I’ve often said, but it bears repeating, recommendations of this ilk from fellow cruisers are invaluable!
Call Mike the diver, I have been using him here in Marathon for years. 305-360-2012.
I’ve often said, but it bears repeating, recommendations of this ilk from fellow cruisers are invaluable!
Call Mike the diver, I have been using him here in Marathon for years. 305-360-2012.
As part of the discussion of new Florida Keys Anchorage regulations (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=96458), we noted:
“3. In Marathon and Keys West, “no anchorage buffer zones” have been established around the city mooring fields.”
This factoid prompted the following, well considered question from Captain Peter TenHaagen:
Curious about the status of Sister Creek south of Boot Key Harbor as a legal anchorage spot?
That got us to thinking that we really should research the location and size of all the “no anchorage buffer zones” established by the new Florida Keys anchorage regulations. So, after some digging, below we have reproduced the wording from the actual ordinance:
So, to answer Captain TenHaagen’s question directly, it looks as if the waters of Sister Creek, are NOT included in the “No Anchor Buffer Zones,” as these are more than fifty feet from the Boot Key Harbor mooring fields.
And, finally, here is a very hard to read map, which, if you can see them, shows where the official mooring fields are located in Boot Key Harbor. This map does NOT show the “no anchorage buffer zones,” but clearly the waters of Sister Creek are more than 50 feet from the fields.
Notice, HOWEVER, the map does show that Sister Creek IS PART OF THE MANAGED ANCHORAGE AREA, so, conceivably, the creek’s waters could be further regulated in the future!
Not an expert on the area, but my recollection of Sister Creek is one of VERY limited swing room.
We anchor in Sister Creek Regularly to let the Boy Scouts on our Eco Adventure trips with Florida Seabase Kayak the amazing loop trail through Whiskey Creek. For a temporary anchorage it is fine, however you must be careful not to block the channel, there is a lot of boat traffic. There is also a strong tidal current.
Captain Harold Ochstein
On Wednesday, September 5, 2012 the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the Monroe County anchorage regulations associated with the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. While the final version must still be approved by the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, that final nod would seem to be a mere formality. We conclude that, after all the many public forums, voluminous comments published here on the Cruisers’ Net and on other nautical forums, and a lot of GOOD work by our very special Florida Keys correspondent (and founder of BARR – Boaters’ Action Rights and Responsibilities), Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, we have a new set of Florida Keys anchorage regulations which will almost certainly be in effect by the winter 2012 – 2013 cruising season! HOWEVER, as you will see, this is not nearly as onerous as it initially sounds!
Burdine’s Waterfront Marina overlooks the Boot Key westerly approach channel’s northerly banks, just a quick hop east from Pancho’s Fuel Dock.
Burdine’s Marina in Marathon is nice, friendly people, and a great Tiki Bar/Restaurant.
The reef just outside Marathon has mooring balls and is great snorkeling.
Ken & Pat Goewey
Below, Captain Brian, in a message copied from the Cruisers’ Forum gives some good advice on where to satisfy a healthy appetite in Marathon, Florida. Only wish he could have recalled some of the name, but, hey, we cruisers take advice wherever we can get it!
Marathon. Well, most people grab a ball and go from there. That is what I would suggest. THere is a great beer and burger joint as you come in on the port side (I cannot remember the name) but it is the first 2 story restaurant when you enter after Marathon Marina. They sell gas too. On the canal right before that is a really good sea food restaurant if you take that first canal and it is at the corner. Also, at Marathon Marina (first marina on your left) they have a awesome happy hour and as they look west, good place to watch the sun set over the water.
The gas place is Burdines Marina. Top of that building is Chiki Tiki Bar and Grill. Had a nice taco salad there few days ago. We walked there after being at West Marine by going down 15th St. off A1A. Was a little scary due to neighborhood. Asked couple of people at restaurant if it was a crime neighborhood and they said you should be o.k. during the day but don’t walk it at night. Best to come by boat or dinghy.
Two story restaurant is Burdines.
Lazy Days at Marathon Marna.
Make sure to check out Hurricane, across from Home Depot (east end).
“Salty’s” Restaurant near Marathon Marina. “Castaways” Rest. near Panchos & Burdines.
My impression of Sombrero Marina Dockside has always been that a good time is had by all. More than a few glasses of my personal favorite, Mount Gay Rum, have been hoisted here from time to time!
Currently at Sombrero. I like it, sort of a 50s flavor. Slips are big for a 2665 Regal but well set up. First marina I have been to with no tie down cleats. Lots of poles to tie to. Dockside Restaurant is good. Lots of locals. Menu somewhat limited, no steaks for example. Drinks good and beer cold. Frequent live entertainment. PUMP-OUTs on Thursdays. I think you could talk Roy into other days if needed. He will get you POUT if you are gone sight seeing. Showers, laundry are 50′s but you have everything you need and is clean. Restrooms are shared with Dockside and you get a key for after hours. Publix is walking distance and most everything else, West Marine, stores could be walked or biked or a $5 cab ride.
