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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers
Adventure Sailing - Authorized Amsoil Dealer and DistributorSouthwest Florida YachtsLocated 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 ofThe Pilot House Marina is located on secluded Lake Largo just minutes from downtown Key Largo. This choice location borders on John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, an underwater park famous among snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.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.
Regatta Pointe MarinaFisherman's Village Marina and Resort, Punta Gorda, FLRiviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by BoatersPunta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destinationDockside Cafe - Marathon, Florida on Boot Key Harbor

Archive For: Content Okeechobee

  • 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

  • Good Words for Tarpon Point Marina, Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Standard Mile146.5

    Tarpon Point Marina - Click for Chartview

    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.
    John Pholeric

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Tarpon Point Marina

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

  • Where To Moor Eastbound on the Okeechobee Waterway, East of the Port Mayacca Lock

    The message below originally appeared on the AGLCA forum, as part of a discussion as to whether one could anchor on Lake Okeechobee itself. The strong consensus was that this is a bad idea.
    Below, Captain Jim gives us some good advice on where you might tie to a set of dolphins, or possibly even anchor east of the Lake Okeechobee and the Port Mayacca lock. Notice also his endorsement of nearby Indiantown Marina. We have always found this to be a good place to coil one’s lines.

    If you go through the lock, eastbound, there is a set of dolphins in the canal there. You can tie between the dolphins and stay the night. People do also anchor there, in the pool area immediately east of the dolphins. Room for maybe two boats. Mind the red channel marker there’ it marks a boulder! Only once in a dozen times through there have we seen commercial boats use the dolphins, but it is possible to see a small tug there, maybe a tug and barge.
    About 8 – 10 miles east of Port Mayaca is a marina called “Indiantown.” It’s popular, and I suggest you make reservations ahead, but it’s a nice stop.
    Hope this is useful
    Jim

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

  • Moore Haven City Dock – Okeechobee Waterway, West of Lake Okeechobee

    The Moore Haven City docks lines the northern shores of the Okeechobee Waterway, a quick hop west of the Okeechobee Lock. Note the advice below to arrive before 4:30 pm in order to get a code to the on-site bathrooms. Also, good to know there’s good Mexican and pizza/sub dining within walking distance.

    If you stop at Moore Haven just before the lake you can tie up at the along side city dock for $1/ft. An early leave from there keeps you from having to stop in the lake itself which can become very bumpy if any wind picks up. Moore Haven has long been our favorite place for mid crossing stop. They have very good along side docks with elec and water. Get in before 4:30 and get the bathroom code from city hall before they close. If you miss the dock master he will leave a self serve pay envelope on the pedestal for you.
    Good Mexican and a pizza/sub restaurant within a mile walk.
    David Doyle

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

  • Question about Okeechobee Rim Route near Clewiston, FL

    Capt. Power asks for first-hand knowledge of conditions in the Rim Route canal near Clewiston. If you have recently navigated that area, let us hear from you. The latest construction notice we have posted for this area is from September of 2012 (see link below) which does not mention a submerged cable as part of the construction. To date, Cruisers’ Net cannot find any spokesperson or officer who is aware of a submerged cable, but we will continue to trace the location of said cable. Also, from the comments of the lock tender below, it appears that the rim canal between Moore Haven and Clewiston at least, is passable.

    Related to this alert is the notice from the Corps posted last fall to the effect that there is now a “cable” that crosses the rim canal between Moore Haven and Clewiston. It first states to take caution for the cable, debris and markers. It then states the rim canal is not passable. I talked with the Corps last fall and was informed that it was passable. I have not seen any recent comments on this issue. Has anyone passed through this area?
    David S. Power
    Two If By Sea

    Update: the Moore Haven Lock just informed me that the “blockage” that the notice is referring to is in a different location and not in the canal between Moore Haven and Clewiston. He told me that he has been locking several sailboats through the lock today. I hope to talk with a boater coming back from the east cost in a few days and will see what he reports.
    David S. Power
    Two If By Sea

    We have a 39′ trawler and transited the rim route in December, heading westbound and have just today transited eastbound from Moore Haven lock to South Bay, passing Clewiston enroute. We had no issues going either direction and encountered no navigational obstructions.
    T Shelton
    Pelican Rose

    Click Here To View a Navigation Alert posted for the Okeechobee.

