Cruising/Navigating - Georgia’s AICW
Savannah River to St. Marys River
The Georgia portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) begins in the north at the Savannah River, 7.3 NM eastward of Savannah, GA, at (MM "575.5"), the South Carolina/Georgia State Line. It then winds its way in a generally south-southwesterly direction to the St. Marys River and the Georgia/Florida State Line at (MM "713.7").
Aids to Navigation
Buoys and Marks
The Georgia Intracoastal Waterway Aids to Navigation (ATONS) are like most other lateral marks in the U.S. The difference is that Yellow Triangles or Yellow Squares are added to the mark to indicate they are ICW markers.
Caution! While Yellow Squares are typically found on green buoys or beacons and yellow triangles are typically found on red buoys or beacons, this is not always the case.
The rule is: When proceeding south on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in Georgia, markers with yellow triangles are kept to starboard while marks with yellow squares are kept to port at all times.
- “Yellow Squares are ALWAYS kept to port”
- “Yellow Triangles are ALWAYS kept to starboard”
Regardless of the Color of the Mark!
NOAA Charts #11507 and #11489 provide coverage of the Georgia portion of the AICW.
Chart #11507 - Beaufort River, SC to St. Simons Sound, GA covers the ICW from (MM "542.1") at Parris Island, SC to Lanier Island at St. Simons Sound, GA (MM "675.7").
Chart #11489 - St. Simons Sound, GA to Tolomato River, FL covers the AICW from (MM "675.7") at St. Simons Sound, GA to the Tolomato River at Shell Bluff Landing, FL (MM "768.7").
Distances and Mileages
All distances along the Georgia Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway are given in statute miles unless otherwise noted. Statute miles are used in order to conform to the distances shown on the small craft charts typically used along this route.
The Georgia portion of the AICW (southbound) is measured based on increasing mileage between the Savannah River (MM "575.5") and St. Marys River (MM "713.7") for a distance of 138.2 SM (120.1 NM).
The Federal project depth for the Georgia portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from the Savannah River at the (South Carolina/Georgia State Line) to St. Marys River at the (Georgia / Florida State Line) is 12 feet.
The actual depths in the channels may vary due to shoaling. This may reduce the available water depths to less than the Federal project depth until maintenance dredging can be accomplished.
Bridges – VHF Channel 13.
Bridges, Locks, and Overhead Power Lines
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway - Georgia Bridge Schedule
The following table lists the bridges; their schedules, and restrictions along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) in Georgia.
The minimum overhead clearance of fixed bridges over the Georgia portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is 65 feet.
AICW - Georgia Bridge Schedule
Savannah to St. Marys
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway - Georgia
Savannah to St. Marys
|Mile Marker||Bridge||Charted Vert. Clear.||Schedule||Restrictions||VHF|
|579.85||Sam Varnedoe Bridge||65’||Fixed Bridge||New twin span bridge under construction. Scheduled completion November 2021.|
|579.9||Sam Varnedoe Bascule Bridge||21’||Opens on Demand||M-F 0630 - 0900 and 1630 - 1830 the draw will open at 0700, 0800, and 1730 except Federal holidays.||09|
|583.0||Thunderbolt Bridge||65’||Fixed Bridge|
|592.8||Diamond Causeway Bridge||65’||Fixed Bridge|
|674.0||Torras Causeway Bridge||65’||Fixed Bridge|
|684.0||Jekyll Island Bridge||65’||Fixed Bridge|
The Georgia ICW Bridge List as well as the entire AICW Bridge List (Norfolk to Miami) can be downloaded for your personal and private use below. The ZIP files contain the schedules in Adobe (.pdf) file format:
AICW - Georgia Locks
AICW - Georgia Overhead Cables and Power Lines
A few overhead cables (5) cross Georgia’s Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. One cable crossing has a reported clearance of 72 feet; located at Causton Bluff (MM "579.9"). The remainder of the cable crossings have a authorized clearance of 85 feet or greater.
Caution - Many of the overhead cables over the waterway carry high voltage, and an extra margin of safety should be allowed during threatening weather.
Entrances, Inlets, and Passes
There are numerous Entrances, Inlets, or Passes between the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Georgia’s Coast. Between Tybee Roads in the north and St. Marys Entrance to the south, there were 11 at last count. Most all provide access to sheltered inland waters with many providing access to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
While some of these are only suitable for shallow draft vessels and/or local knowledge, some can be considered navigable for most vessels. We have listed them on the next page along with useful information on each to aid you in deciding if you wish to use a particular inlet.