Regular visitors to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net will remember that about four weeks ago, we published an article authored by our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, which warned of possible new anchoring restrictions in Boot Key Harbor (BKH) outside the mooring field. The reaction from the cruising community was swift and vocal, and the Marathon City Council seems to have heeded that outcry. As Captain Charmine reports anew below, it looks as if anchoring on most of BKH will not be impeded.
On an even broader scale, Charmaine also provides a link to Monroe County’s (all of the Florida Keys) plan on how they will implement their participation in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. This is MUST reading for any who cherish the idea of anchoring anywhere in the Florida Keys, and, trust me, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of idyllic anchorages in this region. So, follow the link below, and let us know what you think!
April 10th 2012
Florida Pilot Program UPDATE: Monroe County Proposed PP Ordinance
by Charmaine Smith Ladd
The most recent draft of proposed ordinances for Monroe County (including the municipalities of Marathon and Key West) are now online for your perusal and comment. Please read thoroughly and let your concerns be heard. There will be a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) on April 18th where the final draft of proposed ordinances will be on the table for approval to go forward through the protocol of the FWC administered Pilot Program.
All boaters and cruisers will be happy to know that anchoring in the most protected Harbor in all of the Florida Keys, Boot Key Harbor, will remain available.
Please download the proposed ordinances from the following link: http://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/agendacenter
With the city charging $22 plus tax for 1 days dinghy dockage, NO one in their right mind is going to anchor there! It is so sad Marathon insists on a exorbadant dinghy dockage when other Florida comunities provide FREE dinghy dockage. Miami Beach is building a free dinghy dock, Ft Myers Beach has a free dinghy dock, Cape Coral has free dinghy dockage. LaBelle has free dockage. Marathon has to get with it or loose out!
We are very pleased to report that as of this morning, 3/27/12, the once sagging utility lines crossing the primary entrance to Boot Key Harbor have been repaired, and returned to their normal vertical clearance of 65 feet. Our sincere thanks to Captain Peter F. TenHaagen for this report, and for the dramatic photo attached to this message. To see more of Captain Peter’s utility line repair photos, click the “Photo Gallery” icon/link below!
The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net would also like to express a sincere thanks to the cruising community for their help and cooperation in getting the word out about this formerly dangerous situation over the past several days. Working together, there is little the combined forces of the SSECN and the Cruising Community cannot achieve!
Just wanted to let you know they finished making the wires the correct height again today (ribbon hanging down is their measuring device!) at the Knights Key Channel entrance to Boot Key Harbor and sailboats are now coming and going freely.
THE WIRE IS FIXED to 65′ Clear M.H.W.
The sagging lines appeared to be fixed about 3 PM Monday afternoon. We were heading back from lunch and passed under the bridge/cables while the barge with two men up in the crane finished. There is a new yellow/red circle attached to the middle of the cable, I guess to show it’s been fixed? Anyway, as we watched, the barge lowered the two men in the crane back to deck, so hopefully all is well again in Marathon.
I witnessed the incident [that originally caused the utility lines to sag]. It was Sunday, March 18. I was in my dinghy heading toward the bridge. A big catamaran with a 75 foot rig was trying to enter the harbor. Suddenly she reared back like a motorcycle doing a wheelie. If she had been going any faster, she would have flipped herself onto her back.
Unfortunately I didn’t get the vessel name, but I did talk to the people on board. They were 6 teenagers there for the sailing regatta. They tied off at the old abandoned marina next to Burdines.
Has anyone noticed if they put a tide reading scale [ 24-25-26 ] on the EAST , mooring field side of the bridge ? Am I missing it. I dont think I have seen one on that side.
As part of the recent string of messages concerning the sagging utility lines over the primary entrance to Boot Key Harbor (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=84015), a side discussion has come about concerning depths on Sister Creek. The “primary” entrance to Boot Key Harbor (“BKH”) is a more or less straight shot from Moser Channel. This is the passage over which the sagging utility lines cross.
Sister Creek is an alternate entrance to BKH, which runs, more or less, north from Hawk Channel. In the “sagging utility lines posting,” both yours truly and our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, cautioned that boats drawing more than 4 feet should not attempt to use Sister Creek to access BKH. This admonition resulted in some dissenting points of view:
Good to hear the alert but Sister’s Creek is deeper than 4′. I have come in and out of Boot Key via Sister’s Creek and have never experienced less than 6′. Take your own chances – I’m just saying.
Always FOR SAIL too
I disagree about Sister Creek – large sportfishers and sailing craft enter the harbor from Sister Creek daily. There is a spot at the entrance that might preclude 6′ from entering at MLW, but half tide and rising there is no apparent problem. I am anchored on Sister Creek with two other craft as I write this.
