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Assawoman Canal

Old 01-21-2019, 11:29 AM
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Default Assawoman Canal

Does anyone know if Assawoman Canal is navigable? We keep our family pontoon boat in Indian River Bay, but are considering a vacation rental in Fenwick. Does anyone know if we can get it there via the canal or do we have to haul it? Its been years since I had a boat in Assawoman Bay and back then the canal was very shallow, but it looks like they might have dredged it.

Thanks!
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:44 AM
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It has been dredged, so the depth should be navigable (especially for a pontoon), but it routinely needs to be cleared of fallen trees/debris. DNREC should maintain it, but not sure how early in the season the work gets done. Also if you have a fixed bimini/top then height might be an issue as one of the bridges has fairly low clearance.
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Old 01-21-2019, 11:55 AM
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Time it with the incoming tide and you'll be fine.
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Old 01-21-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by FearTheTurtle View Post
It has been dredged, so the depth should be navigable (especially for a pontoon), but it routinely needs to be cleared of fallen trees/debris. DNREC should maintain it, but not sure how early in the season the work gets done. Also if you have a fixed bimini/top then height might be an issue as one of the bridges has fairly low clearance.
Thanks for the info! That's what it seemed like in what I have read. If we go that route, I will take an exploratory run with the pontoon boat or the little Mckee before we go by water the weekend of the rental. The boat gets splashed in April and vacation wouldn't be until June or July. I could get a hauler to do it, but this would be easier.
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Old 01-22-2019, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by reel thing 25 View Post
Does anyone know if Assawoman Canal is navigable? We keep our family pontoon boat in Indian River Bay, but are considering a vacation rental in Fenwick. Does anyone know if we can get it there via the canal or do we have to haul it? Its been years since I had a boat in Assawoman Bay and back then the canal was very shallow, but it looks like they might have dredged it.

Thanks!
If there aren't any trees down, you'll be able to get thru. Bridge clearance is 10 feet. Tree branch clearance varies.
A lot of threads on this, check out PSA Assawoman canal 6/10/17
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:48 AM
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Good luck. My friends say it's barely navigable on a PWC.
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by t84a View Post
Good luck. My friends say it's barely navigable on a PWC.
Yeah, thanks. My brother sent me a youtube video that looked like a Whaler navigating the Amazon.

Originally Posted by capt.tovm View Post
If there aren't any trees down, you'll be able to get thru. Bridge clearance is 10 feet. Tree branch clearance varies.
A lot of threads on this, check out PSA Assawoman canal 6/10/17
Thanks! I hadnt even thought about that. I googled it and didn't come up with much, but then came on here and posted.

If we do it, we will scout it out ahead of time with our smaller boat. It sounds like draft isnt the issue...
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Old 01-22-2019, 01:35 PM
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Its barely navigable. I also busted up an aluminum prop pretty good in there downed trees are a problem as well. Save yourself alot of hassle, tow it down
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Old 01-22-2019, 01:45 PM
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Thanks for the replies guys. Any ideas of what a ballpark number might be to have it hauled from Ocean View to Fenwick or South Bethany?
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Old 01-22-2019, 02:03 PM
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If it has been dredged it is no problem. If it is not dredged you can still easily do it. Take a crew that does not minding the shallow spots and a little saw in the event of trees.

I have run it many times in a 16 Whaler and walked only occasionally.

