The IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW) is a 3,000 mile waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coast of the USA. The creation of the ICW was authorised by congress in 1919. It is maintaned by the US Army Corps of Engineers.Over 200 years ago transportation was the lifeblood of the North Carolina sounds. Poor overland tracks to markets north of Norfolk led Colonel William Byrd II to first propose the Dismal Swamp Canal in 1728, however construction did not start until 1793. Work was completed in 1805. The Dismal Swamp Canal is the oldest operating artifical waterway in the United States.
President Theodore Roosevelt's idea of an Intracostal Waterway resulted in the construction of the Alligator River/Pungo River Canal.
Boaters refer to the ICW as "the Ditch". You can understand why after traveling many miles of narrow canals. It's a surreal sight; seeing ocean going sailing boats cruising down canals surrounded by swamp land.