Posted by Claiborne Young | Posted on 09-22-2009
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
SSECN’s Bridge Directory lists the charted vertical clearance at mean high water. During periods of wider tidal range and higher winds the actual height of the water can vary, as Captain Chuck relates below. The prudent tall-masted cruiser will keep an eye on tides and winds, to say nothing of the clearance boards.
This information is wrong, there is more space if you are careful. December 3 2013 I ran 73′ under it, with about 12″ to spare. This was 1 hour before mean high tide. HOWEVER, this will also hit the range lights in the middle, so be sure to go to one side or the other of them.
Huckins Boat Yard is located on the northern shores of the Ortega River off the St. Johns River, just upstream of the Roosevelt Boulevard Bridge with a 45ft vertical clearance.
If you are going to be in the Jacksonville area on the Ortega River and need boat yard services, give Huckins Yacht Corporation a good look. We just finished a week of annual underwater hull maintenance and would have to proclaim this was the best boat yard experience we have had in over 15 years of boating. The yard hauled us out on the day scheduled, and then splashed us on the day promised, with everything on the original list completed plus adding another large amount of work that was unseen so not anticipated. The quoted costs on those things we could estimate were honored and the additional work was quoted as we went and that was honored. Then, to top it off, the yard spent 3 hours washing our boat before casting us off. This is a job I always hate to do when first leaving a yard with the usual dirty decks and Huckins included it in the packaged bottom job. As not having any incentive from Huckins except a very happy customer, I do highly recommend them. Call Deb Grant, one of the service managers, and tell her that we sent you.
Huckins builds one of the best boats on the water too. Timeless classics with incredible quality.
A phone call to Quality Inn and Suites Riverfront on the St. Johns River in Palatka, FL, confirmed Captain Siff’s information that the slips at this Quality Inn are for the use hotel guests only and are free when you rent a room. But should you wish to tie-up your boat and have a night in a bed that doesn’t rock, here is their webpage for location and phone: http://www.qualityinn.com/hotel-palatka-florida-FL783
I visited this marina owned by the Quality Inn Hotel by land to check it out this past weekend on a car trip from Tampa to Jacksonvville. I asked about the rate per foot per night for transient dockage and was told by the front desk clerk that the docks are not rented out for transients but that dockage is free if you book a hotel room. There was not a boat at the marina dockage. I did not check out the Palatka City Dock but it may be an option. A call to the Quality Inn Hotel management may further clarify what I was told on my brief visit.
With a closed vertical clearance of 5ft, the Florida East Coast Railway Bridge crosses the St. Johns immediately west of the Acosta Bridge in downtown Jacksonville.
Let’s hope the railroad gets the needed “part manufactured” SOON, as with such a low, closed vertical the restrictions described below will seriously crimp St. Johns River cruising!!!!
Below is the Week 47/13 LNM:
FLORIDA – ST. JOHNS RIVER – FEC RAILROAD BRIDGE – JACKSONVILLE: Special Operating Schedule.
Due to a mechanical failure, the FEC Railroad Bridge across the St Johns River, Jacksonville, Florida has been placed on a limited opening schedule. This bridge will remain open to navigation from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, at all other times the bridge will be closed to navigation. The bridge owner is in the process of manufacturing a part in order to replace the broken bearing. If the bearing fails before the new part can be delivered, the bridge will need to be operated manually with additional restrictions implemented.
The FEC Railroad Bridge across the St Johns River, Jacksonville, Florida will be closed to navigation from December 6 through December 13, 2013 for repairs. These dates were chosen to not interfere with the Boat Parade and other water related events scheduled in December. Chart 11491
And this article by Dan Scanlon from The Florida Times Union, www.jacksonville.com, sent to us by Rick Chant.
Parts of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville will be closed intermittently to boating traffic on Saturday and Sunday due to problems with the East Coast Railroad Bridge, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The closures are needed to handle increased vehicle traffic on the Main Street Bridge for Sunday’s Jacksonville Jaguars football game, and because of mechanical problems on the Florida East Coast Railroad Bridge.
The railroad bridge will be open for vessel traffic as follows:
■ 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.; 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
■ 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with two closings for rail traffic; and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
■ There will also be limited openings continuing until repairs are completed to the railroad bridge, the Coast Guard said.