So, I asked Captain Charmine to comment further on the soundings to be expected in Sister Creek. Here is her reply:
Regarding SISTER CREEK. Sister Creek at mean low tide is 4’1″. That’s FOUR FEET ONE INCH. From that point, as usual, you have to do the math with the tides as far as one’s draft is concerned. Obviously if you have a two foot tide you’ll be fine if you draw less than six feet. With that said, whatever someone has experienced in their vessel is highly subjective and there are dangerously hard groundings that occur in Sister Creek because of this. Each Captain has to make his or her decision based on their particular situation.
This is why I am extremely cautious with suggesting using Sister Creek to others. Some don’t watch tides as closely as others. Therefore, I merely report its mean low tide depth. Those who traverse Sister Creek with 6′ drafts have done their homework…and that is all that is necessary in order to decide to use it or not. Just know that it is not quite a no-brainer unless you have a shallower draft vessel.
Remember if you enter Sister Creek from Hawk Channel, it’s a normal red-right-returning as you enter Boot Key Harbor.But the channel colors “reverse” where Sister Creek meets Boot Key Harbor. That’s because the markers near that entrance are really a continuation of the markers from the main entrance channel at Seven Mile Bridge, and thus are “reverse-colors” from the Sister Creek entrance. That can cause confusion and potential grounding if the skipper is on the “wrong” side of the markers as they enter Boot Key Harbor where the water at that intersection is shallow.
I agree with Captain Charmaine. Our boat draws 4 feet and our depth sounder is accurate to within 2 inches. We departed Sister Creek in February of 2012 at dead low tide and our depth reading was 4 feet. Sister Creek itself is deep enough. The shallow area is east of the entrance to Sister Creek between the Red and Green marks.
We recently entered Boot Key via Sister’screek in our sailboat. It was at mid tide. Our dept sounder is set for actual water depth and is accurate. We saw readings or 4.1 on the sounder. The draft on our boat is 5 foot but we never even felt a bump let alone run hard aground. I wonder if there is a heavy grass growth that may be bouncing the echoe sound up from the tall grass. This occurred just off the beach in the channel. The rest of the way was all over 5 foot or better
I just returned in my dinghy from the marked channel entering Sister Creek from Hawk Channel – I found at dead low tide some 4.5′ spots between markers 2 and 3/4, nothing under 5′ after that and nothing under 7′ once past the marked channel. I don’t know the exact tide range but it is well over 2′ – I would say 3-4′ depending on winds and other conditions that affect the tide. I did this for friends in a 5′ draft sailboat planning to meet me here over the weekend.
Boat using sister creek this morning reported at least 6′ at near high tide. Local knowledge is needed as there are shallow rocks reported to be inside one of the red markers. Local boat US will charge $400 to escort you thru.
For the past 12 years I have lived on Sombrero Blvd. For the first 5ive years I had a Shannon 43 drawing when cruising 5′ 2″ that I took in and out of Sisters Creek. I have read the warnings and looked at the charts but have yet to run aground. My neighbor had a Gulfstar 50 that he took in and out numerous times. He did bump once or twice but never ran aground. I took my boat in and out regardless of the tide level although never at a low low tide.
Re Sisters Creek: I lived in Marathon for 11 years, and always used the Sisters channel coming and going on my 50′ Gulfstar with 5.5′ draft. I recall a light bumping once or twice during very low tides, but most locals consider the channel good for 6′ in normal high tides.
The old charts do say 4′ at MLT, but local knowledge is pretty well established on this one.
Recently, my good friend and host at last fall’s MTOA Rendezvous in Chesapeake Bay, Captain Ken Chumley, arranged for a Florida fuel wholesaler to bring an entire truckload of diesel fuel to Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor. Here, he and a number of other MTOA members, took on 4,200 gallons of diesel, at a really good price! Another fellow cruiser chimed in, and said they had made arrangements with the same company for a truckload delivery to Duck Key, to the tune of about 900 gallons.
Of course, for anyone to take advantage of this service, they will have to put together a group of fuel thirsty vessels, at a Florida Keys marina where a tanker truck can back close enough to the wet slips so that a hose can be easily snaked to the waiting boats.
If you can overcome these hurtles, give Urbieta Oil at 305-884-0008 a call, and stand by to save a significant chunk of change!
Isn’t it encouraging to find a city owned and operated mooring field that ENCOURAGES cruisers to anchor just outside of the field until a mooring become available. Other municipalities in Florida would be well advised to take note!
At Boot Key the dockmaster generally will have you anchor out until a mooring becomes available. Depending on weather and the number of folks staging to go to the Bahamas, your wait can be hours to a few days. Just remember to look at the tide charts (especially now, coming off of full moon) and gage where you anchor with
M/V Ocean Breeze
We are in Marathon and while the mooring field is busy there are openings. A number of boats just headed out for the Bahamas and that makes for available openings. With your mooring you get pumped out once a week and you can pull into the Marathon City Marina and get water. You can also check with the City Marina for dockage.
