Best upbound and downbound courses for Detroit River?

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by Z-Worthy, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. Z-Worthy

    Z-Worthy Member

    Jun 20, 2014
    Sandusky, OH
    1997 400 DA
    300hp CAT 3116s
    My wife and I are FINALLY considering a trip from Sandusky, OH, up to the Detroit Yacht Club or even somewhere on Lake St Clair this August/Sept. Although we're enjoying historically high water levels right now, I expect that will taper off into the fall. So what courses are recommended for the upbound and downbound trips to avoid shallow spots, commercial traffic, no-wake zones, etc? Any advice is appreciated!
  2. Doc O Rock

    Doc O Rock Active Member

    Mar 23, 2016
    Lake St Clair, Belle Maer Harbor
    1999 380 Sundancer
    twin 7.4 Merc
    I'm leaving this morning from Anchor Bay in Lake St Clair for Put in Bay. As far as whats the best course, you would have to get right up to shore to run aground. Just follow the leader and you'll be fine. Do you have a chart plotter? if so that is all you need.
  3. PatSea

    PatSea Member

    Aug 9, 2008
    Lake Erie
    I'm assuming your question goes to transiting the Detroit river. Have charts and follow them to stay in the channel. The edges of the river channel can get shallow even with these high water conditions. Chances are you will meet commercial traffic, just be prepared. There are sections of the river that are no wake, again check the charts.
    Two of our favorite stops are Amherstburg and Algonac Marina.
    Years ago my wife and I took our first cruise to Grand Bend Ontario first week of September on the eastern side of Lake Huron with overnight stops at Algonac. Nice trip, perfect weather.
  4. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 741, 742, 8212, 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    Z, if you have Garmin nav equip, I'd be happy to pass along my routes.

    It's a simple and safe trip, for the most part. From the SBI lighthouse I head right for the Detroit River (so between Green Island and SBI). This will take you very close to Middle Sister island about halfway up. That's fine - it's plenty deep, but it's a very common place for #%?! fishing nets, so keep an eye out for those.

    If you dont have auto-pilot, you can take a visual bearing on a pair of striped stacks. You're heading for the "highway", aka the Downbound Livingstone Channel. (take it in both directions. DB refers to freighters only.

    Even in low water days/years, there's plenty of water up there. Do NOT round the Detroit River Lighthouse - its way more south than you need to be.

    Stay in the channel until you clear Fighting Island, at which point you can see Detroit and the Ambassador Bridge.

    If you're going to the DYC, head for the left-third portion of the Belle Isle Bridge. Come off-plane when you pass the tip of the island. Ignore the boats that pass you on plane. Some believe the bridge is the no-wake zone, others don't know there is one. As DYCers, we were advised by the USCG Sec Det that the zone extends the length of the island. That may have been only an opinion, but it's my recommendation to follow it.

    Stay in the channel along the Detroit side until you are almost even with the DYC. You can start to turn toward the club at Red 8. All of this is to avoid the Scott's Middle Ground in the center of the river past the bridge. It's no joke! Also keep in mind that you can have a 1-4 knot current at your bow, and it can swirl a little inside the club's basin.

    The DYC piers are named, not numbered. From west to east, they are: West End, Slab, Club Front, Main, Midway, Dead End. Even-numbered fingers are on the west, odd on the east. Main Dock is the one with the flag pole at the front of the club. Club Front is off center. I don't know why. Boaters drink... ;)

    If you don't plan to stop at the DYC on your way up, then stay on the Windor side of the river. That's a regular wake zone and will dump you into Lake St Clair.

    You might enjoy a stop at the Lake St.Clair Metropark. If you do, stay off shore to clear the shallows on the south side of the entrance.

    MacRay Harbor would be another possibility. Let me know if you're interested in stopping there.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017

Share This Page

Show Sidebar