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    • LNM: Construction with Divers to Begin Dec 3, Okeechobee Waterway, Statute Miles 104-116


      This longterm construction project involving divers in the water will be on the south side of the Okeechobee Waterway between Miles 104 and 116. This is not a wide body of water and slow speed and a sharp lookout are the order of the day.

      FLORIDA – CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER – TOWNSEND CANAL: WEST BASIN STORAGE RESERVOIR PROJECT – DIVERS
      Harry Pepper and Associates, Inc. will be conducting construction along the south shoreline of the Caloosahatchee River, at the mouth of the Townsend Canal, between Labelle, FL and Alva, FL. The project is expected to commence December 3, 2018 and conclude on or around May 3, 2022; operations will be occurring during daylight hours only. Signs will be posted to notify mariners that work is being conducted at the Townsend Canal, as well as to indicate the installation and location of a temporary manatee barrier. Mariners are advised to exercise caution, as divers will be periodically working inside the manatee barrier in the Caloosahatchee River and inside the weir on the Townsend Canal. Equipment will be conducting work from the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and Townsend Canal with barges present inside the weir. Chart 11428 LNM 46/18

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of LaBelle on the Okeechobee Waterway

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    • LNM: Phone Numbers for Florida Lock Operators

      If you lock through Canaveral or the Okeechobee Waterway, please put the numbers for the Corps locks into your phone. Remember to listen to any direction offered by the lock operator to ensure everyone’s safety as you lock through! Our thanks to Officer Erica Skolte for this information and advice.

      W.P. Franklin Lock 239-694-5451
      Ortona Lock 863-675-0616
      Moore Haven Lock 863-946-0414
      Port Mayaca Lock 561-924-2858
      St. Lucie Lock 772-287-2665
      Canaveral Lock 321-783-5421

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    • River District November 2018 Connections, Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 135


      The river is Caloosahatchee and the CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS are Legacy Harbour Marina and Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club. Legacy Harbor Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 and Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club is on the south side of the Caloosahatchee River opposite Cape Coral.

       

       

      239 461-0775 Legacy Harbour Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 on the Caloosahatchee River. The Marina is situated two blocks from historic downtown Fort Myers and three blocks from the historic Edison-Ford Winter Estates. The Marina's 131-Slips range in size from 40 feet to 80 feet and can accommodate Transient Boats of 100 feet plus. The large Fairways make our slips easily accessible. Our slips are surrounded by one of the largest 'floating breakwaters' on the Gulf of Mexico. The floating docks are state-of-the-art. Legacy Harbour Marina is a full-featured facility with all the modern conveniences of home including pump-out station, heated pool, fitness center, full electric metered at the slip, cable TV, laundry, air-conditioned showers and wireless Internet connections available. The Boaters' Lounge is available for relaxing after a cruise or for private parties. The view from the lounge is spectacular! Our grounds are beautifully manicured and provide great strolling along the river with benches, Chickee Hut, and excellent access to all of historic Fort Myers. Please take a few moments to browse our website and see for yourself what our beautiful boating facility can offer you the next time you are cruising in Southwest Florida.
      Gulf Harbour Marina ICW Marker 73, 4.5 miles from Gulf of Mexico 14490 Vista River Dr., Fort Myers, FL 33908 239-437-0881 gulfharbourmarina@comcast.net
       
       

      Click Here for November 2018 River Connections

      Melissa Moore
      Web/Graphics Technician
      1631 Hendry Street
      Fort Myers, Florida 33901
      T: 239.337.1071 – F: 239-337.1076
      mmoore@cella.ccwww.cella.cc 

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Legacy Harbour Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Legacy Harbour Marina

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Gulf Harbour

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Gulf Harbour Yacht Club

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    • LNM: Okeechobee Lock Procedures in Hurricane Conditions

      Let’s hope we never need this information, but it should definitely be included in your Hurricane Procedures folder.

      OKEECHOBEE AND CANAVERAL LOCK OPERATIONS DURING TROPICAL STORMS AND HURRICANES: EFFECTIVE:08/26/2018 00:00 thru 12/31/2018 24:00 EST (REFERENCES: a. 33 CFR Navigation and Navigable Waters
      Notice to Navigation – 72 hours prior to a Tropical Storm or Hurricane making local landfall locks will be open 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM supporting vessel safe harbor passage. Lock operations will stop 8 hours prior to land fall as Rail Road and Drawbridges will be lowered or rotated and locked into a secure position. It’s important that all vessels are at their intended destination before bridges are secured as passage across the waterway suspended.
      For Lock Operator safety the locks will:
      1. Stop locking vessels or working outdoors if lightning is observed within five miles of the lock and operations will not resume until lightning has not been seen in the area for 30 minutes.
      2. Stop locking vessels when winds exceed 35 MPH.
      After a storm it could be days or weeks before the waterway is reopen depending on damage to structures and how quickly debris creating navigation hazards can be removed.
      For up to date Lock information contact the shift operator 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM at;
      Canaveral Lock 321-783-5421
      St Lucie Lock & Dam 772-287-2665
      Port Mayaca Lock & Dam 561-924-2858
      Moore Haven Lock & Dam 863-946-0414
      Ortona Lock & Dam 863-675-0616 WP
      Franklin Lock & Dam 239-694-5451
      Chart 11428 11478 LNM 35/18

