When I received this waterway guide, I wondered how it could be different from the others I’ve seen and used. Well, believe me, it is different. Managing the Waterway contains all the information (except the charts) that you would like to have to travel the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Norfolk to Biscayne Bay. In addition to the usual anchorage, marina, and piloting things you need to know, the authors included things you want to know from many sources. The authors call their publication “an enriched guide.”

And enriched it is, especially in the organization of information. Mark and Diana Doyle have used layout to help organize and present the ICW information in a style that makes this guide exceptionally easy to use. Like most ICW guides, the information is presented in the order of travel, in this case north to south, state by state. Each state section begins with a state big picture and a state introduction.

The big picture contains the navigational information — a map of the coastal part of the state showing the ICW track, the charts required for this section, and a bridge summary. Another enrichment is the inclusion on the map of the names of cities, counties, NOAA towers, and other geographical features used in NOAA weather broadcasts. These help with interpreting NOAA weather broadcasts.

The state introduction gives us reference and advice for that section of the ICW. Included are regional characteristics and navigational concerns for the upcoming section of travel.

At the top of each navigation page is a rolling header that includes USCG and towboat VHF channels and telephone numbers, upcoming bridges, and NOAA weather stations. The side margins detail bridges, anchorages, and marinas, complete with GPS coordinates and tidal ranges. The page body contains local lore and color — an enrichment of 266 interpretive vignettes and 200 pictures and illustrations.

The end of each section has tables that list marine facilities and retail chandleries within easy reach of marinas. Of particular note are the pages with waterway business cards that you can photocopy and take ashore with you.

My wife and I have only traveled the ICW between Norfolk and Morehead City, so I checked the information for this part against our experience. The transit, anchorage, and marina information matched what we have found along the way. The guide is spiral-bound to lie flat and has a UV-coated cover. If you are in the market for an ICW guide, this is the one to get.

Managing the Waterway by Mark and Diana Doyle (Semi-Local Publications LLC, 2005; 172 pages)