Cruising/Navigating
South Carolina’s AICW

Little River to Savannah River

The South Carolina Segment of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) begins in the north at Little River Inlet, SC located at (MM "340.9"), the North Carolina/South Carolina State Line. It proceeds in a generally southwesterly direction to the Savannah River and the South Carolina/Georgia State Line at (MM "575.5").

Aids to Navigation

Buoys and Marks

South Carolina Intracoastal Waterway Aids to Navigation (ATONS) are like most other lateral marks in U.S. waters. In order to distinguish them from other lateral marks, the ICW buoys and beacons will also show either a Yellow Square or Yellow Triangle.

The rule is: When proceeding south on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in South Carolina, markers with yellow triangles are kept to starboard while marks with yellow squares are kept to port at all times.

Green ICW Marker Red ICW Marker

Regardless of the Color of the Mark!

Charts

NOAA Charts #11534, #11518, and #11507 provide coverage of the South Carolina portion of the AICW.

Chart #11534 - Myrtle Grove Sound, NC to Casino Creek, SC covers the ICW from Mile 341.0, the North Carolina/South Carolina state line to Casino Creek at Mile 426.0.

Chart #11518 - Casino Creek to the Beaufort River covers the ICW from Mile 426.0, Casino Creek to Mile 543.0 at the Beaufort River.

Chart #11507 - Beaufort River to St. Simons Sound, GA covers the ICW from Mile 543.0, at the Beaufort River to Mile 576.0 at the South Carolina/Georgia state line and onto St. Simons Sound, GA at Mile 674.0.

Distances and Mileages

All distances along the South Carolina 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 South Carolina segment of the AICW (southbound) is measured based on increasing mileage between Little River Inlet (MM "340.9") and the Savannah River (MM "575.5") for a total of 234.6 SM (203.8 NM).

Channels

The Federal project depth for the South Carolina segment of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Little River Inlet at the (North Carolina/South Carolina State Line) to the Savannah River at the (South Carolina/Georgia 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.

Communications

Bridges – VHF Channel 13.

Bridges, Locks, and Overhead Power Lines

AICW - South Carolina Bridge Schedule

The following table lists the bridges; their schedules, and restrictions along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) in South Carolina.

The minimum overhead clearance of fixed bridges over the South Carolina portion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is 65 feet.

This list is believed to be accurate as of July 2020. If any errors or omissions are noted, please e-mail us at with any corrections or recommendations.


Open Down Arrow AICW - South Carolina Bridge Schedule
Little River to Socastee

Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway - South Carolina


Little River to Socastee

Mile Marker Bridge Charted Vert. Clear. Schedule Restrictions VHF
347.0 Little River Highway Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
347.2 Little River Swing Bridge 7’ Opens on Demand   09
349.2 Robert Edge/Main St. Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
354.0 Barefoot Landing Swing Bridge 31’ Opens on Demand   09
355.5 Conway Bypass Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge (3) Spans  
359.0 Grand Dunes Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
360.5 Grissom Parkway Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
365.4 MB RR Bascule Bridge 16’ Always Open Abandoned  
365.5 Route 501 Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
366.0 Fantasy Harbor Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
371.0 Socastee Swing Bridge 11’ Opens on Demand May be delays during heavy traffic periods. 09
371.1 Thrailkill (Route 544) Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    

Open Down Arrow AICW - South Carolina Bridge Schedule
Socastee to Hilton Head

Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway - South Carolina


Socastee to Hilton Head

Mile Marker Bridge Charted Vert. Clear. Schedule Restrictions VHF
372.0 Carolina Bays Pkwy Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
401.0 Lafayette (Ocean Highway) Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
411.5 Tom Yawkey Pontoon Bridge 0’ Normally Open - Infrequent Use.   09
459.0 Isle of Palms Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
462.2 Ben Sawyer Swing Bridge 31’ The draw shall open on weekends and Fed. holidays from 0900-1900 on the hour. Other times on demand. Closed M-F 0700-0900 and 1600-1800 except Fed. holidays. 09
469.9 R.B. Scarborough Bridge 67’ Fixed Bridge    
470.8 Wappoo Creek Bascule Bridge 31’ M-F, except Fed. Holidays, the draw shall open between 0930 and 1530, only once an hour on the half hour. Other times on demand. The draw need not open from 0600 to 0929 and 1531 to 1900, Monday through Friday, except Fed. holidays. 09
479.5 John Limehouse Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
501.5 McKinley Washington (Dawho) Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
536.0 Ladies Island Swing Bridge 30’ On Mon - Fri, except Fed. holidays: From 0900 to 1500, the draw need open only on the hour. April, May, October & November 0900 to 1600, the draw need open only on the hour & half hour. Other times on demand. On Mon - Fri, except Fed. holidays: from 0630 to 0900 and 1500 to 1800, the draw need not open. April, May, October, and November - M-F except Fed. Holidays: from 0700 to 0900 and 1600 to 1800, the draw need not open. 09
539.5 McTeer Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
557.5 Hilton Head Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    

The South Carolina 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 South Carolina Bridge Schedule - Download

AICW Bridge and Lock Schedule (Norfolk to Miami) - Download

AICW - South Carolina Locks

None.

AICW - South Carolina Overhead Cables and Power Lines

Approximately (24) overhead cables cross South Carolina’s Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. (2) cable crossing have an authorized clearance of 69 feet; (1) located at Nixons Crossing (MM "347.4"), the other in North Myrtle Beach at (MM "356.4"). The remainder of the cable crossings have a authorized clearances of 83 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.

Tides

The tides along the South Carolina Coast are semi-diurnal from Little River Inlet south to the Savannah River exhibiting (2) equal high and low tides every ≈24 hours 50 minutes.

Beginning at Little River Inlet with tides of 5.0 feet, the tidal range decreases southbound to Socastee Swing Bridge with a mean tidal range of 2.1 feet. From this point south the mean tidal range begins to increase with Winyah Bay Entrance at 3.9 feet, Myrtle Beach is 5.1 feet, Charleston 5.2 feet and Beaufort with 6.0 feet.

Entrances, Inlets, and Passes

There are numerous Entrances, Inlets, or Passes between the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the South Carolina coastline. From Little River Inlet in the north to Port Royal Sound to the south, there were 26 at last count.

While most of these are only suitable for shallow draft vessels and/or local knowledge, many should be considered as un-navigable, and some 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.

NEXT - South Carolina’s - Entrances, Inlets, & Passes

Compass RoseNEXT - ICW - Georgia Route Segment

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