  • Current Depth in Lake Okeechobee

    Roland Martin Marina - Fishing Resort & Guided Fishing Trips We continuously strived to make our service and resort better for you. Our Lake Okeechobee bass guides continue to set industry standards, our resort accommodations are the best on the lake and you will never find a fishing destination like ours.

    Here’s a good online source for checking Lake Okeechobee depths. This is a direct live feed showing the current water levels of Lake Okeechobee as shown on the US Army Corp of Engineers Website. This current Water level is always updating with live water level conditions for Lake Okeechobee. Roland Martin Marina is found on a small canal in Clewiston, Florida.

    Cruising News:
    Lake is about 15′…..check here for current depths…http://www.rolandmartinmarina.com/water_levels.php
    Mike Dickens, Paradise Yachts

  • Advice on Single-Handing the Okeechobee Waterway

    Ahoy Single-Handers! If you are planning to navigate the Okeechobee Waterway, here’s good advice for you. There are several locks on the Okeechobee, but Port Mayaca on the east shore and Moore Haven on the west shore are the locks entering and exiting Okeechobee Lake.

    As far as going across the lake, the lake itself is no problem for a single hander, but the locks on the canal on both sides can be a little tricky. The lock masters will sometimes help if there’s not a lot of traffic, but the way the locks work (flooding and draining) makes the lock passage interesting. Not saying it can’t be done, but you need to pay attention to what’s going during the lock through.
    Kirk Conners

    Yes, this is a good plan. The lockmasters on the OK Waterway will hand a rope to you. Hang on to the rope about midships to keep your boat steady against the lock wall.
    Alan Lloyd

    Click Here To View the Okeechobee 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 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

  • Getting Good Info on Transiting the Okeechobee Waterway

    After all the problems experienced by cruisers who attempt to anchor along the track of the Okeechobee Waterway, it’s good to hear that a phone call to the ACOE office in Clewiston, Florida, can generate useful advice. We suggest those who are intent on a cruise of this very useful passage also make use of the telephone number supplied below!

    My husband, Tom, just spoke with the Corps of Engineers today (904) 232-2103 to get travel and route advice. He found them to be very friendly and helpful. Theysuggested we call a little closer to our departure time for up to dateinformation.
    Safe travels. Maybe we’ll see you in the river.
    Robin & Tom Bessent
    Sea Camel

  • HAZARD TO NAVIGATION: Floating Debris in Okeechobee Waterway, Statute Mile 130, 1/7/13

    Seminole Gulf Railway - Click for Chartview

    The Seminole Gulf Railway (old SCL) crosses the Okeechobee Waterway at statute mile 130 in North Fort Myers.

    FLORIDA-OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY ST LUCIE INLET TO FORT MYERS– CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER–OLD CSX RAILROAD SUBSTRUCTURE: Hazard to Navigation.
    The substructure of an old Railroad line next to the existing Seminole Gulf Railroad line across the Caloosahatchee River is deteriorating and parts have been reported floating in the waterway causing a potential hazard to navigation. Mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting the area. Chart 11428

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Seminole Gulf Railway Bridge (SCL)

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Seminole Gulf Railway Bridge

  • Good Words About the Downtown Fort Myers Waterfront (Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway)

     Located 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 of239 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.We have always found our visits to the downtown Fort Myers area to be absolutely delightful. With two quality marinas (BOTH Legacy Harbour Marina and City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin are SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS!), a host of nearby dining attractions and a beautifully landscaped waterfront, what’s not to like!