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    • LNM: Cofferdam Installation to Begin August 24, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 55


      This cofferdam installation is in Pelican Bay on the Rim Route south of Pahokee.

      FLORIDA – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY ROUTE 2 – HERBERT HOOVER DIKE REHABILITATION PROJECT: COFFERDAM INSTALLATION
      Ebsary Foundation will begin the installation of a steel pile cofferdam located at Culvert 2A (Lake Okeechobee) in Pahokee, Florida. On scene will be a 48’ x 120’ deck barge (Name: EB 120) and a 25’ x 14’ tug boat (Name: Mack) working in the waterway adjacent to the Herbert Hoover Dike from August 24 thru November 30, 2018. The GPS Coordinates of the work area are adjacent to 26°46’36N / 80°41’41”W. The barges and tug boat will be located inside the construction area and will monitor VHF Channel 16. Recreational and commercial boaters are advised to use extra caution when navigating through this section of the waterway. For further information contact Brent Huffman at Ebsary (305) 325-0530 ext #113. See enclosure section for project location. Chart 11428

       

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    • Toxic Fish Kills on Lake Okeechobee

      Our thanks to experienced cruiser, Sonny Reeves, for sending in this report on Lake Okeechobee from weather.com.

      Lake O and our fish kills/toxic beaches

      This is not a new problem. Video and story of who is making money off this is from 2016

      https://weather.com/news/news/florida-toxic-lake-okeechobee

      Sad to mad……

      Sonny Reeves
      Be Salt and Light, wash feet!
      on the ICW see blog for where http://ontheofficewautoteacher.blogspot.com/

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    • BoatUS News: TowBoatUS Comes to Lake Okeechobee, Clewiston, FL


      These two TowBoat US vessels will be stationed at Roland Martins Marina found on a small canal in Clewiston, Florida.

      TowBoatUS Comes to Lake Okeechobee

      Bringing around-the-clock assistance to boaters in need on Florida’s Inland Sea

      CLEWISTON, Fl., July 23, 2018 – More than 15 years ago, Captain Michael Ammons’ professional career on the water began when he became the owner of three TowBoatUS locations, which offer 24-hour on-water towing and assistance for recreational boaters. After selling the businesses 10 years ago, he’s found his way back to the company, opening TowBoatUS Lake Okeechobee earlier this year.

      “TowBoatUS has always been a cut above the rest, and the boats are easily recognized on the water,” said Ammons. “When I came back to Lake Okeechobee after working a few years abroad, I knew there wasn’t anyone out here with the company, so I applied and got back into the business.”

      Much like an auto club for boaters, BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for boaters and anglers for just $149 per year. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying into the thousands out of pocket.

      From his years of experience boating in Florida waters, Ammons knows the types of problems boaters can face, which is why his company offers an extended service area. Not only does the company service Lake Okeechobee in its entirety, but it also provides service to transient boaters passing through the Okeechobee Waterway on their way to fish the east or west coasts of the Sunshine State.

      With the lake attracting bass fishermen, saltwater sport fishermen passing through to the coasts and other area boaters, Ammons is confident he’ll stay busy year-round helping boaters get home safely, no matter what boating activity they’re partaking in. “It’s a difficult area, and there are tons of locks and restrictions around the lake,” he explained. “It’s a really chopped up waterway, and it creates a lot of issues for boaters, including hazardous water fluctuations, rocky areas, and more.”

      TowBoatUS Lake Okeechobee operates a 22-foot Lund Alaskan, a sturdy shallow-water vessel, and a 22-foot Angler deep-v center-console for salvage jobs. Both response vessels are kept at Roland Martin Marina. Ammons’ boats are easily recognizable by their red hulls and TowBoatUS logos emblazoned in bright white letters on their sides, and they’re rigged and ready for towing, jump starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings.

      Boaters can reach TowBoatUS Lake Okeechobee by hailing on VHF channel 16, by calling the company directly at (239) 600-0140, by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at (800) 391-4869, or via smartphone using the new BoatUS App. More information can be found at BoatUS.com/Towing, or call (800) 888-4869.

