Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 07-08-2012
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
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As you can see from Captain Tony’s report, the locks in the Okeechobee are, and will always be, a source of entertainment and awe by Okeechobee navigators. Having one’s vessel “lifted” so many feet in such a narrow space provides an experience to be fondly (hopefully) remembered.
Background: We have been in the process of bringing our boat from the Florida East Coast (Palm Beach) to the West Coast. We have had little boating experience in Florida, although we have extensive boating experience on the West Coast of the US. The information about the Okeechobee Waterway indicated very shallow water on Route 2. We are fair weather boaters and decided the Rim Route was best for us. We read every thing about the lake, yet it still was a challenge to get around it.
The big day arrived after a couple of months driving from Naples to the east coast to stage the boat for the Okeechobee Waterway adventure.
We left Indiantown marina Saturday, October 19, 9:45am bound for Clewiston, aboard our 33′ Chris Craft Coho. Arrived at Port Mayaca after a wonderful cruise down the balance of the St Lucie canal. Entered the Lock with no problems. Lake had a light chop and there was plenty of depth for navigating from the lock to beacons “4″ and “4B.” The channel is well marked and easy to follow. The trip was pleasant to Torry Island where we encountered hyacinths and water lettuce in the channel at mile marker 60 or so prior to the Torry Island/Belle Glade swing bridge. The channel narrows to about 15 feet wide with a depth of 18 feet. Go slow and there should be no problem; it extends all the way to the bridge. We contacted the Torry Island/Belle Glade bridge operator by calling Slims fish camp, 561 996-3844, who opened the bridge for us in very short time.
From there we were able to make our way to Clewiston uneventfully.
We entered the Clewiston Lock on the Green Light with a few fishing boats and before we knew it, there was Roland and Martin’s Marina where we had reservations for transient dockage. After a great hamburger and fries we retired for the evening.
Sunday morning we were able to watch the parade of boats headed for the east coast of Florida ranging from approx 48′ to 60 feet go by us. Wow, what a tight fit in the lock.
We headed out the Clewiston lock after fueling up. We passed a large cofferdam where the levy is being shored up. Arriving at the Moore Haven lock we met a couple who were headed for LaBelle in a sailboat and they offered to enter the lock first. Upon being lowered to the Caloosahatchee River via the lock, we (my wife Linda, Cat Marchello and myself Tony) slapped hands and paw that we had conquered the Great Okeechobee Route 2 waterway and were on our way to Fort Myers.
We share this story for those who may be considering Route 2. It’s a great boating experience.
Linda, Tony, and Marchello The Cat
Moore Haven Lock is located at Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 78, hard by the Moore Haven waterfront. This notice is from the Jacksonville District of the USACE.
Release no. 13-088
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced changes in operations at the Moore Haven Lock that will take effect next week.
The changes affect lock operations on Wednesdays and Thursday in Moore Haven. The locks will open at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. Lockages will only take place every two hours, at 8 a.m.,10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. with the final lockage at 5 p.m. The locks will continue to operate from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. the other five days of the week. The changes will take effective on Oct. 23.
“This adjustment is being made to accommodate a change in the staffing pattern at Moore Haven Lock,” said Tim Murphy, Assistant Chief of Jacksonville District’s Operations Division. “Our intent is to implement this change in a manner that causes the least inconvenience to those who navigate through the Moore Haven Lock.”
Moore Haven Lock was constructed in 1935 for navigation and flood control purposes. It is the third lock from the west on the 152-mile Okeechobee Waterway, which allows safe passage of vessels from the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers to the Atlantic Ocean near Stuart. It is located in Moore Haven on the western side of Lake Okeechobee.
A Notice to Navigation has been issued on this subject. For more information on navigation notices concerning Ortona Lock or the rest of the Okeechobee Waterway, please visit the following website:
The channel leading to the anchorage on Glover Bight, Tarpon Point Marina and Cape Harbor Marina departs the Okeechobee Waterway’s trek downstream on the Caloosahatchee River at marker #92. The damaged marker, reported below in this article cherry picked from the latest Local Notice to Mariners, lies just northwest of #92, and is the southernmost aid to navigation on the Glover Bight channel.
FLORIDA-WEST COAST-INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY-CAPE CORAL SOUTHWEST CHANNEL: Private Aid Hazard to Navigation.
