Cruising Destinations

New Challenges at Mile Zero of AICW

Mile Zero AICW

If you are transiting the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) either north or south bound in 2023, and beyond, you will experience an escalation of vessel traffic, congestion and activity in the beginning stretch of the AICW at Hampton Roads.

One of the busiest harbors and waterways in the world, Hampton Roads remains a favorite destination for boaters, and almost all pleasure and recreational vessels moving along the AICW must go through the harbor and along the river when transiting. Going outside into the Atlantic and either ducking in at Oregon Inlet or going around Diamond Shoals at Cape Hatteras are options for only a few vessels.

Mile Zero of the AICW is in Norfolk/Portsmouth harbor on the Elizabeth River. To get there when south bound requires passage over and through a massive construction project at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, a ten-mile trip past the world's largest U.S. naval installation, the Norfolk International Terminals, and Lambert's Point Coal piers of the Norfolk Southern Railway.

Then to your starboard in Portsmouth is the new staging area for the barges and tugs that will move material into the Atlantic Ocean for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project.

Scheduled to begin offshore construction in 2024CVOW is a 2.6-gigawatt offshore wind energy project that will consist of 176 wind turbines located 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach, three offshore substations, undersea cables and new onshore transmission infrastructure. Work on the project has created additional harbor traffic and requirements that all mariners should be aware of if passing through Hampton Roads. See this report for activities that may impact your travel plans.

Running the gantlet of bridges and a lock at Great Bridge either direction while keeping up with the scheduled and unscheduled closures and openings can add to the tension. Be prepared.

Waterway Guide Media staff works with the U.S. Coast Guard, the local Harbor Safety Committee, and various public and private organizations to stay informed and report activities important to transiting and visiting boaters.