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Clewiston and Roland Martins Marina

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    • NAV ALERT: LNM: Low Cable Restricting Air Space at Torry Island Bridge, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 60


      This hazard was first posted on Cruisers’ Net in December of 2017, https://cruisersnet.net/168847, and, obviously, no progress is being made to raise the cable from 35ft to its charted height of 52ft.

      FLORIDA – ST. LUCIE INLET TO FORT MYERS AND LAKE OKEECHOBEE – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY – LAKE OKEECHOBEE (ROUTE
      2): Hazard to Navigation

      The US Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has identified a low hanging fiber optic cable at the Torrey Island Bridge in RT-2 of the Okeechobee Waterway. The fiber optic cable is estimated to be 35 feet above the water; high mast vessels are encouraged to use RT-1 until the cable is raised to 52 feet. Recreational and commercial boaters are to use caution when navigating through these sections of waterway. Once the cable is raised to the required 52 feet normal traffic will be restored. USACOE POC is Gary Hipkins at 863-983-8101.
      Chart 11428 LNM 21/18

      Click Here To View the Okeechobee Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Torry Island Bridge

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Torry Island Bridge

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    • WARNING – ARREST- Bimini Basin Anchorage, Cape Coral , FL, OWW Statute Mile 145


      The entrance to Cape Coral Bimini Basin is on the north shore of the Caloosahatchee River from Waterway marker 86 off Piney Point. These arrest allegations are unconfirmed at this time. See Bimini Basin Anchorage by Claiborne Young from a kinder, gentler time. 

      Bimini Basin in Cape Coral is a sheltered, convenient anchorage on the Caloosahatchee River (Florida Cross Waterway-Okeechobee waterway). The news has reported that the city fathers have decided that ANYONE THAT DINGHIES ASHORE WILL BE ARRESTED!
      August Trometer

      Bad behavior  has been an issue in Bimini Basin for some time:

      Cape residents want more regulations on boaters in Bimini Basin from NBC Channel 2 

      Cape considering ordinance after boats left unattended in Basin form NBC Channel

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Bimini Basin Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Bimini Basin Anchorage

      Comments from Cruisers (3)

      1. Mo seymour -  November 5, 2018 - 2:45 pm

        What law is being broken? First- we are all for the mooring field. This place needs to be cleaned up. We anchor there for 3 days max to provision. We have a huge holding tank so that’s not an issue but there are too many unscrupulous dregs that ruin it for the rest of us responsible sailors a bad name. It’s a safe harbor for us and we use it as such. We’d rather be sailing the rumbline trust me. Fishbowls we no like.

        Reply to Mo
      2. Sean -  October 3, 2018 - 1:10 am

        Any update on this? Are you allowed to dingy to shore?

        Reply to Sean
      3. MAJOR WEBER -  May 1, 2018 - 8:58 pm

        There has been a growing collection of boats anchored in Bimini Basin. The majority are sailboats that appear abandoned or poorly maintained. There have been a few very nice boats that are occupied and this is what is generating issues with water quality since there are no pumpouts and those folks are not holding it until they go ashore to some facility. The basin is tidal and surrounded by high density housing therefor it is not certain that some or all of the pollution is from anchored boats. Many smaller powerboats pass through the basin everyday. There have been no arrests that I am aware of. There are two concrete docking piers for dingies.

        Reply to MAJOR
    • River District May 2018 Connections, Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 135

      239 461-0775 Legacy Harbour Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 on the Caloosahatchee River. The Marina is situated two blocks from historic downtown Fort Myers and three blocks from the historic Edison-Ford Winter Estates. The Marina's 131-Slips range in size from 40 feet to 80 feet and can accommodate Transient Boats of 100 feet plus. The large Fairways make our slips easily accessible. Our slips are surrounded by one of the largest 'floating breakwaters' on the Gulf of Mexico. The floating docks are state-of-the-art. Legacy Harbour Marina is a full-featured facility with all the modern conveniences of home including pump-out station, heated pool, fitness center, full electric metered at the slip, cable TV, laundry, air-conditioned showers and wireless Internet connections available. The Boaters' Lounge is available for relaxing after a cruise or for private parties. The view from the lounge is spectacular! Our grounds are beautifully manicured and provide great strolling along the river with benches, Chickee Hut, and excellent access to all of historic Fort Myers. Please take a few moments to browse our website and see for yourself what our beautiful boating facility can offer you the next time you are cruising in Southwest Florida.

      The river is Caloosahatchee and the CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS are Legacy Harbour Marina and Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club. Legacy Harbor Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 and Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club is on the south side of the Caloosahatchee River opposite Cape Coral.

