How ships cross the Intracoastal Waterway

Intercoastal Waterway

This artificial canal has been dredged in particularly shallow sections to ensure that the entire length can be used safely.

Access to this waterway is via the so-called inlet, which can be found at different distances on the east coast. Ships sailing within the canal can reach the open sea there or switch from the open sea to the protective canal.

To cross the Intercoastel Waterway from the offshore islands to the mainland, there are various bridges that are constructed in different ways. There are fixed bridges that have a fixed height. Such bridges can only be passed if the boats have no or a retractable sail boom.

If the boat is not equipped in this way and has a fixed boom, such a ship can only sail outside the canal or must use a path with a bascule bridge.

Bascule bridges are very common in Florida. There are bascule bridges that are opened according to a fixed schedule and allow passage for the sailing boats. Car traffic is interrupted while the bascule bridge is opening and has to wait.

In the case of less frequented bascule bridges, the opening of the bridge must be requested from the bridge attendant. In this case the ship has to wait until the bridge is opened. The rest of the time, these bridges are always open to traffic.