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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers
Gulfport Marina includes dry boat storage, ship store, bathroom, public boat ramp, parking, fueling stations, lighted range markers and guest docking facility.239 461-0775 Legacy Harbour Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 on the Caloosahatchee River. The Marina is situated two blocks from historic downtown Fort Myers and three blocks from the historic Edison-Ford Winter Estates. The Marina's 131-Slips range in size from 40 feet to 80 feet and can accommodate Transient Boats of 100 feet plus. The large Fairways make our slips easily accessible. Our slips are surrounded by one of the largest 'floating breakwaters' on the Gulf of Mexico. The floating docks are state-of-the-art. Legacy Harbour Marina is a full-featured facility with all the modern conveniences of home including pump-out station, heated pool, fitness center, full electric metered at the slip, cable TV, laundry, air-conditioned showers and wireless Internet connections available. The Boaters' Lounge is available for relaxing after a cruise or for private parties. The view from the lounge is spectacular! Our grounds are beautifully manicured and provide great strolling along the river with benches, Chickee Hut, and excellent access to all of historic Fort Myers. Please take a few moments to browse our website and see for yourself what our  beautiful boating facility can offer you the next time you are cruising in Southwest Florida. Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350Gulf Harbour Marina    
ICW Marker 73, 4.5 miles from Gulf of Mexico  
14490 Vista River Dr.,
Fort Myers, FL 33908
239-437-0881
gulfharbourmarina@comcast.netLocated at Mile Marker 135 on the Okeechobee Waterway, 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Yacht Basin is a well designed and protected marina. It is owned and operated by the City ofTwin Dolphin Marina, 1000 1st Ave. West, Bradenton, Florida 34205-7852, 941.747.8300  -  fax 941.745.2831, e-mail: harbormaster@twindolphinmarina.comPink Shell Beach Resort and MarinaBoca Grande Marina, Gasparilla Island, Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destinationSt. Andrew's MarinaRegatta Pointe MarinaFisherman's Village Marina and Resort, Punta Gorda, FLThe Town of Fort Myers Beach proudly operates and maintains the Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field. The field boasts 70 mooring balls available for public rental year-round, and accommodates vessels up to 48 feet in length. The mooring field is located east of the Sky Bridge between San Carlos and Estero Islands in Matanzas Pass. For recreational cruisers, the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field is a wonderful destination. Coming ashore at the Town’s dinghy dock puts boaters in walking distance to beaches, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and public transportation. Mooring ball rental fees are $13/day or $260/month. All renters MUST register with Matanzas Inn upon arrival. The dinghy dock is available for public use to tie up dinghies 10’ or less (no overnight tie-ups). The dock is located beneath the Sky Bridge between Matanzas Inn Restaurant and the public fishing pier. The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, FlRiviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by Boaters

Archive For: West FL – 6 – ICW, Miserable Mile to Gasparilla

  • Praise for South Seas Island Resort Marina, West Florida ICW, Mile 135

    South Seas Island Resort Marina is found at the western foot of the marked and charted channel running west between Western Florida ICW markers #38 and #39.

    Just visited this marina this last Saturday (Sept 15) with our Tartan 33, and found the experience to be thoroughly enjoyable. The Dockmaster and his staff here are among the most pleasant and helpful I’ve encountered anywhere (unlike at not-to-be-named marina a mile or so to the south). The facilities are first rate, the showers excellent (just walk right in… they provide towels, soap and shampoo!), and the grounds are tropical and very well tended. In all, a great experience. For any of you folks traveling with a boat club, be sure to negotiate club rates (maybe not in full season?). Yes, it’s a bit pricey atmosphere, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this place to anyone. I don’t mind paying a bit more once in a while, especially if I think I’m getting my money’s worth. Easy access from the ICW, and Redfish Pass is right there for a good deep-water opening to the Gulf.
    Capt. Mike Smith

    Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For South Seas Island Resort Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of South Seas Island Resort Marina

  • Cruising Southwestern Florida Coastline With a 5-foot Draft

    Here’s an interesting discussion, which originally appeared on the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association Forum (an organization we continue to heartily endorse) about cruising the western coastline of the Sunshine State, between Sarasota and Captiva Island, with a 5-foot draft.
    My experience having researched this coastline since 1992, which reflects the remarks below by Captains Gina and Chuck, is that 5-feet of draft will be fine for most marinas and many anchorages. There are some exceptions, and if your vessel has 6-feet of draft, it can start to get a bit tricky!
    The message below from our good friend, Captain Chuck Baier, former General Manager for Waterway Guide, is particularly useful. Most (but not all) of the marinas he mentions as being too shallow are not even listed in the SSECN’s “Western Florida Marina Directory” as they are too small and shallow to really serve cruising size craft. Nevertheless, this is superb information!

