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On America's Great Loop, you will have a brief
encounter with the ocean in
two locations.
      While most all the talk is over the Gulf crossing, Those that have
actually done the Loop know we have to 'go out' at the end of the New
Jersey Intracoastal Waterway. But fret not, as several Bays and Sounds
are likely to be much rougher than this little 46-mile hop from Manasquan
Inlet to Liberty Landing Marina at the mouth of the Hudson River.
      You have two choices when you leave the Delaware River - One you
can 'go out' about a mile into the Atlantic and turn north toward NY for 164
miles. Or you can continue on the NJ-ICW for 117 miles, and take a short
45-mile run outside into NY Harbor and Liberty Landing.
      The NJ-ICW is known for it's shallow waters, shoaling, winds, and tidal
changes. If your boat has a draft of 4' or less you will be fine. If your draft
is 4' 6" it might be touch & go. I have a 4' 6" draft and take the inside
route, and I do mean, it is often touch bottom and go.
      While you may feel a bit apprehensive over 'going out' - Don't be!
This 45-mile run is short and easy, and only about 1-mile off shore.
Fact is, (as you will discover) it is not the Atlantic so much as it will be the
traffic. Once past the bridge and into the Bay you are just 6-miles from
NYC at the Battery, Hudson River and Liberty Landing. You will pass right
by the Statue of Liberty on the way. This is always a proud and emotional
experience for us.
      Most Loopers with a shallow draft take the inside route to Manasquan
Inlet. From there, It is only 46-miles to Liberty Landing. For those with
deeper drafts, it is 164-miles from Cape May to Liberty Landing going the
outside route. Those going outside can come in at Atlantic City, return
outside and come in again at Manasquan Inlet. This breaks that 164-miles
into 3-easy travel days. You will also have a lot to see and do by coming
back in and visiting Atlantic City.   
The New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway (NJICW)
Notice how small the yellow sticker is. This is #1 reason you need a great pair of binoculars.
You might need two - 1 for you & 1 for your 1st Mate.
Often, especially at a distance, those tiny yellow stickers are very hard to see.
ATLANTIC ICW

Fact is, cruising long distance doesn't get any safer than this.
    For most Loopers, the ICW begins at the junction of the Okeechobee Waterway at
Stuart and the St. Lucie Inlet and "unofficially" takes us north to Norfolk and then
continues through Chesapeake Bay, the C&D Canal, Delaware Bay, and the New Jersey
ICW, where we must 'go out' from either Manasquan Inlet 45-miles or (depending on
draft) from Cape May, to mouth of the Hudson River near NY City's Battery Park on one
side, and Liberty Landing Marina on the other.
    From Ft. Pierce, near the St. Lucie Inlet, our adventure is 1,072-miles to Norfolk, and
totals 1,879-miles to Waterford, NY at the entrance to the Erie Canal.
Bridge height restrictions on this route are 65’ to Cape May, and 35’ on the "inside route"
along the New Jersey ICW. For the most part, the ICW has a controlling depth of  9-feet
with several exceptions known for continuous shoaling.
The official “Chart” distance from Ft. Pierce, to Waterford, NY is 1,563-miles. Our route
distance is 1,879. The difference is the result of minor detours to our favorite
destinations along the Atlantic ICW and zig-zagging our way to favorite destinations
across the Chesapeake Bay.
    Depending on any detours or side-trips you make, your distance on this portion of the
Loop will be very close to 30% of your total distance around America’s Great Loop.   
While some think the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is a superhighway for boats, we
think it much more like a very slow Route 66. There is just an amazing amount of things
to do and see all along the way. From shacks and shanties, multi-million dollar homes,
however, nothing can compete with nature's own ever changing and incredible
landscapes. You will simply be amazed at all the things you will see from your boat as
you cruise along on this safe, inland, protected waterway.
The best of all however, are the fabulous destinations along the way where you will want
to stop, shop, stay and linger. From Waterfront Restaurants and Tiki Bars, along big
cities, small towns and unique fishing villages, from sandy beaches to salt grass, to the
Adirondack mountains, the scenery will convince you, America the beautiful is even more
so when seen from the water.
Beyond ever-changing waterfront views and scenery, you will cruise right through America’s history.
America’s Great Loop’s main route will take you through 9 of the original 13 Colonies with the opinion of
cruising all thirteen. From lighthouses older than America, historic places, incredible museums, you will
discover rich and fascinating cultures with postcard-perfect landscapes. You will cruise by numerous big
and lively cities, notable small towns, quaint little fishing villages and hidden destinations. All of which
present you with an unlimited number of tempting places with friendly natives offering scrumptious
regional foods, unique one of a kind shopping and charming waterfront attractions.
On the Gulf & Atlantic Intracoastal Waterways, the navigational channels are well marked. Only the Day Markers (shown above) with the
little yellow stickers indicate you are actually on the ICW. Those Day Markers without the little yellow stickers indicate other channels.
Loopers cruising in a counter-clockwise direction, will have green square Day Markers - with yellow square stickers - on their
Starboard. The red triangle Day Markers - with yellow triangle stickers - will be on your Port.     
The Route continued: