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.
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).
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.
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
If any errors or omissions are noted, please e-mail us at
with any corrections or recommendations.
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway - South Carolina Little River to Socastee
Charted Vert. Clear.
Little River Highway Bridge
Little River Swing Bridge
Opens on Demand
Robert Edge/Main St. Bridge
Barefoot Landing Swing Bridge
Opens on Demand
Conway Bypass Bridge
Grand Dunes Bridge
Grissom Parkway Bridge
MB RR Bascule Bridge
Route 501 Bridge
Fantasy Harbor Bridge
Socastee Swing Bridge
Opens on Demand
May be delays during heavy traffic periods.
Thrailkill (Route 544) Bridge
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway - South Carolina Socastee to Hilton Head
Charted Vert. Clear.
Carolina Bays Pkwy Bridge
Lafayette (Ocean Highway) Bridge
Tom Yawkey Pontoon Bridge
Normally Open - Infrequent Use.
Isle of Palms Bridge
Ben Sawyer Swing Bridge
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.
R.B. Scarborough Bridge
Wappoo Creek Bascule Bridge
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.
John Limehouse Bridge
McKinley Washington (Dawho) Bridge
Ladies Island Swing Bridge
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.
Hilton Head Bridge
The above tables can be downloaded for your personal and private use. The South Carolina Intracoastal Waterway Bridge List contains the tables in Statute Miles, Nautical Miles, and Kilometers. The files are Zipped Adobe (.pdf) format.
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 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.
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.