Gifford Cut North Inlet

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Vero Beach, Florida United States
27° 40' 41.16'', -80° 22' 51.97''
Vero Beach
Gifford Cut North Inlet
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Navigating the Water:

Use NOAA Chart 11472.

The north entrance of Gifford Cut is entered from the northwest just after flashing green “127” and red daybeacon “128” north of ICW Mile 950. Heading south, set a course of about 140 degrees magnetic for about a mile until you are just north of Bethel Creek. (The passage is just right [west] of the three island in the image above.)

Once you have arrived just north of Bethel Creek, depths shoal quickly to two to three feet; you will have to proceed slowly here. once you have cleared the shoal area you can head down to the anchorage at Vero Beach (just north of the Vero Beach Fixed Bridge [65-foot fixed vertical clearance]) and two area marinas: The Vero Beach Municipal Marina and Indian River Yacht Basin.

The anchorage/mooring field here is maintained by the municipal marina and yachts are expected to raft up, due to the shortage of space.

Local Notices to Mariners:

Local Notices to Mariners are available online from the U.S. Coast Guard.


Gifford Cut is a side-channel off the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) north of Vero Beach near ICW Mile 950. The shallow channel allows access to Bethel Creek and the popular Vero Beach anchorage to the south, but the passage is a bit shallow (three-foot depths in places).

The image above is a view from the northwest looking southeast over the split at the Intracoastal Waterway and Gifford Cut’s northern terminus. Flashing green “127” and red daybeacon “128” are visible and mark the south turn on the ICW toward Mile 950, not the entrance to Gifford Cut.

Depths in the north end of Gifford Cut can be tricky to pin down, but the current edition of NOAA Chart 11472 notes shoal depths of three feet in a few spots, especially at the entrance pictured above. Boats with drafts of more than 2.5 to three feet should only transit the northern portion of Gifford Cut on a high tide with a close eye on the depth sounder. Sailboats should not even attempt this area; it is strictly for [i]extremely[/i] shoal-draft vessels to explore, and with caution.

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