    We were pleasantly surprised to see Fort Myers downtown waterfront area redeveloped into a first class entertainment destination. We ate
    dinner at Ford’s Garage, a restaurant with a 1920,s service station atmosphere from the Model ‘A’ up on a rack ready for an oil change to a rag rolled into a hose clamp as a napkin ring. Fort Myers is about 15 miles into the Okeechobee Waterway (a short side trip for loopers heading south to the keys.) There are two first class marinas. I prefer the Municipal Yacht Basin for short term and Legacy Harbor for longer stays.
    Alan Lloyd
    Author, Great Loop Navigation Notes
    http://www.NavigationNotes.com

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Legacy Harbour Marina

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin

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

  • More on Tiger Marine in Clewiston, Florida A Good Spot for Repairs (Okeechobee Waterway)

    It’s always GREAT to get numerous reports about a reliable marine repair firm, particularly one on the Okeechobee Waterway. Ricky Martinez has been commended for his work in earlier reports.

    Ricky at Tiger marine did a great job at a reasonable price repairing my IO after a overheat breakdown. Thanks again for the quick response. Scott

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

  • Still More Praise for Rialto Harbour Docks – Okeechobee Waterway/Caloosahatchee River

    I think it fair to say that no facility along the Okeechobee Waterway has received more praise here on the Cruisers’ Net, than Rialto Harbour. There is a backwater, almost secret quality about this place, and yet, it is set amidst a lusk, super sheltered setting. Who could ask for more?

    If you . . . are looking for a wonderful place near Fort Meyers, I would highly recommend Rialto Harbour just past the 1st lock on the river leading into the Okachobee waterway. Its a small romantic place, situated on a horse farm with a lovely pool and along side docks in fresh water. Wonderful people, laid back, and very tropical. And its only 16 miles from Ft. Meyers. Check out their web site and call ahead.
    John Mencel,
    At Last

  • Anchoring on Okeechobee Waterway Issue Heats Up Again

    Back on 6/30/11, we published a series of reports by fellow cruisers which related what seemed to be a new policy on the part of the US Army Corps of Engineers that vessels could no anchor for longer than 24 hours on the Okeechobee Waterway (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=61289). Repeated inquiries by both the SSECN, and our friend, Captain Chuck Baier, reporting for MarinaLife, led to a series of denials from the USCAE office in Clewiston.
    Now, here we are in mid-2012, and, as you will see below, this nasty issue has once again reared its ugly head. We are attempting to get clarification, but in the meantime, cruisers should be aware that they might be ticketed for dropping the hook for longer than 24 hours along the Okeechobee Waterway, between the St. Lucie and W. F. Franklin Locks!
    If ANYONE has more information about this perplexing situation, PLEASE click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.

    Cruising News:
    Hi all,
    we are a foreign flag vessel with a valid cruising licsense. And were approached 2 days ago by an officer from the corps of engineers, and told that boaters are no longer allowed to anchor in the Okeechobee waterway for more than one night, after which they must leave the officers jurysdiction (Franklin lock to St. Lucie Lock) or move on to a marina. Remaining unconvinced by this officers explanation we emailed the corps HQ and have now received written confirmation that the corps view the waterway only as a means to transit one side to the other and that anyone staying longer than “overnight” will be given a ticket/citation.
    Has anyone any thoughts to share?
    A Non For Now

    What is the deal with anchoring in the Caloosahatchee river? I have heard that the core of enginers are harassing boaters.
    Steve Largent

    Several months back we reported that boaters were receiving citations from the Corps of Engineers for anchoring along the Okeechobee Waterway. At that time we never received an adequate answer from the South Florida Operations Office as to whether this was common practice. Now once again we are receiving reports that boaters are being told by Corps of Engineers patrol boats that anyone anchoring for more than 24 hours will be given a citation. You must move to a marina or on to the next jurisdiction and not just a short distance to satisfy the requirements. We would suggest that if anyone would like to get details or voice any concerns, that you contact the South Florida Operations Office at (863) 983-8101.
    Chuck Baier
    MarinaLife

    And, from our friendly competitors at “Waterway Guide:”

