local knowledge point pleasant canal current flow

Dil

.
Jul 13, 2020
38
Hunter 30T Neptune
Hi all,

Will soon be coming in to the Manasquan inlet and down the point pleasant canal for the first time. looking for insight as to the best time to enter the canal to have minor current on the bow as i head into the Metediconk river. thanks
 
Feb 21, 2013
3,779
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Welcome to the forum!! What is your draft? The Manasquan Inlet while safe easy-to-navigate reportedly limited to six-foot depths but due to continuous shoaling, depths of 3’ MLW may be found especially in the areas south of Barnegat Bay. Before you navigate it suggest discussing with locals and marina operators and plan on entering at high tide, especially from Barnegat Bay. I never navigate that canal I have run aground in Barnegat Bay.......never fun when you have to call the USCG and vessel assist (albeit, we finally got off on our own). We have several places in the SF Bay (San Rafael/Marin), Napa River and Suisun City inlet that we have to be extremely careful about depths and tide to avoid running aground. This article entitled "Cruising the NJICW - Manasquan to Cape May" might be helpful. Lets us know how that navigation worked out!!

 

Dil

.
Jul 13, 2020
38
Hunter 30T Neptune
still working on my arrival date the storm postponed getting my new boat in the water. this is my first sailboat and im still a novice sailor. The draft is 4"4 and in some preparations to my moving the boat from long island sound to the metidicong river I feel manasquan is a better approach than Barnaget inlet at least based on what ive read. I hear barnaget can be out right treacherous Will be an interesting adventure for my first sail going past a day. I ll post up how it went and whether sea tow was involved or not
 
Feb 10, 2004
3,508
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
I have entered the inlet several times. Local knowledge that I have obtained said to approach the entrance from the north at about a 45 degree angle and then turn with plenty of power into the canal entrance. This is better than driving straight in. It will be choppy and rough for 30 seconds or so and then it will calm down as you get further into the inlet.
Also be aware that the two bridges open on a schedule. If there is a current running you will have to tread water or turn around and wait for the opening. I was caught with bad timing on the bridge openings with current pushing me to the bridge and it was not fun.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
16,115
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Welcome @Dil to the forum and the world of sailing. So you're "new" to this game and already looking for adventure sailing in the ocean, running ocean inlets, ducking under bridges and challenging canal entrances. Exciting.

First caution... Do not be this guy!

Bridge was open, boater speeds up to make it through, bridge is closing. Bad plan. Bad results.

Never race to make the bridge closing. It is not like running a Yellow Light. You may make it... If you don't the damage can be unforgiving.

Always expect the worst and have a plan to save your crew and your boat.It looks like this guy had an option... Slam on the brakes. All Back Full as soon as the bridge started to shut. He chose poorly.
 
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Dil

.
Jul 13, 2020
38
Hunter 30T Neptune
Definitely dont want to be that guy I have already decided i have no hurry to get to anywhere. In your opinions is manasquan the better choice over Barnaget inlet
 
Feb 10, 2004
3,508
Hunter 40.5 Warwick, RI
Definitely dont want to be that guy I have already decided i have no hurry to get to anywhere. In your opinions is manasquan the better choice over Barnaget inlet
I have never been through Barnaget Inlet. It has a nasty reputation and I think it is only a class C inlet. Local knowledge is needed.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,115
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
We have a couple to SBO members who call Barnegat Bay their home. @Ward H and @Scott T-Bird recently delivered Scott's new boat through Barnegat Inlet.

I suspect it is neither better or worse than any inlet. Always more frightful on the first time. But even the Columbia Bar (known as the Graveyard of the Pacific) can be as calm as a sleeping kitten if you choose the right time of tide and weather.

As far as tides are concerned you want to be at the entrance when the sea state is relatively calm and the tidal current is at or near slack. You'll zip through (most likely under power) and you'll remark what was the big fuss.

Choosing an inlet is about as much what will you do once inside as which one is "better".
 

Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
3,129
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
Not sure why anyone would pass Manasquan Inlet and enter BI when their destination is the Metedeconk River. That will add 6 hours or more to your journey.
@lehighsail is the forum member who has local knowledge. He frequently sails north from just south of the Mantoloking Bridge, through the canal and out Manasquan Inlet. I was with him on one trip. His Hunter 34 made it through the shallows of the northern Barnegat with no issue. He just kept to the channel. That day the inlet was calm and easy. And he knows how to time the bridges.

