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Cruising Life through the Eyes of Tom Neale

Challenges of the ever-changing ICW

Shifting shoals make even the most current navigational data suspect, but it's still a trip worth taking

Despite its problem areas, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway retains a timeless beauty.Some of the worst mistakes newcomers to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway make come from reading the guidebooks. And some of the worst mistakes come from not reading the guidebooks. Too many things change along the ICW to depend on last year's, or maybe even yesterday's, information.

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Watching the bridges

ICW Bridges

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Helpful ICW websites

Representative sites for navigational information:

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It can be a jungle under there

From too little resin to cheaply made hose clamps, pretty boats sometimes can hide ugly problems

The hull of a newer boat showing voids, blisters and weak spots being repaired.You remember that scene from the old jungle movies, where the guy is treading carefully through the dense foliage when suddenly he disappears from the screen - drops off the bottom of it. The camera pans down and he's in a deep hole. He'd walked over an innocent-looking bed of leaves and grass that in reality was a disguised cover for a pit of doom.

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The day we gave in to pier pressure

An overhaul of Tom's tie-up revealed much about materials, design and the contractor's reputation

Most boaters have one very important thing in common. The safety of their boats often depends on it. Their own safety - sometimes their lives - may depend on it. This thing is used on an everyday basis and also during emergencies and in storms. But few of us give it much thought. Few of us have a clue about what makes it good, bad or indifferent, although we should insist that it be "good." This thing is the pier.

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