Marty and Jerry Richardson
onboard M/V Monarch
The boats in Boot Key Harbor come and go all the time. They might be full today and have a half dozen moorings open by weeks end if a good weather window opens up. There is usually someplace to anchor in Boot Key Harbor. Depending on your boats draft, you can anchor in Newfound Harbor on the way to Key West, and depending on the weather, if the southerlies are not blowing too bad, you can anchor just outside Boot Key Harbor. There is also the anchorage in Key West. Marina availability will be a different story this time of year.
City of Marathon is in the process of passing Resolution 2012-21 which will restrict all anchoring in Boot Key Harbor to one small area. This Resolution can be viewed on City of Marathon website.
We kind of had to guess whether Captain Russell’s note below refers to Sombrero Marina Dockside or Sombrero Resort and Lighthouse Marina, both of which are located in Marathon on Boot Key Harbor. We guessed the former facility, but if anyone knows otherwise, based on the description below, PLEASE click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.
Keep trying Sombrero Beach, too. Folks are in and out of there frequently. They always say they are full for the season…you just have to get used to Roy (the marina manager, if he’s still there). But we really liked it there and once on the good side of Roy, life smoothed out.
M/V Ocean Breeze
The note Captain Kettlewell has copied us on below, was inspired by the earlier article here on the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net by our very special Florida Keys Correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=79332). John’s words, as they usually do, speak eloquently for themselves!
I sent the following message to the chamber of commerce in Marathon. Charmaine suggested I forward a copy to you in case you might want to use it on your website. I have no objections.
Subject: Boot Key Harbor fees
From: “John J. Kettlewell”
Date: Sat, February 04, 2012 5:35 pm
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Dear Mr. Samess:
You and your member businesses should be very concerned about the recently instituted dramatic increase in fees at the city mooring field and city dinghy dock. Snowbirding boaters in Boot Key Harbor spend lots of money in Marathon businesses on things like marine supplies, fuel, ice, groceries and shopping of all sorts, restaurants, and entertainment. The last time I was there on my boat I spent three weeks in the harbor, renting a space at the dinghy dock. In total I believe I spent several thousand dollars on refitting my boat, restaurants, and other supplies. However, as of February 1 the city has raised the daily rate for the dinghy dock by 69% to $22 per day! Imagine what it would do to business in Marathon if a parking fee of $22 per day was instituted on your streets. This fee seems particularly unfair when you note that the use of the two public boat ramps in Marathon is completely free, as is all day parking at the boat ramps. In addition, weekly and monthly fees also increased dramatically, while mooring fees also increased. In short, not many boaters will pay this extortionate fee just to tie up a dinghy and go ashore to be able to spend money–I certainly will take my business elsewhere.
Boaters have a very well-established and efficient communication system that is spreading the word rapidly about these outrageous fees, and the unfriendly nature of Marathon. I know some boaters have already cancelled plans to visit Boot Key Harbor this winter. Marathon businesses should let the city know that the recent fee increases are bad for business.
John J. Kettlewell
Tuesday of this week, the City of Marathon approved an increase in the fees for mooring and dinghy dockage at their public City Marina. An increase has been expected, as the City is challenged to keep their books in the black. However expected the increase in fees, unexpected is the enormous rise in costs for those who choose to merely anchor and access the amenities of the City Marina.
Mooring rates include dinghy dockage, one weekly sewage pump out (additional pump outs are available at $5 each), parking for one motor vehicle, and access to the marina commons (including laundry and shower facilities).
Dingy dockage rates include all of the above except one is at anchor and not assigned the use of a mooring.
Daily mooring increased from $21 to $22.
Daily dinghy dockage increased from $13 to $22.
Weekly mooring increased from $105 to $110.
Weekly dinghy dockage increased from $45 to $85.
Monthly mooring increased from $275 to $300.
Monthy dinghy dockage increased from $135 to $225.
Most transient boaters have no need for a parking space. Laundry is carded and one pays separately for use. Many cruisers shower aboard and do not use the marina for that purpose. Perhaps the City of Marathon should consider lowering fees for those who wish to simply access the City Marina for dinghy dockage. Having amenities listed and paid for on as “as needed” basis would be much more agreeable to those who have no use for many of the services included with dinghy dockage. It is the opinion of this writer that $225 per month to dock a dinghy at a City Marina facility is far too much.
Charmaine Smith Ladd, SEECN Special Correspondent & Representative
Executive Director, Mariner’s Barr (Boaters’ Anchoring Rights & Responsibilities)
Sorry Charmaine, I would love to visit you there, but I don’t willingly submit to extortion. Those prices are ludicrous for the dinghy dock. I guess that’s a good way to chase away those at anchor, if that is their intention.
And water is 5 cents per gallon.
Does anyone know if the mooring field is staying full this winter?
That is INCREDIBLE!!! We were waiting for a weather window and intending to visit Marathon on our way from Key West to Bimini, but your article just changed our plans. Charging the same for a dinghy tie-up as for a mooring is simply insane, what were they thinking? We’d have taken a mooring if we could get one, but we are not about to pay the same if there are no mooring balls available. How very unwelcoming.
