Charts are outlined and numbered on the pictures above.

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US Notice to Mariners:


7 Day forecast: Cape May, NJ and Chesapeake City, MD
Delaware Bay: South of East Point, NJ to Slaughter Beach, DE
                    North of East Point, NJ to Slaughter Beach, DE

Coastal Marine Text Forecasts by Zone - Graphic Interface
Offshore Marine Text Forecasts by Zone - Graphic Interface
High Seas Marine Text Forecasts by Area - Graphic Interface
NWS radiofax charts for the NW Atlantic

Tides: General Index
Cape May, ferry terminal
         REEDY POINT- Chesapeake and Delaware Canal
         Chesapeake City, Maryland

Tidal currents prediction:General Index
Delaware Bay Entrance
                                 Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Entrance

Currents Maps:

Channels Condition Report:

Download free: Coast Pilots:

Captain's notes:  Complete description of the area: Coast Pilot #3
        -Delaware Bay: Chapter 6, Page 202 to 231.
        -C & D Canal: Chapter 7, Page 232 to 238.

The challenges of sailing the waters of Delaware Bay are:-busy commercial traffic, -strong currents, -many shoals, -very few sheltered anchorages and when tidal currents and strong winds opposes the bay can become very rough.

Delaware Bay: The bay is an expansion of the lower part of Delaware River. Deep-draft vessels use the Atlantic entrance,which is about 10 miles wide between Cape May on the northeast and Cape Henlopen on the southwest.Vessels can enter Delaware River from Chesapeake Bay through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal,which is described in chapter 7.
Cape May is the extensive peninsula on the north ­
east side of the entrance to Delaware Bay.Cape May
Light (38 °55'59"N.,74 °57'37"W.),165 feet above the
water,is shown from a white tower with a red cupola
and two white dwellings nearby on Cape May Point.
The shoals off Cape May are mixed clay and sand
and have the consistency of hard pan;the ridges run in
approximately the same directions as the currents.

Traffic Separation Scheme
A Traffic Separation Scheme has been established off the entrance to Delaware Bay.(See chart 12214.)

Delaware Bay is shallow along its northeastern and
southwestern sides,and there are extensive shoal areas close to the main channel.The bay has natural depths of 50 feet or more for a distance of 5 miles above the Capes;thence Federal project depths of 40 feet to the upper end of Newbold Island,110 miles above the Capes,thence 25 feet to the Trenton Marine Terminal, 115 miles above the Capes,and thence 12 feet to the railroad bridge at Trenton.(See Notice to Mariners and latest editions of the charts for controlling depths.)

The mean range of tide is 4.2 feet in Breakwater
Harbor,5.5 feet at Reedy Point,5.6 feet at Marcus Hook, 5.9 feet at Philadelphia,and 8.0 feet at Trenton.(See the Tide Tables for daily predictions for Breakwater Harbor, Reedy Point,and Philadelphia.)

The current velocity is 1.8 knots in Delaware Bay
entrance.(See the Tidal Current Tables for daily predictions.)

Strong north westerlies are prevalent from November through March; gales are encountered about 1 to 3
percent of the time.It has been reported that with sustained north westerlies over an extended period of time, lower than predicted low tides may occur in Delaware Bay and River and its tributaries.Seas build to 10 feet (3 m)or more about 1 percent of the time from November through March.High seas are most likely with northwest or southeast winds. Average seas run 3 feet (0.9 m) from October through March.During the summer, prevailing southerlies are often reinforced by the sea breeze and afternoon wind speeds may reach 15 to 25 knots.Strong easterly or southeasterly winds

Delaware Breakwater is the popular name for the
anchorage areas behind the outer and inner breakwaters north and west of Cape Henlopen. Harbor of Refuge is the outer and deeper of the two areas; Breakwater Harbor is the inner area.
Harbor of Refuge is behind the breakwater that begins 0.7 mile north of Cape Henlopen and extends 1.3 miles in a north-northwestward direction.
Harbor of Refuge Light , (38 °48'52"N.,75 °05'33"W.),72 feet above the water, is shown from a white conical tower on a cylindrical substructure near the south end of the breakwater;the station has a fog signal.A light marks the breakwater near its northern end.
The harbor has depths of 17 to 70 feet between the
breakwater and a shoal ridge, 8 to 12 feet deep, 1 mile to
the southwestward. The deepest water is behind the
Harbor of Refuge Light.The entrance from southeastward is deep and clear,while that from northwestward across The Shears has depths of 10 feet or less. Harbor of Refuge affords good protection during easterly gales.
A strong set into Harbor of Refuge reportedly occurs across the southern entrance during tidal floods.
Breakwater Harbor, between the inner breakwater and the shore, is excellent for light-draft vessels in all weather except heavy northwesterly gales and even then affords considerable protection.
The inner breakwater begins 0.3 mile southwest of
the tip of Cape Henlopen and extends 0.8 mile in a
west-northwest direction.A light is shown from a skeleton tower on the west end of the breakwater.A dangerous sunken wreck,covered 15 feet,is about 0.3 mile
300 ° from this light.

The Federal project for the canal provides for a channel 35 feet deep and 400 feet wide.
An anchorage basin is provided on the south side of the canal, opposite Chesapeake City.The entrance to the basin is subject to periodic shoaling. In July 2005, depths of 9 to 9.8 feet were in the entrance; thence depths of 3.4 to 12 feet were inside the wharf on the west side of the basin.
The mean range of tide is 5.5 feet at the Delaware River end of the canal and 2.7 feet at Chesapeake City. High and low waters in Delaware River are about 2 hours later than in Elk River.
(Tide tables)
The current velocity is 2.6 knots on the flood and 2.1 knots on the ebb at the Reedy Point bridge,and about 2 knots at the Chesapeake City bridge.The flood sets eastward and the ebb westward. (See the
Tidal Current Tables for daily predictions for Chesapeake City.) Storms may increase these velocities to 3.0 knots or more;at such times, tows usually have difficulty in making headway against the current.

The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is a sea-level waterway that extends from Delaware River at Reedy Point, Del., to Back Creek at Chesapeake City, Md., thence down Back Creek to Elk River and Chesapeake Bay. The Reedy Point entrance is 51 miles above the Delaware Capes, 35.5 miles below Philadelphia. Reedy Point, on the north side of the Delaware entrance, is jettied and is marked by a light; the jetty on the south side is similarly marked.
Note .–The system of marking the channel with buoys and lights is from each entrance and reverses at
Chesapeake City.
Navigation regulations:
.No vessel in the waterway shall be raced or crowded alongside another vessel.Vessels of all types, including pleasure craft, are required to travel at all times at a safe speed throughout the canal and its approaches.
Right-of-way: All vessels proceeding with the current shall have the right-of-way over those proceeding against the current. All small pleasure craft shall relinquish the right-of-way to deeper draft vessels, which have a limited maneuvering ability due to their draft and size.
Stopping in waterway: Vessels will not be permitted to stop or anchor in the ship channel.
Sailboats: Transiting the canal by vessels under
sail is not permitted between Reedy Point and Welch