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
This damaged, unspecified Florida Wildlife Commission marker is on the south side of the Okeechobee Waterway west of the fixed bridge at OWW Mile 135.
FLORIDA – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY – CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER – Hazard To Navigation:
The U.S. Coast Guard received a report from FWC that one of their markers is damaged in position 26-38-47N, -81-52-38W and may pose a hazard to navigation. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution when transiting the area.
Chart 11428 LNM 16/17
We thought you non-Loopers would enjoy this discussion of crossing Lake Okeechobee as recorded on AGLCA’s Forum. Thank you, Loopers, for the advice and warnings!Read More!
Another boat and myself crossed last week. There was an issue with a bridge on the rim route, not sure if still the same but we went the other route. We had no issues. The first lock on the east side of the lake allowed us to pass through at idle speed. Safe travels.
M/V Livin’ the Dream
Congraulations, you have started something you will never forget. We went thought from Ft. Meyers to Stuart a week and a half ago. We did not do the Rim Route due to the bridge. We went route 1 across the lake. Depths were fine ACOE was reporting depths in channel of 12.5 feet. The crossing was plesant. Make sure to check winds as lake is a large body of water and can build waves quickly.
Enjoy the ride!
Kurt & Barbarajean Walter
M/v “in HIS time”
We just finished an East -West crossing two days ago and had no problems. Both nights we tied between dolphins near the locks waiting for the locks to open in the morning.
Easy trip and the lock masters were very helpful.
Only issue was with a couple of fast cruisers passing us at speed.
Curtis and Bonnie Combs
Off The Radar
The current Okeechobee water stage is 12.07 feet providing a depth of 6.01 feet. On April 2 we crossed with a depth of 6.5 feet but found coming out of Clewiston east bound just a little over 5.0 feet. There are a few low spots in the canal west of Clewiston. Our draft is 5.0 feet.
The Indiantown RR Bridge was being opened and closed manually when we passed April 2 taking about an hour.
Jim & Pam Shipp
aboard Silver Boots
Check the lake depths here before you commit: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml.
Use the cross lake route at this time of year, not the rim route.
The shallowest water is the 5 mile channel leaving Clewiston, but there are some shoaling problems in the canal between Moore Haven and Clewiston.
Leaving the Port Mayaca lock, eastbound, you will see a set of commercial dolphins. There is a red/green pair of dashboards there. Honor them. DO NOT cut instead the red.
There has been some work going on that the Indiantown RR bridge. Check that the bridge is operating (it’s normally open).
Mind the markers carefully after you leave the St. Lucie Lock eastbound. The St. Lucie River there is very shoal outside the channel.
Quote “Depths were fine ACOE was reporting depths in channel of 12.5 feet.”
Just a reminder, on Lake Okeechobee if the ACOE reports the water level, eg 12.5 feet.
It is necessary to subtract six feet to get the water depth, eg 6.5 feet
Author, Great Loop Navigation Notes
We also started our Loop from Stuart (actually Port Salerno) but in February of 2014 and went across the OWaterway to Ft Myers, Naples, Key West, and back up to Stuart before continuing north. On the O Waterway we stopped at Indiantown and Clewiston (on Lake O).
Indiantown is a fun small town and has an interesting marina. A small marina, so call ahead, but a HUGE boat dry storage area. Folks like it because it is relatively inexpensive for dry storage and it is far enough inland to have negligible threat of storm surge.
We had good weather for crossing the middle of the lake and topped at Clewiston , an interesting collection of rednecks, motorcycles, Key West style Roland Martin Tiki Bar and Grill, and sometimes huge pleasure boats. The dockmaster there is a legend, although I can’t right now recall his name. One comes through what appears to be a lock but is actually a storm gate, and then ties up to the long dock parallel to the relatively narrow channel with boulders on the far side. As we were finishing drinks and our meal at the Tiki Hut, I felt a shadow and presence go by. A boat approximately 100′ long was backing up the channel past our 31′ Camano. I would not have guessed there was sufficient room between our boat and the boulders to fit the width of the vessel (Margaritteville?) However, there obviously was, and the captain was standing on the stern manipulating his joy sticks controlling all his thrusters to bring the ship through the gap and to the dock.
