As part of my last post, I was also going to mention crab pots and the part they play in the Great Loop adventure. There are literally thousands of them all along the route and at times encroach into the ICW itself, which I am sure they are not supposed to do. This is another reason continuous vigilance is necessary as they are hard to spot and any lack of attention could have you wrapping one around your propellor in quick time....been there, done that. There was one of our "almost groundings" the other day where we were in a stretch of the waterway between markers and suddenly encountered a field of buoys in only 5ft of water. Although the GPS showed we were in the ICW, I began to worry that it was in error (surely the ICW isn't that shallow and contain crab pots!!??!!) and turned towards a marker on our port side. As we approached what turned out to be a sign telling us we were in a Manatee zone - "no wake speed only" (another thing many local boaters ignore), we were also in 4.5ft of water which was shallowing rapidly. We gently reversed back the way we had come, amongst the crab pots, and continued our journey down the ICW where it soon deepened back to its usual 6-8ft. The moral that day was "trust your GPS".
I personally think that there should be an open shooting season on any crab pot found within the limits of the ICW. Perhaps if a few of the errant buoys were blown apart and the lines sunk, the owners would be less likely to put them in places that are a hazard to navigation. Speaking of which and considering the thousands of them out there, I have never actually seen anyone lifting up a crab pot and some of the buoys look like they haven't been out of the water for years. Who do they all belong to?? How often are they checked?? From the price of crab in restaurants and shops and the amount of it available, it would appear that the poor critters are becoming fewer and fewer and with the number of pots out there, this is hardly surprising.
They tell me it gets worse on the other side and the lobster pots up in the Chesapeake will give us nightmares. Sounds like fun.