    Many boats cruising the Okeechobee Waterway have been confused by what might seem to be new anchoring limits being enforced by the US Army Corps of Engineers. According to Robert Schnell, Assistant Chief, South Florida Operations, officers have been instructed to enforce a “one-night-only” policy for anchoring, and have told the boaters that they must continue down the waterway or find a marina or other facility.
    According to Schnell, the policy has been around since 2000: “Title 36 – Rules and Regulations Governing Public Use of Corps of Engineers Water Resources Development Projects, Section 327.3 – Vessels,” specifically the two sections below:

    327.3(f) Unless otherwise permitted by Federal, state or local law, vessels or other watercraft, while moored in commercial facilities, community or corporate docks, or at any fixed or permanent mooring point, may only be used for overnight occupancy when such use is incidental to recreational boating. Vessels or other watercraft are not to be used as a place of habitation or residence.

    327.3(h) Vessels shall not be attached or anchored to structures such as locks, dams, buoys or other structures unless authorized by the District Commander. All vessels when not in actual use shall be removed from project lands and waters unless securely moored or stored at designated areas approved by the District Commander. The placing of floating or stationary mooring facilities on, adjacent to, or interfering with a buoy, channel marker or other navigational aid is prohibited.

    The Corps South Florida Operations’ interpretation of these rules greatly overstep the verbiage, in my opinion:

    - Anchoring in state and federal waters is “otherwise permitted”
    - Anchoring in a river, lake or oxbow does not qualify as “in commercial facilities
    - Overnight occupancy is incidental to recreational boating
    - A vessel occupied at anchor is “in actual use”

    I contacted the Corps in other areas to understand their local policies and get their interpretations of Title 36. Similar Corps projects on the inland waterways do not limit anchoring to one night, although lengthy stays are discouraged. Some areas have policies specific to their recreation area, but these are not covered in Title 36.
    Waterway Guide’s Southern Edition 2012 does not mention anchoring limits along the Okeechobee Waterway, but we will update it in the next printing, if applicable. Meanwhile, expect to be asked to “move along” after anchoring along the Okeechobee Waterway, or risk a citation and fine, at least until this Corps office gets its policy straight.
    -Mike Ahart,
    News Editor,
    Waterway Guide

    During the week of June 11, 2012, I saw Gov. Rick Scott visiting Roland Martin Marina talking about jobs for Central Florida. I suggest everyone writing the Gov to inform him why OUR river is not the recreation paradise it should be. The ACOE must be brought under control. Recreational boaters must wait for commercial or coast guard boats to pass through the lock “if they WISH” to go through alone!!! This can result in HOURS of delay and resultant safety hazard for us regular people.
    I also propose a “green” project that you might write about. It involves removing the sugar cane train bridge which limits vessel height to 49 feet. Recycle the rusty iron. Remove the tilt open railroad bridge from Ft. Myers which has been abandoned for years in the open position. Sand blast, paint and reinstall, replacing the sugar cane train bridge. This allows sailboats to pass from East to West coasts! It would also eliminate the continual obstruction to vessel passage when subject bridge breaks down in the lowered position allowing only 7 feet of clearance! This is good for Florida recreation, good for jobs in central Florida and a move forward.
    Steven R. Crane

    Tickets are still being issued. This was a day after the tropical storm came through.
    Steve Largent [9/1/2012]

    We transited the Okeechobee WW this spring [2012] and anchored on the offshoot north and east of the Moore Haven lock, which is shown on cruising guides as a good anchorage. Our sailboat was parallel to the east side and well out of the channel, off of the Waterway itself. A local marine patrol officer came by and said we were blocking the waterway and would have to move. He said that this area would be full of boats early in the morning. He suggested we tie up to the barge dolphins, which we did, not wanting to risk a ticket. However, this would seem to violate the proscription against attaching the boat to structures without permission from the COE. By the way, early the next morning, we saw one, count ‘em, one, boat on the waterway.
    Unknown