It is a really fun trip when the wind keeps you from going elsewhere.
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:57 PM
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Everyone saying the dredging is all that matters aren't familiar with the waterway. The dredging and tide certainly are important, but if you get a bad thunderstorm it will be clogged up and impassable with debris. It is a shallow and narrow waterway, nothing like the Rehoboth/Lewes canal. If it has been dredged and is navigable, and no recent storms to knock down trees/big limbs or dead trees breaking down into it, you are good. I would not base my vacation location relying on it to be a passable waterway.
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:16 PM
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Neat video showing both ways to get there... (Sure was a calm day on the return trip!)
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Old 01-23-2019, 05:25 AM
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Here's the skinny on the canal (pun intended). The canal is doable in small crafts, pontoons, skiffs and 21' or less cc. The north end is good from Whites Creek south to Rt, 26. Low tide depth mostly 3 feet with a couple spots a little shallower.
The tide difference is about 2 1/2 feet, current can run 3 to 4 miles an hour especially on out going tide. This segment of the canal is influenced by Indian River Inlet and is about 2 hours behind I.R. Inlet tide.
Middle section of canal is the worst. This section is the shallowest and has some logs underwater and low hanging limbs. It is also the narrowest. This section starts just south of Rt. 26 and lasts about 2,500 feet south. You can get thru here but it should be done on a high or rising tide, to minimize prop damage. You should bring a bow saw for limbs, just in case. The current in this section is weak and tide range is about 1 to 1 1/2 feet. After this section the canal is mostly clear of debris all the way to Little Assawoman bay and the depth is about 3 feet on low tide. Again a few spots may be shallower. This section has very little tide action or current. This sections tide is under the influence of O.C. Inlet. However, mostly it is influenced by wind. In season you can call Ocean View Marina for any updates on trees blocking canal 302 539 0707.
I have stated before in posts that the reason the canal not cleared and properly maintained is because DE. State Park's wants the canal to be a Blue Trail. (i.e. Kayaks, canoes and SUP boards). We boaters need to call Park's constantly and complain about the debris in the canal before it is to late. Phone number to complain is I.R. Marina 302 227 3071. Park's is going to build a kayak launch at the Trail Parking lot (across from loop canal entrance) in Ocean View. This issue is coming to the Lewes/ Rehoboth canal too. They are planning to build a kayak launch on the LR canal near the draw bridge that goes into Rehoboth. They just made the canal a no wake zone from the entrance at Rehoboth Bay. Used to start at sewer plant. Get ready LR canal boaters for all the nuckle head kayaker's getting in your way and giving you the stink eye because they are better then you. All ready happening in Assawoman canal and Whites Creek.

I have listed some Quotes from the 2011 Assawoman Canal Trail concept plan about Blue Trail.

"The key elements of the Working Group’s vision are:  Develop an upland-based sustainable, safe and meandering pedestrian and bike trail;  Develop a water trail for kayaks and canoes in the Assawoman Canal waterway;  Develop community access points to both the land trail and water trail;"

VII. Concept Plan Part I – Working Group Design Guidelines  Create or improve canoe and kayak access to the Canal waterway.
Illustration 3 - Town Road property graphically depicting a potential kayak and canoe launch site A launch for car top boats, kayaks/canoes, will enable water trail access

"Water Access Creating an official water trail within the Canal waterway will enhance kayaking and canoeing opportunities. Furthermore, a Canal water trail could become part of a regional water trail network connecting points within the Inlands Bays region and watershed."

