For the latest on the proposed mooring field at Venice, Florida, as well as a peak at a similar proposal for Bradenton Beach, follow the link below!
For the latest on the proposed mooring field at Venice, Florida, as well as a peak at a similar proposal for Bradenton Beach, follow the link below!
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 !!!!!
Marina Jacks has been much in the news of late, as its management and ownership have been square in the middle of the ongoing debate concerning the proposed Sarasota Mooring Field.
It was a last minute decision to tie up at Marina Jack. We hailed the dockmaster on the way in and they were quick to assign a slip and were there to take our lines as we approached. First class operation. It is busy there with the restaurant and bar patrons adjacent to the transient dock. The live band plays into the evening (this was on a weekend).
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.
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.
<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>
Looks like plans for the controversial Bradenton Beach Mooring Field have been put on hold, at least for the moment!
Subject: Bradenton Beach Mooring Discussion continues
Cruising News: It was reported in the 6/9/2010 Islander newspaper (http://www.islander.org) that on 6/3/2010, Bradenton Beach Council canceled the contract for the grant of $165,000 for a mooring field due to incomplete financial studies and the short time frame in which to accept the grant.
I have personally researched the waters Captains David and Patty refer to below, in depth. I’m sure the locals do find good anchorage here, but the unmarked nature of the entrance channel has always prevented me from listing this spot in the Net’s “Western Florida Anchorage Directory.”
Subject: Bradenton Beach Anchorage
Cruising News: An excellent anchorage will be found just south of the relatively new Bradenton Beach city pier. Although it appears to be just off the ICW south of the Cortez Bridge, access is barred by a three foot shoal. To enter the anchorage, head into the well marked channel for Bradenton Beach Marina, at unlighted daybeacon #49, just south of the Cortex Bridge. As you come to marker #3, turn to the south and cross in front of the pier, taking the “T” to starboard. Access depths were about six feet. Continue on into the anchorage and find a spot to drop the hook. The pool of deep water is larger than it appears on the chart. According to our chart plotter, we were on top of the three foot shoal, when we were actually in six feet at low tide. Some depths exceeded eight feet. Protection is primarily from the west. There is a dinghy dock along shore and restroom and shower facilities on the pier itself. Once on shore, we found retail stores, restaurants, the beach on the Gulf, and ice cream. There is also a free trolley that runs the length of the island.
David & Patty Power
S/V Two If By Sea
While the official name of this facility, located in the heart of downtown Sarasota, is Marina Operations, ALL the locals call it Marina Jacks. That really the name of the restaurant closest to the water, but, hey, who am I to argue with the locals.
This was the fourth night in our trip from Ft. Lauderdale to the Gulf Coast and it was another great marina. The docks extremely well maintained, the staff helpful and the onsite services excellent. Again, we did not get to stay long but by report they have a local shuttle that is very helpful to resupply and get you around town a little. We are planning a trip back to explore the west coast of Florida hopfully next year and Marina Jack will most likely be our base of operations. Forgot to mention that the onsite dining is excellent. There are several restaurants on site and I forget which one we ate at, but it was excellent and by report all the others are as well.
The question and answer exchange below is copied from the Net’s “Ask Your Neighbor” section (http://cruisersnet.net/category/ask-your-neighbor/). Captain Samet’s note confirms what some of us have long known, namely, that both of Sarasota’s inlets are perennially in poor condition!
We are departing Ft. Lauderdale headed to the northern Gulf Coast next week and one of our intended stops is Sarasota. Is New Pass the better to use between Big Pass and New Pass, or should both be avoided? I wouldn’t attempt either in questionable conditions, but assuming fair weather and daylight can either be reasonably run without local knowledge.
Neither are recommended. The suggestion is that Big Pass is okay to exit on a radial of 210 degrees from marker 7, but 7 has been moved from a previous location,so it is impossible to plot the starting point to go in.
I suggest you enter in Venice inlet to the south or go to the north end of LBK and go in Longboat Key Pass.
For many years a couple of vessels have been able to tie up to the free city dock in Venice, Florida’s Hiegel Park, just next door to the Venice Yacht Club. Now, as you will read below, it looks like overnight dockage will no longer be allowed at this pier. Of course, vessels drawing 5 feet or less can always anchor off the park, and dinghy ashore. Check out these water’s entry in the Net’s “Western Florida Anchorage Directory” at:
Still, it’s a shame that the powers that be in Venice have chosen to discontinue this wonderful service to the cruising community. And, Venice needs all image improvement it can get, after being the former home of the “Venice Water Nazi.” Fortunately, this guy is now long retired, and only a very bad memory for cruisers!
PLEASE be SURE to read Captain Bob Kunath’s note near the end of the message string below. It contains a letter from the Venice mayor!
Please do note that some of the postings below are copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) Mail List, so I have only listed first names. As always, we heartily recommend the T&T list as a Cruisers’ Net adjunct, for those who pilot one of these trusty vessels!
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.
Below is a copy of a letter sent by a fellow cruiser to the mayor of Venice:
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
All I can say it is pitiful.
I have always considered Longboat Key Moorings a top flight facility. How about some of you who pass through here put in a good word about them becoming a Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net sponsor!!!
