Please note – the discussion below about the St. Johns River was copied from the MTOA List-Serv
As for the infamous Shands Bridge at Green Cove Springs, I myself would never try to take a sailcraft with a 46.5 mast under this span. That is truly flirting with disaster!
I’m glad to hear (see below) that a new 65-foot high rise bridge is currently under constructions to take the place of the current 45-foot (official clearance) Shands Bridge. This span has long been a barrier for sailors who want to enjoy this magnificent body of water.
Conversely, cruising the St. Johns River may just be the best cruising offered by the eastern shoreline of the Sunshine State, at least north of Miami. The river is not only beautiful, but if you enjoy anchoring off, you may think you have died and gone to cruising heaven.
Diesel fuel is a bit scarce along the course of the St. Johns, so fill up at every opportunity. Otherwise, ENJOY!
My wife and I are planning a trip in the winter of 2010 to St. John’s River. Another couple with a sailboat plan to join us, but have a problem with the Shands Bridge’s 45 foot clearance. Their mast height is 46.5 feet. Is it likely that wind induced variations in water levels will make it possible for them to pass, if we wait for such variations? It appears that the normal tide range at Green Cove Springs is only about 0.7 feet.
Thanks for any information.
Monk 36, “Peggy Sue”
We went about half way up the St. Johns River in March, 2009. I don’t know about getting under the Shands Bridge.? Do you have a cruising guide? We used mostly Doziers Southern 2008 Waterway Guide. We stayed a few days at Ortega Yacht Club Marina (we had family near there and it was convenient for us and them).? At that time it was 125. per foot. We also used [Claborne Young's] guide and if I can find it I will email you that one. How can you not find things on a boat!?!?!?> He has MUCH more information on where to anchor and great little out of the way restaurants up little creeks, etc. I don’t know if your sailboat friends can go up these small rivers. You may have to anchor the sailboat out and take your trawler…we had no trouble with Two Cats Too.
Good Luck! The St. Johns is BEAUTIFUL…someday I want to go all the way to Palatka!
Ref the info you asked about for your friends mast passing under Shands Bridge. We live in Green Cove Spgs and pass through Shands on regular basis. 45 ft max height is stated and you can get more clearence with heavy tidal flows but you should not count on it. Heavy rains can keep water higher than normal. Also, Shands like other bridges has a stated 2′ “higher” center clearence. We pass under Shands this morning at low tide and noted that clearence markers gave “46″ ft of clearence. Other option; lower mast and cruise all of the river up to Sanford Fl, 150+ miles, many are narrow creeks with deep water, great cruising, but NOT for blowboats!!!
Enjoy the river, you will love it.
They are building a new 65 foot bridge there. Check Cruisersnet.net to check on progress. The St. John’s has no “tide” variation with or without wind!! We boated on the river for over 20 years. Beautiful!
We have to pass under the Shands Bridge later this week with a 47′ mast (Hunter 30). Gary–if you’re out there–can you give us the latest reading on the clearance markers?
I bought a laser measuring device at Lowe’s & plan to point that up at the underside of the bridge. I’ll be prepared to follow the methods of the “mast tipper” & heel the boat if necessary. Any other suggestions are most welcome.