In addition, the Main Street bridge will be closed to ship traffic from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
Boaters may contact the bridge tender on VHF Channel 9 or 16 for additional information.
Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2013-10-18/story/boaters-face-intermittent-st-johns-river-closures-due-railroad-bridge#ixzz2iMy8GmJW
River City Marina lies on the southerly banks of the St. Johns River between the Main Street lift bridge and the fixed, high-rise Acosta Bridge. This report comes from our friends of the AGLCA Forum.
When I last visited this facility, about two years ago, it had a definite “down on its luck” atmosphere, but at least Captain Kuemmel’s report below indicates the adjacent restaurant and micro-brewery are well worth your gastronomical attention!
We stumbled upon another Jacksonville craft brewery. Directly across the river from Jacksonville Landing, between the Acosta Bridge and the Main St Bridge, is the River City Marina and the adjacent River City Brewing Company. The marina floating docks show quite a bit of wear & tear, and you have to deal with the 2-4 kt river current, but the dockmaster Lee is extremely helpful. The slips have 40-50′ boats staying as liveaboards. We topped off fuel before heading up the St Johns River, so we stayed on the T-face while we ate lunch. Their restaurant has been around 20 years, serves excellent food, and is popular with the business crowd. The brewery is only a couple years old, and their current license allows them to sell their beers only at their restaurant/bar. They are now trying to expand both brewery capacity and distribution. Overall, a very good lunch stop.
With a closed vertical clearance of ONLY 5ft, the Florida East Coast Railway Bridge crosses the St. Johns immediately west of the Acosta Bridge in downtown Jacksonville. Cruisers planning to explore the enchanting section of the St. Johns west and south of Jacksonville, all the way to the city of Sanford, FL on Lake Monroe, will have to plan around the week long closure of this low level span specified below!
FLORIDA – ST. JOHNS RIVER – FEC RAILROAD BRIDGE – JACKSONVILLE: Repair Closure.
The FEC Railroad Bridge across the St Johns River, Jacksonville, Florida will be closed to navigation from December 6 through December 13, 2013 for repairs. These dates were chosen to not interfere with the Boat Parade and other water related events scheduled in December. LNM 41/13 Chart: 11491
Due to damages to the Mathews Bridge, the Main Street Bridge in downtown Jacksonville with a closed vertical clearance of 40ft will be on restricted openings as listed below.For a recent posting on the Mathews Bridge, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=124176
FLORIDA – ST. JOHNS RIVER – MAIN STREET BRIDGE – JACKSONVILLE: Special Bridge Regulations.
Due to an increase in vehicle traffic on the Main Street Bridge caused by the shutdown of the Mathews Bridge the Coast Guard Captain of the Port Jacksonville advises all mariners the Main Street Bridge, mile 24.7, St Johns River, Jacksonville has been placed on a limited openings schedule to accommodate increased vehicular traffic due to the closure of the Mathews Bridge. The Main Street Bridge will be closed to navigation from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Limited openings will continue until repairs are completed on the Mathews Bridge. Vessel traffic may contact the bridge tender on VHF-FM channel 9 for additional information. Chart: 11491
The St Johns River is a beautiful stretch of water departing the AICW near Mayport and extending to Sanford, FL. Doctors Inlet, leading to Doctors Lake, departs the St. Johns some ten miles upstream (south) of Jacksonville. These waters are now invaded by an invasive green slime, described in the report and video link below from Fox News in Jacksonville and sent to us by Captain McDonald. There is now some health concern in regards to this algae. Please follow the links provided below to learn more!
Don’t mean to throw cold water on a great place but this blooming algae has made me sick and according to the local news media (http://www.actionnewsjax.com/content/topstories/story/Algae-bloom-in-St-Johns-River-causes-health/D10lQ27rRUePtmKLgvRrWw.cspx) others have experienced the harmful effects as well. I am avoiding this area for the time at least until this algae problem goes away. I am just passing it along and I’ll let you be the judge on what to do with this information.
And also this link:
And this link from St. Johns Riverkeeper:
Fleming Island Marina lies on the southern shore of Doctors Inlet, southwest of St. Johns River marker #11, upstream (south) of Jacksonville.
I have stayed at this marina since 2009 and offer the following updated review:
Marina has a swimming pool, ice machine, pump out, floating and fixed docks, haul out, very reasonable rates. etc. Friendly and knowledgeable staff (Jeff). Outstanding full service marine center (Hal). Approach can have shallow water at times.
