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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.Gulf 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.netGulfport Marina includes dry boat storage, ship store, bathroom, public boat ramp, parking, fueling stations, lighted range markers and guest docking facility.Pink Shell Beach Resort and MarinaTwin Dolphin Marina, 1000 1st Ave. West, Bradenton, Florida 34205-7852, 941.747.8300  -  fax 941.745.2831, e-mail: harbormaster@twindolphinmarina.comLocated 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 of Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350
St. Andrew's MarinaThe 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, 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. Fisherman's Village Marina and Resort, Punta Gorda, FLRiviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by BoatersPunta Gorda, Florida - a GREAT cruising destination

Archive For: West FL – 8 – ICW, Placida Harbor to Venice

  • 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

  • “Venice Water Cop” Passes Away

    Retired FWC “Water Cop,” Tim Erickson, passed away recently, and I’m sure he will be missed by family and friends. Many cruisers had another name for this “Venice Water Cop,” but with his passing, perhaps we will not recall that moniker now.
    For many years Officer Erickson was known for his tenacious, “letter of the law” enforcement of Florida statutes which require state registration of vessels, even though they may be Federally documented.
    Several years ago, the SSECN was involved in an e-mail writing campaign to the Venice City Council, protesting Officer Erickson’s treatment of visiting cruisers. Turns out he was a state employee, and this protest went for naught.
    Erickson retired several years ago, and Venice waters have been free of his presence for some time now. And so, with Office Erickson’s passing, it is a sad end to an entirely sad affair.
    For the past several days, there has been a LIVELY discussion concerning Officer Erickson on the AGLCA forum. Many of those messages are copied below!

    Many Loopers through the years have stayed or planned to stay at the “free” city park dock in Venice, FL. That became a problem when a vigorous and tenacious Florida Fish and Wildlife officer began issuing tickets for alleged various wrongdoings by boaters passing through. The officer was Tim Erickson. Tim Erickson passed away on July 22, 2012 (http://tinyurl.com/8vl56gq).
    Bill

    Tim Erickson was certainly controversial if not infamous. He used to hang out every afternoon at the Crows Nest dock and the Venice free dock checking every boat for a Florida sticker, which is usually required after 90 days in the state. Probably earned the sate many dollars in registration fees, fines and sales tax dollars. But he caused many cruisers to bypass the best town on the gulf coast.
    I wrote about Venice and its beauty in this blog when we first moved there in 2007, and the subsequent firestorm that ensued in both this and the T&T blogs made front page in the Sarasota Herald and Venice papers. The Venice town council was barraged with complaints from cruisers.
    Shortly thereafter Tim made headlines again when he was the first to respond to a horrific crash on the gulf when a news helicopter clipped a race boat with fatalities. So all his press was not bad. About a year later he retired, removing the threat to cruisers wishing to stop at the Crows Nest dock, and also their restaurant, among the best in Florida. So, RIP Tim.
    Unfortunately, the Venice Council stopped overnight docking at the nearby free dock, one of the few (maybe the only) good free docks on the coast. They were anticipating a fee-based mooring field which has not yet been developed.
    Venice is still a great destination either to visit or live, there is free anchorage near the dock and other docking options
    Bob

    Bob,
    I had long, sometimes rather heated, discussions with Tim about this issue. I was not the only person to have these discussion by any means. As I remember Tim was sort of a “pilot program” on the tax and the transient boater issue. We sure don’t need to get that monster started here again in the forum. I don’t know that he issued many actual citations for a violation of the tax law, as a state officer I don’t know that he could unless there was a Florida law violation. No question that he ruffled some feathers………
    Tim was a very nice guy. As stated in his obit, he started a very popular children’s fishing program. I”ll certainly miss my friend.
    Sharkey

    Sharkey has it right.
    I’m sure that it was not Tim’s idea to “harass” cruisers visiting Venice, but simply following orders.
    I would think sales tax collection was the driver. Tim could not know or care about sales tax on boats, just whether or not it was registered in Florida if the boat was in the state 90 days. You generally need out-of-state fuel or marina receipts newer than 90 days to avoid citation.
    When cruisers cited by Tim or other officers visit the tax office to buy a Florida boat registration, they must show on newer boats whether or not sales tax equivalent to Florida’s rate was paid. You can’t get a Florida registration unless the sales tax question is resolved first. Most states with sales tax have a similar program. We see game wardens regularly walking the docks in Racine, taking note of boats with no WI registration stickers. If they are still there a few months later the same process ensues.
    Bob Kunath
    Sans Souci

