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The Salty Southeast
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87A. Bradenton Beach Anchorage

Bradenton Beach Anchorage
Statute Mile: 87
Lat/Lon: 27 27.927 North/082 41.608 West
Location: tricky entrance channel leaves the Western Florida ICW just north of marker #49
Minimum Depth: 5 1/2 to 8 feet, BUT it’s easy to wander into grounding depth without very specific knowledge of the entrance channel
Special Comment: to enter this anchorage safely, cruisers must initially follow the marked Bradenton Beach Marina entrance cut, and then turn south in front of the historic Bradenton Beach Pier – easy to wander into grounding depths if you don’t have prior knowledge of this passage
Swing Room: sufficient room for vessels as large as 50 feet
Foul Weather Shelter: Fair, wide open to fresh southern and southeasterly winds
Dinghy Dock Access: yes, found on northwesterly corner of anchorage – showers currently available; free city trolley can take cruisers to Publix supermarket and West Marine Express


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Comments from the Cruisers' Net Community (5)

  1. Blake Whitney -  April 4, 2013 - 1:27 pm

    As a local, I regularly traverse this section of the ICW heading to/from Tampa Bay or the Manatee River. Seems that after the creation of the Marina Jack mooring field, some members of that “Floating Junk Flotilla” moved North. Cortez folks may be more tolerant, probably not over time.
    Blake Whitney

  2. Brad -  January 11, 2013 - 6:41 pm

    I am writing this as I am anchored here today (the first time in four years). I have always found this to be a great anchorage due to the fact that it has just about everything for onshore that a cruising sailor would want. A beach, a fair number of good places to eat and drink, a free trolley to take you up and down the beach to get to West Marine and the grocery stores and other places to eat and drink (circle K convenience store is just a block away).
    I have never had a problem navigating the pier entrance (draw 4 feet) but the first time I grounded when I tried to enter the anchorage directly off the ICW and hit the shoal. So go in as directed.
    There are still some derelict boats, one is sunk. It is somewhat noisy mostly from the road traffic going over the bridge or pier fisherman. The anchorage is shallow and the charts do a fairly accurate job of showing the depth. Holding is mud and I have dragged a little bit is a 20 knot blow. As for the the winds out of the south east, this is a lot better than jewfish key anchorage. However, any winds coming from the south or northeast, above 20 knots, I would find another anchorage.
    For the politics here, I had a conversation with a local town rep and they said the problem was not the cruising sailors, it was some of the local anchored live aboards that were creating some police issues and had some assorted conflicts amongst each other as well as some theft. The town was trying reduce those issues by putting in a mooring field…. . However, the town cannot do it as this is part of the ICW.
    As far as I am concerned, people need a place to live and in this economy, this offers an economic refuge in relative paradise. But, people have to be responsible for their selves and their assets and respectful of others and the environment too. Unfortunately, because some people do not follow this, that cruisers and local live aboards suffer from this tide of regulation.

  3. Frank Cushing -  June 5, 2012 - 1:55 pm

    Thank you for the info. Last time we came through we anchored on the East side of the ICW because we could not figure out how to get into the anchorage. We anchored without problem in about 10 feet of water. The ride to the dinghy dock was a little long and there were boat wakes to crash through. BB was a great place to visit and would gladly paid a fee for the shower and/or dinghy dock but free was good.
    Frank Cushing

  4. Morgan R -  May 28, 2012 - 2:00 pm

    I respectfully disagree with this assessment of Bradenton Beach. I kept two boats there for the better part of a year…the first a 24-foot sloop…then a 29-footer…A friend of mine protested the 15 dollar/year fee for using the mooring field.The mooring field was illegal but I think that the reason he fought it is the slow erosion of rights and I am glad now that he did. They backed down on advice from their lawyer and I think that even though 15 dollars/year for showers and dinghy dock is a small price to pay for a decent facility with access to free trolley up and down the whole island…I think that the costs would slowly have risen over time and a bad precedent set. Having said all that…I DO NOT think that they hate boaters and liveaboards here…especially now that some of the riff raff has cleared out. The depths are overall poor for bigger boats…the approach in front of the fishing pier is a sad joke…but there is a back door further south beyond the sand shoals you can come in from if you keep going south after coming thru the bridge from the north about 3/4 mile and then come back in…at a NW angle…All in all…this is a decent area to keep your boat for awhile…amenity-speaking…but not for more than a few months IMHO… case it wasn’t was BB city comission that backed down…on advice of their attorney and they dropped the $15/YEAR sticker fee…
    Morgan R

  5. W.W. -  May 28, 2012 - 11:03 am

    Bradenton Beach anchorage update: As of 5/12, the city has made no further blatant efforts to harass boaters. As a member of the “Mooring Committee” I can say that the city has no interest in really developing a boater friendly community.
    Still, I recommend to everyone that, rather than avoid areas of “conflict ie. St Pete, St. Augustine, etc., they use these areas and RESIST (nicely, of course) the erosion of navigation rights.
    As for the notion of the city “noticing the reduction of boating visitors and responding accordingly”, the city of B.B. would be quite happy if no one EVER anchored a boat in “their” waters.


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