Trout River Anchorage lies west of the St. Johns on the mid-width of Trout River between Seafarers Marina and Pier 68 Marina.
Stayed on anchor here March-September of 2011. If you google “trout river bridge” and “death” “murder” “drowning” or any other bad thing there are a lot. This is not a nice neighborhood. beware the tides push through the bridge at 4-7 knots and I have seen several boats get sideways on the pilings. Park your boat far enough out to be beyond swim range (100 yds. +), or the locals will get drunk or high and board your boat. The marina docks have liveaboards that keep an eye out, make friends. There are multiple derelict, sinking vessels and shipwrecks. Now the good: it’s right infront of the zoo and vessels that arrive to the docks get free access to the zoo, and it is my favorite hurricane hole for st johns river, just watch out when the hurricanes come every boat on the river not in protected waters will try to anchor there and usually 1-2 of them end up on the beach due to insufficient bottom gear so “know your surroundings”.
For my money, the best cruising on the Eastern Florida coastline is to be found on the St. Johns River. Tucked in a small hide-away anchorage, south of Lake George, it’s hard to believe that you are in the same state that sports the “condo caverns” surrounding the Waterway between Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
The Waterway intersects the St. Johns River at Statute Mile 741, east of Jacksonville. If you have suggestions for Captain Alan, let us hear from you.
I have a 21 ft walk around cuddy cabin boat. I live close to Lake Monroe boat ramp and at times launch there. I enjoy ocean and trailer boat to New Smyrna. Was thinking about a few days on Banana River but know little about St Johns River. If I was to launch at Lake Monroe, and want to make a few days on river which way should I go, and what advice?
I have little camping gear, but can sleep in cuddy cabin.
I understand river goes up to Jacksonville.
Would be traveling myself as wife hates nature.
What would you advise?
The Waterway intersects the St. Johns River at Statute Mile 741, east of Jacksonville.
I found that the St. Johns River all the way down to Sanford is a great way to spend the winter. It is 300 river miles with plenty of depth and NO locks. When you are in Sanford at the docks in town, it is a 2 city block walk to downtown Main St. When we were there over a year ago, the town store fronts were full and very vibrant with activities every week. You will need a car to get to the malls and grocery but Enterprise has some outstanding weekend rates. You are also very close to Orlando and Disney World.
SEAS 2 DAY
Just so there is no misunderstanding here, the navigable portion of the St. Johns River from the intersection of the AICW to Sanford is 180 miles.
It is a great cruise with a number of interesting places to stop along the way. Sanford is about 30 miles from Disney, and a little closer to some of the other tourist attractions in Orlando. Orlando International Airport is about 20 miles. Those distances are off the top of my head.
Judy Young & Bob McLeran
Palatka is the first major port of call on the beautiful St. Johns River, south of Jacksonville, Florida. You can anchor off the city waterfront, and dinghy into the city dock, or pick up a wet slip at Boathouse Marina.
Boathouse overlooks the St. Johns River’s shoreline, west-southwest of Palatka City Dock and marker #1. Cruisers berthing here will find themselves within easy walking distance of the shops and restaurants in downtown Palatka
The City Cafe has closed, but Angel’s Diner and the Subway sandwich shop are within an easy walk of the Marina. Beef’O’Brady’s has opened in the Quality Inn just north of the bridge on the west side of the river. Exercise extreme care crossing Highway 17 or use the long boardwalk beneath the bridge. Arrive on the 3rd Friday or 4th Saturday of the month for maximum activities provided by the City of Palatka. http://www.palatkadowntown.com/event-calender.html
Capt. Burnham’s comments below are a postscript to his earlier warning of a sunken vessel in these waters, a warning that resulted in an SSECN Navigation Alert (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=108736).
Derelicts (abandoned vessels) and “live aboard hulks” (so-called “vessels” on which people “live” that will never move again, unless it’s straight down to the bottom) are indeed a very real problem, not only in Florida, but throughout the Southeastern coastal regions. We agree wholeheartedly with Captain Burnham’s thoughts that many of these situations could be solved simply by enforcing MSD regulations and marine salvage laws ALREADY ON THE BOOKS!