       

      May Connections 2018 Calendar

      Melissa Moore
      Web/Graphics Technician
      Anniversary Logo-03
      1631 Hendry Street
      Fort Myers, Florida 33901
      T: 239.337.1071 – F: 239-337.1076
      mmoore@cella.ccwww.cella.cc 

       

       

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Legacy Harbour Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Legacy Harbour Marina

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Gulf Harbour

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Gulf Harbour Yacht Club

       

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Bob Barry -  May 6, 2018 - 4:17 pm

        Bimini Basin is still open, no arrests. The folks that are anchored there have been pumping toilets overboard ans messing up a great anchorage. Cape Coral cancelled the annual card boat race due to fecal matter. Neighbors complain of the smell. Sad.

        Reply to Bob
    • Request for Information on Okeechobee Rim Route


      Larry and Kathryn Byrd request recent information on the Okeechobee Rim Route, so let us hear from you! The Indiantown Bridge restrictions, ending June 12, are the most recent issue Cruisers’ Net has posted.

      Has any cruiser run the OWW rim route lately. Any advice is appreciated.
      Larry & Kathryn Byrd – Aboard SLO M’OCEAN

      Click Here To View the Okeechobee Waterway Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For the Indiantown Railway Bridge

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of RR bridge

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Sue Ward -  April 28, 2018 - 2:35 pm

        May be a bit out of date but in late February there was an electric cable across channel by Torry Island road bridge at about 30 feet. Its supposed to be being lifted to 50ft plus but have not heard any updates since. Sorry I have no further info.

        Reply to Sue
    • LNM: Low Cable Restricting Air Space at Torry Island Bridge, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 60


      Our thanks to Specialist Erica Skolta for this notice for high-masted vessels.

      Notice to Navigation Interests: NTN 2017-14 Okeechobee Waterway Route 2 – Low Cable at Torrey Island Bridge restricting navigation; high-masted vessels encouraged to use Route 1:
      http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Portals/44/docs/Navigation/Notices/NTN2017/NTN2017-014Lake%20OkeechobeeRT-2LowCable.pdf

      Notice is given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified a low hanging fiber optic cable at the Torrey Island Bridge in Route 2 of the Okeechobee Waterway. The fiber optic cable is estimated to be 35′ above the water, high masted vessels are encouraged to use RT-1 until the cable is raised to 52′. Recreational and commercial boaters are asked to use caution when navigating through these sections of waterway. Once the cable is raised to the required 52′ normal traffic will be restored. Point of contact is Gary Hipkins at 863-983-8101.

      Sign up to receive updates on Notices to Navigation at:
      http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Navigation/NoticestoNavigation.aspx

      Thanks for getting the word out!

      Best wishes for a happy holiday season and a Happy Healthy New Year!
      Erica

      Erica Skolte
      Public Affairs Specialist
      Corporate Communications Office
      U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
      Palm Beach Gardens
      NOTE: NEW OFFICE PHONE 561-340-1527
      Cell: 561-801-5734
      erica.a.skolte@usace.army.mil
      Twitter @JaxStrong
      Jacksonville District Facebook:
      https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict
      Jacksonville District: A team of professionals making tomorrow better

      Click Here To View the Okeechobee Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Torry Island Bridge

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Torry Island Bridge

      Comments from Cruisers (4)

      1. Ellie Ibel Smith -  December 22, 2017 - 3:55 pm

        Actually that would be me that discover this and let the Army C Of E know and the waterway guide.. It was not a fun day.. two weeks ago we tried the rim route and discover this when we asked to go through the Torry train bridge. The lift operator was great but going back to the beginning of the route and having lost and enter day because of it was defiantly not!

        • Cruisers' Net -  December 23, 2017 - 4:18 pm

          Ellie, do send us your notes and we will put your name with the posting. It won’t get lost as it seems to have in this one from CofE etc… As always however thank you for stepping up and letting CofE know of this hazard. Have a great Christmas and New Year

        • Ellie Ibel Smith -  December 23, 2017 - 5:07 pm

          No notes just lots of phone calls after motoring for hours (no sails up that day), only to get to the Torry railroad bridge and the lift operator was supposed the lock master had not told us about the height restrictions…and it was not noted or listed on any paper,electronic charts, or social media I could find. I’m glad for that day to be over but hope that in getting the info out there that no one else will go that route unless they are under 30 feet(ish) in height from the water..

        • Cruisers' Net -  December 23, 2017 - 5:20 pm

          Cruisers helping cruisers…..you are a great example. Be safe. Merry Christmas.

    • Healy Report: Okeechobee Waterway and Caloosahatchee River, East to West


      Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, continue to generously share their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter. Thank you Jim and Peg! See http://cruisersnet.net/168195 for their Okeechobee report east of Clewiston.

      Sanctuary and crew transited from Clewiston, FL to St. James City, FL, today, 11/9/2017. Fog early, then bright sunshine, light and variable winds and calm seas.

