Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Franklin Lock, westernmost lock on the Okeechobee Waterway, is located at Statute Mile 121 and St. Lucie Lock, the easternmost lock, lies west of Stuart, FL near Statute Mile 15. This notice was posted on AGLCA’s Forum by good friends Chuck Baier and Susan Landry.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced restrictions for lock operations on the Okeechobee Waterway due to receding water levels on Lake Okeechobee, effective immediately.
Locking operations at the W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam near Fort Myers and the St. Lucie Lock & Dam near Stuart will be conducted every two hours from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. This action is the result of the water level at
Lake Okeechobee falling below 12.5 feet.
“This is standard operating procedure whenever the lake falls below 12.5 feet” said Steve Dunham, Chief of the Corps’ South Florida Operations Office. “We encourage boaters to be aware of the lake level and consider that drafts will continue to decrease if the lake drops more in coming weeks.”
Under the updated schedule, boats will be locked through at the Franklin and St. Lucie Locks at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. Operations at the other three locks, Ortona, Moore Haven, and Port Mayaca, will continue on demand between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. with final lockage beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Should the lake drop below 11.5 feet, additional reductions in service will be necessary. For more information on navigation notices concerning the Okeechobee Waterway, please visit the following website:
Torry Island Swing Bridge crosses the Okeechobee Waterway’s Rim Route at Statute Mile 61, hard by Torry Island. This interesting report was posted by Skipper Dwelle on AGLCA’s Forum.
We did the rim route at the end of May, 2015–no problems as everyone else has noted. Anchored overnight at South Bay–well protected but not the greatest anchoring bottom. One of the most interesting things was the swing bridge at Torrey Island. We called for an opening on VHF, and tender said he’d be there in 15 minutes. We saw him drive up with a partner in a pickup. They walked across the bridge, took out a long long pole, inserted to into a big gear socket, and began walking in circles, to open up the bridge. Don’t think we’ve heard of another human-powered swing bridge on the Loop.
This construction project is just to the west of the Clewiston Lock, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 65.
FLORIDA – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY – CLEWISTON: Cofferdam
Ebsary Foundation in conjunction with the US Army Corps of Engineers will begin working in Clewiston, FL. Adjacent to the Herbert Hoover Dike from June 1, 2015 thru August 1, 2015. The scope of work involves installing a steel sheet pile cofferdam adjacent to the Herbert Hoover Dike. The coordinates for the work site are as follows; 26°45’51″N, 80°55’32″W. Ebsary Foundation will have a 48’ x 120’ deck barge (Name: Mobro 204) with a 165 Ton crane mounted on it, and a 25’ x 14’ tug boat (Name: Cottonmouth). The barge and tug boat will be located inside the construction area and will monitor VHF Channel 16. Operations will be Monday through Saturday from 7:00am to 7:00pm. Recreational and commercial boaters are asked to use extra precaution when navigating through this section of the waterway west and adjacent to the Herbert Hoover Dike Road City Boat Ramp and Clewiston City Marina and Boat Ramp. For further information contact Brent Huffman, 305-325-0530 ext. 113. Chart 11428 LNM: 21/15
The Pahokee Marina/Lake Okeechobee KOA is part of Pahokee State Park, north of Bacom Point, on the Rim Route of Lake Okeechobee. For more information go to: www.cityofpahokee.com/Marina & Campground/Marina.html
Pahokee Marina (3-18-15)
We traveled to Pahokee via the rim canal, no problems, the lake water was up and thanks to the Cruisers Net for letting us know the canal had been cleaned.
The first night was a great night, no wind. We were also warned not to leave the marina after dark. The area is a little rough. Everyone was friendly and helpful.
The second night the wind picked up and clocked around from the north to north west at about 8-10 knots. That got scary in the marina. One of the regulars (liveaboards) in the marina knocked on the boat and told us we had better put on more lines and helped us to cross tie everything so we were not rubbing the dock. They also told us if the wind gets more than what we have it starts to get dangerous inside the marina.
The town is within walking distance so food stuffs are within half mile walk. They also have a pool and restaurant.
