Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
Overview
 
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is the portion of the Intracoastal Waterway
Intracoastal Waterway
The Intracoastal Waterway is a 3,000-mile waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some lengths consist of natural inlets, salt-water rivers, bays, and sounds; others are artificial canals...

 located along the Gulf Coast
Gulf Coast of the United States
The Gulf Coast of the United States, sometimes referred to as the Gulf South, South Coast, or 3rd Coast, comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are known as the Gulf States...

 of the United States. It is a navigable inland waterway
Inland waterways of the United States
The inland waterways of the United States include over 25,000 miles of navigable waters. Much of the commercially important waterways of the United States consist of the Mississippi River System—the Mississippi River and connecting waterways.Almost all of the navigable rivers and canals in...

 running approximately 1700 kilometers (1050 mi) from Carrabelle
Carrabelle, Florida
Carrabelle is a city in Franklin County, Florida, United States. The population was 1,303 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S Census estimates of 2009, the city had a population of 1,231.-Location:...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, to Brownsville
Brownsville, Texas
Brownsville is a city in the southernmost tip of the state of Texas, in the United States. It is located on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, directly north and across the border from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Brownsville is the 16th largest city in the state of Texas with a population of...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

.

The waterway provides a channel with a controlling depth of 3.7 meters (12 ft), designed primarily for barge
Barge
A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats or pushed by towboats...

 transportation. Although the U.S. government proposals for such a waterway were made in the early 19th century, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway was not completed until 1949.
Locations along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway are defined in terms of statute miles (as opposed to nautical miles, in which most marine routes are measured) east and west of Harvey Lock, a navigation lock in the New Orleans area located at 29.909°N 90.084°W.
Encyclopedia
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is the portion of the Intracoastal Waterway
Intracoastal Waterway
The Intracoastal Waterway is a 3,000-mile waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some lengths consist of natural inlets, salt-water rivers, bays, and sounds; others are artificial canals...

 located along the Gulf Coast
Gulf Coast of the United States
The Gulf Coast of the United States, sometimes referred to as the Gulf South, South Coast, or 3rd Coast, comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are known as the Gulf States...

 of the United States. It is a navigable inland waterway
Inland waterways of the United States
The inland waterways of the United States include over 25,000 miles of navigable waters. Much of the commercially important waterways of the United States consist of the Mississippi River System—the Mississippi River and connecting waterways.Almost all of the navigable rivers and canals in...

 running approximately 1700 kilometers (1050 mi) from Carrabelle
Carrabelle, Florida
Carrabelle is a city in Franklin County, Florida, United States. The population was 1,303 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S Census estimates of 2009, the city had a population of 1,231.-Location:...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, to Brownsville
Brownsville, Texas
Brownsville is a city in the southernmost tip of the state of Texas, in the United States. It is located on the northern bank of the Rio Grande, directly north and across the border from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Brownsville is the 16th largest city in the state of Texas with a population of...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

.

The waterway provides a channel with a controlling depth of 3.7 meters (12 ft), designed primarily for barge
Barge
A barge is a flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river and canal transport of heavy goods. Some barges are not self-propelled and need to be towed by tugboats or pushed by towboats...

 transportation. Although the U.S. government proposals for such a waterway were made in the early 19th century, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway was not completed until 1949.

EHL & WHL mileages

Locations along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway are defined in terms of statute miles (as opposed to nautical miles, in which most marine routes are measured) east and west of Harvey Lock, a navigation lock in the New Orleans area located at 29.909°N 90.084°W. The Hathaway Bridge in Panama City
Panama City, Florida
-Personal income:The median income for a household in the city was $31,572, and the median income for a family was $40,890. Males had a median income of $30,401 versus $21,431 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,830...

, Florida, for example, is at mile 284.6 EHL (East of Harvey Lock). The Queen Isabella Causeway Bridge
Queen Isabella Causeway
Located in southern Cameron County, Texas, the two-mile long Queen Isabella Causeway is the only road connecting South Padre Island, Texas to the mainland. The Causeway was opened in 1974 and replaced the previous bridge which had also been named Queen Isabella Causeway...

 at South Padre Island
South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a barrier island in the U.S. state of Texas. It is located in Cameron County and is a popular vacation destination because the resort city South Padre Island is located on the island. The island itself is considered to have been settled by Padre Jose Nicolas Balli, who had a...

 is at mile 665.1 WHL (West of Harvey Lock).

Connecting waterways

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway crosses or meets, and in some cases is confluent
Confluence (geography)
In geography, a confluence is the meeting of two or more bodies of water. It usually refers to the point where two streams flow together, merging into a single stream...

 with, numerous other navigable rivers and waterways. They include:
  • Apalachicola River
    Apalachicola River
    The Apalachicola River is a river, approximately 112 mi long in the State of Florida. This river's large watershed, known as the ACF River Basin for short, drains an area of approximately into the Gulf of Mexico. The distance to its farthest headstream in northeast Georgia is approximately 500...

