Intracoastal friendly boats

Fountaine-PajotLearning Center

A helpful guide… Primer 101

MLXLS​ Many of you want to navigate the intracoastal waterway–at least from Norfolk to Florida–right? 1100 miles of winding, sometimes awesome and sometimes challenging stretches of waterway. Recently the Coast Guard has been largely defunded, so dredging is not what it used to be and bridges are often in poor repair.

The requirements?

 Generally the shoaler the draft the better with under 5′ ideal–though up to 6′ or more is possible if you carefully follow the charts and are aware of the tide conditions.
Air draft, or mast clearance is supposed to be 65′. Because of infrastructure problems, sometimes bridges sag a bit. Sometimes there are nets hanging under the bridges these can snag your masthead gear. Our folding antennae  option helps. (short video here) Sometimes you need to take extra time and wait for the tide. (The Wilkerson Bridge in North Carolina (stm 125.9) has a reported fixed clearance of 64 feet–and there are a couple other problematical bridges. But, generally, these can be cleared at low tide.)
Note: These guidelines apply to the trans-Florida Ochecabobe waterway as well.


  • If you have a relatively larger offshore capable boat it’s quicker and also easier to go offshore. You pick a good weather window and you can always duck in to an inlet which are sprinkled at random locations as you head south (Or North–as the case may be).
  • Be aware of your exact air draft. (Article link below)
  • Use our electric, folding antennae option to provide assured clearance–available as an option on all of our catamaran and monohull models. Short video here

Boats in our stable that can make it

Catamarans (easy–shoal draft):

  • Fountaine Pajot 40, Lucia –designed for this.
  • Fountaine Pajot 44 (Helia) IC model. We have a custom option which only reduces sail area by about 4%–see separate blog.(This is now the largest (by volume), Intercoastal friendly Cat available.)

Monohulls (Choose shoal draft versions–our standard):

Jeanneau 34, 389, 419, 41DS, 449, 44DS and the 479 IC


  • Our discussion of the factors that affect air draft which includes the folding antennae option. Click here.
  • A great on-line, facilities guide in a user friendly format. Click here.
  • A great overall guide. Click here.
Much other useful information on the internet under Intracoastal Waterway.

Eric Smith

Senior Sales Consultant, Partner
More from Eric >> Videos, Blogs, Learning center and more.

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