Once you reach the lower Chesapeake you have two options to reach Key West in Florida which is some 1,200 miles to the south. One can take the coastal Atlantic Ocean route, the outside route, or, depending on your vessel’s draft and mast height, you can take the ICW. ( Intracoastal Waterways). Many do a mixture of both as there are safe estuaries and channels used by big shipping to enter and exit through. Many though require local knowledge, the correct tide, and good weather to pass through as silting can be a major problem. As we had sailed up the Atlantic Ocean route, we decided we would do the ICW on the return trip. We would have dozens of bridges to pass under or wait till they open for you. The Fixed Bridges are all around 65ft. Our mast is 58ft so no problem there. Other bridges are Swing, or Bascule – lifting. These have different opening times, usually on the hour and half hour, so you try to time your approach just before they open. Each of these bridges has an operator whom you call ahead to and advise of your pending approach. Also we would have a couple of locks at the northern end to pass through.