Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
If you are a land-locked boater, an avid reader or a parent with school age kids, then here is a way to get out on the water for a romantic cruise (kids may stay at home!) and indulge your kids’ literary needs all at once. September is Library Card Sign-up Month—a time when the American Library Association and libraries across the country remind parents and caregivers that a library card is the most important school supply of all.
Fishermen’s Village, one of SSECN’s newest SPONSORS, is found on the western shore of the Peace River, southeast of marker #3 in Punta Gorda.
NATIONAL LIBRARY CARD SIGN-UP MONTH
PUNTA GORDA, FL – King Fisher Fleet, located at Fishermen’s Village in Punta Gorda, supports National Library Card Sign-Up Month by offering free Sunset Cruises to everyone who gets a new library card during the month of September. Interested library borrowers in Charlotte and Desoto Counties may sign up for a new library card at the front desk at any Charlotte or Desoto County library. Once signed-up, borrowers will receive a voucher for a free Sunset Cruise which is valid for use during September or October.
The Sunset Cruise is a 90 minute cruise that lets passengers enjoy a glorious Florida sunset over Charlotte Harbor while touring the waterfront. Advance reservations are recommended. For the current schedule, more information, and reservations, call 941-639-0969.
King Fisher Fleet offers eight cruises including daylong cruises to the islands of Cayo Costa, Cabbage Key, and Boca Grande, narrated tours of the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor, as well as sunset cruises and Christmas light canal cruises. King Fisher Fleet also offers charter fishing with some of the best fishing guides in southwest Florida, departing every day from Fishermen’s Village Marina. Gift certificates for cruises as well as for fishing charters are available at the King Fisher Fleet office.
Voted “Best Charter Boats in Charlotte County” every year 1996-2013, Sun-Herald poll
Voted Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Business of the Year 2009
Voted Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year 2010
King Fisher Fleet
In addition to recent reports praising the new pumpout boat program, the new floating dinghy dock and the free loaner bikes, Skipper Viavoda highlights other excellent reasons for anchoring in Punta Gorda, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! on Western Florida’s Charlotte Harbor/Peace River.
My husband and I frequently anchor here as we like to play “tourist” in Punta Gorda. This is where we live. We also frequent several other anchorages in the SW Florida area in our 42′ Hunter sailboat. This anchorage happens to be one of our favorites. Punta Gorda is VERY boater friendly and the free bike loaner program makes it easy to get around in the downtown area. The Harborwalk is a multi-use walkway that extends from Fishermen’s Village marina and shopping district all the way up to the Justice Center. There are several restaurants, shopping and places to see along the way. The wildlife is abundant here and there’s always a great show put on. I highly recommend this anchorage. Good holding, friendly people and great food and drink!
Thanks for sharing your positive comments about your visit to Punta Gorda, the Best Small City in Florida. As Chairman of the TEAM Punta Gorda Maritime Committee we are actively encouraging more boating visitors. The Punta Gorda link highlighted near your comments provides valuable information for those visiting or planning a visit.
During my recently completed speaking/research tour of the Western Florida coastline, I was asked to meet with “Team Punta Gorda” and discuss ideas about how this attractive community, already A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, can become an even more popular port of call for the cruising community. This was a follow-up meeting to one I had some time ago with the same group. The excellent give and take produced some great new ideas, as you will see in the newspaper story below:
Good article and good suggestions from Claiborne. It is great to see a city put out the welcome mat, and realize that they will benefit from being friendly to boaters. However, for us sailors it is too bad the 45-foot bridges block us from the mooring field area and heading further up the river, and south of the bridge is quite shallow quite far out. I have read reports that the bridges may actually offer as little as 42 feet of clearance.
John you are correct in that the bridge clearance is 42 ft. They picked the wrong spot for the mooring field. But otherwise Punta Gorda is the best. I have been going there since 2002 with my trailerable Rhodes 22 and it was too good to be true. Unknown, uncrowded, unspoiled and welcoming. I fear that now it is being discovered. Ironically, now that I have “upgraded” to a Catalina 310 I can no longer go down there from South GA…at least until I retire!