      The Clewiston Lock is a wonder to behold. Very small; less than 100 ft. Primary customer set are bass fishermen. Run by a private contractor, not the USACE. Hours of operation are posted as 05h30 to 22h00. Local knowledge indicates 06h00 is more reliable.

      At about MM 72, there is a hazard marker in Active Captain that describes a submerged obstruction. That obstruction must be there, because there are TWO Red, floating markers there, R”6″ and R”8.” They are positioned together laterally across the channel; a very strange pattern, but they are there. Appear new. They force traffic way to the south side of the channel, and water depths are 4 ft less than in the visual center of that channel.

      The control depth on the south rim is 8.5 ft, two miles east of Moore Haven.

      Water levels in the Ortona Pool are very high. The USACE is dumping water, and there are strong westerly running currents. Stand off the locks while waiting for them to open, as the current will carry the boat toward the lock and dam. Care is appropriate at the locks, where boats get swept sideways. Especially so at the railroad pass at Moore Haven, which is very narrow and has obviously been dinged several times already. There was a significant whirlpool inside the Ortona Lock chamber which created some excitement for another boat there. Currents were very swift emerging downstream of Ortona Lock, too.

      There are no depth issues on the South Rim, Caloosahatchee Canal or Caloosahatchee River at this time.

      Jim

      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Rock Creek, Pasadena, MD
      http://gilwellbear.wordpress.com
      Monk 36 Hull #132
      MMSI #367042570
      AGLCA #3767
      MTOA #3436

      Click Here To View the Okeechobee Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Ortona Lock

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ortona Lock

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    • Healy Report: Okeechobee Waterway, East to West


      Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, have been generously sharing their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter. Thank you Jim and Peg!

      Sanctuary and crew transited from Stuart, FL, to Clewiston, FL, today, 11/7/2017. The weather was ideal; clear, light winds, flat seas on Lake O.

      The condition of the water is deplorable. In the anchorage at Stuart, the water is “Lake O chocolate milk.” The water throughout the system is an ugly, dark brown. Water levels are high, and there are no water level issues on the St. Lucie Canal or at Clewiston. The control depth on the Canal is at least 11.0 feet. The control depth at Clewiston is at least 9.0 feet. There is no evidence of storm damage on the canal.

      The USACE is dumping water from the lake. In the St. Lucie Canal, we faced a 2 knot ahead current.

      The downstream gate at the St. Lucie is misbehaving. It took several tries and at least 1/2 hour to get it closed. Delays at that lock are possible until that gets corrected. The lockmaster is not happy. “A work crew spent all day last Saturday working on the lock, and before they did their work, the gate was operating just fine,” was his line.

      We are a slow trawler. We can normally make it from St. Lucie Lock at 07h00 to Moore Haven Lock by 16h00, but not today. We bailed at Roland Martin Marina for burgers at the Tiki Hut!

      Jim

      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Clewiston, FL
      http://gilwellbear.wordpress.com
      Monk 36 Hull #132
      MMSI #367042570
      AGLCA #3767
      MTOA #3436

      Click Here To View the Okeechobee Waterway Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For St. Lucie Lock

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Lucie Lock

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

    • Okeechobee Crossing – post Irma

      Our thanks to AGLCA member, Gary Reed, for sharing his Forum report, which, by in large, is good news for cruisers needing to make the coast to coast run.

      We came across (west to east) this past Thursday and Friday (September 14th and 15th). No major issues at all. All locks operational as well as bridges. Some were still on generator with one only able to raise one span at a time. All operating on normal schedule. (Note, we drove from St. Lucie to Cape Coral on Wednesday, 13th, the amount of water in the area was astonishing as well as the significant downed power lines.)

      Debris in the water was mostly ‘soft’ (leaves, vegetation, etc.) … some rather large mats but easily avoidable. We only had to run through one large mat shore to shore. Surprisingly, we saw virtually no deadheads, remnants of docks or piers, etc. A couple of the locks had some debris either on the upper gate on the western side or in the lock itself. We limited thrusters in these locks for obvious reasons and sprung off the stern line.

      The runoff into the waterway on both sides of Lake O was significant at some of the inlet spillways (not lock spillways but drainage into the waterway). Several moved the boat around quite significantly and unexpectedly until we began looking for them.

      Gary Reed

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    • Local Knowledge Sought on Owl Creek Boat Works, Caloosahatchee River, OWW Statute Mile 125


      Skipper Pestik is seeking local knowledge on the entrance channel into Owl Creek Boat Works and Storage which is located 10 miles east of downtown Ft. Myers on the Caloosahatchee River between markers 5 and 6. Can you help?