The Coast Guard received a report of Private Aid Cape Coral Southwest Channel DBN 1 (LLNR 54640) is destroyed. The remains of the pile are partially submerged.The aid is a hazard to navigation. Mariners are advised to transit the area with extreme caution. Chart 11427 LNM: 41/13
Here’s another recommendation for the Okeechobee Waterway as posted on the AGLCA website, www.greatloop.org. Pahokee is at statute mile 50 of the Rim Route. For a recent report on Okeechobee lock hours see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=122294
My girlfriend and I crossed from Fort Myers to Stuart Fl via the Okeechobee waterway on September 6-9.
We got a late start on Friday due to an airline delay from DFW. We left Ft Myers Boat Club Marina at 1100 to fuel up at the Ft Myers Yacht Basin. I should mention here, Ft Myers Boat Club has slips available at $6/ft per month but they will pro rate daily if you ask Tom the manager. I left my 25 Albin there for two weeks for $75. This is more of a do it yourself maintenance marina, no showers/restrooms or fuel, but good water and power.
After fueling, we head east on the Caloosahatchee River. Lots of water due to high release from Okechobee. We transited WP Franklin Lock uneventfully, and made it to LaBelle Marina at nightfall as a storm rolled in. LaBelle is a very “classic” old Florida marina….some slips have power, some don’t. You have to hunt for it, kind of “where’s Waldo” like. There’s an honor system box to put cash in since they are only open from 0900-1300, but at .50/ft, it’s pretty easy to see why. We took showers in the morning with green tree frogs and chameleons looking on.
Left La Belle early and cruised against a 1.5kt current thru Ortona Lock and on to Clewiston for an awesome burger at Roland Martins.
I’ve gotten so much conflicting info regarding locks on Okechobee. Here’s the deal on our trip, all locks operate on demand from 0700-1900 due to sequestration. Not 2100, but 1900. We didn’t have the speed to make it across the lake in time to make Port Mayaca lock before closing time, so we took the Rim Route to Pahokee where we moored at Okechobee Resort Marina [http://lakeokeechobeeresort.com/]. Beautiful facility that’s going thru obvious growing pains and management/name changes. The restrooms and showers had a sign on the door stating “closed from 5pm til 0900am”.
Apparently they have problems with locals that fish on the sea wall taking up residence in the showers?
Here’s a recommendation for the Okeechobee Waterway as posted on the AGLCA website, www.greatloop.org. Port Mayaca Lock is at statute mile 39 and Port St. Lucie Lock is at mile 15. Okeechobee RV Resort and Marina, which is a property of ACOE, formerly just north of Moore Haven Lock, was closed to the public in October of 2012 and all docks have been removed.
Sunday morning, we left Okechobee Resort and cut the corner across the lake to Port Mayaca Lock. Locked thru and enjoyed a 1 1/2 to 2 kt current push all the way to Stuart. Beautiful trip, lots of Osprey, alligators and even locked thru Port St Lucy with a manatee!
Recommend this route to anyone who doesn’t want the open water exposure of going around the southern end of Florida.
The text below is reprinted with permission from “East Coasts Alerts,” authored by our good friends Mel and Tom Neale. This publication is a service of Boat/US. You can read the full text of the Neal’s latest “Alert” at http://www.boatus.com/cruising/tomneale/alert.asp. You can also apply for a FREE e-mail subscription at http://www.boatus.com/cruising/TomNeale/signup.asp. We highly recommend this companion publication. After all, NO-ONE knows more about cruising that Tom and Mel Neale!!!
Back to the Okeechobee Waterway, this is the first time in my somewhat defective memory that I can remember the Okeechobee locks having reduced lockage hours due to HIGH water. It’s usually during times of drought that the USACOE finds it necessary to curb the locks.
Well, as we reported earlier, the prodigious summer Florida rainfall has actually caused some concern about the dikes around Lake Okeechobee (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=121826) and the release of polluted water into the OKWW, east and west of Lake Okeechobee (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=121537). I guess the restricted lock hours described below are just another casualty of all this excess water!