  • 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

  • An Unhappy Experience at Fishermens Wharf Marina Park (a. k. a. Marker 4 Marina) – Venice, FL (St. M. 57)

    Saw the signs for “Dock and Dine” at the Marker 4 marina. Tried to contact on vhf with no answer. Called the restaurant and they said “sure, come on in, just pick a slip”. Up to this point, everything is great. Great restaurant, grocery store near by, and good food and vibes at the restaurant. However, at sunset, here comes the so called dock master, who wants two dollars a foot for dockage, forget the “dock and dine” sign. Forget that you have no power or water or that you just go suckered into a “dock and dine” situation. I have just about crossed Venice off my list of stop over sites. it seems like just when you think everything is going OK, someone intervenes and give the town a bad reputation for cruisers.
    I paid the dock master $1.50 a foot just to keep peace for a slip. I’m sure the cash never made it out of his pocket into the confers of the marina owners.
    Bob & Pat Hutchison
    S/V Maverick

    Doesn’t dock and dine mean just what it said? You had free dockage while you dined. How do you expect to get a free night of dockage after that? You eat, you go back to your boat and you leave to drop your anchor back in a proper anchorage, not think dock and dine entities you to stay all night for free and then accuse the dock master of pocketing what was actually less than the required fee.
    You can actually still drive a boat after eating and at night.
    Jesse

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Fishermens Wharf Marina Park

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fishermens Wharf Marina Park

  • Caution for Higel Park Anchorage and Good Words for Fishermens Wharf – Marker 4 Marina, Venice, FL

    Higel Park is a city maintained park with a wooden dock and anchorage for stays up to 18 hours. And, as Capt. Sullivan points out, Fishermens Wharf-Marker 4 Marina lines the northeastern shores of the Western Florida ICW, just northwest of the Hatchett Creek Bridge, and southeast of marker #4.

    Tried to anchor at Higel Park anchorage March 19, 2012, but found it too shallow even for our 3′ draft. Unable to find an anchorage, we docked at Marker 4 Marina which we can recommend. Well protected, good facilities, friendly people, and lower dockage rate than Crow’s Nest. Good restaurant, too. I read they were damaged by the hurricane but they are in business now. Marker 4 Marina is located at Marker 4 just NE of the Tamiami North bridge, just N of the “ditch” going S from Venice. Main business, like Crow’s Nest, is a restaurant [Marker 4 Oyster Bar and Restaurant]. But they have large new floating docks with plenty of space and welcomed us at $2/ft. I didn’t inquire about depth, as we docked at the end and only draw 3′, but there were several large boats there. In the absence of a good anchorage, they would be my first choice at Venice.
    Dennis Sullivan

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Fishermens Wharf Marker 4 Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fishermens Wharf Marker 4 Marina

  • Don Pedro Island Anchorage (Statute Mile 37, Western Florida ICW)

    The anchorage discussed below lies just off the Western Florida ICW’s trek through Lemon Bay, north of Gasparilla Island and south of Venice. We have always found this to be a pretty good overnight haven, except during full gales.

    We anchored a little further south than where the marker is located on the chart. We found 6 feet at low tide and good holding. No wakes as this is a “no wake” zone on the ICW. A great spot to anchor if you want to visit Don Pedro State Park which is easy to get to by dinghy.
    James Angel

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Don Pedro Island Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Don Pedro Island Anchorage

  • Englewood Beach Anchorage (Statute Mile 43.5)

    The anchor down spot referred to below by Captains Rick and Donna is listed in our Western Florida Anchorage Directory as the “Englewood Beach Anchorage. They are quite right in describing this spot as a “good anchorage.” In fact, it’s one of the best sheltered along this section of the Western Florida ICW, and there is a restaurant withing dinghy distance as well!

    There are no anchoring restrictions in lemon bay, except in the ICW. There is a good anchorage on the Lemon Bay side of Englewood Beach. To reach it, one bears right [southwest] after passing through [south of] the Tom Adams Bridge, leaving the ICW to your port. Stay in the middle of the channel, and head toward the moored and anchored boats off the mangrove island on your port side. Just past the moored boats there is a secure and safe anchorage. We live in North Port, and cruise Lemon Bay regularly.
    Fair Winds,
    Rick & Donna
    Reprinted from the MTOA List Serve, with permission of the authors
    Find out more about the MTOA at: http://www.mtoa.net/

    Good info, but there is nowhere to go ashore except the restaurant. So you can’t tie up there and go to the beach. Dockage is available at Chadwick Cove Marina adjacent to the restaurant (The White Elephant).
    Denny Botkin

    This is a good anchorage, but since we have a heavy Gulfstar 39 sailboat with a 5′ draft, we want to point out a shoaling area along the western (toward the Gulf) side of the ICW that you have to clear before getting into the deeper water of the anchorage. We have bumped over this bar a couple times, but during higher tides we’ve had no problem. We tend to favor the bridge side of the sandbar before heading into the anchorage and have had fewer problems with access in our sailboat. There is a strong tidal current so set a good anchor with some scope and chain.
    Mark Suby

    And, here’s some good navigational advice on how to gain entry to this anchorage with the best depths possible.