I’m curious about the bridge clearance. They are marked on the charts as 45 feet. Has there been a Notice to Mariners on the actual height? It makes a difference to me as I can just squeak under 45, but I doubt I could make 42. Anybody know if there is a height gauge at the bridges showing clearance based on water level?
Yes, there is a sign board at the fenders for the central channel. The board indicates that the clearance is 45 feet or a bit more for at least some tides. I recall seeing the board reading 46 feet when we went through there with a dinghy a couple of weeks ago. We need 60 feet for our sailboat, so I cannot say that the sign boards are correct, or that they meet the usual standard of clearance at mean high tide.
We fully endorse Punta Gorda as a great destination for trawler cruisers based on month long stays during the past 2 winters. The Laishley Municipal Marina is a great place with wonderful friendly staff, great docks and easy access to shopping for provisions and almost all necessary items with West Marine & others within easy biking distance. The bike trails, restaurants, entertainment, Gilchrist Park and clean, well cared for community near the water makes for a great place to spend time.
The Punta Gorda pumpout boat has been in operation since November of 2013 and has definitely been good news for cruisers visiting SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Punta Gorda, on Western Florida’s Charlotte Harbor/Peace River.To see the schedule and locations, go to:
Question: What days of the week is the pump out boat operating? I would like to get a pump out.
Answer: The pump out boat is available on Monday’s and Thursday’s, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Contact Laishley Marina at 941-575-0142 for more information. You can hail them on VHF16/19. The marina suggests calling ahead and scheduling the pump out so they can be of the best service to you.
The resident who took this photo said the staff who run the pump out boat gave them a reward card that is good at the following businesses: Burnt Store Marina, Fishermen’s Village Marina, Laishley Marina, Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club, Isles Yacht Club, West Marine-Punta Gorda, Porto Bello Restaurant, Village Fish Market and King Fisher Fleet. For more information about the marine disposal, click here
Punta Gorda’s FREE loaner bike program, described by Nancy Johnson, CEO of Team Punta Gorda and Lorah Steiner, Director of Tourism, is a real boon to transient cruisers! Bikes are available within easy walking distance of the Punta Gorda Waterfront Anchorage public dinghy dock located just off Gilchrist Park which is between Fishermens Village and the twin Tamiami Bridges.
Biking is a great way to visit nearby attractions and to stretch your legs after several days on the water. Another excellent service-to-boaters provided by the city of Punta Gorda, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
The free loaner bike program had 1700 riders ytd in 2013. It’s very popular and easy to use. Our bikes are also at Fisherman’s Village and the Isles Yacht Club for cruisers that use their docks. This year, our new public floating dinghy docks were installed off of Gilchrist Park making landing much, much easier than before.
Yes. Absolutely! All they need is a credit card and driver’s license, but they won’t be charged. They can walk about 10 feet from the pier and get their bikes! There are two other locations within walking distance of the pier – the Four Points Sheraton and the Wyvern Hotel. You do NOT need to be a guest of those hotels to use the bikes.
Anyone can take out a FREE bike for the day with helmet and lock included. Almost everything Punta Gorda can be accessed by bicycle. All you need is a credit card and drivers license for security purposes but you won’t be charged if the bike is returned in good condition. I used to take them out all the time. They are a great way to see the town.
I think all of the bikes have baskets as well for transporting small items. I used to love to ride them to the farmer’s markets – one on Saturday and one on Sunday – or to Fisherman’s Village. The more intrepid can bike to Ponce De Leon Park – about a five mile bike ride, I think, to visit the Peace River Wildlife Center – one of my favorite attractions. It’s mostly all flat, easily bike-able terrain with sidewalks and bike paths.
Boat and Bike!!
Director of Tourism
Sharon and I were in Punta Gorda in April and enjoyed these bikes. Its a great biking area and the bikes have pretty good size baskets and locks. If you’re looking for Cannondale’s, you won’t be happy, but if you want a nice piece of fat tire free transportation and an easy terrain to bike in (LOTS of cruiser amenities in range) this is a destination to add.