    My husband and I are chartering a 50′ Trawler for a week out of Sarasota. We are beginning to seriously look at various style trawlers available as we get closer to retiring and beginning a cruising lifestyle for awhile. My question is, as I am studying the waters in this area, Given the depths and tides, am wondering if we are going to have trouble getting in/out of marinas etc. with a draft of 5′ Any suggestions as to how best navigate this area and where to stay would be appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Mary

    It shouldn’t be a problem. We made the trip from Cape Coral to Tarpon Springs and back last year. We draw 4 ft and our friends who traveled with us draws 5ft (a 53 ft Carver). Marinas were fine. South of Sarasota we stayed at Crows Nest (Venice) and Palm Island Marina. We did the whole trip inside via ICW (except for the section north of Tampa where the ICW ends) and didn’t have a problem. Between Sarasota and Captiva we did have to watch the tides through Lemon Bay as it can get skinny there.
    Enjoy your trip. It’s a beautiful area. It’s been our cruising area for 15 years.
    Gina
    M/v Island Time
    Cape Coral, Fl

    Mary,
    We traveled the entire west coast of Florida on several occasions with a 6 foot draft. There are some shallow areas but be sure and have
    current charts and you won’t have any issues. Most marinas will be accessible to you. If you get to Sanibel, Adventures In Paradise Marina might be a problem. On Pine Island Sound, Four Winds Marina will be a no go and Jensen’s Twin Palm Resort will also be iffy. In Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda Marina and Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club are very shallow. In Lemon Bay, Stump Pass Marina is shallow and in Little Sarasota Bay, Turtle Beach Marina will be too shallow. In Sarasota, the problem marinas will be Sara Bay, Sarasota Cay Club and Cannon’s Marina. Some of these will be too small for you but might be considered for fuel stops. If in doubt, call ahead and ask. Other than that, pay attention to your charts and if the chart says it’s shallow it is. There will be plenty of available anchorages if you want to get away by yourselves.
    Have a great trip.
    Chuck Baier

    Mary — We live in the city of Punta Gorda at the far northern end of Charlotte Harbor and sail our Ericson 38 sloop drawing 5’1″ throughout the waters you indicated. I would agree with the comments above with the added mention of northerly winds particularly in the winter months which result in lower than normally predicted tides. Come on up Charlotte Harbor to Punta Gorda for a visit to a really quaint, beautiful waterfront community.
    Noel Hyde

    We live in Punta Gorda and have a 35′ Compac, fully loaded we consider her a 5 foot draft. We have had no issues in this area along the coast line, nor have we had any with the ICW. There are areas that you have to watch the markers and aids to navigation in the ICW, but outside is “clear sailing” so they say. You should have no problems being you have major power, but like everyone mentioned above, follow your charts and if at all possible, get some local knowledge when going into a new marina or channel or canal. Relax and enjoy!
    Lynda Leonard s/w Choctaw Brave

    Careful attention to charts and the depth sounder will keep you out of trouble.

    Most of the ICW is trouble free with 5’ if you stay in the channel. There are many places to go and some you cant but they are usually obvious. A week is not a very long time to explore the area. Sarasota is north of the middle of the SW Florida cruising area of Clearwater to Naples and the keys. You wont have time for the keys unless you want to do long days and short stops.
    Going north, Marina Jack in Sarasota, St. Petersburg muni marina, and Clearwater beach are all easily accessible with the only trouble spot being near marker 40 near longboat pass. To the south Venice, Boca Grand, Cayo Costa anchorage (no marina), South Seas resort, ( entrance a little shallow) Ft Meyers, Ft Meyers beach and Naples are all different and interesting. Narrow or shallow entrances are common but should not be a problem with proper attention. Check for current information on this site as conditions do change from charted depths.
    IMO for the best sample of area cruising go south, take your time and stay in the ICW. It is a shame to miss the St. Pete waterfront but you cant do everything in a week.
    Bruce

    Fortunately, most of the shoreline of the Gulf from Louisiana to Florida is soft albeit shallow. Keep one eye on the charts and the other on the tide tables. Frustrating as it ma be, sometimes the different tide charts seem to not agree. Live with it.
    I have sailed the Gulf along Florida’s West coast for the past 14 years and have ‘found’ most of the shoals. I could have avoided them with little bit of caution but was able to free myself with no injury or damage and sailed away with minimal delay and another sailing story.
    I think the Gulf coast has some of the best anchorages of anywhere I have been. Very well protected, plentiful and shallow. I don’t like to anchor in more than 8-10′ of water- too much work to haul the anchor and to figure swinging area.
    Always FOR SAILtoo

  • PLEASE Help Captain Sara With Her Listing of SW Florida Waterside Restaurants

    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! :)
    Sara Burns
    Facilitator, The Work of Byron Katie
    Transforming Education in America

  • Southwest Florida Yachts (North Fort Myers, FL) Addis PDQ 34-Foot Catamaran to Their Charter Fleet

    Southwest Florida YachtsWe 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?