    Beware shoaling south of T. Adams Bridge along the west edge of the ICW. To avoid this shoal [when entering the Englewood Beach anchorage] that has formed further north than shown on the charts, turn toward the moored boats immediately after clearing the bridge (if southbound) and head directly toward the moored boats/mangrove. Note the additional shoaling north of the mooring field.
    Any boats carrying over 4 to 4 1/2 foot draft should avoid transitioning from the ICW at low tide – unless you have local knowledge. The best way to proceed from the bridge is to go directly toward and into the mooring field (idle speed, of course) from the bridge. Favor the south side after clearing the shoaling that parallels and is immediately adjacent to the ICW. Additional shoaling north of the mooring field extends from a point just west of the bridge almost to the docks on the western shore. If going to the White Elephant or to Chadwick Cove Marina, remain close to the docks on the western shore. Cutting the corner can put you hard aground.
    Having said that, the anchorage is protected quite nicely in virtually all weather conditions.
    Kindest Regards,
    “FAIRWINDS”

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Englewood Beach Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Englewood Beach Anchorage

  • 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

  • Fishermens Wharf Marina Park (Western Florida ICW Statute Mile 57, Venice, FL)

    Cruisers making their way through the charming community of Venice, Florida have probably, for the last several years, noticed a series of docks and slips overlooking the northeastern shores of the Western Florida ICW, just northwest of the Hatchett Creek Bridge, and southeast of marker #4. Then, within the past two weeks, we received the two messages below, so we undertook some fairly extensive research concerning this facility and discovered it has been in a semi-open state for some time now; new docks have been constructed, but apparent permitting problems have prevented them from opening; the marina is accepting overnight transients at other, fixed piers which are currently open. The person I talked with said they “hoped” the necessary permits would be ready within the next several month.

    Hey, a note that the Fisherman’s Wharf Marina at marker 4 (right before the Hatchett Creek bridge heading south bound) is open. Good rates for overnite and not as much current as the inlet marina [Crows Nest Marina].
    Jane Smith

    Cruising News:
    Dockage in Venice is always a bit tight. We are now sitting at a nice new floating dock at the Marker 4 Grill. These docks have been here for about five years involved in a an obscure and complicated discussion of which I am not a party. Available dockage here is either at the Venice Yacht Club -appropriate reciprocal membership required- which is full up right now or at the Crow’s Nest which is a miserable place to put in except at slack tide. Marker 4 does not advertise but can be contacted by phone at 941-484-0344. Great location. Just across the bridge from downtown.
    N27 deg06.294
    W82deg26.736
    Fred Sorensen
    OA43

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Fishermens Wharf Marina Park

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fishermens Wharf Marina Park

  • Good Dining Reported at Royal Palm Marina (Statute Mile 46.5)

    Royal Palm Marina lines the eastern banks of the Western Florida ICW’s run through Lemon Bay, south of Venice. Sounds like some good eats here!

    Haven’t docked here yet, but the restaurant – Zeke’s – has excellent food. Very casual.
    The new dockmaster is friendly.
    Clyde

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Royal Palm Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Royal Palm Marina

  • Venice – Higel Park Anchorage (Statute Mile 58.5)

    Captain Sheena is quite right about the crowded conditions at the Venice – Higel Park Anchorage, which is, incidentally, located just south of the Venice Yacht Club. And, oh yes, the food at the nearby Crows Nets Marina and Restaurant is indeed OUTSTANDING!!!!

    This anchorage was packed with smaller vessels when we arrived in the evening. Although there were a few open spots depths and/or swing room was insufficient. We have a 38 foot catamaran. I would not recommend this anchorage to larger vessels. Spend the money to stay the night at The Crow’s Nest and enjoy the pub.
    Sheena

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Venice – Higel Park Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Crows Nest Marina

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

  • Shallow Spot on Lemon Bay/Western Florida ICW (near St. M. 40), 1/4/11

    The Western Florida ICW channel through Lemon Bay has always been notorious for shoaling along its edges. However, the shoaling discovered the hard way, described below, by Captain RB, calls for extra attention by ALL captains cruising this section of the Western florida ICW.
    We are establishing an SSECN Navigation Alert for this section of the Western Florida Waterway. Please follow the link below to open a Chart View page zoomed to this Alert!