And, here is a map sent to us by our partners in Punta Gorda. Note the diamond shaped symbols which denote where you can pick up the loaner bikes. And so, it looks as if cruisers who dinghy ashore at Gilchrist Park will either need to walk northeast to pick up bikes hard by the Highway 41 bridges, or southwest to Fishermens Village.
There is definitely a nice new floating dinghy dock at Gilchrist Park. I used it last month. From the dinghy dock you can walk southwest along the shore to Fisherman’s Village Marina where you can pick up a free loaner bicycle to ride around town.
This link gets you to a chart that is not yet updated but the dinghy dock is between 3 and 9 (closer to 9) on the Welcome Chart.
In addition to recent news of a fully operational pumpout boat, see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=119532, Capt.Hyde adds these perks to anchoring in Punta Gorda, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! on Western Florida’s Charlotte Harbor/Peace River.
To add to the amenities of anchoring off the Punta Gorda waterfront, new floating dinghy docks are now available in the recently dredged “lagoon” behind the Punta Gorda Boat Club, just north of Fisherman’s Village.
11/20/2013: The pumpout boat is now operational. To see the schedule and locations, go to:
Would be a good idea to check with the marina since the schedule may be adjusted based on demand.
Boca Grande Swing Bridge, with a closed vertical clearance of 9ft, crosses the Western Florida Waterway at Statute Mile 34.5, northwest of unlighted daybacon #21, connecting the mainland with one of our favorite places on earth, Gasparilla Island.
A reminder for boaters traveling on the ICW in Port Charlotte, Florida during high winds.
Last Saturday we were sailing South on the ICW in Charlotte County, Florida during a cold front with high winds. We arrived at the Boca Grande Swing Bridge about 11:20 am and hailed the bridge tender on Channel 9 for an opening. The bridge tender advised us that because the wind gust were above 30 MPH he was not allowed to open the bridge. So we waited for the wind gusts to die down, which they did about a half hour later then he opened the bridge and we went through.
Capt. Mike Savino
This is the only bridge on the [Western Florida - editor] ICW that only opens on the hour and half hour. I just came back from a trip to Key West and had no problems on both passes through this opening.
Robert M. Wilson
Now here’s a really super idea that has become reality thanks to our good friends and SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, at the Punta Gorda Boater’s Alliance. Talk about a “no brainer.” Each and EVERY cruiser plying the waters of Charlotte Harbor, Peace River and /or Pine Island Sound will want to have one of these card on their console or dashboard. And, note they are waterproof, and ready for use anytime, anywhere.
Punta Gorda “Boater’s Alert Cards” are available without cost at all Charlotte Harbor/Punta Gorda marinas and yacht clubs, and from local, on-the-water law enforcement officers (see listing below).
Furthermore, the Punta Gorda Boater’s Alliance (http://www.boat2puntagorda.com/AB/index.html) has generously offered to share what they have learned in creating their “Boater’s Alert Card” with any other boat owner’s/cruisers’ organization, or governmental entity, thereby greatly facilitating the wider availability of these very useful cruising tools.
Don’t delay, pick up a card TODAY at any Punta Gorda marina or yacht club! And, CONGRATULATIONS to the Punta Gorda Boater’s Alliance on a job very well done!!!
Punta Gorda Boaters Alliance, in cooperation with on-water law enforcement agencies and the University of Florida – Sea grant program, developed a waterproof Boaters Alert card listing phone numbers to call if encountering any of the situations listed. This ongoing program is maintained by the Punta Gorda Boaters Alliance.
Cards can be obtained a the following locations:
Punta Gorda Police Marine Officers
Local Florida Fish and Wildlife Patrol
Charlotte Count Sheriff’s Marine Patrol
West Marine (Punta Gorda)
HELMUT G KRAMER MD,MSc
Burnt Store Marina overlooks the eastern end of the charted channel, east of marker #6 on the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor, south of Punta Gorda.
We have been hurricane free so far and hope it continues that way. We have had a particularly heavy rainy season so the water is “high” in many places. Water had to be let out of the Okeechobee Waterway which has made some of our beaches look more like lakes. But other than that we are having a great summer here at Burnt Store Marina.
