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Old 09-11-2017, 08:43 AM   #1
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Default Put In Bay East Side Navigation

Lake Erie Boaters-

I am docked in East Harbor, and often go around the West side of the island to get to downtown Put In Bay or Middle Bass. On the way home from Middle Bass, I did the East side my second time this weekend. I know of a lot of people that do not like to go this way due to the very shallow reefs nearby.

If you look at the chart, it seems pretty straightforward. Put the green cans in a straight line on one side of you, and the red on the other kind of like boating through the middle of a triangle. I kept a close eye on the depth gauge and didn't see anything alarming.

Does anyone have any further advice or experience going this way? I think I pretty much got it down, but would love to hear any other safety tips on navigating this way.

Thanks!
Andy
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:29 AM   #2
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That is the method I follow. The markers are kinda far apart for visual reference but a GPS helps.
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:39 AM   #3
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Depends a lot on your draft. Lake is still up and most power boats could probably be fine cutting the channel. I have seen a number of 30-35' boats cut thru there the last couple years.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:23 AM   #4
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Depends a lot on your draft. Lake is still up and most power boats could probably be fine cutting the channel. I have seen a number of 30-35' boats cut thru there the last couple years.
I draft 2'11". Can you remember a time when even going through the channel wasn't sufficient due to water levels? Would be great to know in upcoming seasons!

Thanks,
Andy
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:34 AM   #5
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The ballast island channel is the safest way to go, and it's particularly easy when traveling west because of the yellow-roofed condo bldg on MBI.

You can cut the channel if you're careful. It's rocky up there, so the charts are reasonably true. I personally never cut it because saving 300' of travel isn't worth risk to me, and more importantly, I like to set a good example. People will often follow the boat in front of them, and I'd rather not lead someone into risky territory.

My dock neighbor dinged his props outside of the ballast channel in a low water year a few years ago. He didn't have charts and assumed that close to the channel is good enough. That's not true: there's a reef immediately south of the channel - it's shallowest at the midpoint between the greens/below the red.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:38 AM   #6
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good seamanship dictates you stay between the buoys. Otherwise, ya pay's your money and ya take your chances!
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:48 AM   #7
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Agreed - but there are limits too. I see someone each week heading out the Mosely from Sandusky and they follow the channel all the way to the end of the jetty and then take a hard turn to the west. That's a really big detour for no good reason!
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:22 PM   #8
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good seamanship dictates you stay between the buoys. Otherwise, ya pay's your money and ya take your chances!
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Old 09-11-2017, 02:42 PM   #9
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Navigating between Ballast and South Bass is pretty straightforward - just follow the NavAids. Coming up the East side of SBI be careful as there are shoal areas. Also if you decide to run up the east side of North Bass the NavAid to the northeast of NBI should be taken to the portside (east) if you're heading north. I see boats cutting through the reef all the time - and I've also seen boats run aground.
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Old 09-11-2017, 05:43 PM   #10
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That is the method I follow. The markers are kinda far apart for visual reference but a GPS helps.
Exactly what I do.

I'm at East Harbor @ Bass Haven and I never go around to the west side to get into the bay on South Bass. The first time I tried to get into the bay the bottom came up very quickly, I had no idea it was so shallow in that area. My depth finder saved me because I had the water alarm set @ 4'. I have done it so many times now that it's like second nature.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:39 AM   #11
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Exactly what I do.
The first time I tried to get into the bay the bottom came up very quickly, I had no idea it was so shallow in that area.
Did you cut inside the red buoy? I came from West Harbor and typically take which ever way the way the wind dictates as they cover about the same distance. When I do go West which is the most common I have never ran into anything shallow and I run couple hundred yards off shore until I make the bend around the island to head toward the buoy. Want to make sure I am not missing anything.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:54 PM   #12
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Did you cut inside the red buoy? I came from West Harbor and typically take which ever way the way the wind dictates as they cover about the same distance. When I do go West which is the most common I have never ran into anything shallow and I run couple hundred yards off shore until I make the bend around the island to head toward the buoy. Want to make sure I am not missing anything.
I am from E Harbor, and Middle Bass is a little bit of a shorter trip if I go East. Seems the best way to do it is to hang a left around the first green can. Then visualize a straight line with the second green can keeping them on your left, and the single red buoy on your right as if you were passing through a narrow triangle.

Seems the more experienced boaters than me agree with this methodology above. That's why I started this post; to assure I was navigating safely and correctly.
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:51 PM   #13
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Did you cut inside the red buoy? I came from West Harbor and typically take which ever way the way the wind dictates as they cover about the same distance. When I do go West which is the most common I have never ran into anything shallow and I run couple hundred yards off shore until I make the bend around the island to head toward the buoy. Want to make sure I am not missing anything.
I think I have cut between the last 2 red buoys but I typically wait until I clear all of the buoys.
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