Moore Haven City Dock, the first stop west of Lake Okeechobee, is located at Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 78, on the Moore Haven waterfront. Our thanks to Phil Herl for this advice and report.
Moore Haven City Marina (3/18/15)
Great docking and electric, Lots of space on a face type dock, if you arrive early remember to tie as close as possible to the other boats, to leave as much room as possible for other boats. Also help to encourage others to do the same. Eating places and grocery store are within walking distance.
This notice of schedule changes was copied from East Coast Alerts by Mel Neale, April 9, 2015.
Changes in Okeechobee Waterway Lock Schedule, April 1, 2015:
a. 33 CFR Navigation and Navigable Waters
1. Notice to Navigation Notice is given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will change hours of operation at all five Locks along the Okeechobee Waterway beginning 1 April 2015. Changes will affect operations at the St Lucie, Port Mayaca, Moore Haven, Ortona and W.P. Franklin Locks. Hours of operation will be 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily with lockages at St Lucie and WP Franklin based on Lake Okeechobee’s water level as outlined below.
Lake Okeechobee Level:
1) Above 12.5′ Lock operations on demand 07:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily.
2) Below 12.5′ Lock operations every 2 hours (07:00 AM, 09:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:30 PM)
3) Below 12.0′ Lock operations 4 per-day (07:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 4:30 PM)
4) Below 11.5′ Lock operations 3 per-day (07:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 4:30 PM)
5) Below 11.0′ Lock operations 2 per-day (07:00 AM, 4:30 PM)
Lake Okeechobee water level can be viewed on the Corps of Engineers web site at http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml
Canaveral Lock near Canaveral Harbor will continue to operate from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. (from NOTICE TO NAVIGATION INTERESTS Date: 03/19/2015 NOTICE NUMBER: 003 US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS LOCAL NUMBER: 20150319 JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT)*
These repairs were originally set as a Navigation Alert, but we have not heard of any difficulties passing through the construction sites. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=143557 and http://cruisersnet.net/?p=81398 for reports on earlier and on-going culvert repairs.
FLORIDA – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY: Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation Project CULVERT C-3 Replacement Adjacent to the Okeechobee Waterway
Mariners transiting the Okeechobee Waterway (OWW) are advised of water based construction activity on the Herbert Hoover Dike. The C3 location is 870,313.9N, 704,735.5E to 870,494.6N, 704,418.6E or from 26° 43’ 40.66”N, 80° 51’ 4.31”W to 26° 43’ 42.45”N, 80° 51’ 7.81”W. Archer Western Construction will be replacing one culvert along the Okeechobee Waterway near Clewiston (Culvert C-3) as part of the overall Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation Project sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Work is scheduled to be completed September 1, 2016. A ‘No Wake Zone’ has been established extending 1000 feet either side of the projects to ensure safe management of bi-directional traffic throughout the construction period. Mariners are advised they transit at their own risk. Transiting vessels are restricted to a controlling width of 20-ft minimum through Culvert C-3 project area, limited by a controlling depth of 6ft when the lake is at elevation +11.0-ft Mean Sea Level. Once culvert replacement is complete, the cofferdam will be removed and waterway restored. Construction will occur 5 to 6 days a week, with the possibility of night time work. Reports of vessel grounding have been received. Mariners should be aware of and diligently follow the instructions of signage located along the shoreline. Flagmen will be present as needed to signal vessels to stop or to proceed with caution. Mariners should be prepared to stop their vessel or proceed with caution as directed by flagmen. Construction consists of steel and earthen cofferdams on both the lakeside and landside of the dike to create a self-contained work area. The waterway will be restricted and may be intermittently obstructed during the installation and removal of the cofferdams and during the process of replacing the culverts.
Recreational and commercial boaters are asked to use caution and be prepared to stop when navigating through this section of the waterway.
