Jacksonville - General Info

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Description:

Jacksonville is a commercial and cruise ship port, situated on the St. Johns River. It is the largest port in Northeast Florida before crossing the Georgia state line. There is a selection of docks and marinas as well as most other yachting services available here. The downtown area and port are a few miles inland, but marinas, anchorages, and other services can be found nearer to the sea. Some cruisers take the option of continuing up the river to Green Cove Springs.

Jacksonville and the St.Johns River is a gateway of sorts, a break between “simple” Florida navigation and the often-troublesome deltas of Georgia. South of Jacksonville, the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is relatively straightforward with tides and tidal streams making less effect on navigation. North of Jacksonville, the ICW becomes complicated to navigate: the estuaries and inlets offer tides up to 7-9ft and some tidal streams can run as hard as 2-3 knots. In this area, dredging is constant but success is short-lived and the standard ICW depth of 9-12ft MLLW is not to be trusted.

Entrance Notes and Cautions:

Caution should be exercised near bridges and narrow channels where tidal streams can be strong. Follow any buoys and channel markings, even if they appear out of place from the chart. Low tide can leave many dry areas and it is normal to hear Sécurité VHF calls regarding deep-draught vessels running aground: tugs and sailing yachts with deep keels announce that they are awaiting a rising tide before they can continue.

When following electronic charts in the area north of Jacksonville, FL, do not always follow the “suggested line”, rather follow the soundings, which change frequently due to silting of the bottom. Never cut corners. If you rely on electronic charts, keep your charts up-to-date when navigating in the coastal estuaries of Georgia and the Carolinas.

In this area, the bottom is soft sand and silt. Cruisers regularly anchor in good holding to await better tidal conditions. Occasionally, it is impossible for cruising yachts (motor and sail) to continue and will be forced to anchor in the channel, so keep a good watch at all times, especially in low visibility conditions.

Position:  

30° 23.89’N, 81° 22.41’W (river entrance)

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Jacksonville was last updated 7 years ago.

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  1. September 30, 2017 at 8:19 AM
    Data Entry says:

    In the wake of Hurricane Irma and Maria, IGY Marina at Ortega Landing is currently under repair.

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