voila! You're at the ICW marina, with photos and every possible detail you could want to know about that facility.
Prefer to view a directory of ALL the intracoastal waterway marinas in that state in north to south order? Scroll to the bottom of the map and click on the "view complete listing" link.
Sure, you could grab a few charts and set off down the Atlantic Coast and into the Intracoastal Waterway and arrive in Miami . . . eventually. Henry Plummer and his son did it in 1912. But along the way, they ran into a world of trouble. In fact, their whole crazy ordeal made such a great story that the book, The Boy, Me and the Cat, is still in print. But the Plummers had no choice. They had no cruise guides to help them along way, no iPad apps, no Active Captain.
Still, you say, everything is so well marked these days, why not just pack up and go? Because you won't know that if you turn up Jeremy Creek (SM 430.0), you'll find McClellanville, S.C., one of the prettiest little towns you'll ever meet, with a particularly fine restaurant in an old sundry store and a fresh seafood market just a short walk away. You won't know that if you turn up Kilkenny Creek (SM 613.7) in Georgia, you'll find a fish camp and fine anchorage (watch the current) as well as a restaurant that serves terrific fresh ghost shrimp and grits. Or that if you stop a dozen miles before Kilkenny and go up Delegal Creek, you'll find a jewel of a marina tucked into Skidaway Island. (How lovely?) This is an ideal place to stage a rising-tide passage through nearby Hell Gate shoals.
Hidey holes, great restaurants, fresh seafood right off the dock, perfect marinas and ideal anchorages. This is the kind of information that makes a good cruise great.
Which brings us neatly to why you need the ICW Planning Guide. While some of the information from that book is included in this website, the book includes many, many more resources and references. In the book we tell you how to get the best of all the information out there. We've tried out all the cruise guides and tell you about some of the best. We've tried out dozens of apps for navigation, weather, tides and safety and we give you the best. We tell you how to use crowd-sourced information to get the latest hazards, shoals and bridge changes. We explain government charts and publications and how to use them to help plan your cruise. We give you dozens of good books (including The Boy, Me and the Cat
) to make your trip even more enjoyable.
Then, after we've explained how to plan each day's cruise, we give you reference information to make that plan work. We give you all the bridges from the C&D Canal to the Florida Keys and then up the Gulf ICW, with a photo, chart and schedule for each. You won't find that anywhere else. We also give you nearly every marina along the most common cruising routes from Maine to Florida on this site and in the book.
Finally, we give you maps and more maps. Maps to find the marine weather radio broadcasts for you need as you travel. And maps for locating bridges, towns and major inlets along the way.
-Jody Argo Schroath
Editor, ICW Planning Guide
Skipper, SV/Moment of Zen