As far as the Barnegat Inlet goes, I've been through a couple of times and was surprised how easy it was with the right weather conditions. The advice I've followed is to go with the current, avoid apposing winds if possible, study the charts and follow the marks. Oyster Creek is a winding channel and the marks are not always obvious. Don't follow the fishing boats as they frequently take short cuts you cannot.
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,019
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
Welcome @Dil to the forum and the world of sailing. So you're "new" to this game and already looking for adventure sailing in the ocean, running ocean inlets, ducking under bridges and challenging canal entrances. Exciting.

First caution... Do not be this guy!
I think that was a Pass - Fail scenario. The guy with the blue cove stripe successfully passed under the bridge. The guy with the red sail cover basically lost his game of chicken and bailed out, failing to pass under the bridge. It looks like the first one under was the winner and the guy who bailed out was the loser, no? :cool:
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,019
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
I'm with @Ward H . If you are going to the Metedeconk River, Manasquan Inlet is the place to enter. Barnegat Inlet is too far south, unless, of course, you're coming from the south. But, reportedly, you are coming from the north. I doubt there is much difference between the 2 inlets. Both have jetties on both sides, both have to be approached correctly & both will have current and significant boat traffic. Manasquan is a major sport fishing hub. You will see some really expensive sport fishers going in and out and they don't really show much consideration. You will be waked! I think you will find more sport fishing traffic at Manasquan, and I'm not sure you can get much rest between the inlet & your destination. I haven't been in the canal in a sailboat. I tried it in my ski boat once going against the current from Bayhead (the head of Barnegat Bay. It was a disaster. We were swamped over the bow twice by the standing waves. We turned tail and retreated in a hurry, with a lot of unwanted water in the boat. Coordination and timing with the bridges may be tricky!

Barnegat Inlet isn't as scary as many people say, except there are probably times when it lives up to it's reputation and you don't want to be there then. Saturday, Sue & I were sailing and within 15 minutes we heard 2 reports over Channel 16 about incidents in Barnegat Inlet. One was a Formula powerboat swamped and sinking in the middle of the inlet with 4 people apparently in the water. The other was a stern-drive runabout that was on the jetty rocks. It was being pulled off by Sea Tow and CG didn't need to get involved. Sue said that she's not going out the inlet. I reminded her how easily she already has and you can't judge the danger by idiots on a Saturday afternoon!

If you are not in a hurry, you can enjoy a nice sail going by Manasquan Inlet and enter at Barnegat Inlet. You can anchor at Barnegat Light, which is a very popular anchorage for transients. You can wind through Oyster Creek channel and sail again in the bay. It is a pleasant trip from Oyster Creek to the Metedeconk River and will take about 4 hours, maybe less. You'll pass under one low-stress bridge opening at Route 37 & also the Mantaloking Bridge. At Rte 37 there are actually 2 bridges. The older, westbound bridge is higher & fixed, called the Tunney Bridge. The newer, east-bound bridge, is the bridge that must be opened for you and it only opens on a half-hour schedule when there is sailboat traffic. I believe it's the Mathis Bridge. They are side-by-side. Don't call it by the wrong name or Rte 37 Bridge. I think you may not get an answer. It should be called the Mathis Bridge or the Thomas A Mathis Bridge to get an answer. They'll tell you the next scheduled opening. The depth gets constrained to the channels as you get north towards the bridges (you are passing Toms River at that point) and the depth is far more constraining north of the bridges to the Metedeconk, but we have sailed in some fairly wide areas there with 4' draft. You won't have any trouble in Oyster Creek Channel as long as you stay within the markers. There is one area where the channel has been dredged in a straight line while Navionics and other charts show an older, more winding diversion. The channel is marked with red & green numbered buoys and they are correct. Trust the markers.

Ward is right. DO NOT follow the powerboats when you are in the marked channels. Some surprisingly large boats are planing thru 3' to 4' depth outside the channels because they know the conditions. If you follow them, you WILL run aground. The Bay is shallow and has many areas where lack of depth can get you. As long as you pay attention to the contour lines on the charts and pay CLOSE attention to marked channels, you will be fine. Lose your focus at the wrong time and you may need Sea Tow! :facepalm:
 
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Dil

.
Jul 13, 2020
38
Hunter 30T Neptune
Thanks all the journey went well. Coming through the inlet and canal was uneventful. I am glad for the insight into the current. If it was any stronger the boat would not have had enough power to mitigate it. Motor at 3000 rpm and forward speed was about 2 knots. Would not want to try to go with the full current at these bridges. Got to my Marina to discover not enough water depth to get in my assigned slip. The folks in some of the other boats were quite friendly and helpful. Helped me get into a slip where the water is a bit deeper and doesn't have a current resident. Have to talk to the marina operator today to find a permanent slip.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,115
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Congrats Dil. It is great when a plan comes together. Getting into inlets is often easiest when you develop a plan and implement it.

Looking forward to more of your adventures.
Happy Sailing.