Okeechobee Waterway Revised Locking Hours Due to High Lake Okeechobee Water Levels:
1. Lake Okeechobee is experiencing unusually high water levels requiring adjustments to lockage times on the Okeechobee Waterway to maintain maximum water releases from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee River (C-43) and the St. Lucie Canal.
2. Lockage schedules for Moore Haven Lock and Ortona Lock are temporarily revised as of this date to maintain maximum water releases from Lake Okeechobee. Lockage schedules are revised as follows:
Moore Haven Lock (26.833683°-81.088144°). First lockage is at 7AM local time both east and west bound continuing to lock through traffic only on the odd hour throughout the day until securing at 7PM local time.
Ortona Lock (26.789265°-81.304948°): First lockage is at 8am local time both east and west bound continuing to lock thru traffic only on the even hour throughout the day until securing at 6PM local time.
Port Mayaca Lock (26.984290-80.621067°): No restrictions. Lock gates remain open for passage 24/7.
W.P. Franklin Lock (26.723504°-81.693068°): No restrictions. Lockage is on request between 7AM and 7PM local time.
St. Lucie Lock (27.111128°-80.284610°): No restrictions. Lockage is on request between 7AM and 7PM local time.
3. Locks will resume normal hours of operations from 7AM to 7PM daily for the five locks on the Okeechobee Waterway once water levels on Lake Okeechobee are at a reduced level. For additional information regarding this issue and others may be obtained by accessing the Jacksonville District website: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Navigation/NoticestoNavigation.aspx US Army Corps of Engineers point of contact is Mr. Jack J. Pasch, Supervisor Facility Management Specialist at (863)983-8101 x229 or email: email@example.com (From a Notice to Navigation Interests, USACE Jacksonville, 12 August 2013)
Following the great Hurricane of 1926, which resulted in a horrendous loss of life after the less than adequate dikes around southern Lake Okeechobee gave way, the Federal Government built a series of very substantial dikes around the great lake that have successfully survived many a storm and hurricane for the last 87 years.
The reports below are the first time I know about since their construction that there has been serious worry about the Lake Okeechobee dike’s integrity. That shows just how MUCH rain has fallen in Florida this summer (and, I might add, on the rest of the Southeast as well).
Captain Gano is quite right, that, perish the thought, if the dikes should be breached, the entire Okeechobee Waterway would undoubtedly be closed. Depths would fall to record lows if this happened.
Stand by! The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net will keep a very close eye on this situation!
I saw a report on Fox News today that there is concern for the integrity of the dikes on the western shore of the lake. If there was a breach, I imagine the Lake route would be closed.
Lake Okeechobee was at 15.7 ft today, still almost a foot over their target. We have been getting a lot of rain here in southern Florida. The other day one storm dropped 3-4 inches.
The message below comes to us from Captain Ted Guy, our “man on the scene” in Stuart, Florida. Not only is Ted an active cruiser, but he is also a notable maritime attorney, and the past president of the Treasure Coast Marine Industry Association. In short, when Ted speaks, all of us around here listen. So should you!
Captain Ted’s message below refers to a currently-in-progress dumping of excess waters from Lake Okeechobee, into both the eastern and western portions of the locked Okeechobee Waterway. And, as you will see, this water is of very poor quality. Cruisers plying the Okeechboee Waterway through the remainder of 2013 (at least), need to be aware of this pollution problem, and minimize contact between their skin and the water!
What the USCG doesn’t monitor are the currents or the pollution. In the C-44 canal leading from the St. Lucie River up to the St. Lucie Lock & Dam, the current flowing downstream has been reported by GPS measurement as three to four knots. Pretty stiff for a five or six knot auxiliary.
I imagine there is probably a similar downstream current or even worse just West of Moore Haven lock & dam in the Caloosahatchee C-43 Canal flowing toward Ft. Myers.
These currents are due to the Corps of Engineers dumping the excess Lake Okeechobee water down the C-44 and C-43 canals because the federally tax payer subsidized sugar farmers to the South of lake Okeechobee won’t accept it . We pay taxes also to clean up their mess and our own estuaries. The C-44 discharge at the St. Lucie Lock & Dam is about 5,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) according to the USACE (Corps of Engineers). I think that translates to about 1.4 Billion gallons per day.
