It would appear that free dockage in Venice, Florida is being done away with. That sucks. It made a great overnight stop.
That’s a shame, I stayed there in 2007 and again Monday night this week. It is not a fancy place but good to tie up to for a night and the price is right. Both times we have stayed there we have made the short walk to the
Crows Nest for a meal, not an inexpensive outing. I guess in the future I’ll be anchoring off the ICW with dinner onboard. Before we left there yesterday morning a tree removal crew came in they told me they were to take out the pine trees along the dock the were also cutting the mangroves way back.
We cruise on our 36′ boat down through Venice every fall and back up every spring, always stopping in Venice at the free dock.
While docked for a night or two, we always spend money in restaurants and a grocery store (cab-ride away). We’ve also spent money at a pharmacy and other stores.
Now, with your city’s decision to end the free dock privilage, we no longer have a reason to stop in Venice rather than somewhere else, and our money will be spent elsewhere. Too bad. You had a “hook” that grabbed us and many other boaters, but you’ve let us get away.
It should also be noted that the city intends to build a paid mooring facility, which now becomes easier.
Regional Editor – Waterway Guide
To the Venice City Council:
I had the great pleasure to recently use the Venice Free Dock. It is a widely known facility and famous among many of the Great Loop Cruisers (members of the America’s Great Loop Cruising Association) and other groups that cruise these fine waters of the USA. I had looked forward to this stop and even brought in another cruiser that would have otherwise gone on down to Charlotte Harbor to stay at Burnt Store.
This dock is nothing like a Marina with power, water and other services, but is more like an anchorage that many a cruiser loves. There are many cruisers that use marinas and seldom anchor out they will continue to use the marinas in the area. Cruisers use guides such as “Skipper Bob” where the Venice facility is listed as a place to go.
This dock provides an access to Venice that might otherwise be missed. It provides many with the opportunity for some of us to walk the streets of Venice and enjoy the many places the city has to offer. It provides a great alternative to anchoring our, particularly in bad weather which was the case on the day we stopped there.
It would be a loss to the City of Venice should this facility use change. Many a cruiser that stays there would not stop in Venice but find other places to stay. These types of facilities are common in other areas of the country and there are still a few in Florida. I’d sincerely ask that you consider keeping the dock available to those of us who would spend a night in your city.
It is already posted as a place you can only stay one night and I’m sure that that keeps cruisers moving on and also into nearby Marinas after they find out how nice a city Venice is.
Sincerely hoping you can keep something free.
We love Venice
Jim and Vaughn Quince
Spring Lake , Michigan
This is just another reason to bypass Venice and go outside. We have had numerous bad experiences going through Venice. We have been up and down the west coast about 5 times and would reccomend going outside.
To the citizens and business owners of Venice,
I have cruised America’s Great loop twice, and has found that Florida is the most unfriendly state in all my 12000 miles of cruising!
Venice, in particular, ranks at the very top of the “unfriendly to boaters” list.
First, Venice had the water Nazi, a overzealous water cop whose retirement was welcomed by all cruisers.
Then Venice, is taking away their free dock.
With a down economy, I fail to understand why the business owners of Venice would turn away a community of boaters, who on the average , have a very disposable income, are cruising on a very expensive boat, and spending thousands and thousands of dollars to do it.
It’s a loss to the Venice economy. Cruisers will go elsewhere rather than visit an over priced community that does not want their money!
You won’t be seeing my money in Venice!!
Send those boaters here to Key Largo. We will welcome them.
See you in Paradise! (but not venice)
Venice has always been tough to anchor in with my 40′ sloop. There generally is never any room in the anchorage.
My two options have been the Crows Nest, or the City Dock. The Crows Nest has become very expensive, and the [city-Hegel Park] dock is closed so…
I shall plan accordingly to stop someplace else. We did enjoy the restaurants and shopping in Venice. Too bad for the cruisers and town alike.
Someone just wrote that Florida was an unfriendly state to boaters. I would venture to say that the people that you are referring to, the mayor, city council and the majority of residents of Venice are not native Floridians. They are the people that moved here from, in all probability, somewhere up north and they want to stop people from traveling through Venice and stopping at the park dock. They probably consider you people on boats as lower in status than they are, therefore they don’t want you there. My wife and I have been stopping at that dock since 1978 right up to last year. The only problem we ever had there was with the Venice Y.C., don’t even think they will sell you ice or gas, they seem like a bunch of snobs to me.
It just seems to me that we will be skipping the Venice dock from now on, as well as the restaurants and stores.
Too bad, that was a nice lay over from Tampa Bay to Lemon Bay.
More on Venice,
We stopped in Venice at the Crows Nest with Sans Souci in 2004 when we did the Great Loop. We found that Venice is a terrific city, right on the Gulf, small in size yet large enough to offer plenty of reasons to stop and stay awhile. In fact, we liked it enough that we returned in 2007 and bought a house on the island; our back yard is the canal. Our evaluation of Venice has not changed since we’ve lived here, the city welcomes and thrives on winter visitors, including boaters.
There has been bad press about Venice over the years, primarily relating to the enforcement of registration laws by a local officer who has now been retired for two years. The latest flap relates to the free dock, which the
city is considering closing to overnight guests. That move appears to be in concert with a plan to establish a low-cost mooring field in Roberts Bay.
It is probably worth noting that there are very few if any free overnight docks in Southern Florida. Whether you stay at one of the marinas or the free dock or proposed mooring field, you will likely find Venice to be one of your favorite stops.
Many cruisers have been writing to the council and mayor. I invited him to respond and explain the circumstance and direction the city is headed. The following is his response:
“Thanks for the invitation. I have replied briefly to some, but not all writers. Here, in brief, is our rationale.
Thank you for your emails about the ‘free dock.’ We appreciate your visits to Venice and hope you will continue to visit. The dock will still be free, but not for over-nights.
There are many reasons for Council’s decision, but, in essence, we are seeking a “dockmaster” for a new mooring field, to be modestly priced which is required by the state and which will provided pump out and other services to visiting boats. The free docking, without the showers, toilets, etc. was preventing our being able to obtain bids to be become “dockmaster.”
We will always welcome you and hope you will return.
Ed Martin, Mayor”
Cruising Editor, Waterway Guide