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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.Boca Grande Marina, Gasparilla Island, Florida Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350Twin Dolphin Marina, 1000 1st Ave. West, Bradenton, Florida 34205-7852, 941.747.8300  -  fax 941.745.2831, e-mail: harbormaster@twindolphinmarina.comSouthwest Florida YachtsGulf Harbour Marina    
ICW Marker 73, 4.5 miles from Gulf of Mexico  
14490 Vista River Dr.,
Fort Myers, FL 33908
239-437-0881
gulfharbourmarina@comcast.netPink Shell Beach Resort and MarinaLocated at Mile Marker 135 on the Okeechobee Waterway, 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Yacht Basin is a well designed and protected marina. It is owned and operated by the City of
Fisherman's Village Marina and Resort, Punta Gorda, FLPunta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destinationRegatta Pointe MarinaRiviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by BoatersSt. Andrew's MarinaThe Town of Fort Myers Beach proudly operates and maintains the Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field. The field boasts 70 mooring balls available for public rental year-round, and accommodates vessels up to 48 feet in length. The mooring field is located east of the Sky Bridge between San Carlos and Estero Islands in Matanzas Pass. For recreational cruisers, the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field is a wonderful destination. Coming ashore at the Town’s dinghy dock puts boaters in walking distance to beaches, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and public transportation. Mooring ball rental fees are $13/day or $260/month. All renters MUST register with Matanzas Inn upon arrival. The dinghy dock is available for public use to tie up dinghies 10’ or less (no overnight tie-ups). The dock is located beneath the Sky Bridge between Matanzas Inn Restaurant and the public fishing pier. The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, Fl

Archive For: Content Okeechobee

  • New LPG/Propane Access Point, Bimini Basin Anchorage, Off the Okeechobee Waterway and Caloosahatchee River, Statute Mile 145

    Bimini Basin - Click for Chartview

    Bimini Basin – Click for Chartview

    SSECN is grateful to Skipper Steinbrunner for the kind words as well as the location of another source of LPG/Propane. Bimini Basin anchorage is found in the charted lake-like body of water, lying just west of the “Cape Coral” designation on Chart 11427.

    Quick note to say “Thanks” for the LPG/Propane availability feature on this website (we use it all the time), and to pass on an addition. From the Bimini Basin anchorage on Cape Coral near Ft Myers, Lee County Plumbing Supply at 532 SE 46th Terrace, Cape Coral, FL, 239-542-4618 does propane refills. It’s less than half a mile walk from the anchorage which has a dinghy dock available at the park.
    Thanks again for all you do to make this cruising life easier, safer and a lot more fun.
    Lori Steinbrunner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Eastern Western Anchorage Directory Listing For Bimin Basin

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

  • Canvas Shops Recommended, Ft. Myers/Cape Coral Area, Okeechobee Waterway

    Cape Coral Waterfront - Click for Chartview

    Cape Coral Waterfront – Click for Chartview

    Fort Myers Waterfront - Click for Chartview

    Fort Myers Waterfront – Click for Chartview

    The recommendations below comes from our good friends on Cruisers Forum, http://www.cruisersforum.com/.

    We live in Cape Coral and have had Tom Seiller (239-910-1679) replace our entire bridge bimini and eisenglass, including changing the frame. We’re happy with his work. He does a lot of work in our marina, Cape Coral Yacht
    Basin, but I know he works all over SW Fl.
    Steve Smith
    M/V Island Time
    Cape Coral, Fl

    I have had good work done by Scotties canvas in N. Ft. Myers.
    Rich Ward

    We had our entire flybridge and sundeck redone at Cape Canvas. Are very please with the quality of workmanship – even put Velcro flaps over the zippers to protect from sun. Their number is 239-772-0300.
    Janis Richter

    We have used Sea King Kanvas in Ft. Myers twice. Once to replace the Isinglass in our front panel and this year to make a new side panel that we lost. The window was one with a “smile” zipper opening. They did excellent work. The zipper was installed with a welt to cover it on the outside (the old one did not have that) to prevent leaks. The new panel has a fixed window in it. They came out and made a template. They fit the new window and it is a perfect fit. They are not the cheapest around but they stand behind their work. I can recommend them.
    Mitch & Carole Brodkin

    We recently had some canvas replaced by a shop in Ft. Myers Beach called Landseair. We were very satisfied. It is on San Carlos Avenue. Sorry, I don’t know the number right off hand.
    Don & Anita Gulseth
    Limelight
    Land, Sea & Air Upholstery & Canvas, 239-466-1944

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Cape Coral

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fort Myers

  • Navigational Notes on Okeechobee Waterway “Lake Route” and Clewiston, FL

    Clewiston, FL - Click for Chartview

    These navigational observations and advice on the lake portion of the Okeechobee Waterway refer to the “Lake Route”, also known as “Route 1″, as opposed to the “Rim Route”, across Lake Okeechobee.
    Captain “kulas44′s” comment about “Dont go through the lock at the end if going west, it gets tight in there.” refers to the flood gate lock at Clewiston. Indeed, if your vessel is large than 36 feet, turning around in the Clewiston canal is TIGHT!
    These comments come from our friends at Trawlers Forum, http://www.trawlerforum.com/