The Palatka riverfront is becoming a graveyard for boats whose irresponsible owners neglect their anchored vessels. A third vessel is now a navigational hazard between the Palatka city dock and the Highway 17 Memorial Bridge. This unlit hazard has only its bowpulpit showing above the water surface. This 27′ Bucanneer sailboat does not have a mast so it can be hard to spot. Unlike Kevin’s sloop that was allowed to sink south of the Boathouse Marina with only its mast above water and west of the sunken Houseboat that only has the top two feet of the roof exposed at high tide.
If you plan to anchor at Palatka it is currently hazardous to do so except with a full moon or in daylight.
The mastless 27′ Bucaneer [see attached photos - editor] was a hazardous sinking vessel on the 5th of July. It sank on the 13th and there was plenty of time to prevent it from sinking…The Houseboat has been underwater for months…Kevin’s sloop sank two weeks ago and it was obvious that it was in hazard of sinking yet no action was taken. Is the owner the only person responsible when authorities refuse to act to correct an obviously hazardous situation?
I am a property owner, a sailor and have at one time had my 32′ sloop in the Palatka Marina for 3 years. I beg to differ with the good captain! The vessels and the places he describes are accurate; however, NONE are in the channel, they are in places where when the winter winds occur, they are in relatively SAFE positions. If the good captain wants to wander around exploring the area, excellent. Do so at your own risk, . Anytime its not daylight, anywhere you do so at your own peril. A real seaman would not chance a night anchorage in a strange place.
The Coast Guard is requesting our assistance in apprehending the culprits in the removal of batteries from navigational aids in the St. Johns River. PLEASE report any info you may have on this truly dumb stunt to the USCG at 386-427-3227.
FLORIDA-ST JOHNS RIVER: Stolen Equipment.
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – The Coast Guard is seeking information from the public about the theft of four batteries since the end of April from federally owned navigational aids in the St. Johns River from Sanford, Fla., to DeBary, Fla.
Non-functioning navigational aids, or aids that are functioning improperly, can endanger mariners who rely on them for safe navigation and may cause accidents.Each battery weighs approximately 40 pounds and costs $106.86. Navigational aids are essential in assisting mariners transiting waterways throughout the country.
Federal law prohibits vandalism of aids to navigation. Depending on the nature of the violation, persons could face maximum penalties upon conviction of up to 10 years imprisonment and as much as a $250,000 fine.
Mariners who observe vandalism to navigational aids, have more information about the stolen batteries, or who want to report nonfunctioning aids, may contact Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Holt, the officer in charge of Aids to Navigation Team Ponce De Leon Inlet in New Smyrna Beach,
Fla., at 386-427-3227.
There’s only one word for these incredibly stupid idiots. KEELHAULED!!
Ortega Landing, the first facility you will encounter upon entering the Ortega River from the St. Johns, only a mile or so upstream from downtown Jacksonville, is indeed a fine facility, as is nearby Lambs Marine Center.
We are currently at the Marina and it is fantastic. Over 5.5ft. of water on the approach (call for directions) and plenty at the dock. friendly people, great pool and club house, even a dog park next door. Free washer and dryer, great showers and good internet, and concrete floating docks. We had always blown past the St. John’s River on the ICW or outside. I am really glad we stopped at the pretty convenient luxury marina.
It’s a 13 mile cruise up the St. Johns River from the AICW to the Jacksonville waterfront, where mariners will discover Jacksonville Landing, on the north side of the St. Johns, midway between the Main Street Bridge and the Acosta Bridge. This complex is a downtown shopping mall/food court with a stage area for special events and concerts, featuring its own dock for visiting pleasure craft.
We stayed at Jacksonville Landing, FREE! just a few months ago. No power or water, but FREE. We loved it. I think the maximum stay is 3 nights.
Rick ‘n Roll
This question came in from a fellow cruiser and I am happy to confirm that Gibson Dry Dock is still in business and their contact information and directions are listed at their website:
The facility is located on the St. Johns River east of marker #12 in San Mateo.
I would want to contact by e-mail for a quotation for drydocking my boat. Is there an e-mail address?
March 21, 2013
This is a good place to dry store your boat during the hurricane season and a great yard for cruisers who want to do their own maintenance.
May 13, 2013
15years on the Fl coast, 10 at Gibson. Would not consider any place else. Dry stored all these years during hurricane season with no damage.