    PDQ 34-Foot Catamaran Joins Charter Fleet at Southwest Florida Yachts
    Named ChriSea, the roomy power cat has two queen bed cabins and offers economical cruising in the Pine Island-Sanibel-Captiva corridor
    NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla., April 5, 2012 –Southwest Florida Yachts has added a new PDQ 34 Power Cat – ChriSea — to its charter fleet for cruising the scenic Pine Island-Sanibel-Captiva corridor.
    The spacious catamaran features two cabins with queen-sized beds, a fully-equipped galley and a roomy head with a separate shower. It has a large dinette with a settee that converts to an extra large bed for additional sleeping room. Amenities include a generator, color TV, washer and dryer, and a CD player with stereo speakers. The skipper’s array of navigation and operation electronics includes GPS and autopilot.
    Barb Hansen of Southwest Florida yachts said the power vessel is economical to charter and to operate. It charters for only $3273 per week in the summer and $4090 in the winter. The vessel is known for being stingy with gasoline. It is powered by twin Yanmar diesel engines, each generating 100 hp.
    Hansen said summer charters of three days or longer will earn two free days of cruising as part of a three-year celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary in 2014. Winter cruises of three days or more from Dec. 15 to April 30 earn one free day of cruising.
    Hansen said ChriSea is docked at Marinatown Marina in N. Fort Myers. Marinatown Marina provides quick cruising access, via the Caloosahatchee River, to the sheltered Gulf ICW. ChriSea is now part of a fleet of nine power cruisers from 32 to 50 feet The company’s five-boat sailing charter fleet is based at Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda.
    Southwest Florida is ranked as one of the best cruising and sailing areas in the world. Visitors have scored the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva as the best islands to visit for their ambiance, beaches, friendliness, restaurants and scenery.
    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 info@swfyachts.com

  • Detailed Notes on Redfish Pass (off Pine Island Sound/Western Florida ICW, Between Captiva and North Captiva Islands)

    Our thanks to Captain Jay Wheeler for the welcome, in-depth account of the Redfish Pass channel below. Captain Jay also sent us notes on the channel from Redfish Pass to South Seas Resort Marina, which we have posted separately (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=84905)

    Cruising News:
    I wanted to shorten my passage from Naples to Useppa and decided to use Captiva Pass. After speaking with Tween Waters and South Seas Resort Marina, they pointed out that Captiva Pass was the only unmarked Passage into Pine Island Sound. Neither of them was familiar with Captiva Pass but they were both familiar with Refish Pass and recommended it over Captiva Pass.
    Unfortunately, my North Star and Garmen Chart Plotter as well as my old NOAA charts are not as up to date as the Chart that you have here on Cruisers Net has online. And, if I had inquired online before i made this voyage, i would have had a much better idea as to what i was facing.
    Coming into Refish pass from the Gulf involves following the correct marker confirguration, which requires red right returning. Even as the bottom [soundings – editor] shown on ALL the charts has not changed in years, AND IS TOTALLY INACCURATE AT THIS TIME, this is after all an inlet and subject to radical changes. The marks to Redfish Pass are marked “private’ but now that South Seas Resort has adopted the traditional Port and Starboard marking configuration, you need to follow that routine when approaching Redfish pass from the Gulf.
    On all the charts there is an outside green marker G 1, which is a good starting place for coming in through the Pass. After you pass G 1, line your self up between the Red N 4 and Green Can 5 and proceed with caution. The locals follow this route and the channel is deep enough to get you past Red Nun 4 and into some very deep water in the center of the Pass. From here you want to look for the first Green marker just off the the NE tip on Captiva and stay inside of it, running in along the shore of the island until you are able to pick up the South Seas Resort channel running from their Marina out to deeper water in a SE direction. Remember to leave the reds, going into Pine Island Sound, in this direction to Starboard, Red- Right- Returning from the Gulf. I did this at almost high tide drawingh 5.5 ft. and had not trouble, once I got the buoys straightened out..
    Coming in through Refish Pass from the Gulf saved me a lot of time heading North to Useppa and Cabbage Key.
    Jay Wheeler

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Redfish Pass

  • South Seas Island Resort Marina Entrance Channel (Statute Mile 13.5)

    Captain Wheeler is quite correct in stating that the entrance channel which leads cruisers from the Western Florida ICW’s run through Pine Island Sound, to South Seas Island Resort Marina, has been completely altered within the last year or so. Several earlier postings here on the Cruisers’ Net have also noted this change, but we thank Captain Jay for pointing it out anew.
    This can be a VERY confusing situation if you arrive without the very latest paper chart aboard, or if your chartplotter still shows the older channel!