      What’s the chance of boat with 50′ mast and 6′ draft making it in there and out?
      George Pestik

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Owl Creek Boat Works and Storage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Owl Creek Boat Works

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Jim -  August 20, 2017 - 10:29 am

        I assume you are coming from the Gulf of Mexico
        Bridges – no problem, draft – tricky in narrow channel upstream of Ft Myers.
        Call Owl Creek for info on deepest route from Okee Waterway into their facility.
        But why do you want to go so far inland, there are excellent haulout marinas in Ft Myers Beach

        Reply to Jim
    • Grounding Reported East of Clewiston, FL, Okeechobee Waterway


      From the description below, we assume that Hunky Dory was taking the direct Lake Route and not the Rim Route. Our thanks to Dan and Peggy for sharing their experience. See /165580 for advice given to Dan and Peggy by fellow Loopers.

      For those that asked about Lake Okeechobee crossing….. In the Clewiston Channel heading East…. We hit rocks about 1 mile out from the lock. Apparently, the locals know which side of the channel to favor when you head out. We were definitely between the markers and were trying to stay right in the middle. According to Bill with Lake Tow, who got us safely back to the lock, you have to favor the green marker. Fortunately, the Roland Martin Marina is right inside the lock. The lock is open 24 hours a day right now. It’s a small marina with services, fuel, a restaurant and to top it off, The Tiki Bar. The restaurant and bar have very good southern comfort food, so all was not lost on this part of our adventure.

      We’re not going to chance another try at the Lake. We are heading around through the Keys when we get all of the repairs completed. We were just the first to arrive at River Forest Yachting Center with damage from the Lake. Just as few hours later, a boat that was totally disabled arrived from hitting the bottom.

      Very helpful information on the Keys. We were trying to plan out our stops from Fort Myers to Miami and realized that we will have to take the Hawk Channel because of the shallow water on the inside. The lack of anchorages and many miles from Marathon to Key Biscayne had us wondering what to do. Now we know that Channel 5 can be a stop over if we need it.

      We are a 50′ Ocean Alexander with a 4.5′ draft, if this info will help anyone else.

      Thanks to everyone from Dan and Peggy Stricklin, aboard Hunky Dory.

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Clewiston Lock and Roland Martins Marina

      Comments from Cruisers (2)

      1. John Jorgensen -  July 7, 2017 - 2:10 pm

        What green mark? Do you have a lat lon? We were through a few months back with no issues drawing 4.5 feet.

        [Editor’s note: from advice given in http://cruisersnet.net/165580 by Jim Healy, the green marks were possibly G9, G9A or G5.]

        Reply to John
      2. greg allard -  July 7, 2017 - 1:51 pm

        Dan and Peggy – Thanks for the report. It would be helpful if you could identify exactly where you struck the rocks by reference to the numbers and color of the nearest markers or buoys. If you have a chart plotter and it was recording your tracks, you should be able to see an interruption or a blip in the track at the place where it happened, which would also give the lat/lon. I didn’t see the date of your incident, or what the water level was reported to be on that day.

        Jim Healy’s comments elsewhere on this site about Clewiston channel are quite accurate: there are no obstructions if you stay within the channel. That can be difficult sometimes, since some of the markers in the Clewiston channel are single marker poles, and we have seen some vessels not stay close enough to the single ones, in effect “splitting the distance” – swinging too wide -on the way to the next marker on the other side of the channel. Jim also correctly comments on the need to watch for the boat crabbing sideways in the channel, due to current or wind. If you aren’t looking aft every minute or so, to see how you are lined up, it’s easy to go off track.

        I hope that you can provide the exact location for all of us who use the Okeechobee.

        We crossed through the Clewiston cut on June 18th of this year. The Corp of Engineers reported the level of the lake to be 5.93′. Our draft is 4’7″, and the shallowest actual depth we recorded was 6’6″ in the Clewiston cut.

        Sorry for your troubles. Enjoy the rest of your cruise, wherever it takes you.

        Greg Allard
        M/V Meander

        Reply to greg
    • Good News re Florida Anchoring

      Our thanks to Kim Russo for sharing this good news via AGLCA‘s Forum and also to Mike Bodin of MTOA. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that in the future this law will stand up to the pressure on legislators from wealthy landowners to restrict anchoring.

      Great news! I was just notified by our lobbyist that HB 7043 was approved by the Governor. It is law. As of now, no local municipality or county in the state of Florida may ban, restrict, or otherwise regulate an anchorage in Florida coastal waters.
      Loopers’ interest in this issue and financial contributions helped prevent the enactment of any setbacks that could have resulted in the elimination of any existing anchorages state wide.

      Congratulations to all Loopers, members of MTOA, SSCA, and others who supported this effort, stuck with it, and made your voices heard! You have made a difference to the boating community. Special thanks goes out to Jerry Paul of Capitol Access for his diligent efforts on our behalf. His guidance and hard work made all the difference.