Additional information concerning Lake Okeechobee, the Okeechobee Waterway and related navigation bulletins including controlling depths may be obtained on Jacksonville District’s website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/ Chart 11428 LNM: 14/15
The campgound and docks were closed in August of 2014 and now it seems there will be a delay until they are reopened. For an excellent description of Franklin Lock and Dam Park by our good friends Susan Landry and Chuck Baier, go to: http://cruisersnet.net/?p=142643
According to John Campbell at USACOE, the contract for repairs of the “boat in” docks at the Franklin Lock and Dam Campground has not been awarded yet and the docks may not be open again until the fall of this year. This is one of our favorite stops on the Okeechobee Waterway and we’re sorry to hear about this delay. Officials at the campground identified structural issues with the docks that require significant repair. The W.P. Franklin Campground along the north side of the Caloosahatchee River offers 30 RV/tent campsites and is open year round. The W.P. Franklin Recreation Area offers a swimming beach and boat ramp for daily use. There are areas to anchor on both sides of the lock with easy shore access at the park.
This request asks for your comments on lake restoration in South Florida, including Lake Okeechobee.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District to conduct restoration activities on four lakes and water bodies in the FWC’s South Region.
This permit is required pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The request is part of an overall initiative in which the FWC is working with the Corps to obtain permits for routine restoration work in 95 lakes and water bodies throughout Florida.
The public can review the request and comment on it (see link below).
The following water bodies within the FWC’s South Region are included in the permit application:
•Lake Okeechobee in Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Martin and Palm Beach counties;
•Lake Trafford in Collier County;
•Lake Hicpochee in Glades County;
•Lake Osborne in Palm Beach County.
The Corps permitting process requires the opportunity for public comment. The Corps has published a Public Notice for the proposed work on its website at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx. To view the notice, click on the following file number to open the Public Notice: SAJ-2015-00641 (SP-SLR). If you would like to provide comments or have any questions regarding the Corps permit process, please follow the directions included in the Public Notice. Note that the Web address is case sensitive and should be entered as it appears above.
Click Here to read the complete Bulletin
This AGLCA Forum report is another concerning options for a west to east crossing of Lake Okeechobee. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147224. Skippers Jenny and Kenny Beach chose the rim route despite warnings about the numerous pitfalls possible.
Today we did the rim route west to east. Thanks to all the replies which took away the unnecessary anxiety. It was beautiful, totally void of debris, and a much smoother ride than the almost straight across route had to offer. We cut the northeast corner off by heading for the canal entrance from day marker 24. We stuck to the rim route at marker 60 since the lake was very choppy at that point and the rim route provided some wind and wave protection. I think the lowest depth we saw all day was 9.8′. There is no reason to be hesitant at all about exploring this scenic area.
Jeanne & Kenny Beach
This AGLCA Forum report documents the Beach’s careful planning for a rim route versus direct route crossing of Lake Okeechobee. For their decision and description of their crossing, go to http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147301.
So the captain would like to take the rim route to cross the lake. The lock tenders say it is not recommended. The other boaters here at Roland Martin’s, who have not made the trip, say it is a bad idea. They claim that
everyone they know who has done it says it is loaded with debris, tree limbs, old refrigerators, and such. The captain is not buying the horror stories but the admiral won’t go since “everyone” says it is a bad idea.
Would love for some “experienced” boater feedback. Today’s water depth was 6.88′; we draw 4′.
Jeanne & Kenny Beach
This AGLCA Forum report by Skipper Healy is prompted by a discussion of the Okeechobee Waterway which mentions Clewiston, Florida, which has long been a good source for checking depths in Lake Okeechobee. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=147224. Peg and Jim Healy are longtime contributors to SSECN.
What’s interesting about Lake “O” is NOT the datum for the surface of the lake – which can be very misleading – but the actual depth of the water on the navigation routes. As a reservoir for Southeast Florida, lake datum is important as a measure of water reserves for the Palm Beaches. But to boats, water depth is all that matters. This really matters in the spring, as the annual “dry season” progresses toward summer. Today’s lake datum is 14.72 feet, but the Route 1 (cross-lake) water depth is only 8.66 feet and Route 2 (Rim route) is only 6.86 feet. Here’s the USACE website for nav route WATER DEPTH data: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml. The good news is, that status in early March should make for a comfortable season for spring crossings this year.