After stopping at Ft Myers (City Marina), Ft. Myers Beach (marina under the bridge), and Naples (City Dock), the first time we went directly to Key West, about 110 miles. At bit of stretch to get there during daylight that is available in the winter. After finishing our Loop at Ft Myers in January of 2016, we went from Naples down the old ICS to Marco Island, then Everglads City, and Flamngo, before crossing to Marathon. The coastal route has shorter jumps and less challenging for daylight.
Have a great trip!
John & Susan Gunning
Two days ago I spoke with the lock tender at the Franklin Lock, as the Cruise Club I belong to goes up river through the Franklin Lock monthly.
I was advised that at this time there is no directive from either the Clewiston or Jacksonville USACE offices on any restricted lock openings.
It would be prudent, in my opinion that you contact the lock tenders by phone at each end of the Waterway to make sure. Franklin Lock, 239.694.5451.
Stay well clear of the south side of the canal from Moorehaven eastward, near a site involving a steam shovel (or equivalent) digging rock from the canal edge. The Boat U. S. Team that piled us off of a sandbar (rock pile) said that debris from the construction activity had created (or more generously, “contributed to”) the creation of several such hazards that have helped keep him in business.
The river is Caloosahatchee and the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Sponsors are Legacy Harbour Marina and Fort Myers Yacht Basin. Legacy Harbor Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 on the Caloosahatchee River. Fort Myers Yacht Basin lies along banks of the Caloosahatchee River, between the 3rd and 4th bridges from west to east.SHOW CALENDAR
Bottom Line: Indiantown RR Bridge is open, but may close again within 4 weeks.
RR BRIDGE NOW OPEN, 3/15, 0800
And these notes from Michael Lieberum, Bridge Branch, 7th District
3/14 Morning Larry,
According to CSX the bridge was operational at 0900 this morning [3/14]; but they are still checking the pivot, so it may or may not be operational all the time, especially if there is someone inside the machinery.
Just received word that they are letting vessels through now and should have the bridge fully functional by this afternoon [3/14]
3/15 Received text for CSX that they are making parts and will need a few hours to install in about four weeks.
Bridge is operational; but having issues.
We were able to get thru the railroad bridge today, Sunday March 12th, was closed on approach, answered on VHF and opened right away.
Kevin & Steve on Lone Star
In addition to the Torry Island Bridge closure, this 3/12 report of the Indiantown RR bridge closed to navigation report comes from our friends on AGLCA’s Forum and adds further to Okeechobee cruisers’ woes. With a closed vertical clearance of 7ft, the RR bridge crosses the Okeechobee Waterway immediately west of the fixed high rise bridge in Indian Town, FL. No further information is available at this posting.
We are sitting in the Indiantown Marina waiting for an update on the railroad bridge repair. No one is responding to VHF or phone. Local fisherman told us there is still work going on at the site. Read More!
Arrived Friday to find the bridge closed. Conversation with the Bridge Master revealed that he had serious issues and that a repair crew was summoned from Tampa. Indiantown Marina was full so several boats were anchored in the canal nearby. Indiantown found a spot for us…Wednesday they wouldn’t take our reservation saying they were full for 3 weeks. Perhaps the bridge closure changed that. Call ahead if you hope to stay here.
We immediately called Rowland Martin Marina and Forrest River Marina and Port Mayaca Lock to warn other boaters.
We will take a dinghy ride to get information. More later…
Don and Joan Hutchison
This closure began several weeks ago as a Navigation Alert, still active, from Sue Ward and updated by Janice Callum and USACE on 3/8/2017.
Bridge maintenance impacts boaters on Okeechobee Waterway Read More!
Date: 03/07/2017 NOTICE NUMBER: 003
US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS LOCAL NUMBER: 201703017
JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT WATERWAY: OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY ROUTE 2
ATTN: CESAJ-OD-SN EFFECTIVE: 03/07/2017 00:00 thru 03/31/2017 24:00 EST
PO Box 4970
JACKSONVILLE, FL 32232-0019
OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY (OWW)
TORREY ISLAND BRIDGE CLOSURE
a. 33 CFR Navigation and Navigable Waters
1. Notice to Navigation
Notice is given that Palm Beach County, Florida has closed the Torrey Island Bridge crossing the Okeechobee
Waterway Route 2 at Chosen Point near Belle Glade for emergency maintenance until 31 March 2017. The Torrey
Island Bridge when closed has water to bridge deck clearance for only low profile vessels like bass boats.
Okeechobee Waterway Route 1 is clear and open to all vessel traffic.