  • Atchafalaya River
    Atchafalaya River
    The Atchafalaya River is a distributary of the Mississippi River and Red River in south central Louisiana in the United States. It flows south, just west of the Mississippi River....

  • Bayou Lafourche
    Bayou Lafourche
    Bayou Lafourche, originally called Chetimachas River, is a bayou in southeastern Louisiana, United States, that flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The first settlements of Acadians in southern Louisiana were near Bayou Lafourche and Bayou des Écores, which led to a close association of the bayou with...

  • Calcasieu River
    Calcasieu River
    The Calcasieu River is a river on the Gulf Coast of southwestern Louisiana, U.S.A.. Approximately long, it drains a largely rural area of forests and bayou country, meandering southward to the Gulf of Mexico. The name "Calcasieu" comes from the Native American Atakapa language katkosh, for...

  • Calcasieu Ship Channel
    Calcasieu Ship Channel
    The Calcasieu Ship Channel is a waterway that connects the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana, with the Gulf of Mexico. Its existence allows the Port of Lake Charles, which is actually more than 30 miles from the Gulf, to be the 11th largest seaport in the United States...

  • Delcambre Canal
    Delcambre Canal
    The Delcambre Canal, also known as Bayou Carlin, runs from Lake Peigneur in Louisiana to Vermilion Bay near Weeks Island. It serves to connect the shrimping center of Delcambre to the Gulf of Mexico. It also has a spur connection to Avery Island and crosses the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway...

  • Houston Ship Channel
    Houston Ship Channel
    The Houston Ship Channel, located in Houston, Texas, is part of the Port of Houston—one of the United States's busiest seaports. The channel is the conduit for ocean-going vessels between the Houston-area shipyards and the Gulf of Mexico.-Overview:...

  • Industrial Canal
    Industrial Canal
    The Industrial Canal is a 5.5 mile waterway in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. The waterway's proper name, as used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and on NOAA nautical charts, is Inner Harbor Navigation Canal...

  • Lower Mississippi River
    Lower Mississippi River
    The Lower Mississippi River is the portion of the Mississippi River downstream of Cairo, Illinois. From the confluence of the Ohio River and Upper Mississippi River at Cairo, the Lower flows just under 1600 kilometers to the Gulf of Mexico...

  • Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal
    Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal
    The Mississippi River – Gulf Outlet Canal is a channel constructed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in the mid-20th century that provided a shorter route between the Gulf of Mexico and New Orleans' inner harbor Industrial Canal via the Intracoastal Waterway...

  • Mobile Bay
    Mobile Bay
    Mobile Bay is an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico, lying within the state of Alabama in the United States. Its mouth is formed by the Fort Morgan Peninsula on the eastern side and Dauphin Island, a barrier island on the western side. The Mobile River and Tensaw River empty into the northern end of the...

     (connecting to the Tenn-Tom Waterway)
  • Neches River
    Neches River
    The Neches River flows for through east Texas to its mouth on Sabine Lake near the Rainbow Bridge. Two major reservoirs, Lake Palestine and B. A. Steinhagen Reservoir are located on the Neches. Several cities are located along the Neches River Basin, including Evadale, Tyler, Lufkin, Silsbee,...

  • Pearl River
    Pearl River (Mississippi-Louisiana)
    The Pearl River is a river in the U.S. states of Mississippi and Louisiana. It forms in Neshoba County, Mississippi from the confluence of Nanih Waiya and Tallahaga creeks. It is long. The Yockanookany and Strong rivers are tributaries. Northeast of Jackson, the Ross Barnett Reservoir is formed by...

  • Sabine River
    Sabine River (Texas-Louisiana)
    The Sabine River is a river, long, in the U.S. states of Texas and Louisiana. In its lower course, it forms part of the boundary between the two states and empties into Sabine Lake, an estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. The river formed part of the United States-Mexican international boundary during...

  • Santa Rosa Sound
    Santa Rosa Sound
    Santa Rosa Sound is a sound connecting Pensacola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay in Florida. The northern shore consists of the Fairpoint Peninsula and portions of the mainland in Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County...

  • The Rigolets
  • Vermilion River
    Vermilion River (Louisiana)
    The Vermilion River is a river in southern Louisiana in the United States. It is formed on the common boundary of Lafayette and St. Martin parishes by a confluence of small bayous flowing from St. Landry Parish, and flows generally southward through Lafayette and Vermilion parishes, past the...


Ports and harbors

Notable ports on or near the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway include:
  • Port of South Louisiana
    Port of South Louisiana
    The Port of South Louisiana is the largest volume shipping port in the Western Hemisphere and 9th largest in the world. It is the largest bulk cargo port in the world....

  • Carrabelle, Florida
    Carrabelle, Florida
    Carrabelle is a city in Franklin County, Florida, United States. The population was 1,303 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S Census estimates of 2009, the city had a population of 1,231.-Location:...

  • Gulfport, Mississippi
    Gulfport, Mississippi
    Gulfport is the second largest city in Mississippi after the state capital Jackson. It is the larger of the two principal cities of the Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Mississippi Combined Statistical Area. As of the...