    We ran on the inside to Cape Haze Marina and for the first time in over 30 years of boating I had to get commercial help (Tow Boat US) to get pulled off a sand bar. The spot is between 11 and 13 in Lemon Bay very near Stump Pass. A shoal is encroaching in the channel on the red [East] side. So definitely slow down and favor the green [western] side. I draw 5 feet and ran aground about 2 hours before high tide but there had been that Northern wind that was blowing that day and the 2 days prior. The tow boat driver (very nice) said that the day before he towed a 55, 46, & 39 footer from that same spot. So I don’t think I made a major error. Fortunately I knew I was in trouble and had slowed down and was out of gear so no apparent damage. The tow was $972 (13/ft plus 160/hr). Did not wish to spend the money but I am glad they were there as I was not getting of by myself and it took him a solid hour of pulling to get us to about 150 feet to the channel. Any way let your readers know so they can be prepared for this problem area.
    RB

    Came through this section on 1/31/11 at 13:30 with 0.8 ft tide. Stayed center channel and saw no less than 9 ft.
    John Vierra

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position on the Lemon Bay section of the Western Florida ICW

  • A Quick Look at Crows Nest Marina (Venice, FL, near St. M. 58.5)

    Crows Nest Marina lies just off the Western Florida ICW, on the eastern reaches of the Venice Pass channel. This facility is also home to one of the best restaurants in all of Florida.

    We stayed at Crow’s Nest and as your Cruising Guide said it proved to be rolly in the strong wind we had for 2 days. We “fendered up” and it was OK.
    RB

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Crows Nest Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Crows Nest Marina

  • Name Confusion at the “Circus Bridge” (Statute Mile 55)

    This is probably the third of fourth posting we’ve had here on the Cruisers’ Net concerning name confusion at this bridge which crosses the Western Florida ICW, near Venice, Florida. The “Federal Register,” which is supposed to be the determining document, lists this span as the “South Venice Bridge,” which we have seen it named elsewhere at the “Tamiami Trail Bridge.” But, according to other cruisers’ reports, Captain Schmitty is quite right in his note below when he says the bridge tenders here will only respond to a call for the “Circus Bridge.”

    12/14/10 this bridge responds to hailing “Circus Bridge”
    We got no response at all from repeated hails on South Venice or Tamiami Trail.
    Captain Schmitty

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Bridge Directory Listing For the South Venice/Tamiami Trail/Circus Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the South Venice/Tamiami Trail/Circus Bridge

  • Good Times at Crows Nest Marina (on Venice Pass, near St. M. 58.5)

    While I would personally only give the marina part of the Crows Nest operation an “average” rating, there is simply no argument that the adjacent restaurant is one of the FINEST in all of Florida. This culinary attraction is more than enough reason to coil your lines at this facility.
    To access Crows Net, leave the Western Florida ICW, at its intersection with Venice Pass. Cruise to the west, and Crows Nest will soon come abeam on the southern shores.

    We just stayed at Crows nest for 2 nights, Fabulous place, great staff, absolutely on e of the best Restaurants in Florida.
    If you’re a wine lover, then a star will be shining on you when you open up the wine list. Hundreds of incredible offerings from many parts of the world. we were lucky enough to be there when they had 40% off on Wines.
    I will go back to this place again and again !!!!!
    Capt Schmitty

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Crows Nets Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Crows Nest Marina

  • Venice – Higel Park Anchorage And Latest on Higel Park/Venice City Dock (Statute Mile 58.5)

    This little note from Captain Fred contains two gems of cruising info. First, he reports on the anchorage just east of the Venice Yacht Club, which we call the “Venice – Higel Park Anchorage,” AND the current situation at the Higel Park/City of Venice Public Docks. Those of you who have been following along on the Net’s “Western Florida Cruising News” section know there was a huge controversy here a few months ago when the city of Venice began disallowing overnight dockage at this city facility.
    Also, it’s worth noting that swinging room is TIGHT in the “Venice – Higel Park Anchorage.”

