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Archive For: Content Okeechobee

  • 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…
    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.

    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

    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 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

    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.

    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??

    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.

    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)
    m/v At Last

    For more information on Rialto Harbor, visit

  • 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.

    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!

    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:
    3. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers point of contact is the South Florida Operations Office at 863-983-8101.
    Allan D. Morris P.E.
    Civil Engineer
    Navigation Section,
    Project Management Division
    In reply refer to:
    P.O. Box 4970
    Jacksonville, Fl 32232-0019

  • Online Information Source on the Status of the Okeechobee Waterway

    This Local Notice to Mariners from the US Army Corp of Engineers is in response to the ongoing closure and maintenance of the Okeechobee Waterway which began June 11, 2012.

    Information concerning the Okeechobee Waterway may be obtained by accessing the Jacksonville District website Chart 11428

    Click Here To Read the Official Closure Notice

  • Ft. Denaud Swing Bridge Open to Water Traffic Full-time, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 108

    Fort Denaud/SSR 78AW Bridge—crosses the Okeechobee Waterway at Statue Mile 108. at the charted position of Denaud.

    The Fort Denaud bridge is open [to water traffic] indefinitely due to the need for emergency repairs. See for more information.
    Susan Parker

    And this confirmation from Don Browne, owner of the blog mentioned above.

    Yes I believe it will be closed [to vehicular traffic] for awhile. There are signs on SR29 indicating the closure and probably SR80 as well.
    Don Browne

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Okeechobee Bridge Directory Listing For Ft. Denaud Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ft. Denaud Swing Bridge

  • More on Okeechobee Waterway Obstruction

    Back on 3/5/12, the SSECN published an article entitled, “Okeechobee Waterway To Be Partially Obscured Between Clewiston and Moore Haven Until 2014 (near St. M. 70 to 75)” – see Below, we hear from Captains Rusty and Betty that the data in this earlier message is not only accurate, but the described “obstruction” can lead to unhappy and expensive consequences. ALL cruisers bent on an Okeechobee Waterway passage prior to its closing on 6/11/12 (for maintenance) should be SURE to read both the account below, and our earlier posting linked above!

    On April 15, 2012 I misread the temporary channel markers next to the cofferdam construction, got too close to the east bank (lake side), and ran the Cooper onto rocks. Even at 5 mph the momentum was enough to ground us. We got off with the help of The Spirit of New York, but scraped the keel, bent the shaft and propeller. We made it safely to Indiantown where repairs are underway.
    Rusty and Betty Huges

  • Arcane Opening Procedure at the Moore Haven Railway Bridge (Okeechobee Waterway, St. M. 78.5)

    Click on Charlet Above to Open Chart View Page Centered on Moore Haven

    Wow, this sounds like something that might have taken place during my Dad’s cruising days in the early 1950’s! Note the VERY HELPFUL phone number provided by Captain Regina below, if you should find yourself in this same fix!
    Moore Haven is located north of Clewiston, FL, and is the gateway to the western 1/2 of the Okeechobee Waterway!

    Today our destination was Indiantown, eastbound across Lake Okeechobee, so we wanted to get an “earlier” start at 8 a.m. We had spent the night at Moorehaven and as we went under the Moorehaven bridge, we noticed that the Moorehaven Railway Bridge was down. It’s supposed to be open unless a train is coming. Several of the cruising guides suggest sounding the horn for someone to open it. We tried that several times to no avail. Finally, we called the lockmaster at Ortona Lock for suggestions. He gave us the phone number of the CSX Dispatch in Clewiston. After a chuckle, the man at CSX we spoke with said they’d send someone in about 5 minutes to open the bridge – SO NO BRIDGETENDER ON DUTY???. After 30 minutes, a man in a pickup truck came and in 10-15 minutes the bridge was open.. So our early start wasn’t so early – we lost over an hour waiting for the bridge to open. Oh, one of the joys of cruising……
    If you are crossing Lake O and have a questions or problems with a railway bridge, here is the number we were given for CSX Dispatch in Clewiston: 863-983-3163!
    Regina Smith

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

    There appears to be a lot of RR activity in Moore Haven lately. We came through on 2/16 and the RR bridge was down. There was a short train preparing to cross. A couple of men got off the train and walked back and forth across the bridge like they were inspecting it. The train finally crossed and we had to wait about 10 minutes to go through. I don’t know of any of RR bridges that have bridge tenders on duty.
    Susan Parker

  • Watch Out For the Railroad Bridge at Moore Haven (Okeechobee Waterway St. M. 78)

    The Moore Haven Railway Bridge crosses the Okeechobee Waterway, a short hop west of the Moore Haven Lock. It has a bare, closed vertical clearance of only 5 feet, so it it closes on you unexpectedly, that could be a REAL problem, as Captain James learned to his misfortune!!!

    Be aware that this bridge can close without any signal. On Jan 27 at 3 PM we were traveling E to the Moore Haven lock after calling for a lock through with the lock master stating the lock was open to us and we could proceed. The railroad bridge was open. As we approached the bridge it appeared to be stuck in a partially closed position. We proceeded but too late to realize that it was indeed closing and we were impaled causing severe damage to the forward sections of the boat. At no time was there any signal, warning or individual present. Retreating to the City Docks witnesses confirmed that no signal was heard although they had heard it clearly on other occasions. I later discovered that the bridge has no radio contact or communication with the adjacent lock. I have had previous experience with this bridge waiting one and half hours for the bridge to open in a swift current and no communication. They seem to operate without regard to water traffic as opposed to the locks. I will update you as to
    any legal actions.
    Tom James, Captain
    “Tortuga” Krogen 42

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

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