Also be advised, the basin at Roland Martin is VERY shallow, and the bottom is sticky mud. If the cross lake route gets to 5 feet, the basin in Clewiston will be less; maybe 4 ft. One who gets stuck in there is thoroughly stuck. Roland Martin is a bass boat marina, not a cruising boat marina. Careful consideration of water depths is advised for cruisers.
There is a definite wind-driven “tide” on Lake O. Prolonged winds from the south can make the lake quite lumpy with short period seas and drive water depths on the south end of the lake a foot less than the datum would otherwise suggest. Which leads to my last point. The most “risky” part of the cross-lake route is the channel out of Clewiston leading into the Lake. That is a dredged channel that’s about 100′ wide on the south end. Most people think Florida is a big sand bar, but the bottom of lake O is limestone. Limestone is soft stone, but plenty hard enough to hurt props and rudders. It’s extremely important to stay in that channel and not get blown sideways; the channel edges are VERY unforgiving, like the “Rock Pile” in Myrtle Beach. That channel is probably 5 StM in length to G”1″. The farther out of Clewiston one gets, the farther apart the markers become. The prevailing winds on the lake will try to blow boats sideways out of the channel, SO PILOTS MUST BE ABLE TO BACKSIGHT THE MARKERS TO BE SURE THE BOAT STAYS IN THAT CHANNEL. Otherwise, there will be this very
disheartening crunching sound… And, there are no Tow BoatUS/SeaTow services on the lake.
Hope this is useful!
Peg and Jim Healy
We would add this to Jim’s excellent observations. A few other points in looking at the COE website for navigational depths. An 8.66 depth on route 1 does not mean that the entire route is 8.66 feet. It means that 8.66 is the shallowest depth you will find if you stay in the channel along route 1. The same goes for route 2, the Rim Route. There are only two areas that you will find the shallow depths. Along route 1, that will be in the approach channel to Clewiston. Along route 2, it will be in the channel immediately after turning south out of the Port Mayaca Lock. The shallow depths can be avoided on route 2 by heading out into the lake and turning south. Then re-enter the route 2 channel at Pahokee. Depths in the Lake will be 10 to 14 feet and the rest of the route 2 depths will be 12 to 20 feet based on today’s reported depths. There is no alternative for the route 1 shallow area and the advise is simply, stay in the channel and go slow until back on the rim route. Across the Lake, depths will be 10 to 15 feet, and deeper once back on the Rim Route.
Chuck Baier and Susan Landry
My Navigational Notices
This AGLCA Forum report includes a stop at Roland Martin’s Marina, found on a small canal in Clewiston, Florida, which has long been a good source for checking depths in Lake Okeechobee. See http://www.rolandmartinmarina.com/water_levels.php.
Okeechobee Waterway crossing last week on Feb 21st and 22nd. Water levels were high, 15 ft plus (above the Atlantic Ocean sea level). We were aboard a Mainship 400 with 4 foot draft. Our westbound trip from Stuart FL
included anchoring up the St Lucie River Northfork, then clearing both St Lucie and Port Mayaca Locks with no issues. The lake was OK with a 2 foot chop and we spent an evening in Clewiston at Roland and Mary Ann Martins Marina. Say hi to Dockmaster Capt. Sam. He will take care of you. Just in case he is not on duty be sure to dock your boat and face your master stateroom away from the band in the TiKi Bar. Believe me, you’ll sleep better. While there, take a selfie at the Tiki Bar’s Chevy Suburban in the front yard.
The rest of the trip west was fine. We had deep enough water and all the locks were working AOK. We stayed the evening on Captiva Island, a very remote quiet place, one of the last Old Florida locations you’ll visit.
Then onto Cortez, FL in the fog.
Chris & Alyse Caldwell
This is certainly one of the most unusual, but very legitimate, requests that I can remember posting. If you can supply Skipper Parish with a name or phone number, please reply to his email below. Port Mayaca Railway Lift Bridge with a vertical clearance of 49ft when fully open crosses the Okeechobee Waterway at Statute Mile 38, near the tiny (charted) village of Port Mayaca.