    The current Cruisers Net chart [“Chart View” – editor] correctly shows, as several mariners have commented, that the South Seas Marina passage has been completely re-routed. On the OLD NOAA charts and many chart plotter’s, the privately marked channel from the ICW to South Seas Resort Marina runs in an easterly westerly direction. The new channel runs, as has been previously noted, in a sotheasterly to northwestly direction and starts well west off the ICW from Pine Island Sound, as shown on the Cruisers Net chart. The markers are correctly configured port and starboard, so coming in from the ICW, you leave the reds to PORT!
    Jay Wheeler

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For South Seas Island Resort Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of South Seas Island Resort Marina

  • Warm Muffins and Good Food at Sanibel Island Marina (near southerly foot (“Miserable Mile”) of the Western Florida ICW)

    Below, Captain Mike presents a very balance look at this facility, It is accessed via a marked channel, north of Sanibel Island’s southerly, Point Ybel, tip.

    We stayed for 2 nights here 11/12/11 & 11/13/11. This is a very well kept marina. It is fairly small with a limited number of transient slips. The staff was extremely accomodating and their ship store manager Tom is a great guy. Bike rentals are available but it is something you should set up in advance as the bikes are delivered to the marina by a local bike store. Gramma Dots has very good food and stays busy. There is little to do here at the marina itself and you are a ways from shopping so a bike is best. You can walk down to the south end of the island and see the lighthouse at about .5 mile each way (maybe a bit longer). Sanibel Island is a beautiful island but extremely busy in the winter season and is hard to access without transportation. The best part for me about this marina is that warm muffins delivered to your boat with a newspaper every morning! Great stuff! But again, there is little to do in the immediate area and you are a bit out of the way from the main area of the island. Coming prepared with your own bike/s is the best idea to really get around. The owner family of this marina has deep roots in ocean sailing (ie: America’s Cup, etc.).
    Mike

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Sanibel Island Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Sanibel Island Marina

  • Question About Boca Grande Pass Swash Channel

     Spotless Stainless is the simplest and most effective way to remove rust and the

    I took one, quick look at Captain Dave’s question below, and knew he was speaking of the so-called, Boca Grande Swash Channel, immediately south of Gasparilla Island. For years and years now, local cruisers have used this cut to short-cut the looonnnggg run out into the Gulf of Mexico via the main Boca Grande Pass channel.
    If and only if all goes well, cruisers can turn north immediately west of Gasparill Island’s southwestern tip, run the Swash Channel hard by the concrete piers of the old dock that will passed to your eastern flank, and then continue with good soundings for points north, such as naturally deep Venice Pass.
    And, there is some reason to believe that this is a naturally deep (enough?) passage. Hurricane Charley completely filled up the Swash Channel, but a few months later, tidal current had scoured it out again.
    Trouble is, to be really safe when using the Swash Channel, captains must know where the good water is “this week.” And, that requires local knowledge. Trust me, this is NOT the spot where you want to ground your vessel. The tidal currents and surf could quickly bring on a life threatening situation after running aground here, not to mention the danger to your vessel.
    So, as of late February, 2012, have any of you run the Swash Channel lately? What depths did you discover, and where did you find the best water? Please be as specific with your advice as possible. Send your info to us via clicking the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, or send e-mail directly to “yours truly” at CruisersNet@triad.twcbc.com. Many thanks in advance!

    Cruising News:
    At the southern end of Gasparilla Island there appears to be a unmarked channel that is close to the Boca Grand light house and parallels Don Pedro park. which opens in a North westerly direction. Charts show enough water if one stays close to the beach. Does anyone have any experience going through there?
    Thanks!
    Dave

    Haven’t run the swash channel since last fall, but we’ve had no major storms. Sand bars then were at/near as charted, we saw nothing less than 6 feet. Both Isles YC and Sarasota YC publish way points to lead you thru the shoals.
    Wind against tide can throw up NASTY chop. Watch the weather
    Bill Dixon

    I have run the Swash many times over the years. 6 month ago was the last time I used this path. I took the route that the Sarasota Yacht club had layed out and found I was too close to land and running out of water. I went back to my old path that was a thousand feet further off shore and found 5 to 6 feet of water.
    Just use your charts and go slowly and watch your depth . You should not have a problem
    Robert M. Wilson

    I passed through the swash channel on Sunday March 18th and found depths of greater than 6 feet at high tide. Please note, however, that I dont’t have the data on the height of of the tide, and my trimaran sailboat only draws 3′ 2″ so I wasn’t too concerned and didn’t make detailed observations.
    David Tarbox

    I’ve run the swash channel for years in a 43 Viking DCMY with 42″ draft. I always found both ends of the channel to vary in depth over time but always passable. Clearly with deeper drafts you need to play the tide. Although I always had confidence I dropped to 5 knots to make the transit with a close eye on the sonar and plotter.
    Tom

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Boca Grande Pass and the Swash Channel

  • Dinghy Dock at the Roosevelt Channel Anchorage (near Statute Mile 13)

    The anchorage described below by Captains Mike and Twyla, is accessed by leaving the Western Florida ICW between markers #37 and ?#39, and the following the well marked Roosevelt Channel to a point south of Tween Waters Marina.
    Mike and Twyla’s note contains some GREAT advice about hot to obtain inexpensive dinghy dockage while your hook is resting in these waters. We knew that Tween Waters started prohibiting dinghy dockage some years ago, but the idea of tying up temporarily at the nearby Green Flash Restaurant is a new and inspiring idea!
    And, by the way, the Green Flash IS a good place to satisfy a healthy appetite. Some of their seafood entrees are nothing short of YUMMY!!!