The water is turbid, almost black, at least dark brown, and full of toxic algae and some debris. The dark plumes in the Atlantic off Stuart and in the Gulf off Ft. Myers extend out miles. Salinity and dissolved oxygen in the St. Lucie Estuary are near zero. The situation is dire.
The Health Department has 40 signs up in Martin County at boat ramps, bridges and sand bars warning people not to swim or fish in the river; not to come in contact with the water. Visits to the emergency room by people who swam or fished in the water are reported.
Our St. Lucie River oyster beds are 99% dead according to the Florida Oceanographic Society (FOS). Sea grass beds in the lower St. Lucie and the Indian River Lagoon have been destroyed. Inshore fishing is dead. The fish and manatees have gone elsewhere to survive. Fishing guides, paddle board and kayak liveries and bait and tackle shops are closing down. The recovery has taken as long as ten years in past dumps of the Lake. We no longer expect ten years without dumps. Recently we’ve had them in 1995, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2013. I may have missed some years.
In Martin County, we have had as many as 5,000 people attend anti-dumping rallies to protest, according to The Stuart News, which has been giving this situation excellent daily coverage, along with our three local (Palm Beach County) TV stations, channels 5, 12 and 25.
Several news sources including the USACE announced Thursday that the discharges may go on to or past the end of 2013. I liken it to “flushing the toilet”.
W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.
[The child which is the subject of the story linked below] is from La Belle, along the waterway crossing of Lake Okeechobee.
I recommend nobody dive their boat’s hulls crossing the area. Wait until you are in saltwater.
My boat is stored just east of where the writer is discussing, and while I suppose the pollutions isn’t making its way east, this makes me want to rush back south a few weeks ahead of schedule and get the heck out of Dodge. Certainly is giving me second thoughts I may have had about exploring the western section of the Okeechobee Waterway. Kudos to the Cruisers’ Net and the Florida writer for keeping us abreast of this deplorable situation. Shame on the sugar industry!
Gotta love it when they come aboard to check your holding tank at 2 AM, don’t cha?
This shows once more that we live in a Plutocracy. The financial industry is another example. One law for us and no laws for them.
A couple of points concerning the “dumping of water” via the east and west rivers to both coast. People need to realize that if the water is not released that the Hoover Dike could be compromised and endanger the lives of thousands if a hurricane strikes the area. There are “fixes” in the works but like many government projects, they depend on funding from federal and state sources. And lets not forget that the water comes from many sources north of the lake ie: The Kissimmee River Basin and brings many pollutants with it.
And yes, a young boy is still fighting for his life (as of 8/20/13) but it has nothing to do with pollution and the sugar companies. This amoeba is found in many bodies of fresh water in south Florida in the summer months. Lets all pray for his survival.
Long time SSECN contributor Captain Mike Dickens of Paradise Yachts (http://www.paradiseyachtsales.net) has put together the combination still photo/video/text account, linked below, of cruising Flordia’s Okeechobee Waterway, from the western to the eastern coastline of the Sunshine State.
Just one word of caution. This account was composed several years ago, and while still quite useful, depths and conditions may now be very different. Nevertheless, this presentation is definitely worth a look!
If you decide to cross the lake on your way across Florida, I have produced a web page that will give you a feel of what to expect.
Mike and Mary Dickens
Ortona Lock is just east of unlighted daybeacon #1 and flashing daybeacon #2 and normally opens on demand. It is unlikely that the 24-foot horizontal beam limit will be a problem for any pleasurecraft.
Notice to Navigation Interests:
Restricted locking at Ortona Lock, Okeechobee Waterway
Vessels locking through Ortona Lock are restricted to 24 foot in beam width due to unexpected maintenance on the northeast lock chamber gate. The lock remains fully operational in the event of weather or other emergencies. Restrictions are anticipated to remain in place through June 27, 2013 while repairs are completed.
A phone call to Rialto Harbor confirms that the owner has retired and this unique marina (see link below) is out of business. The spokesperson was unaware of any plans to re-open in the future.
This is indeed sad news for the cruising community. In my 30+ years of personally visiting marinas all over the Southeaster, I can say without any fear of inaccuracy that Rialto Harbor was one of the most enjoyable and unique marina facilities from Southern Virginia to New Orleans. Tucked in an almost secret-like stream off the Okeechobee Waterway, and set in a lush botanical setting, Rialto Harbor was much akin to a little piece of undiscovered paradise. Everyone who had the good fortune to visit here in the past, will deeply miss Rialto Harbor.