    Copy the regulations from the thread above and keep on your boat. If you are dealing with an officer, note the persons name and what agency he is working for. Next, ask the regulation that he thinks you are violation because you have a copy of all that you think apply, on board and you dont think you are violating them. So, maybe there is a new one that you do not have. Offer the officer a copy or offer to let him read yours with the comments included. If a vessel is anchored it is in operation is a good point. If you are on a mooring or at a dock, you may be living there. The laws are obviously intended to shoo away liveaboards. If you are on vacation maybe telling the officer you are trying to enjoy Florida tourism would help. You should feel free to send letters (yes mail) to State tourism offices and copy the Governor. Florida is interested in tourism and jobs, especially in the central part.
    Now, look up every lock on the waterway and find out who is in charge. Send them a letter and ask what their policy is in their area. There is nothing in the laws stated in this thread that allows authorities to limit anchoring to any specific number of days. Do not let bureaucrats invent their own laws. Exceeding their authority allows you to contact the state attorney and file breach of peace. Enjoy your cruise.
    Steve Crane

    I got a ticket from a park ranger from the Franklin lock. The name is Phil Hart. I was anchored but he wrote it that I was moored ( lie 1 ) for more than 12 days ( lie 2 ) There is a free dock in La belle you can stay at for 3 day and off for 8 days. This I did 3 on 8 off for sometime. This guy knew this, but lied anyway. I have the dock masters and a sign in sheet to back this up.
    The FWC states that all surface water in the state is Fl. water, and the 2009 law says we can anchor anywere in state waters. This guy told me that the Okeechobee is federal water. Any lawyers looking for a case??
    Russell

    While I was doing research for an admiralty case against the Florida Pilot Program for Anchoring…..which is completely different than the issue with the corps….I found this interesting statement regarding exactly who regulates the surface waters of Florida.

    http://www.staugustinegovernment.com/the-city/featured-stories-archive/9_06/stormwater.cfm

    The second paragraph advises exactly who regulates these waters. The state of Florida is not on the list …except for pollution control. This action by the corps on the Okeechobee may be inconvenient , but it actually supports our case against the state’s pilot program ie. the only authority who can regulate anchoring is the Corps itself…if they see fit…not any state alone…not on the ICW or the tidal tributaries that lead into it. Please keeps us informed. If it makes you feel any better, this will literally help us defeat the state program which is far, far more restrictive on recreational boaters.
    sandy flowers

  • Operating Times of Okeechobee Waterway Locks Change

    Our “man in the know” in Stuart, Florida, Captain Ted Guy, has just informed the Cruisers’ Net that the operating hours of all five locks on the Okeechobee Waterway are being changed November 13, 2012. Beginning on 11/13/12, the Okeechobee locks will be operating from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, seven days a week. These five locks and their positions are:

    St. Lucie Lock – Mile 15.1
    Port Mayaca Lock – Mile 39
    Moore Haven Lock – Mile 78
    Ortona Lock – Mile 93.5
    W.P. Franklin – Mile 121.4

    Note that “Statute Mile” markers run east to west (from Stuart, FL to Fort Myers, FL) on the Okeechobee Waterway.

    In a Press Release from the US Army Corps of Engineer’s, Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida, states, in part:

    “These changes are part of a civil works transformation process that will allow the Corps to deliver the best possible products and services to the nation. The objective of Civil Works transformation is to shape a sustainable portfolio of water resources infrastructure for the nation’s future.”

    OK, so listen up all of you out there planning to make use of the very useful Okeechobee Waterway. No transiting the locks before 7:00 am, or after 7:00 pm. Otherwise, it’s business as usual on the Okeechobee Waterway!

  • Update: Okeechobee Waterway To Be Partially Obstructed Between Clewiston and Moore Haven Until 2015, Statute Mile 75, 10/3/12

    Herbert Hoover Dike - Click for Chartview

    We have plotted the Lat/Lon position given in the message below, cherry picked from the latest Local Notice to Mariners, and it appears that the described construction is taking place on the canal-like portion of the Okeechobee Waterway between Clewiston and Moore Haven, probably near charted “Liberty Point.” And, notice that this construction is ongoing until Spring of 2015.
    All mariners navigating the OKWW between Clewiston and Moore Haven should be on the lookout for the below described construction vessels, and pass this equipment with minimum wake.
    The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is declaring a Navigational Alert for these waters.

