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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I'm looking for some help. This summer will be my third as a salt water boater and only my second trying to navigate the IRI. Last year I ran into a couple of very scary passes thru the inlet and a couple of no-go situations. What I would like and need is advice from the more experienced boaters about navigating the IRI. What weather, winds, tides and combination of these make for hazardous conditions in the inlet. Keep in mind my very limited experience. I appreciate you thoughts. Thanks, Ralph.
 

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The roughest by far is the incoming tide. Any onshore wind makes it treacherous as well. What size boat do you have? IMO..anything under 20ft is a scary thing going thru the inlet...if not stupid! Whenever I would go thru..I would stick closer to the south jetty..seems a little less 'chaotic'.
 

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I don't have a boat. But I've been to the inlet since the '60's. So here's an observation.
Very hard, dangerous current when the tide is moving. I've seen several powerful boats flip over coming in.
BUT-an this still always seems like such an odd contrast. I still see many little john boats w small motors and pontoon boats navigate the mouth with ease- even fish the jetty points.
They just do it during the slack between tides.
I've fished entire tides there. The little boats come and go easily at those times.
Drawback is you have to stay for an entire tide- if you timimg is off or the weather changes-you're screwed.
I wouldn't do it due to the variables. But I've seen 10' boats with little motors do it numerous times.
Just an observation from a guy on the rocks.
 

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A MOOM STRONG OUT AND A EAST TO SOUTH STRONG WIND WILL CAUSE HAVOC ON A LOT OF ATLANTIC COAST INLETS.CAP MAY WHICH IS A GREAT INLET ON A RARE OCCASION I HAVE SEEN BREAKERS ALL ACROSS AND MEAN.J68 PAY ATTENTION TO THE WIND AND TIDE COMBOS AND WHEN YOU THINK ITS GOING TO BE BAD RIDE DOWN BY CAR AND WATCH.
 

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It's a scarey inlet, that I stay away from during a rippin current. Big boats bust on through when it's rough, depends on what you have. I don't fool with it when rough in my 21'er.
 

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I had the he$$ scare out of me there a couple of times and I don't run it anymore. I found the best thing to do was either try and go out on slack and back in on slack or follow a much larger boat and see which coarse he takes. I just recently read in one of the magazines I get that IR is one of the worst inlets on the east coast to navigate. You can go around and come out the canal to Roosevelt inlet but its a long ride.
 

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Check out Salter Water Sportsman this month they have a feature about inlets & IRI is one of them.

I've been through on charters a bunch of times it can be pretty nasty.
 

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Ralph........I used to fish out of that inlet, and you are wise to be careful. Alot of water moves out of a relatively small opening. On our first attempt, I would run it at slack tide, fish an hour and come back in. If you end up running against the tide, keep your bow down by trimming the motor all the way down. If you end up coming in on a following sea, keep the motor trimmed up and try to surf in on the back of a wave. Watch out for full or new moons, as the tide will run stronger. Also watch out for conditions when the wind and tide are against each other, as that makes matters worse. Watch for the wakes of other boats as that can make the seas worse as well. Error on the side of caution. We all love fishing, but safety comes first.
 

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Its 84 ft deep in the middle of the channel by the bridge, so if you lose your boat, its gone.
Its scary fishing that jetty on an incoming tide.
I couldnt imagine it in a boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks guys. Although I have a 24' boat it's still new to me and I'm on the conservative side with my decisions. I read the article in the mag and rank #4 most dangerous just adds to the concern. I sank a boat in fresh water in Texas in Feb a few years back and am not anxious to repeat that in the inlet. I love to fish but I can'y enjoy if I'm worried about the ride thru IRI. I may look for a place on the DE bay and relax. Ralph.
 

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A MISTAKE I HAVE SEEN A FEW TIMES IS IN A BAD INLET AND A BOATER PANICS AND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROUGH WATER TRIES TO TURN AROUND WHICH CAN AND HAS BEEN FATAL.IF YOU COMMITT YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TILL THRU THEN TURN AND MAKE A PLAN BEFORE GOING BACK IN.
 

