Cruising America's Intracoastal Waterway: A Course for First Timers

  • Author: Lucy and Matt
  • Level: Beginner
  • Study time: 8 hours
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Course overview
Make your first trip down America's waterway a stress-free and fun-filled experience.

Learn how to plan your trip, stay off the shoals, find the best anchorages and marinas, get groceries with ease, handle the radio like a pro, and love every minute of this iconic trip.
  • Video time: 1 hour
  • Quizes: 8

You Need This Course If You are Planning Your First ICW Trip and Want to Know About:

Staying off the shoals

Learn which apps to use and how the experts plot their course to avoid touching bottom

Trip planning

Learn how to play the tides and currents to make the best use of your time

All about weather

Learn the problems to watch out for and what apps and forecasts to look at

Great marinas and anchorages

Get tips on the areas of most interest to you and where you should spend the most of your time

Outfitting your boat and getting ready

What equipment do you need and can your boat make it?

Provisioning and grocery tips

Learn what to bring and where you can stock up


In this course, you will learn:
  • What makes ICW awesome and why you might want to cruise it
  • Which vessels can make the trip and which cannot
  • How to plan your whole trip, including how to plan each day on the waterway
  • Plan the perfect trip for you: living the high life at marinas, anchoring out each night (totally doable!), or a mix of both
  • Things you'll want to take care of in advance to have a stress-free journey
  • What weather systems will cause the most problems and the best sources for weather information
  • Options for taking offshore hops 
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Slowing Down on the ICW 

Favorite Destinations

Dog-friendly cruising

Best apps and resources

Take the first module for free! 

Check out the first module in the course overview below

Course contents

Lucy Claiborne

Instructor, Cruiser, ICW Planning Specialist
Lucy has been full-time cruising the US East Coast and the Bahamas since 2016. She has traveled the ICW 9 times, on two different boats. Lucy holds an M.B.A, F.A.A. Ground Instructor License, U.S. Coast Guard Master's License, and has taught professionally as an adjunct university professor and an ESL teacher.

Her favorite ICW state in Spring 2021 was Georgia where she found unexpected beaches, and was entertained by Chelsea the boat dog running wild on a sandbar, dolphins a-leaping, and manatees blobbing out. 

Matt Claiborne

Instructor, Cruiser, ICW Navigation and Weather Specialist
ABOUT matt
Matt has been boating in Florida for decades and has done each mile of the ICW over 9 different trips. He holds an M.B.A., USCG Master's, and FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. He was an assistant professor and assistant chief pilot at a Florida university.

Matt loves exploring out of the way anchorages and spending time in small towns on the ICW. 
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