It with much sadness that I report Rialto Marina on the Caloosahatchee has closed. We passed through east bound on the way to the Bahamas in late March and Bus was in business and full up. When we returned in late May, there was a banner across the sign at the oxbow entrance saying Marina Closed. This was always a favorite stop with great hospitality and beautiful grounds. Hopefully it will re-open in the future.
The developing shoal, reported below in this article cherry picked from the latest Local Notice to Mariners, lies directly along the path of the Okeechobee Waterway as it passes through the South Fork of the St. Lucie River, south and west of Stuart, Florida and a hop, skip and jump north of the St. Lucie Canal.
FLORIDA-INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY-ST LUCIE INLET TO FORT MYERS AND LAKE OKEECHOBEE-ST LUCIE RIVER SOUTH FORK: Shoaling.
The Coast Guard has observed significant shoaling in the vicinity of St Lucie River South Fork in the area between St Lucie River South Fork Buoy 30 (LLNR 51090) and the Palm City SR 714 Bridge at mile 9.5 of the Okeechobee waterway. Best water is near the green side of the channel depth as low as 4 feet were found center channel in position 27-10-33.630N/080-15-44.106W. St Lucie River South Fork Buoy 30 (LLNR 51090) has been relocated to position 27-10-42.626N 080-15-48.339W to mark shoaling. Mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting the
area. Chart 11428
For several years now, there have been stories going around the cruising community, as well as multiple postings here on the Cruisers’ Net, to the effect that the USACOE has been hassling boat owners who anchor somewhere along the route of the Okeechobee Waterway. Well, the USACOE has now made this policy official, as you will see below.
If we may interpret this “bureaucrat-ese” just a bit, it looks as if a vessel cannot anchor in any one spot for more than 24-hours without being asked to move along.
As the USACOE is a Federal agency, and they claim jurisdiction over the Okeechobee Waterway, the Florida state law which denies counties and municipalities the right to regulate anchorage (except as part of the Trial Mooring Field Program), would NOT seem to apply here.
So, if you had plans to anchor for more than one night anywhere between the St. Lucie and WF Franklin locks, think again!
The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net WELCOMES comments and input from the cruising community concerning this rather bizarre policy. We will be SURE all such input is passed along to the correct authorities! Either click the “Comment” function below, or follow the “Click Here to Contribute Cruising News” link, found on the upper right of this, and all other (except Chart View) SSECN pages.
Note, we have edited the memorandum reproduced below to show only what we consider the sections which will be of most interest to the cruising community!
Okeechobee Waterway Anchoring and Mooring Policy
See the attached memorandum regarding anchoring and mooring guidance within the Okeechobee Waterway.
For additional information regarding this issue and others maybe obtained by accessing the Jacksonville District website:
US Army Corps of Engineers point of contact
Mr. Robert Schnell,Supervisory Biologist at 863-983-8101 ext. 2
The army corps of engineers has NO right to restrict anchoring… the water belongs to the state! It would take a act of congress to change our right to navigate!!!
I’m fighting a mooring ticket from the corps….
The section on National River Law discusses river ownership, use, and conservation law throughout the United States. Following is a review of what individual states can and cannot lawfully do with the rivers within their borders.
1. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that rivers that are navigable, for title purposes, are owned by the states, “held in trust” for the public. This applies in all fifty states, under the “Equal Footing Doctrine.”
2. Rivers that do meet the federal test are automatically navigable, and therefore owned by the state. No court or government agency has to designate them as such.
3. The federal test of navigability is not a technical test. There are no measurements of river width, depth, flow, or steepness involved. The test is simply whether the river is usable as a route by the public, even in small craft such as canoes, kayaks, and rafts. Such a river is legally navigable even if it contains big rapids, waterfalls, and other obstructions at which boaters get out, walk around, then re-enter the water.
4. The states own these rivers up to the “ordinary high water mark.” This is the mark that people can actually see on the ground, where the high water has left debris, sand, and gravel during its ordinary annual cycle. (Not during unusual flooding.) It is not a theoretical line requiring engineering calculations. Where the river banks are fairly flat, this mark can be quite a distance from the edge of the water during medium water flows. There is often plenty of room for standing, fishing, camping, and other visits.