    We went straight across, not the rim route. Enough water, our draft was 4 feet. We did dig some dirt on the west end. Markers were far apart so pay attention, plot from one to the next, autopilot was good for that. Dont go through the lock at the end if going west, it gets tight in there. All together a very easy one day transit.
    kulas44

    Once in the lake, I never saw less than 10′. Across the lake to Clewiston, turn right into the rim canal, up to and through the Moore Haven lock.
    Ted

  • Reports on LaBelle, FL and LaBelle City Dock, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 103

    LaBelle - Click for Chartview

    The LaBelle City dock overlooks the south side of the Okeechobee Waterway, just west of the LaBelle bridge. These reports come to us from our friends at Trawler Forum, http://www.trawlerforum.com/

    LaBelle City Dock:
    Stop off at the free dock (med style mooring) in Labelle and pick up some of the excellent local orange blossom honey a short walk from the dock.
    Boatpoker

    La Belle is a good cruisers stop, walking distance to the Post Office , and the 1/4 block away library has free wi fi.
    FF

    Click Here for an Earlier Post on LaBelle

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

  • Reports on Roland Martin’s Marina, Clewiston, FL, Okeechobee Waterway

    Clewiston, FL - Click for Chartview

    Roland Martin’s Marina is found on a small canal in Clewiston, Florida and has long been a good source for checking depths in Lake Okeechobee. See http://www.rolandmartinmarina.com/water_levels.php.
    These reports come to us from our friends at Trawler Forum, http://www.trawlerforum.com/

    You can stop at Clewiston at Roland and Mary Ann Martins Marina. Don’t let them put you right under the bar. It gets noisy. Going into Clewiston be certain to stay in the middle of the channel. It is cut out of solid rock. Same goes for parts of the rim canal to Moorehaven.
    Don on Moonstruck

    Greetings,
    We stayed at Roland Martin’s one night and side of boat got damaged by skiff being towed by unknown commercial fishing vessel exiting the channel @ 05:30 hrs. doing, what I would guess, 20 knts. Channel is about 50′ at that point and our beam is 15′, Anecdotal and probably isolated incident.
    R. T. Firefly

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

  • Information on Moore Haven City Dock, Okeechobee Waterway, Statute Mile 78

    Moore Haven - Click for Chartview

    Moore Haven City Dock, the first stop west of Lake Okeechobee, is located at Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 78, on the Moore Haven waterfront. This report comes to us from Trawler Forum, http://www.trawlerforum.com/

    You can tie to the city dock there for $1/ft with water & elec. They have restroom facilities if needed. Not much there otherwise.
    Don on “Moonstruck”

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

  • Report from Roland Martin’s Marina, Clewiston, FL, Okeechobee Waterway

    Clewiston, FL - Click for Chartview

    Roland Martin’s Marina is found on a small canal in Clewiston, Florida and has long been a good source for checking depths in Lake Okeechobee. See http://www.rolandmartinmarina.com/water_levels.php.

    Merry Christmas Claiborne!
    Just did the Lake O from Ft. Myers to St. Lucie lock with Pete and Linda on the MV Where’s Linda, a 48 Welcraft Californian.
    Good news and bad news: (for the good news, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=130493)
    Bad news:
    At Roland Martins, “Gloria”, Gloria Vanderbuilt’s limo that was the courtesy car for years, is no longer. She [the car] died. Unfortunately, they said they will not be offering a courtesy car again. Gloria was our main reason to stop, allowing us to shop, etc. Guess next time we will stop at Moore Haven for $1 a foot.
    See ya next Year!
    See you in Paradise!
    Capt. Sterling

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

  • Report from LaBelle, FL, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 103

    LaBelle - Click for Chartview

    Captain Sterling’s reference to LaBelle City Docks is correct; the docks were closed in July for repairs and re-opened this fall. The LaBelle City dock overlooks the south side of the Okeechobee Waterway, just west of the LaBelle bridge.

    Merry Christmas Claiborne!
    Just did the Lake O from Ft. Meyers to ST. lucie lock with Pete and Linda on the MV Where’s Linda, a 48 Welcraft Californian.
    Good news and bad news: (for the bad news, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=130495)
    The good:
    Looks like the City of LaBelle has totally rebuilt their docks. Concrete, with pilings, and looked like 30 amp power posts. We didn’t stop to check it out. I will attach a pic.
    See ya next Year!
    See you in Paradise!
    Capt. Sterling

    LaBelle City Docks

    Click Here for an Earlier Post on LaBelle

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

  • Bikini Basin Anchorage Recommended, Cape Coral, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 142

    Harney Point - Click for Chartview

    Well, thanks to Captain Jeff Moore, we may have just uncovered a real Western Florida “anchorage find” near the city of Fort Myers, and on the Caloosahatchee River’s shoreline. Bikini Basin is not named on most charts, but it is located south and west of Cape Coral fixed bridge and almost due west of Okeechobee marker #70.
    Based on Captain Moore’s comments below, this is not the most navigationally simple anchorage on the Western Florida coastline, but it sounds like it may be one of the most secure! If anyone else has anchored on these waters, PLEASE let us hear from you. Use the “Click Here to Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, or send e-mail directly to CruisersNet@triad.twcbc.com.

