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Archive For: Content Okeechobee

  • LNM: St Lucie Lock Closures, 7/16-20 and 7/23-27, OWW Statute Mile 15


    St. Lucie Lock, the easternmost Okeechobee lock, lies west of Stuart, FL at Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 15. Our thanks to Specialist Erica Skolte for this advance notice.

    NOTICE TO NAVIGATION INTERESTS

    Date: 6/28/2018 NOTICE NUMBER: 0011
    US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS LOCAL NUMBER:20180628

    POC: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Navigation/NoticestoNavigation.aspx

    OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY C-44 ST. LUCIE LOCK CLOSURE FOR REPAIR
    READ MORE!

    REFERENCE:
    a. 33 CFR Navigation and Navigable Waters
    1. Notice to Navigation Interests
    Notice is given that St. Lucie Lock & Dam, Stuart, Florida will be closing for emergency repair work from Monday, July 16th through Friday, July 20th and the following week Monday, July 23rd through Friday, July 27th, 0700 – 1700 with one scheduled lockage in each direction at 0700 and again at 1200. The lock will extend its hours during the closure times to accommodate vessels that are at the assigned arrival point at 1700 hours. The lock will be open for normal operations Saturday July 21st and Sunday July 22nd.
    2. For questions regarding the repair work, contact St. Lucie Lock at 772-287-2665

    /signed/
    Gary L.Hipkins
    Chief Navigation & Flood Risk Management
    South Florida Operations

    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 Waterway Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For St. Lucie Lock

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

  • LNM: Cofferdam Removal at Clewiston, Fl, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 65


    The construction of the steel cofferdam was begun in June of 2015 and Okeechobee boaters have adapted well to its presence. The cofferdam’s removal may actually cause more delay than its construction. Caution is called for during the project.

    FLORIDA – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY ROUTE 2 – HERBERT HOOVER DIKE REHABILITATION PROJECT: COFFERDAM REMOVAL

    CLICK HERE FOR COFFERDAM REMOVAL AND PROJECT LOCATION!
    Ebsary Foundation will begin the removal of the steel pile cofferdam located at Culvert 2 (Lake Okeechobee) in Clewiston, 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 July 9, 2018 thru August 31, 2018. The GPS Coordinates of the work area are adjacent to 25°45’52N / 80°55’30W. 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.

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Hoover Dike

  • LNM: Moore Haven Lock Now Open with No Width Restrictions, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 78


    Moore Haven City Dock, the first stop west of Lake Okeechobee, is located at Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 78, on the Moore Haven waterfront. As always, our thanks to Specialist Erica Skolte for this good news.

    OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY  
    MOORE HAVEN LOCK 
    All,
    Moore Haven Lock west gate has been repaired and the lock is fully operational with no width restrictions.
    Thanks,
    Erica

    Erica Skolte
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Corporate Communications Office
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District

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

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

  • LNM: Ortona Lock Re-Opened! Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 94


    After a 13-day closure, this re-opening, right on schedule, is good news for waiting cruisers! Our thank to Specialist Erica Skolte for this notice!

    Corps opens Ortona Lock for navigation following completion of maintenance repairs

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has resumed normal operations at the Ortona Lock on the Okeechobee Waterway, following completion of maintenance and repairs. 

    READ MORE!

    Completion of the work allows the Corps to resume normal operations as of Sunday, June 17, locking vessels on demand between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last lockage beginning at 4:30 p.m., seven days a week. 

    “We know that everyone who uses the Okeechobee Waterway has been anxious to have the lock back open and operational. We recognize these repairs have posed an inconvenience to boaters, both commercial and recreational,” said Carol Bernstein, Jacksonville District Operations Division Chief. “Our thanks goes out to the boating community for their patience and understanding while we completed repairs to keep our infrastructure safe and our waterways open in the future. Planned maintenance minimizes the chance of costly emergency closures in the future, which typically take much longer to complete.”

    “This was the first lock closure along the Okeechobee Waterway in six years. We had to inspect and maintain our locks, and replace the gate seals,” said Gary Russ, Chief of the South Florida Operations Office located in Clewiston. “Despite the long days and tough work, this was a great team effort. We waited for manatees to move to safety and electrical storms to pass, and worked long hours in the south Florida heat. Wayne Sullivan’s team of skilled workers brought years of knowledge and experience and worked together as a team, each person depending on others to get the job done. It was a job well done.”

    Maintenance is necessary periodically to repair aging and damaged infrastructure, in addition to improving public and vessel safety. Repairs required the lock chamber to be dewatered for crews to perform inspections, replace gate seals and repair Manatee Protection System (MPS) components. During the closure, barges, floating cranes and divers worked in the lock entrance, required vessel operators in the area to use minimal speed and caution for safety.

    The Corps of Engineers published a notice to navigation interests and coordinated with marinas, commercial and recreational vessels, and members of the public in advance of the closure of the Ortona Lock for maintenance June 4 through 16.