POC: Palm Beach County construction Div. Stephen O-Neal 561-684-4180
Torrey Island Bridge Operator 561-996-3844
Chief Navigation &
Flood Risk Management
South Florida Operations
Our thanks to Chris Shields for this warning. He is responding to an earlier Nav Alert about the destroyed daybeacon.
It [destroyed daybeacon] has been replaced with a temporary Red buoy and marked as “8 WR”. Steer clear of it and don’t get near to it . According, to the markers, I was clearly in the channel by at least 15 feet. However, I ran aground into only 2.8 feet of water. I called the Coast Guard as did Sea Tow. It needs to be moved asap.
The Cape Coral Cruise Club is a group of dedicated cruisers who always provide unique reports from the marinas they visit. Legacy Harbour Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, is located on the Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway, in the heart of downtown Fort Myers, Florida. Multiple dining and shopping opportunities are found within easy walking distance of this absolutely first-rate marina!
Cruise Club returns to Legacy Harbour READ MORE
by Michael Stewart
It was bluebird weather for the Cape Coral Cruise Club members taking part in the 2017 Legacy Harbour Cruise. All nine boats made it in, one boat being late while waiting for refurbished props to be reinstalled. First time Club cruisers, Bobby and Joyce Miller arrived is style with their prospective member pennant proudly displayed. Welcome to the Club!
First night post docktail food was provided by the cruisers – just too much and too sumptuous to list. If anyone goes hungry on one of our cruises, they only have themselves to blame.
Wednesday morning started with a breakfast of toasted breakfast bread and butter, fresh fruit, quiche mini-muffins, orange juice and tomato juice. Attendees brought their own coffee. Following a short break after
eating, everyone reassembled at the Legacy Harbour chickee hut to begin a scavenger hunt. There were three outstanding prizes to be awarded, consequently, competition among the CCCC members can get quite intense…! Fierce competition ensued as the boaters returned to their respective vessels in search of the listed items. Would you allow two mismatched oven mitts as “work gloves”? How about a jar of “teak oil” that looked suspiciously like vegetable oil? And did the same miniature sewing kit get passed around with the teensy baby pin in it? Anyway, a lot of fun was had and Moonlighter, Hardee II, and Happy Ours triumphed as the successful winners. The prizes were wrapped so that no-one could tell what was inside (contestants were not allowed to touch the packages). First place got to pick, then second, then third. Then everyone hauled their collections back to their boat and split to various downtown Ft. Myers restaurants for lunch.
A non-cruise related Club function occupied many of the cruisers for Wednesday dinner, however, the remaining cruisers held their own docktails and happy hour before heading on the town for dinner.
Thursday morning breakfast, included a breakfast quiche (imagine a casserole of eggs, diced potatoes, spinach, diced ham and spices), fresh fruit, breakfast bread and juices. It was a game day for many attendees, lunch on your own, followed by dinner at Pinchers Crab Shack. The boaters were joined by some 15 club members who arrived at Legacy by land yacht that night to join in with us.
Prior to departure on Friday for their home ports, many boaters used the pump out facilities in preparation for the next month cruise to Pink Shell Resort. It is a LOT of fun cruising and being with fun people!
The Cape Coral Cruise Club is open to new members who own a boat with overnight accommodations and reside in the Cape Coral / Ft. Myers area. For membership information please contact Phil Kryger at 239-541-0236. Read additional Club information on its website, www.c-c-c-c.org Like us on Facebook.
All rim route users are aware that culvert replacement has been and will continue to be an ongoing process until November of 2017!. So, here is another construction site for your logbook.
FLORIDA – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY: Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation Project Culvert 2 – CLEWISTON READ MORE
And this one:
FLORIDA – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY: Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation Project Culvert C3 & C4a
Archer Western will be replacing two culverts along the Okeechobee Waterway near Clewiston (Culvert C-3) & near South Bay (Culvert C-4a) as part of the overall Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation Project sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction will occur 5 to 6 days a week, with the possibility of night time work & obstruction (Steel Cofferdam /or Barge) during the installation and removal of the cofferdams on both the lakeside and land side of the dike. Recreational and commercial boaters are asked to use caution when navigating through this section of the waterway and adjacent to the Hoover Dike Culvert C-3 & Culvert C4a. All vessels should operate as slow to idle speeds with only enough forward movement to maintain control of the vessel. Boaters are responsible for any damage from boat wakes they create. Two (2) obstruction buoys with solar powered lights, with reflective hazard warning and symbol will be placed at the outermost edge of cofferdams obstructing the waterway to delineate the cofferdam location and guide boaters through the work zone area. Once the culvert replacements are complete, the cofferdams will be removed and waterway restored. The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of July 2017. Further information contact Yankyer Gomez, 239-634-7804 or at email@example.com.
