Back on 8/10/12, we began a string of messages here on the SSECN about shoaling and marker confusion/problems on the AICW’s passage through often ROUGH St. Andrew Sound, south of Jekyll Creek/Island (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=94169). We asked for additional input from the cruising community, AND WE GOT IT! This string of messages was featured in our 8/17/12 SSECN Alert, and more of you clicked through to this posting than any other linked in this Alert!
The real originator of all this important information was my good friend and fellow nautical writer, Captain John Kettlewell. Well, while all this was in progress, John was querying the USCG and the NOAA charting people. With John’s permission, we have reproduced those messages below.
Can you explain the current positioning of Buoy R32 in St. Andrew Sound, Light List III #37385? On the ICW charts the magenta course line is shown to the west of the buoy; however, it appears to be a starboard side marker for the ICW (headed south). Someone has reported to me that if they leave the R32 to starboard when southbound it puts them right on a shoal, which is charted to the northeast of the buoy on chart #11489 (http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/11489.shtml ). It appears that both the buoy may be off station and the chart incorrect.
I am the author of the Intracoastal Waterway Chartbook, and other ICW guides and publications.
John J. Kettlewell
We are checking into your inquiry. It may take a few days as I’ve had to reach out to the field unit.
Local Notice to Mariners
Seventh Coast Guard District
Aids to Navigation (Dpw)
Please see the email below from Mr. Kettlewell regarding the magenta line in the ICW St Andrews Sound area chart 11489.
The buoys are St Andrews Sound Buoy 31A (LLNR 37384) and St Andrews Sound LB 32 (LLNR 37385). The ANT team believes the magenta line to be incorrect and needs to be moved to go between B31A and LB32. It does make for a sharp corner, there is not much room between Horseshoe
shoal and the North breakers. They continued by saying the area is a just a bad corner and the magenta line needs to be moved to the east of LB32. The sector will engage the ACOE regarding shifting shoals, etc.
I hope this information helps.
And, Captain Kettlewell’s final word to the SSECN concerning the above message:
See below [above, in this format – editor]. This doesn’t really answer the question to my satisfaction, but apparently the CG thinks the marked channel is correct.
We transit this route several times a year. Last transit was June of this year heading north to Brunswick. We have a full keel 6ft draft sailing vessel and usually time our passage close to high tide due to transiting Jekyll Creek. We always pass R32 on the east side of the buoy as the CG stated (the Magenta Line is incorrect in the turn). It is a tight turn and particular attention should be paid to the alignment of G 31A and G 31 as you round R 32 keeping it to port (heading north). It is a little unnerving due to the quick depth change (deep to shallow) but there was at least 15 ft of water at high tide in June. Pretty much the same for the past 3 years. Hope this helps.
Capt. Jesse Price s/v Wind Dust
We had occasion to pass r32 on 9-6-12 at 7:45 a.m. heading South in a 48’ sailboat drawing 6’ . The buoy is on station according to our gps and it has a square yellow icw marker that’s well hidden from view if a vessel attempts to round it to the East. We passed the buoy by about 75’ to the West as the magenta line suggests and had a minimum of 12’ at low tide.
No signs of coast guard nor any other government agency.
I transited from the St Marys to Jekyll Island via the outside (St Andrews Sound) on Labor Day weekend. Many of the buoys are either missing or off position. For example, N2 is missing and 31A is off position and on its side. Local boaters indicate that the buoys become entangled in shrimp shrimp nets and once the are freed they are just left in the new position. Shoaling has occurred to the east of the channel. I found that transiting from the outer marker (C Sta) to the following points provided a safe passage at low water for my 6 ft draft: N30 55.331 W081 20.260, N30 57.095 W081 21.555, N30 57.774 W081 21.864, N30 58.750 W081 22.296, N30 58.846 W081 23.224 then straight for R 32 (staying just to the west of R 32) then proceeding north up the ICW.