      Kim Russo
      Director
      America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
      krusso@greatloop.org 

      And this from Mike Bodin, MTOA Public Affairs:

      Thank you AGLCA, SSCA, MTOA and DeFever, for
      your continued support. Florida’s anchoring Bill now
      is law.
      Florida’s new Mooring & Anchoring bill has become law. The Governor just approved HB 7043.
      It is law. As of now, the new law explicitly states no local municipality or county in the state of
      Florida may ban, restrict, or otherwise regulate an anchorage in Florida coastal waters. This
      plainly worded section of the new law eliminates each community from setting its own
      regulations. If this section was not plainly worded it would have resulted in many lost
      anchorages over time with boaters challenging cities for the right to anchor. Instead, we got
      the pre-emotion provision … preventing any local government from banning an anchorage.
      It was important for us to ensure there were no unreasonable setbacks in this bill. But, as I have
      said in the past, the single most valuable piece of this bill is the preemption provision. This seals
      off local governments. The only way that a new anchorage can be banned is by an Act of the
      entire Legislature and Governor. We can almost always kill such a bill. Moreover, we can likely
      kill any future effort to overturn the preemption or add new band and ranges in state statute.
      With the state level preemption and no local control, we are now in a position of strength. It is
      a home-field advantage for our side. Without preemption, however, the entire issue is a home
      game for all the anti-cruisers in EACH of their local communities… an infinite number battles
      that we would not be able to fight piecemeal.
      Moreover, SSCA, AGLCA, MTOA and DeFever prevented the enactment of any setbacks that
      could have resulted in the elimination of any existing anchorages state wide.
      Finally, you did a lot to rehabilitate some of the negative imagery about anchoring cruisers that
      had made its way to the Capitol.
      Congratulations to each of you, this team, and all the members of MTOA, SSCA, AGLCA,
      DeFever who supported your effort, stuck with you, and made your voices heard… to protect
      the freedoms of cruisers.
      The above is from our Tallahassee “Boaters Rights” Lobbyists Jerry Paul of Capitol Access who
      skillfully guided this legislation through six committee hearings with unanimous approval.
      Of major importance was the fact this was the accumulation of Florida’s 9-year, multi-million
      dollar, anchoring study resulting in a 256 page report. It was thought Florida’s new law may be
      a precedent for other states along the waterway. This was a primary cause to eliminate as
      much as possible harmful to boater’s language which would be in the new law. Counties, cities,
      waterside home owners and condominium groups were for local control to establish nonanchoring
      zones. Local control was totally defeated. Today the new law requires very high
      standards for counties to satisfy to even approach the state to establish new non-anchoring
      zones.
      Another major accomplishment, within the original FWC report, waterside residents were
      insistent for non-anchoring setbacks of 150’ up to 300’ along the waterway. This would have
      eliminated many now popular anchorages. The new law eliminated these setbacks for boaters.
      During this same time, we were instrumental with Florida’s new Derelict Vessel law, the
      previous bill was defeated because we felt it was too harsh for the boat owner, fines to high
      and did not give adequate time for owner removal. The new Derelict Vessel Law corrects these
      items.
      Mike Bodin
      MTOA Public Advocate

      And this from BoatUS

      NEWS From BoatUS

      Boat Owners Association of The United States
      880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria VA 22304
      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
      Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com

      Florida Bill Strengthens Derelict Vessel Fight,

      Promotes Environmentally Sound Public Access

      BoatUS thanks governor and legislature

      TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 27, 2017 – The results of an eight-year pilot program are in, and Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have acted. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) congratulates the governor and legislators on Friday’s passage of HB 7043 that promotes environmentally sound public access and helps address the issue of improperly stored, abandoned or derelict vessels. “These are sound regulations supported by responsible boaters,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy.

      When the pilot program was enacted in 2009, a patchwork of local anchoring regulations sometimes made stopping difficult. Some boaters reported fearing a visit from law enforcement advising that they had “overstayed” their visit and needed to move on.

      Conducted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and five local governments including the City of St. Augustine, City of Stuart/Martin County, City of St. Petersburg, City of Sarasota and Monroe County/Marathon/Key West, the pilot tested a variety of methods of regulated anchoring, while still protecting the anchoring rights of the active cruising public. It also sought to reduce the growing population of derelict vessels in the state.

      BoatUS expressly thanks Gov. Scott, Reps. Matt Caldwell (Lee County) Holly Raschein (Monroe County), Sen. Lauren Book (Broward County) and the FWC for their work on the bill.

