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Boating up the Potomac?

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  • Boating up the Potomac?

    We'll be taking my buddy's 22' runabout from our area of the Potomac (near Colonial Beach) up the river to DC/Alexandria, and staying overnight this Sunday. Any recommendations for slips in the area? Any good marinas/restaraunts/bars/sights along the way? Anything in particular we need to be aware of/careful about? I've only gone not quite as far as Fairview beach (25 miles in that direction), so this will be an adventure.

    '86 Glastron Conroy X-19, Merc 170
    '04 Carolina Skiff J14, 25 hp Mercury
    Richmond/Montross, VA

  • #2
    We've gotten a lot of rain in the past couple of weeks and expect a heck of a lot more with remnants of the Hurricane on the way.

    Keep a good look out for debris washing down the river. A partially submerged drifting log, telephone pole or stray hot water heater will ruin the day
    ....

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    • #3
      We did a trip down Chesapeake Bay and up the Potomac last year in our 25 foot boat. Really enjoyed it except for the gale force winds on one of the days. Here are some pics: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=c7024a7efa

      Assuming you are already familiar with the middle danger area, that's your only real "problem area" but you are in it now so... We stayed overnight at the Washington Marina Company, which was walking distance to the touristy parts of DC, but not the nicest place in town. It was perfectly adeqaute for us, but some might be turned off by the old bathrooms. I think the Capital Yacht Club is the nicest marina, but it's a longer walk to stuff. We had a good time at Marina Cantina, on the Washington Channel. Alexandria has municipal docks that charge by the hour or by the day if you stay the night. There's too much interesting stuff to list, but our two favorite stops (excluding all the Smithsonian museums that are pretty hard to beat) were Alexandria and Mount Vernon (free day dock). Sign up for an account on active captain and you can learn everything you need to know about cruising anywhere. It's a great site and it's free.

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      • #4
        Middle danger area isn't really so, but yeah, I'm familiar with that area. Looked at WMC, but they're closed Sundays (strange). Will check out the Alexandria marinas, as I have some buddies that live near old town...Wind forecasts are starting to look a little nasty, we'll see if this actually happens...

        '86 Glastron Conroy X-19, Merc 170
        '04 Carolina Skiff J14, 25 hp Mercury
        Richmond/Montross, VA

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nola mike View Post
          Middle danger area isn't really so, but yeah, I'm familiar with that area. Looked at WMC, but they're closed Sundays (strange). Will check out the Alexandria marinas, as I have some buddies that live near old town...Wind forecasts are starting to look a little nasty, we'll see if this actually happens...
          WMC did not seem like a typical transient marina when we stayed there, so maybe they are not even trying to be. They put us on a dock for a 100 foot boat when we stayed and seemed a bit flustered about figuring out just how to do a transient rental when we checked in. I am pretty sure we were the only transient boat there that night. Good luck!

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          • #6
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            Well, that was interesting! Managed to make it up there, and had a great time, however we had an interesting journey up there. It's my buddy's boat, so I was merely the first mate on this trip. First thing, his trailer jack broke. Took a while using a bottle jack and some pavers to get the trailer on the truck. Then prepping the boat, I ask him about gas. I bring down some jerry cans and he tops off the tank. I make executive decision to bring the 2 remaining full 5 gal cans. Issue #1. Boat starts losing speed, hard time getting on plane. Open the doghouse, and see the bilge filled with water. Apparently a cooling line quick disconnect had popped off, and water was just dumping into the bilge. Shut down the engine, and it took the pump about 15-20 min to get rid of the water. Get back going, and it isn't running right. So obviously something electrical got wet, right? Didn't see anything obvious, pulled plug wires, tightened grounds, had my buddy top off the gas (said it only took 2-3 gal). It started up and seemed to act normally. Stopped for lunch, 20 mi later and the same thing happens, and won't restart. This time I pull the fuel filter, dump the contents and notice quite a bit of water. Well, that's the problem, right? So put it back on, still no go. Pull the filter again, and...it's totally dry. Hmm. I hear the fuel pump running. Have him put in the rest of can #1. Now filter is full of clean fuel. Keep cranking and it starts. Have him dump the second can in. The fuel gauge needle, which had been pegged on "E", now moves 1/8". Oh, right. Before we leave he says his gas gauge isn't working right, since it was only reading 1/4. I revisit this, and he says that the reason that he knows this is that he adds 10 gallons every weekend. Though he doesn't apparently add enough to fill the tank every weekend, so over the course of the summer...and of course, now we're 20 miles from the nearest marinas, which are now closed on sunday.
            Anyway, 2 hours wasted, but I resisted the urge to kill my buddy. Last issue, as we're getting towards alexandria there were some confusing nav aids as we get to national harbor. I'm looking at the charts, realize we're getting into some shallows. Throttle down in 5 ft water, by the time I can slow down we're in 2 ft. Get out of that, go to power up, and the engine just revs. Crap, did I spin the prop hub? DIdn't think I hit anything. No, just a ton of grass around the outdrive and prop. Removed it, kept going. Got into the marina without incident. Had a great night in Alexandria (ended up staying at the municipal docks), dinner/drinks out with some old friends. AM found the nearest marina and added 48 gallons to his 50 gallon tank. Continued up to georgetown and made it home without incident. Overall a fun trip, but if either of our wives found out the details of the trip, pretty sure neither of us would be allowed out of the house again. The trip back took about 2 hours from alexandria, and it was about 45 minutes from georgetown to alexandria. About 150 miles round trip. Ended up stopping at Ricks and Tim's on the way up. All in all, a very cool trip and definitely doable again.

            '86 Glastron Conroy X-19, Merc 170
            '04 Carolina Skiff J14, 25 hp Mercury
            Richmond/Montross, VA

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