    The Ortona Lock is located on the Caloosahatchee River, 15.5 miles west of the Moore Haven Lock on the west side of Lake Okeechobee, and 27.9 miles east of the W.P. Franklin Lock near Olga and Fort Myers. The Ortona Lock and Dam were constructed in 1937 for navigation and flood control purposes. The Ortona Lock is one of five locks located along the 152-mile Okeechobee Waterway, which allows safe passage of vessels from the Atlantic Ocean near Stuart to the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers.

    Learn more about the Ortona Lock: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/OrtonaLock

    ###

    Tags: Caloosahatchee, Ft. Myers, Fort Myers, Jacksonville District, manatee protections system, manatee, navigation, notice to navigation, Ortona Lock, Okeechobee Waterway, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USACE

    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 Ortona Lock

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

  • River District June 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.

    CLICK HERE FOR JUNE RIVER CONNECTIONS

     
    CLICK HERE FOR JUNE CALENDAR OF EVENTS!

     
    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

  • 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
    READ MORE!

    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

  • LNM: IMPORTANT REMINDER! Notice to Navigation: Ortona Lock Closure June 4 -16, 2018, OWW Statute Mile 94


    This closure of Ortona Lock effectively closes the Okeechobee for 13 days. And, before you complain, remember we were given an opportunity to comment on this closure earlier this year: https://cruisersnet.net/171660. Note that the lock will be pumped dry, so there are no after work hours openings. Adding to your inconvenience are the repairs to Indiantown RR bridge, May 28-June 12: https://cruisersnet.net/171660, which does have early AM and late PM openings. Any float plans to cross the Okeechobee in June must be carefully considered. Our thanks to Specialist Erica Skolte for this important reminder!

    Please share this important reminder with other interested parties, including our Facebook post https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict/ and on Twitter @JaxStrong.

    Notice to Navigation Interests: Okeechobee Waterway – Ortona Lock Closure June 4-16, 2018
    http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Portals/44/docs/Navigation/Notices/NTN2018/NTN2018-02OkeechobeeWaterwayOrtonaLockClosureJune2018.pdf     

    READ MORE!

    Notice is given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is notifying the public, marinas, commercial and recreational vessels traveling the Okeechobee Waterway that Ortona Lock will be closed for maintenance 4 through 16 June 2018. This will be the first lock closure along the Okeechobee Waterway in 6 years; maintenance is necessary to repair aging and damaged infrastructure in addition to improving public and vessel safety. Repairs will require the lock chamber to be dewatered for crews to perform inspections, replace gate seals and repair Manatee Protection system components. During the closure, barges, floating cranes and divers will be working in the lock entrance, requiring vessel operators in the area to use minimal speed and caution for safety.

    Note: The other locks on the Okeechobee Waterway (other than Ortona) and Canaveral remain in full operation.

    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!
    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 Ortona Lock

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

  • 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

  • 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.

    CLICK HERE FOR MAY CONNECTIONS CALENDAR OF EVENTS!

     

    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

     

  • 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

  • LNM: NOTICE: Indiantown RR Bridge Under Opening Restrictions, May 28-June 12, Indiantown, FL, OWW Statute Mile 29


    With a four-hour advanced notice requirement, these opening restrictions essentially close the bridge and the Okeechobee to navigation for 3 weeks! With a closed vertical clearance, the Indiantown RR bridge crosses the Okeechobee immediately west of the Indiantown fixed bridge. For more on this RR bridge, see https://cruisersnet.net/163565.

    FLORIDA – EAST COAST – ST. LUCIE INLET TO FORT MYERS AND LAKE OKEECHOBEE– CSX ST. LUCIE CANAL RAILROAD BRIDGE: Bridge Repairs.
    The Coast Guard has received a request from PCL Civil Constructors, Inc to temporarily change the bridge operating schedule that governs the CSX Railroad Bridge across the Okeechobee Waterway (St. Lucie Canal), mile 28.2, at Indiantown, Florida. We are approving this request to allow the bridge to open only with a 4 hour advanced notice to the bridge tender from 7 a.m. on May 28, 2018 through 7 p.m. on June 3, 2018 at 772-597-3822. The Coast Guard is also approving the request to allow the bridge to remain closed to navigation from 7 a.m. on June 4, 2018 through 7 a.m. on June 12, 2018. During the designated time periods, the bridge will be allowed to remain closed to navigation to facilitate the preparation for and the replacement of the drive gear. At all other times, this bridge shall operate in accordance with its regular operating schedule, 33 CFR 117.317(e). We are approving this request under the provisions of 33 CFR 117. For questions regarding the repair work contact Brandon Hinson with PCL via phone at (407) 956-9640 or via email at bhinson@pcl.com. For waterways questions contact LT Ruth Sadowitz with Coast Guard Sector Miami Waterways. Phone: (305) 535-4307 or via email at Ruth.A.Sadowitz@uscg.mil.
    Ref: LNM 17-18 Chart 1128

    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

  • 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. READ MORE!

    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

  • 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. READ MORE!

    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

  • 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.
    READ MORE!

    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

  • 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.)
    READ MORE!

    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

  • 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

  • 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. READ MORE!

    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

  • 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. READ MORE!

    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).

  • 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. READ MORE!

    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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