Heather and Derek
Maybe dockside could reopen a dinghy dock for $50 a month for those at anchor. Bring in business they lost over the years.
Philip (formerly “Winds of Change”)
There is no question that the city of Marathon is trying to NOT service the sailing community on a fair and non discriminatory basis. The fee now charged to anchor and use the dingy dock and showers is $225 per month for being on the anchor. The only people that can afford those rates are in general are the snow birds and a few sailors with deep pockets. For a live aboard that works every day he or she cannot afford those rates thus eliminating the less fortunate the opportunity to anchor in Boot Key Harbor within there means. Marathon City Marina is a public marina therefor any rate increases should have been equally charged to the moorings as well as the dingy dock and wet slips.
However it appears that discrimination against the working class or less fortunate citizen continues in all forms of our government. The lucrative mooring balls were increased by 10% so why were the people who anchor there boats charged a 70% increase with no additional services?
Ed & Bonnie Spomer S/V Almost Heaven
Mooring Ball increase 8% / Dingy Dock increase 40% / Slip Rental under 36′ 100% over 36′ $1.00 per foot increase
The boating community needs help to stop economic discrimination against those who choose to have small boats (Don Street for one) or want to anchor there vessels.
Ed & Bonnie Spomer S/V Almost Heaven
Ed & Bonnie: I agree with what you wrote, but the increase in the daily dinghy dock fee from $13 to $22 is actually about 69%! Obviously they are trying to force everyone onto the moorings, but there are times of the year when all the moorings are full, and there are also many of us that just prefer to anchor. If someone just wants to go ashore for dinner or to buy some groceries, add $22 to your bill. Imagine the uproar if a parking fee of $22 per day was put in place ashore.
The boating community in Boot Key Harbor is outraged to say the least. There is an effort to protest the unfair increases beginning with a first meeting on Friday February 10th @ 11:15 est. The meeting will be at the Marathon City Marina TiKi Hut.
Ed & Bonnie Spomer S/V Almost Heaven
Mooring Ball increase 8% / Dingy Dock increase 40% / Slip Rental under 36′ 100% over 36′ $1.00 per foot increase The boating community needs help to stop economic discrimination against those who choose to have small boats (Don Street for one) or want to anchor there vessels.
We have not been to Marathon in a while. However it does hold a special place for us.
Anyway I was just having a look at the increase in prices. Nothing really seems out of place. However my personal take on the drastic increase in Dinghy Dockage, is that the city wants people to take a mooring rather than just anchor and use the facilities. This may be over the top just a little as if the anchorage is reduced in size and people are foreced to anchor out side (during our past visits we had no choice but to anchor outside due to limited swing room) while waiting for a mooring. A suggestion would be to have a reduced Dinghy Dockage Rate while on the waiting list for the mooring field…. Otherwise yes if people want to use the shore side facilites then the demand on Water usage, Laundry, etc is exactly the same whether or not someone is on a mooring ball. You could also reduce the dinghy dockage rates a little if there was a way to control what part of the facility the person/cruiser was using…. IE – no laundry & no showers, then all they are doing is tieing up thus a less of a load on the system.
Just a thought…
Capt. Cameron Murray
I knew about the Shuttle Bus in Key West, but I did not realize that this same excellent service was available in Marathon. You learn something new every day in this business!
The shuttle Bus stops in Marathon a short walk away from Sombrero Dockside Marina. Right beside the Publix Market.
It stops on the Highway in Big Pine and I do not think it is anywhere near a Marina. You can check the website and use Mapquest, Google maps to check.
We are currently sitting at Sombrero Dockside and used the Shuttle Last Year, it is an easy walk.
Mitch & Carole
There has been an interesting and wide ranging discussion underway on the MTOA List Serve, an organization that EVERYONE associated with the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net highly endorses, about picking up a mooring on Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor. Note that part of this discussion centers around the necessity of showing anchor lights. We’ve linked an article written on this very subject by our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, at the end of this posting.
We are planning on leaving Morehead City going south for the winter. We have been looking for a place in the Keys to spend a good portion of thewinter. This is our first trip south and we would appreicate some recommendations for good anchorages, moorings and less expensive marinas. We have been looking on line at the Marathon Mooring Field, but we are concerned that only 15 of their 216 moorings are big enough for our Defever 49 Cockpit Motor Yacht. We are afraid that we will get there and not have a mooring and not find suitable anchorage since they do not take reservations.
Do any of you have experience with the mooring field? How quickly do it fill up? How quickly does it empty? Do you have any other recommendations?
As always thank you for help.
Shay and Elizabeth Glass
49′ Defever CPMY
You really take your chances with the Marathon mooring field. We were there in Feb 2011 and they were full and wouldn’t put us on a waiting list. The wind was from the north and we had to anchor outside of Boot Key and it was horrible. Other people have been there in May and they had openings.
And remember, you are on the border where the “International Rules” apply. In the mooring field or at anchor, turn on your anchor light.