    Subject*: Venice Florida
    Last night we anchored in Venice on the west side of the Intracoastal in that little pocket just to the east of the Venice Yacht Club. It was a nice quiet evening. There were two boats at the public dock. About 18:00 a Towboat Us went by and I asked him what the situation was re: staying at the Higel Park docks overnight was. Answer was that the prohibition on overnight dockage did not seem to be enforced. Two days earlier I had called the City Of Venice and been informed that overnight at the anchorage on the west side by the YC or in Roberts Bay was OK but not at the dock at Higel Park.
    There you are with the latest.
    Fred Sorensen
    OA 43

    This is not a good anchorage primarily because it is right along the channel that leads to the Venice Yacht Club on one side and along a shoal on the other side. As Ron said, people anchor too close together due to the restricted swing room. Best choice for a stop in Venice is to spend a few bucks and stay at the Crows Nest or the Venice YC. Otherwise, just keep on going.
    Rick

    <a href=”http://www.CruisersNet.net/73-venice-higel-park-anchorage-2″><span style=”font-size: normal;”><strong>Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For The Venice – Higel Park Anchorage</strong></span></a>

  • Name Confusion on the “Circus bridge”/South Venice/ Tamiami Trail Bridge (St. Mile 55)

    Well, the bridge operators can certainly call it the “Circus Bridge,” and, since they do, this is how you should refer to the span when calling the bridge, BUT in the Federal Register, its the “South Venice Bridge.” Oh well, who reads the “Federal Register?”

    This bridge is called the “Circus bridge” and the tenders will correct you, if referred to otherwise. They are a bit touchy I guess.
    Rick Perry

    Claiborne – we travel this route often and for several years now (probably back to 2005-6) the bridge has been known as “Circus Bridge”. The Florida Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Bridge Schedule (this is a website item) now calls it the Tamiami Trail Bridge. We were last thru this bridge in late May of this year and it was Circus Bridge at that time. The current web page appears to be as of September 2010. Perhaps someone from the area will be able to provide up to date info. How about contacting the city of Venice or the County Offices??
    John N. Cover
    Hudson, Florida

    It was over 5 years ago that we hailed that bridge by the name in your cruising guide and were told that we should use “circus bridge” or risk not being answered. I marked our chart accordingly. Apparently the confusion still reigns.
    Duane Ising, IT

    Have been cruising through the area for over 30 years and have never heard of Circus Bridge, always was South Venice Bridge.
    Captain Walt Wagner

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Bridge Directory Listing For the “Circus Bridge”

  • Venice Anchorage (Statute Mile 58)

    The anchor down spot we term the “Venice Anchorage” lies along the marked channel leading from the AICW to my friends at the Venice Yacht Club. It’s then only a short dinghy ride to the city dock at Hiegel Park (right beside the Venice Yacht Club). Overnight dockage is no longer allowed at this city pier, but you can still easily dinghy ashore here. Then, it’s only a walk of some four to five blocks to have dinner at wonderful Crows Nest Restaurant (at Crows Nest Marina). Trust me on this one, fellow cruisers, this one of the very best chow down spots in all of Florida!

    During cruising season, better get here early. This is a very crowded anchorage and people seem to drop the hook anywhere along the channel. I would not use this if other options exist. We were well secured one night and another boat anchored literally on top of our hook. As the tide turned, he came within inches of our boat several times during the night. Needless to say, it was a derelict craft and captain. Why bother?
    Ron

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Acnhorage Directory Listing For The Venice Anchorage

  • Good Words for Gasparilla Marina (Statute Mile 34)

    The entrance to Gasparilla Marina cuts east off the Western Florida ICW, immediately south of the Gasparilla Island bridge and causeway. This facility features a well sheltered harbor, and, judging from Captain Spagna’s message below, offers superior services.
    Also, besides their own on-site dining spot (described below) the Fisheries Restaurant is within easy walking distance. I can tell you from personal experience that the food here is superb!

    Admiral Deb and I give Gasparilla Marina our highest recommendation! We called via cell phone 2 days prior to arriving and talked to the Manager, Jeff. Jeff is ‘a prince among men’! We talked with him for several minutes about details of the marina and the surrounding points of interest. Jeff offered us the use of his car (a brand new Crown Vic) to go shopping when we got there. We’d never met him before! On arrival the staff was always very helpful, interested in our welfare and the welfare of our vessel. Their restaurant The Waterside Grill had indoor and outdoor seating, lots of large wide screen TVs and the staff was friendly and efficient. We stayed 7 days, 2/20/10 – 2/26/10, and ate 2 meals each day. The food there was far superior to the food at the local well known restaurant half a mile away. The showers were private room sized and clean. Wi-fi was fast with no connectivity problems while we were there. Easy in and out, wide fairways right on the gulf ICW.
    Lou Spagna, s/v Wu-Hsin

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

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