      Some of bill’s measures include:

      providing commonsense anchoring regulations in and around mooring fields and waterway infrastructure.
      broadening the definition of a “derelict vessel”; for boats in use, adding new penalties for those whose vessel registration is expired beyond six months; and making it illegal to affix a vessel to an unpermitted, unauthorized or otherwise “unlawful object,” affixed to the bottom of the waters of the state. This could include an unpermitted mooring or an old engine block.
      giving local governments the option to require proof of pumpout after vessels have been anchored for 10 days or longer in federally managed no-discharge-zones (portions of the Florida Keys and waters off Destin).

      Comments from Cruisers (3)

      1. Bill Cole -  June 25, 2017 - 7:01 am

        That sounds like great new for boaters, just to clarify when you say no bans, restrictions etc. on coastal waters does this include the ICW or not?
        Thanks,
        Bill Cole.

        Reply to Bill
      2. MoSailor -  June 24, 2017 - 11:01 am

        Hey Marco! How do you like us now???

        Reply to MoSailor
    • Okeechobee Update by Greg Allard

      Our thanks to regular contributor and experienced cruiser, Greg Allard, for this log and photos of his recent west to east crossing of Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway.

      Okeechobee Update – June 19, 2017

      The water levels in Lake Okeechobee and the Waterway have been very low this spring, prompting an earlier request by the Corp of Engineers to avoid using the waterway if possible.
      Recent rains have restored the water level to some extent, and boats are using the Okeechobee waterway. All of the locks are fully operational, with no reduced operating schedule.
      Here is a report based on our crossing of the lake on Sunday, June 18, 2017; we crossed from east to west.

      The latest Corp of Engineers report (on 6/17) showed the lake level for Route 1 was 5.93 feet. Route 1 is the deeper, more preferable route across. It runs from Clewiston (in the SW corner of the lake) to the Port Mayaca lock on the eastern shore.

      Here is a link to the Corp of Engineers site, which gives the daily report of lake levels:
      http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml

      This aid to navigation shows that the lake level is quite a bit lower than its “highest”, based on the markings on the steel beam. An osprey sits on the marker.

      Our boat has a 4’7” draft. With our carefully calibrated depth finders (3 of them), adjusted for their mounting positions in the hull, during our entire crossing the actual depth of the water from the western side of the Port Mayaca lock to Clewiston was never less than 6.6 feet. (Remember, the report for Route 1 indicated 5.93’) The shallowest section was, as expected, in the zig-zag channel which runs between Clewiston, and ends at green marker #7 – (which is at the north-eastern end of the zig-zag channel, out in the deeper portion of the lake.)

      Two days earlier, another boat, with a 4’8” draft, and a careful observer aboard, noted that the shallowest water along the same route was 6.25 feet; the Corp of Engineers report for that day was 5.78 for Route 1.

      You can used these reports, in combination with the latest Corp of Engineers report of lake depth, to
      help you evaluate whether you have sufficient water to cross. Remember, these reported depths are
      along the exact route which those boats took; if your position differs even a little, your depths readings may differ.

      There has been some discussion on this site about an obstruction in the marked entry/exit channel between the western end of the Port Mayaca lock and the lake. I questioned the lock master at Port Mayaca, and he advised that we should “keep close to the the green markers.” We stayed within 50-75 feet of the greens, and the shallowest water we observed was 7 feet.

      It is critical to stay within the marked channel, especially in the Clewiston channel, which is unforgiving.
      It is not mud, it is not sand, it is rock. It’s the same for the channel from the lake into the Port Mayaca lock… all rock.

      We have used the Okeechobee for many years, and this year the low lake levels revealed what is along side the channel. Those rocks are also on the bottom.

      Missing Marker

      Since we were traveling generally west-bound in the waterway, this was our view of “G7” which is the first marker for west-bound boats at the start of the Clewiston zig-zag channel. This marker is at the NE end of that cut, and normally there would be a green day board facing north-east. That marker is missing from the structure. This can make the west-bound approach deceptive, since there are other structures and aids to navigation in the area. The other green day board is in place (upper right corner of structure) and visible if you are coming towards this structure, generally eastbound from Clewiston.

      Finally, with the lake in such a shallow condition, it is more important than ever that you cross the lake when it is calm. Usually that means early in the morning, when you can depart from either Indiantown marina (if you are westbound) or, if you are eastbound, plan to depart from either Clewiston (Roland Martin marina) or from the docks at Moore Haven. It is surprising how rough it gets in Lake Okeechobee, even in relatively light winds. Here’s the problem: if the winds produce 2-3′ waves in the lake, that gives you 2-3’ less water under your keel. In shallow conditions you could easily bottom-out. If winds are coming from north through east, the problem develops in the SW corner of the lake….right in the Clewiston cut. If the winds are from the north through southwest or even the south, the shallow channel from the lake into Port Mayaca lock can become a problem.

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