5. States cannot sell or give away these rivers and lands up to the ordinary high water mark. Under the “Public Trust Doctrine,” they must hold them in perpetuity for public use.
6. The three public uses that the courts have traditionally mentioned are navigation, fishing, and commerce. But the courts have ruled that any and all non-destructive activities on these land are legally protected, including picnics, camping, walking, and other activities. The public can fish, from the river or from the shore below the “ordinary high water mark.” (Note that the fish and wildlife are owned by the state in any case.) The public can walk, roll a baby carriage, and other activities, according to court decisions.
7. States do have authority and latitude in the way they manage rivers, but their management must protect the public uses mentioned above. They can (and must) prohibit or restrict activities that conflict with the Public Trust Doctrine. “Responsible recreation” must be allowed, but activities that could be harmful, such as building fires, leaving trash, and making noise, can legally be limited, or prohibited, in various areas. Motorized trips and commercial trips can legally be limited or prohibited by state governments.
8. State and local restrictions on use of navigable rivers have to be legitimately related to enhancing public trust value, not reducing it. Rivers cannot be closed or partially closed to appease adjacent landowners, or to appease people who want to dedicate the river to fishing only, or to make life easier for local law enforcement agencies.
9. State governments (through state courts and legislatures) cannot reduce public rights to navigate and visit navigable rivers within their borders, but they can expand those rights, and some states have done so. They can create a floatage easement, a public right to navigate even on rivers that might not qualify for state ownership for some reason, even if it is assumed that the bed and banks of the river are private land. Note that this floatage easement is a matter of state law that varies from state to state, but the question of whether a river is navigable, for title purposes, and therefore owned by the state, is a matter of federal law, and does not vary from state to state. Note that a state floatage easement is something that comes and goes with the water: When the water is there, people have a right to be there on it, and when it dries up, people have no right to be there. But rivers that are navigable for title purposes are public land up to the ordinary high water mark, so that even when the river runs dry, people still have the right to walk along the bed of the river.
10. Only federal courts can modify the test of standards that make a river navigable for title purposes. States cannot create their own standards, either narrower or wider in scope. They can’t make definitive rulings about which rivers are navigable for title purposes, only a federal court can.
11. The situation gets confusing when a state agency or commission holds hearings about navigability and public use of rivers. Landowners, sheriffs, and other people tend to think that such an agency or commission can create state standards that determine which rivers are public and which are private. But these are matters of federal law which state agencies cannot change.
12. State agencies should make provisional determinations that various rivers meet the federal test of navigability for title purposes. These provisional determinations should be based simply on the rivers’ usability by canoes, kayaks, and rafts. They should then proceed to the question of how to manage navigation and other public uses of the river. In these days of government cut-backs, the agency should look for solutions that use existing enforcement agencies rather than setting up new ones. Littering, illegal fires, offensive behavior, trespassing on private land, and numerous other offenses are all covered by existing laws, and offenders can be cited by the local police, sheriff’s office or state police.
Thank you for the very accurate and helpful summary of the law of navigable waterways. Your many contributions to freedom, on the water and off are appreciated. If we fight this unfortunate bureaucratic water grab, we will win.
A friend of mine was ticketed on the river a few months ago and decided to fight the ticket. On the first court date the prosecutor and officer didn’t have both ors in the water and the judge continued the date. When they went back to court the judge? Would not let the defendant say a word and fined him $5,000. He than lowered the fine to $500. Then told him if he left the river within three days he would pay $300. Only the Corp will ticket you. The FWC and Fish And Wildlife refuse to get involved. I have only seen the Corp officer, Andy on the river on Tuesday but don’t count on that. Boat US told me that the law was from the 1940′s. I don’t know. WE NEED A LAWER.
The shoaling reported below, in this article cherry picked from the latest Local Notice to Mariners, lies along the easternmost section of the Okeechobee Waterway/St. Lucie River channel, immediately west of this passage’s intersection with the AICW. Locally, these waters are known as “the crossroads” and shoaling is common here.
Note the reported 5.5 foot soundings, apparently directly in the channel, between St. Lucie River/Okeechobee Waterway markers #2 and #4.