Shay and Elizabeth,
The Marathon Mooring field begins to fill early in November and can stay full all season with only a few boats coming and going. You just don’t know what size boats will be departing. You can get
marina reservations at several of the marinas and a few have transient slips but they fill up also.
I spent many winter months on the Marathon town moorings and I don’t ever recall anyone leaving an anchor light on. Is this something new?
Phil “TrawlerPhil” & Aven Rosch
This has been the rule since the before mooring field was instituted. Sometimes FWC will come through and remind you and sometimes they will write citations. Sometimes you don’t see them at all depending on how busy they are elsewhere. Boot Key Harbor is not a designated anchorage by definition so an anchor light is required.
You are not on the border so to speak. Marathon is outside of the colregs so technically international waters even though it is part of the National Marine Sanctuary. But more importantly, no matter where it is located, unless it is an official designated anchorage, which Boot Key Harbor is NOT, an anchor light is required.
Okay I agree . but for those anchoring in other locations in the Keys, it’s important to know.
How can anyone sleep on a boat at a mooring field or an anchorage without at least an anchor lite??
See you on the waterways!
What a wonderful, wonderful story from our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd. And who would have thought about such an intimate 9/11 connection in the Florida Keys!
Monday, September 12th, 2011
Life Aboard in the Keys: Where Last Names Are Optional
by Charmaine Smith Ladd
Down here in the Keys, boaters are very laid back and unassuming. Most never inquire about the past of others, nor do we often know last names. Nicknames such as “Diver Dave” and “Fiberglass Dave” serve to differentiate boaters and tout their trades. I am probably one of the very few boaters who doesn’t have a nickname. But Charmaine is a very unique name. My spouse, however, is known as “Charmaine’s Bill.” There are lots of guys named “Bill” in the boating community. LOL
A gentleman I have known for many years, “Ed on Old Broad,” is a delightful man with a kind heart. He and his wife, Sally, are more known for their gigantic feline ‘boatcat’ than probably anything else. Or so I thought. Another boater came by yesterday and told me others were gathering to watch CNN’s feature “Footnotes of 9-11.” He told me, “Ed on Old Broad’s interview is gonna be on there.” Not imagining the connection, my friend then enlightened me that “Ed on Old Broad,” before his cruising life, was Ed Ballinger, a Dispatcher for United Airlines in Chicago. Ed Ballinger handled 16 flights for United Airlines on that tragic day ten years ago, 9-11. Two of the flights Dispatcher Ed Ballinger handled were Flight 175 and Flight 93. Both were hijacked.
At the time of the interview, CNN came here to Boot Key Harbor (BKH) and filmed it while aboard Ed’s sailing vessel, Old Broad. Currently, Ed and Sally are just a few boats down from September Sea at a marina where we are enjoying the benefits of ample shore power for cooling off during the hot summer months here in the Keys. Last night, a number of us got together at the marina tikki hut bar, along with Ed and his wife Sally, to watch as planned. Ed was visibly shaken and cried during certain portions of the broadcast. We all cried along with him. We all consoled him. This was a real life truth to the adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” We who live aboard and/or cruise full-time come from all walks of life. Our life aboard and sailing give us a freedom much yearned for, and needed for many differing reasons.
I hope many of you will share this with others, including landlubber friends and relatives. Just as there are those who live vicariously through we who cruise and sail, embracing the thought of such freedom; contrarily, many do not understand why anyone could give up a house or condo on land and opt to live aboard a boat. For my fellow cruiser and friend, “Ed on Old Broad,” who, for a brief time last night became Dispatcher Ed Balllinger once again, today he’s back to being “Ed on Old Broad.” I like it that way. I’m sure “Ed on Old Broad” does too.
Click the link to view the interview:
Charmaine Smith Ladd
SSECN, Special Correspondent for the Florida Keys
“Bringing you the low down from down low.”
Shows you how even boat names aren’t that important down here in the Keys: Ed’s boat’s full name is “Good Old Broad.” Sorry about that, Ed, she is most certainly a ‘GOOD Old Broad’! Didn’t mean to hurt her feelings.
Thank you for the quick reply. What a moving story about Ed. You know – that reminds me at something my mother used to say. “Behind every window there is a light – there live people, just like me and you. You never know what they went through in life – they just try to make the best of it.”
Ernst & Melinda
Banana Bay Marina & Resort lies along the northern shores of the Marathon peninsula, east of the Marathon Yacht Club.
BANANA BAY RESORT AND MARINA.
We docked our 40 foot Carver at Banana Bay Resort and Marina for the month of July taking advantage of their summer monthly rates. Larry Wade the dock master did everything possible to make our stay enjoyable including personally checking with us on a daily basis. We used Banana Bay as our home base for cruising and fishing the Keys as we were centrally located with easy access to the ICW as well as the offshore reefs. While docked at the Marina we had full use of the resort facilities. We mainly used the pool and tiki bar. They have (4) nice clean showers, laundry room and boaters lounge. Free internet service was strong throughout marina. Home Depot, Publix, Walgreen, and good restaurants are within walking distance. West Marine and rental cars are within 2 miles. The Resort extends special room rates at the resort for Marina customers. We took advantage of this to have family visit with us. We plan on returning next summer.