  • Houma, Louisiana
    Houma, Louisiana
    Houma is a city in and the parish seat of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, and the largest principal city of the Houma–Bayou Cane–Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city's powers of government have been absorbed by the parish, which is now run by the Terrebonne Parish...

  • Intracoastal City, Louisiana
    Intracoastal City, Louisiana
    Intracoastal City is an unincorporated community in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is situated on the west bank of the Vermilion River at its junction with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and has various port facilities and some permanent residents.Intracoastal City is approximately...

  • Larose, Louisiana
    Larose, Louisiana
    Larose is a census-designated place in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 7,306 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Houma–Bayou Cane–Thibodaux Metropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:...

  • Morgan City, Louisiana
    Morgan City, Louisiana
    Morgan City is a city in St. Martin and St. Mary parishes in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The population was 12,404 at the 2010 census....

  • Panama City, Florida
    Panama City, Florida
    -Personal income:The median income for a household in the city was $31,572, and the median income for a family was $40,890. Males had a median income of $30,401 versus $21,431 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,830...

  • Pascagoula, Mississippi
    Pascagoula, Mississippi
    Pascagoula is a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, United States. It is the principal city of the Pascagoula, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area, as a part of the Gulfport–Biloxi–Pascagoula, Mississippi Combined Statistical Area. The population was 26,200 at the 2000 census...

  • Pensacola, Florida
    Pensacola, Florida
    Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

  • Apalachicola, Florida
    Port of Apalachicola
    The Port of Apalachicola is a historic gulf coast port located on St. George Island in Franklin County, Florida.The Port of Apalachicola was of primary strategic importance during the United States Civil War....

  • Brownsville, Texas
    Port of Brownsville
    The Port of Brownsville is a deep water seaport in Brownsville, Texas , and is the southern terminus of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The port is located just eight miles from the border of Mexico at the Rio Grande. It's hinterland is most of Northern Mexico, including the large industrial...

  • Corpus Christi, Texas
    Port of Corpus Christi
    * Port Corpus Christi is the 5th largest port in the United States in total tonnage . Port Corpus Christi is located on Corpus Christi Bay in the western Gulf of Mexico, with a straight 45’ deep channel. The Port is located close to downtown Corpus Christi, Texas, Nueces County, Texas; but the...

  • Galveston, Texas
    Port of Galveston
    The Port of Galveston is the port of the city of Galveston, Texas. It was established by a proclamation issued by the Congress of Mexico on October 17, 1825, while the land known today as Texas was still part of Mexico...

  • Houston, Texas
    Port of Houston
    The Port of Houston is a port in Houston—the fourth-largest city in the United States. The Port is a 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities located a few hours' sailing time from the Gulf of Mexico...

  • Lake Charles, Louisiana
    Port of Lake Charles
    The Port of Lake Charles is an industrial port based in the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.A. It is a major employer in Lake Charles. It is the eleventh largest seaport in the United States , with the Calcasieu Ship Channel providing direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, 34 miles downstream...

  • Mobile, Alabama
    Port of Mobile
    The Port of Mobile, located in Mobile, Alabama, United States, is the only deep-water port in the state, and was the 9th largest by tonnage in the nation in 2008. It is located along the Mobile River where it empties into Mobile Bay...

  • New Orleans, Louisiana
    Port of New Orleans
    The Port of New Orleans is a port located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the 1st in the United States based on volume of cargo handled, second-largest in the state after the Port of South Louisiana, and 13th largest in the U.S. based on value of cargo...

  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Baton Rouge is the capital of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is located in East Baton Rouge Parish and is the second-largest city in the state.Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, and research center of the American South...

  • Port Allen, Louisiana
    Port Allen, Louisiana
    Port Allen is a city in and the parish seat of West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, United States. Port Allen is located between Interstate 10 and US Highway 190 on the West bank of the Mississippi River. The population was 5,180 at the 2010 census...

  • Port Arthur, Texas
    Port of Port Arthur
    The Port of Port Arthur is a seaport in Port Arthur, Texas .-2010 tanker collision:Main article: 2010 Port Arthur oil spill...

  • Port Lavaca - Point Comfort, Texas
  • Texas City, Texas
    Port of Texas City
    The Port of Texas City is a major deepwater port in Texas City, Texas at Galveston Bay, United States. Its location on the bay, which is used by the Port of Houston and the Port of Galveston, puts Texas City in the heart of one of the world's most important shipping hubs...

  • Victoria, Texas
    Port of Victoria (Texas)
    The Port of Victoria is a shallow-draft port in Victoria, Texas . It was opened in 1968 by creation of a 35-mile barge canal linking Victoria, Texas to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway...


See also

  • Waterways along and crossings of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
  • IHNC Lake Borgne Surge Barrier
    IHNC Lake Borgne Surge Barrier
    The Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lake Borgne Surge Barrier is a storm surge barrier under construction near the confluence of and across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet near New Orleans...

  • Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex
    Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex
    The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex is a part of the New Orleans Drainage System; it will consist of a navigable floodgate, a pumping station, floodwalls, sluice gates, foreshore protection, and an earthen levee...

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