    Just an FYI for anyone planning to anchor Captiva Island – We recently anchored near the ‘Tween Waters Marina. The Waterway Guide does state correctly that the marina does not offer dingy docking to anyone on anchor.
    However it does state that you can take your dinghy to McCarthy’s Marina to tie up so you can go to shore for provisions. What it fails to mention is that McCarthy’s Marina charges $15.00 to dock your dink there! No matter how long you are going to leave it – it’s $15.00 flat fee! So for those of you that find yourself at Captiva Island and in need of provisions (beer?) – there is still hope. We took the dink to the Green Flash Restaurant’s dock. We enjoyed a couple of drinks at the bar and
    walked only a few blocks to the Island Store. The bartendar there was very friendly and had no problem with us leaving the dinghy. By the way, it looked like a great place to eat but we only went to the bar.
    Safe travels!
    Mike and Twyla
    aboard NautiNell

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Roosevelt Channel Anchorage

    Click on Chartlet Below to Open a Chart View Window,
    Centered on the Location of This Anchorage:

  • In-Depth Article Now Available About Anchoring on Boca Grande Bayou (Gasparilla Island, near St. M. 28.5)

    It was almost a year ago that we posted an article here on the Cruisers’ Net about the possibility of boaters being denied the right to anchor in popular Boca Grand Bayou (hard by the shores of Gasparilla Island), behind the Pink Elephant Restaurant, due to possible private ownership of the bottomland in question (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=46788). A slightly later article provided more details (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=51002).

    Gasparilla Bayou Anchorage

    Then, over this past Thanksgiving holiday, yours truly and the first-mate, first-mate spent a wonderful week in Boca Grande. I personally observed only two vessels lying at anchor in the Boca Grande Bayou Basin anchorage, where formerly there were many more. In asking around, I began to hear rumors that vessels anchored on the northern end of the basin were being asked to move along, as the bottomland was claimed to be private property.
    Last week, a fellow cruiser sent me a “Letter to the Editor” which appeared in Gasparilla Island’s superb weekly newspaper, the “Boca Beacon.” Here is a link to that article:

    http://www.bocabeacon.com/news/featured-news/4202-the-question-of-the-day-who-can-anchor-in-the-bayou

    Most importantly, I learned in a telephone conversation last week that the “Boca Beacon” editor, Ms. Marcy Shortuse, was working on an in-depth article concerning this very complex issue. I shared my insights on this subject, and sent Ms. Shortuse a link to my “Whence Come The Anchorage Regulations” editorial (http://cruisersnet.net/?p=4958). Last Friday, 12/16/11, Marcy’s article was published, and it is linked below. Her excellent, in-depth study of this situation is a must-read for anyone interested in the Florida anchoring issue:

    http://www.bocabeacon.com/news/featured-news/4208-bottomland-on-the-bayou-a-rather-sticky-situation

    We solicit additional input on the issue of anchoring in Boca Grande Bayou from the cruising community, particularly those mariners who frequent the waters of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. Please follow the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link on the upper right of this page, and share your point of view.

    I deleted Boca Grande from my website, too risky to suggest it as an anchorage.
    Mary Dixon

    Very simply and to the point the U.S. Supreme Court has already spoken on this issue.
    “1.U.S. Supreme Court, Lewis Blue Point Oyster Cultivation Co. v. Briggs 229 US 82
    When overturning a lower court case the U.S. Supreme Court said: “If the public right of navigation is the dominant right, and if, as must be the case, the title of the owner of the bed of navigable waters hold subject absolutely to the public right of navigation, this dominant right must include the right to the use of the bed of water for every purpose which is in aid of navigation.””
    Robert Driscoll

    Driscoll nails it. It doesn’t matter whether or not the bottom is privately owned, there is still a right of navigation that trumps that. Anchoring is considered to be a normal part of navigation. Take a look at St. Augustine where the city has claimed they own the bottom land since forever, yet they were unable to prevent anchoring in those waters until they built mooring fields over most of the anchoring area.
    John Kettlewell

  • Southwest Florida Yachts Announces 30’th Anniversary Specials

    Southwest Florida YachtsWe are proud to have such as long-lived nautical enterprise as Southwest Florida Yachts as a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! Of course, we are not at all prejudiced you understand, but the entire Cruisers’ Net bunch would wager more than a few scheckles that you will not find a better charter agency anywhere in Florida, for sail or powercraft.
    Congratulations to owners Barb and Vic Hansen!!!! Here’s to the next 30 years!!!!