    FLORIDA-OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY: Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation Project (Update September 28, 2012).
    Odebrecht Construction, Inc. will be replacing two culverts along the Okeechobee Waterway near Moore Haven (Culverts 1 and 1A) as part of the overall Herbert Hoover Dike Rehabilitation Project sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
    Construction consists of the steel and earthen cofferdams on both the lakeside and landside of the dike to create a self contained work area. The waterway will be restricted and may be intermittently obstructed during the installation and removal of the cofferdams and during the process of replacing the culverts. Recreational and
    commercial boaters are asked to use caution and be prepared to stop when navigating through this section of the waterway between the Alvin L Ward park boat ramps and Uncle Joe’s Fish Camp boat ramps. Flagmen will be present as needed to signal vessels to stop or to proceed with caution. The controlling width through Culvert 1A project area is 20ft minimum, limited by a controlling depth of 6ft when the lake is at elevation +11.0ft Mean Sea Level. Once the culvert replacements are complete, the cofferdams will be removed and waterway restored. Construction will occur 5 to 6 days a week, with the possibility of night time work. The project is anticipated to be completed in spring of 2015. The Project point of contact is Elizabeth Lamborghini at 305-704-5848. Chart 11428
    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position on the Okeechobee Waterway Between Clewiston and Moore Haven

  • Good Words for Rialto Harbor Marina, Okeechobee Waterway, Near Statute Mile 120

    Rialto Harbor, a rather wonderful and unusual marina (see link below), guards the southern banks of the Okeechobee Waterway, east of Fort Myers in Alva, FL. Rialto Harbor Marina is also called Rialto Harbor Docks.

    If you are near Stewart and wanted to cross the Okeechobee, Rialto Harbour is well protected, just upstream of the lock near Ft. Meyers. Fresh water and no storm surge (behind the lock)
    John
    m/v At Last

    For more information on Rialto Harbor, visit http://www.rialtoharbor.com/

  • Hurricane Safe Storage on the Okeechobee Waterway

    The facility reported on so ably below by our good buddy, Chuck Baier, lies along the southern banks of the Okeechobee Waterway, hard by the I-95 fixed bridges.

    River Forrest Marina on the Okeechobee Waterway has a large building built to withstand a category 4 and they have a concrete storage yard and there are tie downs in the yard and building. They can store vessels up to 100 feet.
    Chuck

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of River Forrest Marina

  • GOOD NEWS: Okeechobee Waterway/Moore Haven Lock to Reopen Ahead of Schedule – July 14, 2012, Okeechobee Waterway

    This US Army Corp of Engineers notice dated July 10th is good news for all South Florida boaters and means that the Okeechobee Waterway will be open a month earlier than projected!

    UPDATE: MOORE HAVEN LOCK, OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY, FLORIDA TO REOPEN AND RESUME REGULAR OPERATIONS 14 JULY 2012
    1. Mariners transiting the Okeechobee Waterway (OWW) are advised the lock will be resuming regular operations beginning 14 July 2012 from 6:00AM TO 9:30 PM.
    Vertical Clearance = Unlimited
    Lock Chamber = 50′ x 250′
    Vertical Lift = Caloosahatchee River water level to Lake Okeechobee water level. Usually 1 to 2 feet.
    Operations Daily 6:00am to 9:30pm
    Contact Lock on Marine VHF Radio Channel 13
    Phone: (863) 946-0414
    2. Additional information concerning Lake Okeechobee, the Okeechobee Waterway and related navigation bulletins including controlling depths may be obtained on Jacksonville District’s website at:
    http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisions/Operations/Branches/Navigation/NavNotices.htm
    3. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers point of contact is the South Florida Operations Office at 863-983-8101.
    FOR THE COMMANDER:
    Allan D. Morris P.E.
    Civil Engineer
    Navigation Section,
    Project Management Division
    In reply refer to:
    CESAJ-PM-WN
    P.O. Box 4970
    Jacksonville, Fl 32232-0019

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