    A great anchorage in Cape Coral, Florida is in Bikini Basin, inside Harney Point and a few yards down river from marker 70 in the OWW. Unlike Bimini Basin there is no power line guarding the entrance to the anchorage. There is only room for a few boats (3 or 4 at most) but since it appears on no lists of anchorages there is rarely anyone there. I live on Bikini Basin and regularly take my Westsail 42, OSPREY, 5’8″ draft, in and out at mid-tide rising. The holding is sand and mud. Wind protection is 360 deg.
    Enter the rim canal to the north between mkrs. 1 and 2 a few hundred yards down-river from OWW mkr 70. When the channel forks, take the right fork and hug the green side until you are at Harney point. From there on split the reds and greens until you are abeam the first channel to port and head to port, into the channel. Anchor in the middle. There is no place to dinghy to shore as the basin is surrounded by private property. I have anchored there hundreds of times, waiting for the tide to rise enough to get over the sand bar at the entrance to my slip at the end of the basin. BTW, if coming down-river from Ft. Myers, Don’t be seduced by the first channel to stbd., that parallels the Cape Coral Bridge on the down-river side. It’s 3 ft. deep at MLW.
    Jeff Moore

    After further thought, I would replace the mid-tide rising comment with “1.0 ft. above MLW with a 5’8″ draft, when wind is not a factor.” A strong wind with any north or west in it drains the basin significantly.
    Jeff

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Harney Point

  • Recommendations for Summer/Winter Storage, Okeechobee Waterway

    River Forest Yachting Center - Click for Chjartview

    River Forest Yachting Center is on the St. Lucie Canal at statute Mile 17.5 of the Okeechobee Waterway, west of the St. Lucie Lock. Their website is www.riverforestyc.com. The comments below were copied from the AGLCA Forum.

    In Florida waters we have found some very good storage facilities, some climate controlled and some not. On the east coast in Stuart, Fl one is River Forest Yachting Center….tel 772-287-4131. They have inside climate controlled, as well as all of the necessary services. We are very familiar with River Forest as they have one near MoorHaven also, have not “stored” there but have cruising friends who have and they recommend them.
    We have stored inside during the summer months for a couple of months on the west coast of FL one time without climate control, other than large overhead fans. We placed 2 to 3 dehum bags, bought at any of the major hardware stores, on the interior, and the yard folks changed them each week. We had no mold or any other issues during the storage period.
    Regards, Tom Jones. m/v Marbles.

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of River Forest Yachting Center

  • Report on Westbound – Route 2 Rim Route, Okeechobee Waterway

    'Locking in the Mist'

    Port Mayaca Lock - Taken by Linda Bernabucci

    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

    Click Here To View the Okeedchobee 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

    Click Here To View the Okeedchobee Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Port Mayaca Lock

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

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

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

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

  • Corps Announces More Restrictive Operating Times at Moore Haven Lock, Okeechobee Statute Mile 78

    Moore Haven Lock - Click for Chartview

    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.

    Posted 10/19/2013
    Release no. 13-088
    Contact
    John Campbell
    904-232-1004
    john.h.campbell@usace.army.mil

    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:

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

    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

  • Voyage on the Rim Route, Lake Okeechobee, Ft. Myers to Stuart, FL

    Pahokee, FL - Click for Chartview

    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?
    Robert Atkinson

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

  • Praise for the Okeechobee Waterway

    Port Mayaca Lock - Click for Chartview

    St Lucie Lock - Click for Chartview

    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.

    Click Here To View the Okeechobee Waterway Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For the Port Mayaca Lock

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

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

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

  • New Okeechobee Waterway Lock Hours Due to HIGH Water

    St. Lucie Lock/Okeechobee Waterway

    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: jack.j.pasch@usace.army.mil (From a Notice to Navigation Interests, USACE Jacksonville, 12 August 2013)

  • Useful Visual Account of Trip Across Okeechobee Waterway

    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.

    http://www.paradiseyachtsales.net/CruisingCenter44.html

    Mike and Mary Dickens
    Paradise Yachts

  • Restricted Locking at Ortona Lock, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 94

    Ortona Lock - Click for Chartview

    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.

    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

  • Rialto Harbor Marina Closed, Okeechobee Waterway, Near Statute Mile 120

    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.

    Cruising News:
    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.
    Bert Jones

     

    http://www.rialtoharbor.com/

  • Shoaling Reported In Okeechobee Waterway, St. Lucie River, Statute Mile 10, May 28, 2013

    Shoaling - Click for Chartview

    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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position in St. Lucie River

  • Official US Army Corps of Engineers Okeechobee Waterway Anchoring Policy

    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!

    CESAJ-PM-WN(1130)
    18 March
    2013
    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:

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

    US Army Corps of Engineers point of contact
    is
    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.
    Jason

    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.
    Rick Cass

    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.
    Steve Largent

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