    SOUTHWEST FLORIDA YACHTS ANNOUNCES 30th ANNIVERSARY PROMO
    The firm announces free cruising days from 2012 to 2014.
    NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. – A 30-year anniversary is a very big deal in the recreational boating industry. Anticipating its big Three-Oh, Southwest Florida Yachts announced a three-year “Berth Day” party culminating in 2014.
    Barb Hansen, co-owner and manager, said the premier chartering firm will give charter customers free cruising days in 2012, 2013 and 2014 on all power and sailing vessels.
    Hansen said it works like this: if you set up a three-days or longer cruise between December 15 and April 30 you’ll get one free cruising day. That’s the winter season. And if you cruise in the summer season you’ll get two free cruising days.
    “It feels very good to be cruising toward another milestone,” said Hansen. She started Southwest Florida Yachts with her husband Vic in 1984 and once described the big decision this way:
    “The year was 1984. Nuclear arms controls with the Soviet Union were unraveling. The prime loan rate was 13 percent. Vic and I started Southwest Florida Yachts. I guess we were in an ‘Oh, what the heck’ state of mind. Hey, if you’re going to get hit by a nuclear bomb, why not move to Florida, get married, start a yacht chartering business and a yacht school and, as they say, live happily ever after.”
    So far, so very good, Hansen reports.
    Today, the company maintains 11 power yachts from 32 to 50 feet at its headquarters at Marinatown Marina in N. Fort Myers just off the Caloosahatchee River. This provides convenient access to the scenic and protected Gulf cruising channels around Pine Island and along Sanibel-Captiva and other Gulf of Mexico barrier islands. The five-vessel sailing fleet charter base is Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda on beautiful Charlotte Harbor. Casting off from either location gives charterers access to what many consider the number one cruising area in the United States.
    Southwest Florida is ranked as one of the best cruising and sailing areas in the world. Visitors have scored the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva as the best islands to visit for their ambiance, beaches, friendliness, restaurants and scenery.
    For more information visit http://www.swfyachts.com, email info@swfyachts.com or phone 800-262-7939 or 239-656-1339.

  • No-Wake Zones on the Western Florida ICW, Between Sarasota and Fort Myers

    Below, I’ve copied a question and answer, taken from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list, in regards to no-wake zones that will slow an inside passage between Sarasota and Fort Myers. All who cruise the western shores of the Sunshine State will thank Captain Pickelmann for such a ready and useful answer!

    On the Gulf ICW between Sarasota and Fort Myers, what percent of the roughly 75 NM is speed restricted? I am charting a transit and it seems that I recall a significant portion of the stretch particularly from Sarasota to Punta Gorda is a slow zone.
    Dan Stephens
    Symmetry

    Dan,
    I’ve never actually measured it but there is a stretch of five miles or so between Sarasota and Venice that is a Minimum Wake Zone. Further on, there is another stretch of about five miles between the bottom of Lemon Bay and the Gasparilla Island bridge that is No Wake. There are other minor No Wake areas but they are pretty small. Really not a big deal.
    Regards,
    Randy Pickelmann

    A little less than 1/2 of the distance is wake restricted. A better choice would be to go outside until Boca Grand then go inside. The winds are easterly most of the time so the Gulf is flat.
    Ron Hoffman

    Be aware of the signs, many of them state a minimum wake outside of the ICW channel and 25 mph in the channel. Since very few trawlers go 25 you are able to continue at your normal cruising speed because you also will not be outside of the channel as this area is very shallow, only fishing boats and wave runners can navigate there. Also some of the bridges have changed names so if you have older charts they may not be correct. Enjoy your trip!
    Capt. Dana

    Caution required if deciding to go outside at Big Sarasota Pass, can be tricky if windy..
    Dennis McMurtry

  • Thoughts on Summertime Western Florida Cruising by Captain Barb Hansen

    Southwest Florida YachtsCaptain Barbara Hansen is a long time friend of yours truly, and the co-owner of Southwestern Florida Yachts, the premiere chartering agency in southwestern Florida, and a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    View from the Marina
    It’s Summertime and the Cruising is Easy
    By Barb Hansen
    July 2011
    I was browsing you-know-what and read something a parent posted online. I Googled manatees. It was about Florida manatees, of course, but this entry reminded me about the wonderful age of 10.
    And, may I suggest, it also was about why cruising in Florida ought to be on the summer vacation to-do list for every young family.
    It was posted on an online form and the parent wrote, “We just got home from our wonderful trip to Sanibel for the first time. We saw a mother manatee nursing two babies near the lighthouse close to the shore on Friday Aug. 7… She also had about five other babies waiting their turn just poking their little noses out of the water. What an awesome sight for my 10 yr old daughter and me.”
    This was an awesome sight and awesome times 100, I think, because it was shared by a parent and 10-year-old. Ten-year-olds – I’m sure you know this – are the perfect age for an experience like this but, hey, I’m sure this would be a wonderful thing to see for all children above the age of reason up to and including their parents.
    The thing is, seeing manatees and frolicking dolphins in the wild is not at all unusual in Florida in the summer, especially when you’re on a boat. They call this the “low season” but manatees and dolphins don’t know that. For Florida’s wildlife, summer is the high season.
    By the way Sanibel, mentioned by the parent of the 10-year-old, is one of our famous Gulf barrier islands and it helps shape the popular, protected cruising corridors on either side of Pine Island.
    Here at Southwest Florida Yachts the summer pace is a tad more relaxed after a busy “high” season of chartering vessels to snowbirds escaping the cold up north. In the summer the calls often come from moms and dads asking what summer cruising is like because this is summer vacation and their kids are out of school. They’ve done Disney, and they are so over Disney.
    Oh it’s very good, I say. Then I’m off on a summertime is the best time riff. Cruising is the just right thing for a family with children to do on summer vacation.
    I tell them about seeing manatees and dolphins in the wild. I tell them about seeing a thousand wading birds feeding on a shallow flat and a thousand stars twinkling from the dark sky at night. It’s summertime. Living is easy. Fish are jumping.
    I like showing off our lovely part of Florida to visitors during the low season and I’ve always thought it way too sad that so many fail to come here at a time of the year when Florida really shines.
    This is “Real Florida,” as the tourism people call it. It really is. And the cruising is easy.
    Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts

  • Quick Look at Boca Grande Marina (Statute Mile 28.5)

    I guess I shouldn’t comment too much on Boca Grande marina, as it resides in our very favorite spot on earth. Both Karen and I get a bit dreamlike when undertaking any discussion of Boca Grande. Suffice it to say, this is a WONDERFUL place.
    Do note that the entrance to Boca Grange Bayou, which also provides access to the marina, is being pinched by an ever growing shoal. The marina owner has been seeking the necessary permits to dredge at his own expense, but so far no soap!

    Stayed at Boca Grand Marina and as always it was great. Recommend you get a reservation in advance as there are not that many slips. The staff is great and the town is one of my favorites.
    RB

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Boca Grande Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Boca Grande Marina

  • Happy Time at South Seas Resort Marina (Western Florida ICW, Statute Mile 13.5)

    South Seas Island Resort Marina resides near the northern tip of Captiva Island, just south of Redfish Pass. This facility has a newly marked entry channel running west of the ICW. First timers may want to call the marina in advance of their arrival to check on the latest channel conditions and markings.
    Some years ago, South Seas was trashed by a hurricane. Glad to hear below that the storm damage is now only a bad, distant memory!

    Cruising News*: Just got back from a 1 week spring break cruise. Stayed at South Seas Resort. It is expensive but worth it. I draw 5 feet and entrance channel is not a problem at mid-tide. The channel was not on my chartplotter apparently was somewhat recently moved.
    RB

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For South Seas Resort Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of South Seas Resort Marina

  • Good Experience at South Seas Island Resort Marina (Statute Mile 13.5)

    Back during the terrible hurricane season of 2005, South Seas Resort suffered extensive damage, and, if memory serves, which sometimes it does not, it took over a year for the necessary work to e accomplished before a reopening of this facility. It’s good to hear Captain Bill’s report below that things are once again working well here.

    We recently spent a few days at South Seas Resort Marina in our Catalina 34, Mother Ocean. A few years ago we had a “choppy” experience there because of some abrupt staffing changes (probably as a result of the economy) and some problems with their entrance channel.
    We are happy to report that this year our experience there was excellent. The channel is now well marked. They have staffed up the marina with a very competent group. Finally, the resort, which had a few bugs in it during the years after its post-hurrican reopening, is running at full strength and very smoothly.
    While it does cost more to dock there, one should keep in mind that the full resort is available to marina guests. At present it is, in our view, one of the nicest places to tie off on the west coast of Florida.
    Bill.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Seas Island Resort Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Seas Island Resort Marina

  • Useppa Island, Western Shore Anchorage (Statute Mile 21.5)

    This anchorage lies on the opposite side of the Western Florida ICW channel from the marked passage leading to Cabbage Key.

    This anchorage has a beautiful view. It has plenty of room and depth (10 feet) for several larger vessels. We had good holding over night with moderately strong easterly winds. I would highly recommend this anchorage.
    Sheena

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The Useppa Island, Western Shore Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The Useppa Island, Western Shore Anchorage

  • Boca Grande Marina (Gasparilla Island, near Statute Mile 28.5)

    As you will see, Captain Sage’s review of Boca Grande Marina below is mostly positive, but the shoaling at the entrance to Boca Grande Bayou is for real, and a real concern for visiting and resident cruisers alike. If your vessel draws 3 1/2 feet or more, you should probably plan your entry and egress into and from Boca Grande Bayou for a time near high water. Oh yes, no-one can blame this facility for the below described lightning strike. That could have happened anywhere.