Our new ship’s store has opened and is now named the “Trading Post”. Capt. Will and his wife Lisa also own the “Calusa Queen’ which is the tour boat that does sunset cruises as well as trips up and down and across the harbor. The “Trading Post” is open from morning to evening serving breakfast and lunch and stocks most of your basic needs while cruising.
Enterprise Car Rental is still available for your transportation needs. We hope that you will make your reservations before coming to the marina in order to expedite their delivery. I have been told that they will be able to bring the car here and have it ready for you when you arrive which will eliminate the wait time and transport time.
Burnt Store Marina
Riviera Marina is found on the waters of Alligator Creek, entered by the charted, “L” shaped channel south of Mangrove Point.
This was once one of the most ill-kept marina facilities in all of Florida. We are very glad to hear that this property has been substantially improved. Captain Robinson does not say whether the army of stray cats which used to haunt the docks are still in place.
Currently there are no half sunken boats clogging the canal system…or leaking oil. Each vessel in the basin is in no way blocking the creek or canals. We have been renting a slip there for almost 2 years and have seen the manager of the place improve the site substantially. I am pleased with the location and the commercial fishermen docked there that I have met. They have been helpful and courteous. I have enjoyed the quiet and beauty at this location. I have docked in large marinas with a grid of concrete docks and am glad I have shade of a tree with birds nesting and ospreys raising their young. An occasional otter pops his head up as do dolphins and rays or a manatee. Sunsets are gorgeous. I have had the opportunity to do a number of watercolor paintings at this location. View at my website http://www.facebook.com/CRobinsonART
Laishley Park Muncipal Marina is an excellent facility, located between the twin Highway 41 Bridges, immediately upstream of the Punta Gorda waterfront. The entire downtown business/historic district lies within easy walking distance of the docks.
Sailors should note that their vessel must be able to clear a 45-fixed bridged in order to access this facility.
I would also check out Lashley marina in Punta Gorda. We were there in 2011 for 3 months and had a great stay. Located in the center of town with easy walk to lots of amenities. They are now a legal live a board marina. They also have great floating docks, and in the winter the fixed docks in Fisherman’s Village can be a challenge.
Burnt Store Marina overlooks the eastern end of the charted channel, east of flashing daybeacon #6 on the eastern shore of Charlotte Harbor.
We spent two nights at BSM recently. Very friendly staff and great fuel and dock prices. Unfortunately, the ship’s store was closed. I understand they are awaiting a new concessionaire or manager. Given the location of BSM, having no store is a great inconvenience. We paid $50 in round-trip cap fare to get to the “local” publix. BSM has a great water location, but they are in the middle of no where on land. A ship’s store or convenience store is critical at BSM in my opinion.
This super friendly and welcoming note originally appeared on the AGLCA forum, but I’m sure the marina management would be happy to welcome all cruisers. We have edited out the text that applies only to AGLCA members.
Just wanted to post a note to let you know that we are still here and waiting for you to come by for a visit. Our marina still has the lowest fuel prices in the area and can accommodate boats up to 100ft. We have WiFi available for transient boaters as well as laundry facilities, pump outs, fuel and ice.
For those who love basking in the sun we have a heated pool and hot tub available at no extra charge and also a fitness center with tennis courts. We also have beautiful grounds to walk and welcome pets.
Golf is also available and we will transport you to and from the golf course.
We have two restaurants on site at the marina and one at the golf course, all of which are open to the public.
Feel free to visit our website at http://www.burntstoremarina.com and call us at 941-637-0083 for any questions or additional information.
We wish you a safe and healthy [cruising] season and hope to see you at Burnt Store Marina.
Laishley Park Municipal Marina flanks the southeasterly shores of the Peace River, immediately north of the 45 foot Highway 41 bridge, and south of the charted 85 foot powerline.
You should go a little further to Laishley Park Municipal Marina in Punta Gorda…. It is close to many town facilities and among the best value in marinas….. $8.00/ft/month!! Just past the Hwy 41 twin bridge in Charlotte harbour.
Michael & Mundy aboard Done Dreamin’
Platinum Point Yacht Club is located in the impressive Burnt Store Marina complex, which guards the eastern shores of Charlotte Harbor, well south of Punta Gorda. I have had the good fortune to speak at Platinum Point Yacht Club in the past, but I must say I did not know they featured their own dockage facilities.
