AICW / ICW / or "The Ditch"
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW / ICW) or "The Ditch" as many refer to it has its official starting point in Norfolk, VA at (mile marker 0). From there, it runs south ending at (mile marker 1089.0) in Miami, FL.
Comprised of both natural and manmade canals, rivers, bays, and sounds; it provides a protected passage for the mariner transiting the lower east coast of the U. S.
The minimum overhead clearance of the fixed bridges over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is 56’ at the Julia Tuttle Causeway Bridge in Miami at mile marker 1087.1. This means vessels requiring more than 56’ bound for Miami to leave the AICW at Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades) mile marker 1066.5 and sailing coastwise, re-enter at Miami (Government Cut) at mile marker 1089.0.
The minimum clearance of overhead cables crossing the AICW is 68’ at Snows Cut, mile marker 295.8, at Federal Point, NC. There is also an overhead cable car found at mile marker 356.4 in Myrtle Beach, SC having a least clearance of 67’ under the low point of travel of the car.
The Federal project depth for the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway via Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal provides for a least depth of 12’ from Norfolk, VA, mile marker 0.0 to Fort Pierce, FL, mile marker 965.6, and then 10’ from there to Miami, FL, mile marker 1089.0.
The unofficial northern end of the Intracoastal Waterway is considered by many to be Manasquan, NJ where smaller boats may cruise south through New Jerseys’ largely unimproved channels. Caution should be used here, since much of New Jersey’s portion of the ICW is shoal with a number of fixed bridges having a limiting vertical clearance of 35’ (most, if not all, sailboats bound for warmer climes elect to sail coastwise rather than attempt the NJICW.) From New Jersey your route will take you through the Delaware Bay, the C&D Canal, and the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk.
For those headed further south than Miami, the unofficial southern end of the Atlantic Intracoastal ends in Key West. Once south of Miami many of the keys as well as an off-lying reef provide some protection from weather and heavy seas.
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway - Bridge & Lock Schedules
The following pages list the bridges & locks; their schedules, and restrictions along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) from Norfolk, VA to Miami, FL.
It should be noted that in recent years there has been ongoing bridge construction the length of the ICW in an effort to replace many of the existing operating bridges. As these new 65’+ bridges have been completed many of the operating bridges they have replaced are being demolished and of those that remain, many are having their operating schedule restrictions modified or lifted.
In addition to each state's bridge list, the complete AICW (Norfolk to Miami) bridge operating schedule can be downloaded for your personal and private use. The ZIP file contains the schedule in Adobe (.pdf) file format.
These lists are believed to be accurate as of July 2015. If any errors or omissions are noted, please e-mail us at with any corrections or recommendations.