Do NOT confuse these #2 and #4 markers with the AICW markers just a touch farther south that bear the same numbering configuration. The #2 and #4 between which the shoaling is to be found, lie west and south of AICW marker #240!
Boats with draft greater than 5 feet may very well want to time their passage of these waters for mid to high tide.
If any local Stuart area cruisers have personal experience with this shoaling, we request that you send us further information! You can e-mail us directly at CruisersNet@triad.twcbc.com, or use the “Comment” function below, or follow the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link/button found on the upper, right of this all (except Chart View) SSECN pages.
FLORIDA-OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY- ST LUCIE INLET TO FORT MYERS AND LAKE OKEECHOBEE-ST LUCIE RIVER: Shoaling.
Shoaling has been observed between St Lucie River Lighted Buoy 2 (LLNR 50635) and St Lucie River Buoy 4 (LLNR 50645). The minimum depth observed is 5.5 feet at MLW on the red side of the channel. Mariners are requested to transit the area with caution. Chart 11428
The missing aid to navigation, detailed below in this article cherry picked from the latest Local Notice to Mariners, lies on the south side of the Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee waterway, just west of the SCL railroad bridge near Statute mile 130, a short hop upstream of downtown Fort Myers.
FLORIDA-INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY-ST LUCIE INLET TO FORT MYERS AND LAKE OKEECHOBEE-CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER:
Hazard to Navigation.
Caloosahatchee River DBN 19 (LLNR 52210) is destroyed. The remains of the pile are broken at the waterline. Mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting the area. Chart 11428
Tarpon Point Marina is found just off the Caloosahatchee River, a short hop from the southerly “Miserable Mile” genesis of the Western Florida ICW, and northwest of marker #92.
Overall, a very nice marina. There are tons of rules which mostly go unenforced. We used the hotel pool because it was closest. The pool for the marina was a goodly walk. We also ate at the hotel (good). One issue is there is no laundry and the bathroom/ showers may be a long walk, but would stay again. They did not say anything about Boat/US disount, but then I did not ask. The small deli is now closed so it is Publix 3.1 miles by bicycle.
For many years after the terrible 2005 Hurricane Season, the Okeechobee Waterway “Rim Route” from Pahokee to Clewiston, was officially “closed,” though local boats ran it all the time. The reason for this “closure” was lack of funding by the Army Corps of Engineers to officially clear all the underwater hurricane debris. Now, it looks as if that task has finally been accomplished, and cruisers now have an alternative to the Lake Route.
ON THE OTHER HAND, never, ever attempt the Rim Route with strong northern or northwesterly winds in the offing. East of Pahokee, you will have to claw off a nasty lee shore, and, take it from me, that can be a true white knuckle experience.
Notice also the Creech’s recommendation of an anchorage off the OWW, west of the Tory Island Bridge. This is very much a NEW anchor down spot to this fellow, but, if you will glance at the attached chartlet, you can easily pick out the body of water described below, lying off the Waterway’s northern shore, east of charted “Beach City.
Has anyone else dropped the hook here? If so, we would really like to hear about your experience. Shoot us an email by invoking the “Comment” function below, or following the “Click Here to Contribute Cruising News” link, found on the upper right of this, and all (except Chart View) SSECN pages. Many thanks in advance!
The rim route is great. We did the rim route in late January, 2013, and found no less than 7.5 feet of water in one small area, most was greater than 10 ft. We draw 4 feet and felt comfortable.
There is a great anchorage on the rim route, a kidney shaped lake, with a narrow entrance off the waterway, 15 feet of water to anchor in, 2 miles west of the Torry Island bridge.
Kay & Robert Creech
There are at least 3 basins off the rim route that can be used for sheltered anchoring. They must have been used as dredge basins for dike material. Only the kidney shaped one shows on charts, but using google aerial photos the others are apparent. We stuck our noses into all and anchored in one. Wildlife was wonderful. Only downside was night fishermen with lights, but they were quiet. At 12.5 lake level there was no less than 6 foot over entrance bars. The Jacksonville Corps has soundings for the rim route on their website. It indicates one small shallow spot that we have not seen in 4 trips. We love the rim route. Boat is 4.5 ft draft.