Platinum Point is not a member of the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs, but from my own experience and that reported by below by Captains Jim and Vaughn, this club is well worth a visit.
Platinum Point Yacht Club is located at Burnt Store Marina on the east side of Charlotte Harbor. This is east of the ICW anchorage at Pelican Bay/Cayo Costa SP, south of Punta Gorda and north of Ft Myers/the Okeechobee waterway.
They have a three docks at the marina. first night free, second and third night $1/ft. Call ahead for availability but they are mostly empty .
The Burnt Store Marina also offers AGLCA Looper Discounts.
If you are a member of a YC, you can get the PPYC deal!
Jim and Vaughn
We simply can’t praise our good friends, Barbara and Vic Hansen at Southwest Florida Yachts enough. Not only are these good people a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, but they also offer one of the best power and sail charter fleets in Florida, and all within easy cruising distance of the cruising rich waters of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. What’s not to like?
We chartered numerous times with SW Florida Yacht Charters in Ft. Myers and they were superb. Boats were well maintained and the place is run very well. They are also having some great deals as they celebrate 25 years in
Marty and Jerry Richardson
For more information about Southwest Florida Yachts and Florida Sailing & Cruising School visit http://www.swfyachts.com, http://www.flsailandcruiseschool.com, http://www.swfyachtsales.com Mailing Address: 3444 Marinatown Lane, N.W., N. Fort Myers, FL 33903. Telephone: 800-262-7939 or 239-656-1339, or email email@example.com
Captain Sara contacted me and asked if the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net would be interested in publishing a list of on-the-water, cruising craft accessible restaurants in SW Florida. I may have gotten a bad case of whip-lash from saying “YES!!!!” soooo quickly.
Anyway, check out Sara’s message below, and PLEASE send her info directly if you can.
Once their June cruise is complete, we will publish Sara’s dining directory here so it can be a lasting tool for the cruising community!!!
In advance of my bareboat charter out of St. Pete down to the Keys in June, I’m compiling a list of restaurants that offer tie-ups to boaters. I will be collecting lat/long, depth, dockage description, dining experience and any other relevant data for each restaurant. This information will then be made freely available to the boating community. If you have info to share that would make the resource more useful to all, please contact me via email at:
saraburns2000 AT yahoo DOT com
If all goes well, I believe I might have found another interesting and productive hobby! Thanks!
Facilitator, The Work of Byron Katie
Transforming Education in America
Honestly, I have always considered this facility to be a “train wreck” on each and every occasion I have visited here since the first edition of my “Cruising Guide to Western Florida” in 1993. Clearly, there are others with a very different opinion, and Captain Broom (see below) is not the first to defend this facility and its owner.
The above comments [earlier reviews of this marina - editor] are a little out of date. Barry has continued to work on cleaning up after Charlie. Most all of the old boats are gone. Environmental problems have been taken care of. The biggest complaints come from cultural differences. Those of us that want a old Florida style DIY marina and those that have moved in recently and want a modern yachty marine. It is still a good usable marina that takes care of the locals here. Part of the problem has been people bringing in old boats to work on and then abandoning their. It would also help if people would stop dropping off their unwanted cats there, knowing that Barry will take care of them.
I have been a twenty year year resident in the neighborhood and not afraid to post my name.
Well, as you will see below, I was challenged to amplify my “train wreck” comment above.
I have to say that describing a place as a “train wreck” is not very useful. What exactly does that tell me? Some details about what is wrong (or right) with the place would help others to know what to expect and to make a decision whether to stop there or not.
Well, here goes. I’ve never been at this facility where I did not spy a host of ugly, abandoned craft, spread around the grounds, and sometimes at the docks. The entire marina is overrun with the largest population of stray cats I’ve ever seen, and the odor of cat urine wafts its way through the air everywhere. There has always been other trash lying around, and the one time I met the marina owner, I was, to be blunt, not impressed. In short, this is one of those marinas/yards, where I’ve sometimes paused to ask myself how it could possibly have survived this many years. Clear enough?