Marina not presently shown on map view but on North side of Marathon adjacent to pretty Joe rock.
Fred and Linda
Another GREAT article authored by the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Florida Keys Special Correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd. How great to hear the story of how Bio Diesel is now available in the Florida Keys!!
July 16th, 2011
Bio-Diesel Fuel Company in the FL Keys
by Charmaine Smith Ladd
My dear friend, Captain Jack Burnett, has lived in the Keys for nearly four decades. We have known one another and have been truly “family” for nearly nine years. He loves to talk of old times in the Keys and has been a plethora of local knowledge for me since first landing here. During all that time, I’ve only questioned one thing he’s ever shared with me: the recommendation of using discarded restaurant vegetable oil for running September Sea’s Yanmar diesel engine.
Captain Jack has been running his 33-foot sailing vessel on the vegetable oil he obtains from local restaurant fryers for quite some time now. Vegetable oil from the fryers restaurants would otherwise discard is recycled by Captain Jack as he strains it and pours it into his boat’s fuel tank. He swears by it. He says his vessel actually has never run better!
Well, Captain Jack was absolutely right! The proof is now making big news as Marathon fisherman, Jeff Lillie, has recently put his brainchild, Marathon Bio-Diesel, on the map as the first bio-diesel fuel company in the Keys. It took him seven years to do it, but he’s well on his way as the word spreads of the advantages of using recycled vegetable oil instead of diesel. Buyers use it not only to fuel their water crafts, but also as fuel for their automobiles and tiki torches! Some begin by using a 50% ratio of the bio-diesel with regular diesel. Many soon find, sometimes after some minor modifications, 100% bio-diesel is their fuel of choice! Captain Jack made no such modifications and uses 100% vegetable oil with no problems for years.
It’s a different way to “Go Green,” that’s for sure. But Green is always a good thing when helping to preserve our natural resources.
This writer must admit that the aroma of french fries while motoring is a remarkably refreshing improvement over the smell of burning diesel fuel. Besides…smelling french fries is almost as good as eating them; and inhaling involves no caloric content! Ha!
Charmaine Smith Ladd
SSECN Special Correspondent, Florida Keys
“Bringing you the low down from down low!”
Thank you for mentioning us in the Cruisers Net. We look forward to fueling up those who make it to the Florida Keys.
Our thanks to Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net’s special Florida Key correspondent, for cluing us in on this important meeting. It would appear that at this meeting the process of formulating anchorage regulations for the Keys, as part of the new Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program, will begin, hopefully taking into account the cruiser input from the three public forums held earlier. As I understand it, the public can attend and perhaps even provide input at Marine Port Advisory meetings, so PLEASE ATTEND IF AT ALL POSSIBLE!!!
Just received this from Rich Jones. I just got back onto the boat, but wanted to get this to you right away. I would think the other Keys area meetings will be in the same time frame, probably as before…three days in a row. I’ll do more checking on it. I got this because I asked Mr. Jones to keep me informed, and he has stayed true to his word. These meetings are the meat and potatoes…should not be missed. You know I’ll be there.
MARINE AND PORT ADVISORY COMMITTEE
PURSUANT TO Board of County Commission Resolution No. 057-1991 the Marine and Port Advisory Committee of Monroe County will conduct a meeting on July 27, 2011 beginning at 6:30 PM on the second floor of the Monroe County Office, located at the Marathon Government Center, 2798 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida.
ADA ASSISTANCE: If you are a person with a disability who needs special accommodations in order to participate in this proceeding, please contact the County Administrator’s Office, by phoning (305) 292-4441, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., no later than ten (5) calendar days prior to the scheduled meeting; if you are hearing or voice impaired, call “711″.
MARINE AND PORT ADVISORY MEMBERS
Pete Worthington, Chair
Mimi Stafford, Vice-Chair
Richard Jones, Sr. Administrator
CALL TO ORDER
1. Approval of Minutes from the March 1, 2011 MPAC Meeting
2. Discussion of a US Customs Port of Entry at Marathon Airport
3. Discussion of dredging needs in the Keys
4. Discussion of Pilot Program for Anchoring & Mooring:
a) Review of the June 7-9 Stakeholder Workshops
b) Consensus building in addressing anchoring issues
c) Prepare a report to the BOCC regarding ordinance development
5. Committee Discussion
Update From Captain Charmaine As of 7/14/11
Senior Administrator, Mr. Rich Jones, is truly a valuable asset to the cruising, boating, liveaboard and entire community of Marathon and the Keys as a whole. After speaking with him by phone yesterday, he assured me there will be no write up of ordinances at the time of the meeting on the 27th. The meeting will focus on a number of issues (see Agenda above) and open for feedback and discussions involving the public: including the Pilot Program. With regard to the Pilot Program, Rich Jones and others involved very much want to take their time on this particular issue and get as much input from the community as possible before proposing any type of ordinances.