Years ago I travelled the Okeechobee Waterway and was able to get under the 49′ Port Mayaca RR bridge by hiring a marina operator to help heel my boat over so my 53′ mast would pass under the bridge. Does anyone know if this “heeling” service is still being provided by a marina along the waterway? If so, contact me directly at email@example.com. Thank you
I received two replies today. Both sources provide the same information. One source was Kim Brown, captain of s/v Trust Me. The other source was from Indiantown Marina. Contact – Billy Owens his phone number is 561-262-5200.
Glover Bight Anchorage lies on the northeasterly reaches of Glover Bight, northeast of unlighted daybeacon #9 near the western end of the Okeechobee Waterway.
Good holding in this anchorage, but stay out of the SE side as others have mentioned. In the far East corner, where the bight narrows, there is a dock and gazebo. This is a Cape Coral city park with a nice boardwalk. From the end of the boardwalk where it joins the road is 2 miles to Publix, a nice jaunt for avid walkers like us or your collapsible bicicyle. Its a very high step to get out at the dock. Enjoy the usually lame music from the Westin on the weekends!
The docks, ramps and campgrounds at this popular Waterway stopover have been undergoing renovations for several months, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=144069. The W.P. Franklin Lock is located at Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 121, west of unlighted daybeacon #2 (western side of lock).
January 5, 2015
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District closes swimming beach at W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has closed the swimming beach at W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area on the Caloosahatchee River near Alva due to concerns about water quality.
“Public safety is always our primary concern, so we have temporarily closed the swimming beach at the W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area,” said George Melanson, natural resource manager in the South Florida Operations Office in Clewiston. “We will let the public know as soon as possible when we are able to reopen the beach for their enjoyment.”
The closure was recommended by the Florida Department of Health after routine water test results returned with elevated levels of enterococcus bacteria. The Department of Health re-sampled water in the swim area this morning, and results should be available tomorrow.
For information on the W.P. Franklin Lock and Visitor Center, call 239-694-2582. Additional information can be found online at www.saj.usace.army.mil and then clicking the “Recreation” icon or http://1.usa.gov/1cmNXQK.
What a grand way to get into the Holiday spirit! Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!, overlooks the westerly banks of the Mantanzas Pass channel, west of marker #13.
We seldom get inquiries about specific individuals, but Skipper Schofield’s query seems genuinely sincere, especially with his kind words for Bob Wallace. If you have knowledge of Bob’s status or wish to relate your own experiences with Bob, please us hear from you.
The Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field is found east of the high-rise bridge, just north of Estero Island. The mooring field is hosted by City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
We’ve anchored in what is now the mooring field a few times but not for several years, the last time back in 2000. I wonder if anyone knows the latest on Bob Wallace who welcomed boaters to his dock to land, take on water and all he asked in return was that they sign his visitors book. I guess Bob will have passed away but I thought he had a son who might have carried on the tradition. I guess it’s a less necessary facility these days but it was wonderful back then and a hugely generous gesture by Bob. Anyone know anything?
Fort Myers Yacht Basin lies along the southeasterly banks of the Caloosahatchee River, between the 3rd and 4th bridges from west to east. We are proud that this fine SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR is offering their expertise and advice to Okeechobee and West Florida transients!p>
Hello to all of those transiting the beautiful Okeechobee Waterway.
For current conditions on the waterway, please allow the staff at the City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin to assist you. We will be happy to provide tidal, lock schedule, weather and any other impacting information in order to help you make it through. We can be reached at 239-321-7080, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and channel 16 when closer. We are open 8 to 6 and are here to serve you.
Leif Lustig, Dock Master
Notice of upcoming Okeechobee Waterway closures;
Please review the tentative schedule for waterway closures to navigation which can be found on the City of Fort Myers web page at http://www.cityftmyers.com/yachtbasin, as construction continues on the I-75 bridge at mile marker 129.
Leif Lustig, Dockmaster