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It may get even worse when the old bridge is replaced. There won't be any supports in the inlet to slow down the out going current. The good thing is that there won't be a floatilla of boats in the middle of the inlet to avoid!
 

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Hey Kenfish,
When we were down in Oct., we were told they scrapped the support-less bridge.
They told us to ignore the drawing & there would be supports in the inlet.
Anyone else hear that?
 

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Still no supports. cool.
See that, even bridge supports can't handle the current, let alone ,a boat.
 

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Originally posted by 3D:
Check out Salter Water Sportsman this month they have a feature about inlets & IRI is one of them.
Yep, Good Article..
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Indian River Inlet, Delaware
Located halfway between Delaware Bay and Ocean City, Maryland, is narrow Indian River Inlet ? a swift-current spot that sees hundreds of boats per day during a busy summer weekend. That can be a recipe for disaster, says Andy Snyder, a local charter captain, who has 15 years experience at Indian River.

"It's not very wide, just big enough for single-file boats to pass each other as they run in and out of the inlet," he says. "Large bridge pilings cross the inlet and narrow the navigable water even more. During strong tides the current turns treacherous as the narrow inlet drains so much big water."

Running Indian River Inlet can be especially dangerous at night. Last summer a boater confused a green light on the Indian River Inlet Bridge that marks the channel with the green light on a channel navigation buoy and plowed into the inlet jetties, destroying his boat.

Implausibly, this inlet seems capable of deception.

"When the tide floods, the inlet can be glass slick at daybreak," Snyder says. "This is a real trap for a lot of people who leave early, because then the tide turns and falls, while the wind increases and seas build as the sun rises. It can quickly turn the inlet into a deathtrap, because the seas can grow to monstrous proportions. When that happens the safest way of getting back to port is through Delaware Bay via Roosevelt Inlet."
 

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I think the inlet is even more treacherous round striper time. You have ALOT of boats fishing the inlet, and a good number of the boaters dont pay attention. Then of course you have the large charter boats speeding thru, almost capsizing the smaller boats with their massive wakes.
 

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KEN--IN CERTAIN CONDITIONS LARGE CHARTER BOATS WILL USE SPEED IN BAD INLETS AND AT OTHER TIMES WILL PUT THERE NOSE IN THE WAVE IN FRONT.THAT WOULD BE A REAL TOUCHY SITUATION IF ANYTHING BAD HAPPENED.MANY MOONS AGO IN THE LAT 50'S WE WERE COMMING BACK FROM LONG ISLAND SOUND AND THE COAST GUARD HAD ONE BOAT AT A TIME GO THRU MANASQUAN INLET AT THERE SLOWEST SPEED AND WHEN THAT BOAT CLEARED THE NEXT ONE WENT.THERE WERE HUGE ROLLERS THAT WEREN'T BREAKING BUT WEREN'T FAR FROM IT, THEY PASSED UNDER WITH NO PROBLEM BUT WITH THAT NARROW INBLET IT WAS DIFFERENT AND SCARY LOOKING.
 

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I fish the end of the IRI jetties in a 17' Boston Whaler on a regular basis. There are several things to remember. You can get a good look at the rips from the bridge, if it looks too rough ,now is the time to turn around. If you are in the rough water already do not try to turn around, your chances of broaching are great. Instead, try to time your speed with the rollers and run through the rough water. Once you are through it will be safer to make a turn. Your next option is to try to run back in, wait outside for the tide to change and hope for the inlet to calm, or make the run north around Cape Henlopen and back in through Roosevelt Inlet and down the canal. More than once I've opted to return through Roosevelt. IRI can really be nasty and it can change from nice to nasty real fast. Always WEAR a life jacket. I've been fishing IRI for many years and have spent many enjoyable days there but it can be a killer if you are not careful.
 
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