It was apparent when speaking with Mr. Jones, that the Keys should be viewed as “boater friendly” and the consensus with the Commission here is that they all very much desire that boater friendliness to be known. Florida has taken a lot of bad press with their unfriendliness towards cruisers and anchoring, with good reason. But the Keys are different!
The main issues here in the Keys are how to address the problems associated with derelict boats and vessels anchored in dangerous proximity of dragging into the mooring field during Nor’easters. I certainly agree with those as problems and feel confident they can be remedied without hinderingothers who are not part of those problems. The anchorage areas in question are very small and should be manageable without much difficulty. Homemade moorings made of engine blocks and the like are indeed a detriment to the environment throughout the Keys and also need be addressed (especially in the Boca Chica area); and ensuring proper sanitation devices are used to keep our waters clean are also major concerns. All responsible boaters have the very same concerns.
At this point, the powers that be in the Keys seem to be very aware of cruisers needing the right of navigation and the option to anchor. I am hoping the Keys will prove to be a model of how the Pilot Program sites can stay within the realm of sense rather than be used as a tool to create unnecessary nonsensical ordinances that ultimately will lead to hampering safe navigation and inconvenience cruisers and recreational boaters.
However, the public has to play an active role in what happens down here. Please attend the meeting on the 27th if you possibly can. If you cannot, then write to Rich Jones so your voice can be heard. Let he and the Commission here know you are aware they have our best interest in mind when making decisions and it is appreciated. There are problems here that will be addressed, but as I see it from those on the panel I have had the pleasure to speak with at length, one-on-one…they are listening and have the best interest of cruisers and boaters in mind. Richard Tanner, at the helm overseeing Boot Key Harbor, has been very vocal with his firsthand knowledge as a former cruiser that anchoring must always be an option here in BKH to ensure safe navigation. With Jones and Tanner highly involved in the Pilot Program process, among other advocates on the panel who also do not want to overreach, Marathon has excellent Marine and Port Advisory members. We are very fortunate to have them on our watch as cruisers, recreational boaters and liveaboards, as they are quite determined to make sound decisions in the best interest of the entire community.
Marathon will soon become a Port-of-Entry with lots of International travelers coming through to check-in. Boot Key Harbor is known all over as the friendliest Harbor in the Keys. I have a feeling it won’t be long before all of the Keys will be known as the friendliest boating destination in all of Florida.
The other Pilot Program sites should be watched with diligence. Let your voice be heard. It doesn’t matter whether you live in Iowa or California, the beautiful waters of America’s Caribbean are here for all Americans as well as travelers of the world. It is not owned by us but put in our trust for all to be able to enjoy. Help us do just that.
Thanks Charmaine for looking out for the interests of cruisers. The problem I see with all of these efforts to regulate anchoring is that they use the excuse that they just want to deal with the derelict boat problem, when in reality there are many other laws and regulations that could already be enforced to take care of those issues. What is needed is the will to enforce the existing statutes–sanitation, registration, etc.–while leaving cruisers free to go about their business. Requiring people to register, pay fees, undergo inspections, etc. in order to obtain some sort of permit to anchor is just as onerous as outlawing anchoring all together. Anchoring is about freedom to move about as one pleases, using one’s own resources, while treading lightly on our wonderful natural resources. Let’s keep it that way.
You and are on the same page. What you have stated is exactly why there is no real need for the Pilot Program. The problem issues in our Harbors and near shore waters can be dealt with by using laws which already existed prior to the enactment of the Pilot Program. The Pilot Program was put there specifically to open the door for local municipalities to regulate cruisers by way of ordinances. [The Pilot Program is exempt from the FL Statute which otherwise protects cruisers right of navigation and anchoring (FL Statute 327.60(2)].
It is quite obvious the Pilot Program’s origin comes from a very few who want no anchoring (“visual intrusions” from their waterfront homes) in their Harbors (Sarasota Bay immediately comes to mind) and hide behind other sites to give them legitimacy. Using the public’s tax dollars to implement the Pilot Program to appease a few politically connected individuals is beyond ridiculous; as not only is it dishonest in its true objectives, but a misuse of public funds better spent for the benefit of a majority of taxpayers. It stinks to high heaven!
Fortunately, I truly believe we down here in the Keys see the Pilot Program for what it is: a ruse for a very few to get what they want at the expense of the freedoms of others. We are cruiser friendly down here in the Keys, whether moored or anchored, and I do not see that changing.
Perhaps as the ruse of the Pilot Program is unraveled and more understood by the general public (footing the bill), then those who have perpetuated it will realize there could be deeper investigations into whether or not the Pilot Program was ever a necessity to reach its stated objectives. If deemed not to be a necessity, then the question will be: What then is its actual purpose? That’s when those behind it with hidden agendas will scatter and run for cover.