This website recommendation comes from our good friends on AGLCA’s Forum. Thank you Jeff and Gail Dunham.
Knowing that a few Loopers are waiting for Eddie to drop the green flag on a Gulf crossing and may be looking to use the Okeechobee crossing, here is a web site on the Lake Okeechobee Waterway that publishes notices to Mariners. If you are planning on taking the shortcut to get home for Christmas, take a moment and make sure a lock or a portion of the waterway is not closed for scheduled maintenance (like scrubbing the lock walls to discourage manatees from entering the locks, a four hour shutdown!). The US Corps of Engineers website follows: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Navigation/Notices-to-Navigation/
Jeff and Gail Dunham
St. Lucie Lock, the easternmost Okeechobee lock, lies west of Stuart, FL near Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 15.
U.S. Army Corps will suspend water flows to the St. Lucie Estuary beginning Friday
11:50 AM, Nov 3, 2016
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday it will suspend water flowing from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and reduce flows to Caloosahatchee Estuary. Read More
The Corps cited falling water levels in the lake as the reason.
It said no water from the lake will be released through the St. Lucie Lock near Stuart. This is the first time since late January that discharges have been suspended from the St. Lucie Lock after a wetter than usual dry season last winter.
However, the Corps says runoff from rain that accumulates in the St. Lucie basin will be allowed to pass through the spillway.
“Drier weather has taken hold and the lake continues to recede,” Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District, said in a news release. “Barring an unexpected heavy-rain event, we expect the recession to continue. We can safely suspend releases to the St. Lucie and will continue reducing flows to the Caloosahatchee from 2,800 cfs to 650 cfs over the coming week.”
The water level at the lake stands at 15.40 feet which the Corps says is down .21 feet over the past week.
The changes announced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin Friday.
The river is Caloosahatchee and the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Sponsors are Legacy Harbour Marina and Fort Myers Yacht Basin. Legacy Harbor Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 on the Caloosahatchee River. Fort Myers Yacht Basin lies along banks of the Caloosahatchee River, between the 3rd and 4th bridges from west to east.
River District Farmer’s Market opens at new location this Thursday
FORT MYERS, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2016) – The River District Farmer’s Market will open this Thursday in a new location in nearby Centennial Park. Read More
Indiantown Marina lies on the St. Lucie Canal west of the HWY 710 Bridge. Well done Indiantown Marina!
Kudos to Indiantown Marina for extraordinary accommodation of boats evacuating Hurricane Matthew from the east, with wet water slips and haul outs. The staff worked non-stop for 3-4 days to help all in need. Locks were backed up hours with boats and all were able to get to Indiantown safe haven.
Our thanks to Communications Specialist Erica Skolte of the Jacksonville USACE for this notice.
US Army Corps of Engineers is preparing for impacts from Hurricane Matthew. We have adjusted the operating hours at the locks on the Okeechobee Waterway, and are ensuring users of our recreation facilities are aware they may need to evacuate. More information is attached and copied below.
Please contact me if you have questions. Thanks for your help.
John H Campbell SAJ
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Corps prepares for Matthew; issues guidance to boaters & campers Read More
The Jacksonville District activated its emergency operations center (EOC) at 7 a.m. today (Oct. 4). This action allows district staff to devote added attention to the response actions that might be necessary should Matthew cause impacts as it passes near Florida.
“Our staff is coordinating with state and local officials,” said Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division Chief for Jacksonville District. “We are adjusting our operations to ensure the safety of those who use our facilities and our staff in south Florida.”
Jacksonville District is issuing the following guidance on its operations in south Florida:
* For boaters, the Corps has extended operating hours for its navigation locks on the Okeechobee Waterway; they will operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 4) and Wednesday (Oct. 5). Operating hours on Thursday will depend on the track of the storm. To ensure safety of lock operators, the Corps will suspend operations when lightning is in the area, or when winds exceed 35 mph.
* For campers and visitors to recreation sites, Jacksonville District park rangers will monitor conditions at Corps’ campgrounds and recreation areas. If a county government issues an evacuation order for mobile homes or RV parks in an area where there is a Corps’ campground or recreational facility, rangers will order an evacuation of the facility and advise on shelter locations. Visitors should move all campers, motor homes, tents, vessels, and trailers from facilities under evacuation orders.
