I was conducting new boater training yesterday for a couple of young guys, and I wanted to show them the importance of understanding the difference between lateral aids to navigation marking a "river returning from the sea," and the aids that mark the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The "red" river "marks" or lateral aids to navigation are kept on the right side of your boat as you travel upstream. ICW marks are DIFFERENT. On the ICW the red marks should be kept on the mainland side; or on the right side of your boat as you travel south on the ICW. ICW marks have a small yellow mark within the larger green or red mark.
There is a hazardous situation at the cut between the south channel and the north channels of the Savannah River.
The Coast Guard emphasizes this by having two red marks very close together! A large rock pile was deposited on the "wrong" side of those two marks, probably during the making of the cut. (Red #2 and Red #4).
Here's the trap. A green mark is marking the north channel of the Savannah river near these two red ICW marks. THAT GREEN MARK IS NOT AN ICW MARK.
Yes, I am shouting, just as I was shouting yesterday with those two kids on the boat.
I saw a family-sized runabout coming out of the river from downtown. He was aiming between a green river mark and a red ICW mark. And they were headed directly for that submerged rock pile. I first thought to get some good pictures for training. Then I saw kids on that boat.
"Stop the boat! Stop right now! I've got to try and stop that boat over there!"
I stood in the bow and waved my arms rapidly over my head to get the other boats attention. Then I swept both arms in the direction AWAY from where I knew the rocks to be. Repeatedly.
Thank God the dude stopped, then turned back toward the river and safe water. I drove over by him and stopped.
"Sir, there is a pile of rocks just under the surface right (pointing) THERE! You almost ran right up on it. That would have been bad.
In the ICW you need to have the red marks on the right side of your boat as you go (pointing) SOUTH. That green mark you were looking at over there is a RIVER mark. Not an ICW mark!"
He looked embarassed, and said "Thanks! We didn't know."
So I felt a little dumb for being overly dramatic, but the kids didn't get ejected.
Friends, it is one thing to run up on a mud bank, and many of us have done it. Rocks are different. They will hole your boat, remove your lower unit, and maybe flip your boat and eject you and your loved ones. Training is FREE at BoatUS.org. FREE!!!
Pay attention, please!!!