The Carolinas - Cape Lookout Shoals

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View Full Version : Cape Lookout Shoals

11-06-2008, 12:30 PM
Guys, as a relative newbie to the offshore thing, would you recomend using some of the numbers posted on this board to cross the shoals or just go around the Knuckle and not risk it...

11-06-2008, 12:37 PM
It all depends on how rough it is. On a pretty day you can go right off the tip of the beach and basicly see where it is deep and where it is not. Basicly where the water is flat and not breaking. Now if it is low light in the morning or if it is cloudy it can be harder. This is the route most people take. You can't really give exact numbers because it changes all the time. There are numbers for the "slot" which is about 4 miles off the tip or about half way to the knuckle. The water is atleast 10 to 12 feet deep through there so you don't have to worry about running aground.

11-06-2008, 12:58 PM
As mentioned it all depends on wind and waves if your good at reading the water you can take the inside passage called the Slough. It's a crap shoot. I used the Slot last weekend 10' was the skiniest number I saw in water depth. Here is the chart and numbers.

Rule # 1 ..... If it doesn't feel good go to the Knuckle. The best way would be to follow someone across on your first use. That way the pucker factor goes way down for you.

11-06-2008, 03:09 PM
bluewaterpirate - 11/6/2008 12:58 PM
The best way would be to follow someone across on your first use. That way the pucker factor goes way down for you.

I second that but be certain that someone actually knows what they are doing. A little scary my first time, but where I thought it was shallow I put it to the pins and ran through it on plane. Fine a larger boat than you to follow and you should be fine. Take note of the tide height at the time, it may be lower when you go back.

We crossed right off the point and were actually waving to the people fishing the beach.

Read the water, and if in doubt do what Bluewaterpirate said.

11-06-2008, 03:34 PM
It all depends on how much you draft. On a plane I draft about 2+ feet and can run across about anywhere. Like kmac said, just look for the smooth water. Polarized sunglasses don't hurt either. We usually run either right off the point on the beach (the cut) or where the slough used to be. The slough apparently has moved south recently but I've yet to have a problem crossing even at low tide.

11-06-2008, 06:34 PM

When you refer to the Knuckle, do you mean the end of the shoal area? Never gone around the shoal; am considering this trip in a few weeks.

BTW, stuff like this sends my pucker factor off the scale.

11-06-2008, 06:39 PM
Yes, R4 is known as the Knuckle Buoy. If you look at my chart picture above you'll see it at the bottom of the picture at the end of Cape Lookout.

11-06-2008, 06:42 PM
The blue shaded areas in BWP's post is the end of the shoals. The red buoy at the end is what they call the knuckle buoy. I can't remember the number.
Follow someone (who knows) use the slot which should have good water, or go around fully.

How much do you draft on plane?

11-07-2008, 10:53 AM
Bluewaterpirate - you got a chart showing Engelhard to Hatteras? Your charts are always very helpful. Ive never made this run before and Im thinking of doing it this weekend just to run the boat some. Thanks.

11-07-2008, 11:07 AM
Thanks for the advice guys. I'll probably look for a big boat that looks to be headed that way and if I don't see one just go around...better safe that Sea Tow....

11-07-2008, 11:08 AM
It's about a 28 mile trip oneway. :thumbsup:

11-07-2008, 11:09 AM
You are the man. Amazing how fast you can do that stuff. Thanks!

11-10-2008, 11:35 AM

Thanks for all the info. Pulled out my best chart; found my NC license. Gonna go over to the East Side in my 24'cc, but I'm a chicken, and the Knuckle is for me. Worth the extra drive time.

Waiting for a weather-window, of course, but what conditions to expect on a November day? Know things can change quick, but how bad can it get? Looking for reassurance that this isn't a crazy scheme. Am an experienced boater, but an old boater, not a bold boater!

11-10-2008, 11:59 AM
With a smaller boat, you really should learn your way across the shoals if you're gonna go to the East side. If the weather kicks up quickly, it's nice to know you have the shorter route home. Chances are that you'll be fine either way if you're an experienced boater (you'll know not to go if the forecast is bad). But the weatherman/NOAA isn't always right.

Go on a nice weather day, take your time, and pick your way across. If you get into less depth than you are comfortable with, backtrack, use the chart and your GPS, and look for a route across with more water. Or follow a larger boat across and watch the water depth. I look for a route with no less than 8' of water, preferably 10'. It's not about the depth your boat can cross in. It's about the size of the waves you'll encounter if it gets rough and those waves start meeting up with the bottom.

Reel Waters
11-10-2008, 12:39 PM
Depends on your boat and how close to high tide. Dont risk it! Its a pain but go around. I have done it several times and always seem to churn up sand regardless of what numbers folks put up. Current and tides and wind can get you out of those narrow channels in a heart beat

11-10-2008, 01:12 PM
JB and Reel,

Thanks for your replies. Taken together, they define my dilemma. Hate churning up sand--have a new outdrive. And not to thrilled about going way offshore and getting beat-up in November. Decisions, decisions,...

BTW, JB, looked at your boat pix. That Edgewater is a nice ride. And it is clear that you take going offshore pretty seriously. Good on you!

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