* Today, field staff are conducting a pre-storm evaluation of the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. The current lake stage is 15.78 feet. While no immediate threat exists, the Corps advises people living and working around the lake to be prepared to take action should conditions warrant.
More information on Jacksonville District response actions can be found at www.saj.usace.army.mil.
John H Campbell
Public Affairs Specialist
Jacksonville District, US Army Corps of Engineers
Until this vegetation is cleared, whether you take the rim route or the lake route, you are going to be delayed in crossing Lake Okeechobee. We will keep you posted as notices come in from the Corp of Engineers.
Notice is given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is advising commercial and recreational vessels to use extreme caution traveling the Okeechobee Waterway Route 2 from Port Mayaca to Clewiston and Rim Canal from Clewiston to Moore Haven due to floating vegetation blocking sections of canal. Read More
Sunset Bay Marina lies directly on the patch of the Okeechobee Waterway, only a few miles off the AICW via the St. Lucie River. Our thanks to Peyton Yon for this report.
Convenient and easy location to get in and out of. Well maintained, good Wifi, water and electric above average, very clean restrooms and showers, crew lounge and bicycles are provided for. Dockage rates are high for short term and transit accommodations please note they charge an additional nightly fee for electric. Free pump out service for your holding tanks offer once per week dockside or at the main fuel docks on demand. Water pressure is very high please use caution. Our dockage was for a 60ft MY on B Dock.
This release of water has to be attributed to rains from Hermine. Increased water releases from Lake Okeechobee earlier this year resulted in massive fish kills downstream of the release.
Corps of Engineers increasing Lake Okeechobee discharges
by Scott Sutton
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday plans to increase the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee over the next week….
With the 2016 hurricane season underway, this is valuable information for boaters navigating the Ockeechobee Waterway or the Canaveral Barge Canal in South Florida. This notice comes to us from our good friend, Specialist Erica Skolte, US Army Corp of Engineers.
OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY AND CANAVERAL HARBOR LOCK OPERATIONS DURING TROPICAL STORMS AND HURRICANES
1. Notice to Navigation
Notice is given that 72 hours prior to a Tropical Storm or Hurricane making local landfall locks will be open 6 AM to 10 PM supporting vessel safe harbor passage. Lock operations will stop 8 hours prior to land fall as Rail Road and drawbridges will be lowered or rotated and locked into a secure position. It’s important that all vessels are at their intended destination before bridges are secured and passage across the waterway suspended.
For Lock Operator safety the locks will:
1. Stop locking vessels or working outdoors if lightning is observed within five miles of the lock and
operations will not resume until lightning has not been seen in the area for 30 minutes.
2. Stop locking vessels when winds exceed 35 MPH.
After a storm it could be days or weeks before the waterway is reopen depending on damage to structures and
how quickly debris creating navigation hazards can be removed.
For up to date Lock information contact the shift operator 7 AM to 5 PM at:
Canaveral Lock 321-783-5421
St Lucie Lock & Dam 772-287-2665
Port Mayaca Lock & Dam 561-924-2858
Moore Haven Lock & Dam 863-946-0414
Ortona Lock & Dam 863-675-0616
WP Franklin Lock & Dam 239-694-5451
Digitally signed by WILLIAMS.CARL.MABRY.IV
Date: 2016.08.22 14:57:47 -04’00’
Chief Navigation & Flood Risk Management
South Florida Operations
One of the four areas tested, Leighton Park, is in the South Fork of the St. Lucie River at Mile 9.5 of the Okeechobee Waterway just south of the Palm City Bridge. Central Marine is on the north side of the the Okeechobee/St.Lucie River, east of the New Roosevelt Bridge and Loggerhead Club and Marina. This report comes from WPTV.com of West Palm Beach, FL.
Report shows extreme toxicity in four bodies of water in Martin County
12:00 PM, Jul 15, 2016
Water samples taken in Martin County show extreme toxicity in four bodies of water.
The analysis, done by chemists at the SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry in New York, found that water samples from Leighton Park, Sandsprit Park, Deck and Central contained levels of microcystins that were “extremely high, well above the levels allowed for recreational contact.”
Microcystins are toxins produced by cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae.
Those results are not surprising to Mary Radabaugh who manages Central Marine. That’s one of the locations where tests showed extreme toxicity.