"The Ocean View Marina site has the potential to support both trail and water trail access. It is envisioned that this site would have a trailhead with a pavilion or picnic shelter serving as a destination and scenic overlook. Trailhead amenities could include an information board, maps, and interpretative panels. A water trail launch at this location will enable kayakers and canoeists to access the Canal waterway and explore White Creek and the Inland Bays. Accommodations for limited parking require further analysis."
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Old 01-23-2019, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by capt.tovm View Post
Here's the skinny on the canal (pun intended). The canal is doable in small crafts, pontoons, skiffs and 21' or less cc. The north end is good from Whites Creek south to Rt, 26. Low tide depth mostly 3 feet with a couple spots a little shallower.
The tide difference is about 2 1/2 feet, current can run 3 to 4 miles an hour especially on out going tide. This segment of the canal is influenced by Indian River Inlet and is about 2 hours behind I.R. Inlet tide.
Middle section of canal is the worst. This section is the shallowest and has some logs underwater and low hanging limbs. It is also the narrowest. This section starts just south of Rt. 26 and lasts about 2,500 feet south. You can get thru here but it should be done on a high or rising tide, to minimize prop damage. You should bring a bow saw for limbs, just in case. The current in this section is weak and tide range is about 1 to 1 1/2 feet. After this section the canal is mostly clear of debris all the way to Little Assawoman bay and the depth is about 3 feet on low tide. Again a few spots may be shallower. This section has very little tide action or current. This sections tide is under the influence of O.C. Inlet. However, mostly it is influenced by wind. In season you can call Ocean View Marina for any updates on trees blocking canal 302 539 0707.
I have stated before in posts that the reason the canal not cleared and properly maintained is because DE. State Park's wants the canal to be a Blue Trail. (i.e. Kayaks, canoes and SUP boards). We boaters need to call Park's constantly and complain about the debris in the canal before it is to late. Phone number to complain is I.R. Marina 302 227 3071. Park's is going to build a kayak launch at the Trail Parking lot (across from loop canal entrance) in Ocean View. This issue is coming to the Lewes/ Rehoboth canal too. They are planning to build a kayak launch on the LR canal near the draw bridge that goes into Rehoboth. They just made the canal a no wake zone from the entrance at Rehoboth Bay. Used to start at sewer plant. Get ready LR canal boaters for all the nuckle head kayaker's getting in your way and giving you the stink eye because they are better then you. All ready happening in Assawoman canal and Whites Creek.

I have listed some Quotes from the 2011 Assawoman Canal Trail concept plan about Blue Trail.

"The key elements of the Working Group’s vision are:  Develop an upland-based sustainable, safe and meandering pedestrian and bike trail;  Develop a water trail for kayaks and canoes in the Assawoman Canal waterway;  Develop community access points to both the land trail and water trail;"

VII. Concept Plan Part I – Working Group Design Guidelines  Create or improve canoe and kayak access to the Canal waterway.
Illustration 3 - Town Road property graphically depicting a potential kayak and canoe launch site A launch for car top boats, kayaks/canoes, will enable water trail access

"Water Access Creating an official water trail within the Canal waterway will enhance kayaking and canoeing opportunities. Furthermore, a Canal water trail could become part of a regional water trail network connecting points within the Inlands Bays region and watershed."

"The Ocean View Marina site has the potential to support both trail and water trail access. It is envisioned that this site would have a trailhead with a pavilion or picnic shelter serving as a destination and scenic overlook. Trailhead amenities could include an information board, maps, and interpretative panels. A water trail launch at this location will enable kayakers and canoeists to access the Canal waterway and explore White Creek and the Inland Bays. Accommodations for limited parking require further analysis."
Capt. Tom, thanks so much for the info!
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:00 AM
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When you have the dates, let me know. I have a scissor trailer for my pontoon. We're down in OC most weekends during the season.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:41 AM
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Another thing, bring work gloves. Seems every year a couple people have their prop find an abandoned crab pot. You don't want to try to remove that with wet bare hands.
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Old 01-23-2019, 01:21 PM
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$250 I'll run her right out IRI and down the beach and right up the OC bay...
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Old 01-24-2019, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by CoreyJoseph View Post
$250 I'll run her right out IRI and down the beach and right up the OC bay...
BV and I can run support boat lol.

It is true though, on a calm enough day, with a good window, this is the much more convenient way to run a boat down there.

If the wellbeing of your vacation lies on getting your boat to Fenwick, I'd just trailer it or have someone trailer it to the marina you plan to slip it in around Fenwick. Or, as Corey said, have a qualified captain take it outside and run it down and end of vacation, run it back.
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Old 02-03-2019, 01:36 PM
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My family has a place right past the canal around the bend from sea colony in ocean view and it and i see that it does get a lot of use. I often run down the canal towards ocean view marina and there are pontoon boats cruising down the canal. As everyone says there can be debris but it was fairly clear all last season and with a little rain it gets a little more comfortable with the depth. Im off of whites creek in a small marina and plan to make that trip a handful of times this coming season.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:06 AM
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The trip is very doable take your time trim up your motor and put the Bimini top down and enjoy your trip.
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