    BG Marina is indeed a neat little marina. I was welcomed there in my modest 33 foot sloop. There was a seaplane executing touch and go’s in the mouth of the marina basin so there is plenty of room in there, but the shoaling at the very entrance is critical at MLW; hug the wall close to the houses on shore and all should go well. There are clean showers and other facilities. BTW, we suffered a terrible lightning strike while docked at this marina…very expensive stay indeed!
    Oscar Sage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Boca Grande Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Boca Grande Marina

  • Anchorage Regulations for Boca Grand Bayou May Still Be Brewing (Gasparilla Island, near St. M. 28.5)

    We posted an earlier article here on the Cruisers’ Net, linked below, which seemed to indicate that anchorage regulations might be in the offing for the popular “Basin Anchorage” near the charming village of Boca Grande, on Gasparilla Island. At the time, I editorialized that any such regulations would be contrary to Florida State Law UNLESS it could be shown the bottom land in the “basin” was privately owned. Based on the note below from Lieutenant Jim Brown, it looks as if someone may be trying to establish private ownership claims.

    Cruising News:
    This has been circulated by the Punta Gorda boater’s Alliance.

    The waters of Boca Grande are far clearer than is the issue of Jurisdiction and Anchoring in the Boca Grand Bayou. The issue of Boca Grand Bayou pivots on whether or not they are “Waters of the State”. Waters of the State are all navigable waters which existed at the time of statehood. They include the area from the mean high mark seaward. The problem with the Boca Grand Bayou, are the maps of this era, which are at best poor and show very little detail. Further compounding this problem is the fact that dredging took place in 1926 and possibly earlier, at least in the area of the 5th Street docks. Waters of the state do not include any private lands made navigable by artificial means such as dredging. The Florida DEP has some submerged land leases in the northern end of the Bayou and claim ownership there, but cannot confirm ownership as state land for areas of the southern end. The ownership of the water in the southern end is unclear (fifth street dock excluded) and may very well be owned by private interests. If it is privately owned then that party could regulate who used it. If it is owned by the state then state/county boating laws would apply.
    There are no county ordinances regulating anchoring at this location, but F.S.S. 327.44 relates to anchoring when it interferes with navigation. With this being said, the jurisdiction for enforcement would fall upon the Lee County Sheriff’s Officer, Law Enforcement Officers of the FWC and the United States Coast Guard. I have found a web site that gives a good look at the whole picture of anchoring. http://nsgl.gso.uri.edu/flsgp/flsgpt99001.pdf I hope this helps you out. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me at 239-850-9076. Should you uncover any further information on this matter please let me know.
    Sincerely,
    Lieutenant Jim Brown
    Lee County Sheriff’s Office
    Marine Unit

    Frank Cushing

    Click Here To View An Earlier Posting About Possible Anchorage Regulations on Boca Grande Bayou

    Click Here To View A Second, Earlier Posting About Possible Anchorage Regulations on Boca Grande Bayou

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Boca Grand Bayou “Basin Anchorage”

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Boca Grande Bayou Basin Anchroage

  • Don’t Anchor Overnight in Tarpon Bay (Sanibel Island, near Statute Mile 5.5)

    Tarpon Bay lies off the northeastern shores of Sanibel Island, north of Dixie Beach. I’ve never recommended anchoring here, or even that cruising size craft should attempt to explore these waters, dues to the iffy depths and less than stellar channel markings. Now, below, we hear from Captain John that it’s actually illegal to spend the night here, and you could receive a ticket.
    Fortunately, there are plenty of other places nearby to drop the hook. Follow the link below for full info on the “Ding Darling Anchorage”

    We received a $75 ticket (in Nov 2009) for trespassing when we anchored OVERNIGHT inside Tarpon Bay in the Ding Darling Nat’l Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. Tarpon Bay’s waters are closed to all boats from sunset to sunrise we were informed. This is NOT posted, but we paid the ticket. No desire to get in a tussle with the Feds. And [the] Officer couldn’t have been nicer about it. He really didn’t want to write us the ticket.
    Apparently the refuge “owns” (long-term leases from the State of FL) the Refuge which includes the bottom of the Bay within the Refuge which is all the enclosed water inside the sandbar at the inner mouth. The Refuge Boundary extends beyond the Bay mouth and I believe includes “Horseshoe Bay” anchorage area. But Jim was very clear that the Refuge didn’t claim to “own” the bottom of any waters outside of Tarpon Bay itself. NO TICKETS WOULD BE WRITTEN TO ANYONE OUTSIDE TARPON BAY. Jim told us that we could anchor just beyond the sand spit “point” in front of the houses and the Refuge would have no problem. Apparently a rental company of “Party Boats” had been suggesting the Bay as a weekend late night party spot to patrons. Neighbors complained. Tickets were issued and the company was warned but I guess it was a real problem for some time. Well a neighbor saw us enter the Bay (on a Fri. evening) and called the Refuge Director.
    So the word should be spread just to be aware not to enter Tarpon Bay after dark. Apparently one fisherman has a permit to do so. Everyone else is technically trespassing, they maintain…
    We should have passed this info along at the time. Better late than never?
    John McLaughlin

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For the Ding Darling Anchroage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Ding Darling Anchorage and Tarpon Bay

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