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Once you toss those lines that have been keeping you land-locked from freedom - You
and your shipmate will quickly settle into your new life of cruising and living a-board.  Soon
enough, relieving each other at the wheel, and securing the lines when you dock or pass
through one of the locks will be as routine as making the morning coffee.

On the coastal side, you will have to keep an eye on the tides and weather; but cruising
the Great Loop is not fraught with the perils of the open sea. Unless you choose otherwise,
you will always have land in sight and safe harbors and dockage at night. In fact, your
biggest concern will be the water's depth - so be sure you stay between the channel
markers, or you may run a-ground.

At night, you can "anchor out" or dock at a marina. You can dine on your boat or dine at a
local restaurant. In the mornings; you can have your coffee, read your e-mail, send some
pictures, take care of your online banking, and get the boat ready to pull up anchor and
shove off again...

You will cruise at a leisurely 8 or 9  knots (about 10 mph) and you will average about 50
miles a day, often stopping to see the sights, visit a museum, enjoy an ice cream cone, or
take a stroll along the beach. There is simply so much to see and do, most Loopers take a
year to complete this voyage even though they will have only cruised about 110 days. The
rest of the time, will be split between enjoying a peaceful paradise cove or visiting all the
local sites.

Most boaters cruise the Great Loop in a counter clockwise direction; following the
Atlantic ICW north to the Hudson River before passing though the Erie Canal en route to the
Great Lakes. From Lake Michigan, you will travel down the Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio,
Cumberland, Tennessee and Tombigbee rivers to the Gulf of Mexico.  Along the way, you will
pass crabbers in Chesapeake Bay, cruise beneath the Statue of Liberty,  glide past barges
and paddle-steamers, watch divers harvesting scallops, oysters and sea sponges in the Gulf
of Mexico.

In the Everglades you will see egrets standing on cypress logs. Around Cumberland Island
you will see the wild horses come to eat the exposed green marsh grasses at low tide. You
will see hundreds of Bald Eagles on the Illinois river. The ever-changing scenery will keep
you reaching for your camera - and you'll want to thank a geek for the technology of the
"digital age" as you will want to take lots and lots of pictures and instantly send them wireless
to your family and friends or post them on your FB page.

When planning your voyage, remember: You don’t want to get to the Erie Canal until mid-
May because of snow and runoff, and you need to get off Lake Michigan by September 10
because of the winds and cold. The most common boat used is a live a-board size between
26 and 36 feet long. Boats can’t have more than a 6-foot draft and must be able to pass
under a fixed 19' 1" fixed bridge on the Chicago Ship Canal.

In the end, even the most reluctant spouse will thank you and love you more for this time
and this experience. Long before you cross your wake, this adventure will have changed
your life. Not only will it have made you a better helmsman, it will have made you a better
person. You will feel the change, and others will see the change in you. For no one can
experience such absolute freedom as this. No one can be so blessed as this and not have it
remain in them the rest of their days.  
      Just imagine. . . Being a "Looper".  Boating over 5,600 miles, through 22 States (or more), along beautiful beaches, past the Statue
of Liberty, across the historic Erie Canal, through down-town Chicago, and down the Inland Rivers of America's Heartland to the Gulf of
Mexico. . .  All this, with the option of cruising into and across the Canadian Heritage Canals, and on into the Caribbean. . .  It is a boating
adventure that can take you as close to the frozen tundra of the North Pole as it does the tropics of the Equator. From the Statue of Liberty,
along the Erie Canal, to St Louis and the Gateway to the West, you will cruise right to and through America's history.  
Many of us dream of sailing off into the sunset - cruising through turquoise waters,
walking on pristine sandy beaches, and having umbrella drinks under coconut trees.

Not everyone however is cut-out to make a long ocean passage. It takes a special
kind of person to board a vessel and sail off into the sunset, chasing horizons far away
from loved ones and familiar places. Many are just unwilling or incapable of it for any
number of reasons. Being that far from family, friends, medical services, and the amenities
available close to shore makes it impossible for many of us.

Maybe the greatest aspect of cruising the Great Loop is the fact that you can cruise
it and never leave sight of land much less be much more then a stones throw from it. In
addition, you will be boating in areas that are as readily accessible by Emergency Medical
personnel, and convenient to pharmacies, hospitals, banks, post offices, rental cars,
airports, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, and endless amounts of historic places to
see and experience. It is seeing America in the 'past' lane. . . Not the 'fast' lane.

Certainly, this is a much safer and cheaper alternative to seeing America in an RV. On
the Great Loop, you are away from big City traffic jams, noise and smog. Instead of
cruising down the highway 70 miles an hour, you're relaxing on your boat at 70 smiles an
hour.

Yes, you can boat from Mexico to Massachusetts and on to Memphis. You can boat from
Paducah to Padre and on to Pittsburgh, from Chicago to Chattanooga, and from Nashville
to New York and from Waverly to Washington. You can boat from Tulsa to Titusville and
on up to Tonawanda. You can even boat from the French Quarter to French Quebec.

So you see. . . America's Great Loop is much more than an alternative to crossing an
ocean. This is an unbelievable adventure, and though different, it is second to none.

It is a boaters dream on a continuous series of beautiful waterways. It's been done in
jet-skis, small boats, large boats, sailboats, powerboats, and even a few yachts. In fact,
whatever your lifestyle, philosophy, or pocketbook; this entire adventure has much-much
more to do with faith than finance.
On the next few pages, you will learn all about what to expect when cruising America's
Great Loop. We show & tell you about the routes you can take and the boat you need. In
doing so, we separate the truths from the myths, and show you how to make this dream
come true, by fitting it into your lifestyle, philosophy, and your pocketbook.

You will also learn about boat requirements, fuel requirements, distances between fuel
stops, and what you will need to make this wonderful journey - a safe, comfortable and most
enjoyable adventure - even on a very frugal budget.
BYOB
"Bring Your Own Boat"
and take the voyage of a lifetime
America's Great Loop
::   Not everyone is cut-out to make an ocean passage!  ::
What's most important to you?  The Dream Boat?  Or the Dream Voyage?
If you dream of the Voyage. . .
Don't let your Dream Boat be your Dream Buster!
For Great Loop Boat size and restrictions - click NEXT