The Intracoastal Waterway is used to transport petroleum, manufactured goods, building materials and foodstuffs. A 12-foot navigational channel is also maintained for use by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Intracoastal Waterway is 3,000 miles long and runs along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. It consists of several natural inlets, rivers, bays and artificial canals, some of which are used for non-commercial purposes. For example, a section of the waterway in Florida is used for tubing, water skiing and recreational boating.
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway has been named America's Oldest Highway, and it has been in use for nearly 300 years. It is home to the oldest operating artificial waterway in America, the Dismal Swamp Canal, that runs through both North Carolina and Virginia.
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which spans about 1,050 miles, connects with a number of navigable rivers and waterways. The Atchafalaya River, Calcasieu Ship Channel, Industrial Canal, and Mississippi River Gulf Outlet Canal are just a few of the many rivers and canals that connect with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The Gulf portion of the waterway sees an abundance of commercial traffic from towboats and support craft, often for offshore oil rigs.