A couple of weekends ago, the indefatigable cruisers of the Venice Sailing Squadron, sailed up to the Longboat Key Club & Resort ~ The Moorings. The Marina is lovely & large with a well-marked EZ In/EZ Out channel off the ICW. The restaurant at the Marina, Portofino, has a great ambience & very good food that won’t break your bank. There are 6 other restaurants in the complex, plus tennis, golf, beach, heated pools, spa, & a shuttle to take you (& retrieve you) from St. Armand’s Circle where there is endless shopping …….
The staff was very friendly & accommodating inviting us to hold our cocktail ‘hour’ on one of the covered porches outside the restaurant rather than in the rain! All told, our VSS cruisers had a great time.
Carol & Don Duncan
Wow, what a great report on a key facility, just south of Tampa Bay, By the way, while the official name of this city leased marina is “Marina Operations,” virtually everyone refers to it as Marina Jacks. That is actually the on-site’s restaurant moniker, however.
Marina Jacks was one of the nicest marinas that we have visited.
They have approximately 30 transient docks primarily located on the outside of D dock. This is a long floating dock with 40ft finger slips. It is well protected from the westerly winds, but with 10 to 15 knots of blow, there can be some current running the length of D dock, making docking a little interesting! Paulette did docking practice and did very well!
The docks are in impeccable condition with all of the normal electrical, water and cable hookups. The dockhands were exceptional helpful. There is a security gate with an access code to the transient area. We discovered the laundry area with a direct veiw over the water…a delightful way to handle one of boaters’ chores. Each morning, the Sarasota newspaper mysteriously appeared on our aft deck…a nice touch.
Access to downtown Sarasota could not have been better. It’s a five minute walk, of which three minutes are waiting for the traffic lights to turn in your favor. Once downtown, foodies like us can walk five minutes further to a very large and well-stocked Whole Foods plus a number of very interesting restaurants.
For those of us with dogs, the marina is situated right next to the nicest park we have ever visited. What can be nicer than walking your dog through pathways along the waterfront!
Marina Jacks now has a courtesy van. This service was just added during our five day stay, so “the rules” of where and when it goes are still being developed. However, I was able to go to both WestMarine and Publix all in one trip.
Dockage was $2.25 a foot plus electric which seems on par for a top quality marina on Florida’s West Coast.
I hope that this is helpful
We are going to start this posting with GOOD NEWS! As you will see below, the Sarasota city attorney has recommended against prosecuting Captain William (Pete) Shaw. He was ticketed for anchoring within 500 feet of private property. To my own unlawlerly mind, and many others, this local Sarasota ordinance is in clear violation of the new Florida anchoring law. In spite of the Sarasota City Attorney’s careful language (see below), I think he’s saying the city would have lost if this case had gone to court.
This is a small, but important victory for the cruising community in regards to Florida anchoring rights. While some may have preferred that the case went forward, very likely resulting in a favorable ruling for Captain Pete, the abandonment of pursuing this matter by the City Attorney, has to send some sort of message to other municipalities in Florida.
I AM STILL WORKING ON A MAJOR ARTICLE/EDITORIAL ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE NEW FLORIDA ANCHORING LAW VERSUS LOCAL REGULATONS. I hope to present this new story next week. In the meantime, let’s all rejoice that it’s now just a bit safer to drop the hook in Sarasota waters. THREE CHEERS FOR CAPTAIN PETE!!!!
As was said above, the first sequence of notes you will read below define the abandonment of the case against Captain Peter. Farther dowin this ever lengthening string, you will discover older messages that define what happened in the first place.
Recent emails from the Sarasota City Attorney are below. The short story is that he is not going to prosecute the recently cited boater and may suspend enforcement for 30-45 days while he does more research. So I will again be pursuing the option of the city council rescinding their rule (as opposed to having it done in court) and will be meeting with the city attorney and council members later next week. My proposal will be to replace the 500 foot rule with a collection of general nuisance ordinances to quell the concerns of waterfront property owners.
Helping to get to this point was an admiralty attorney, Joanne M. Foster from Guy Yudin & Foster in Stuart, who threatened a federal civil rights suit. They are the same firm that sued Stuart in the Vincent Sibilla anchoring case last year. Also, the phone call the city attorney received from the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association attorney, most likely prompted from the postings on Cruiser’s Net, was influential in swaying the city attorney’s position.
Thanks for your email and the constructive input/suggestions. I didn’t know if you had seen email correspondence below or not. If we suspend enforcement, which I’m prepared to recommend at this point, then I think everything is on the table. So even though I’m not recommending repeal at present, I consider the repeal or modification to be possible alternatives. I would like to meet with you and hear about your suggestions. It will have to be after Monday though. I will follow up with you by early next week at the latest with some possible times.
Robert M. Fournier
City of Sarasota
Commissioners, I am forwarding an email I sent to Chief Abbott today advising that I have decided to decline to prosecute Mr. Shaw for anchoring his vessel within 500 ft. of property used and zoned for residential purposes. Mr. Shaw was anchored for 3 days at 343 ft. from the shore line. I am planning to bring this up on Monday under remarks of Charter officials. You may recall that I discussed this ordinance and the so called 500 ft. rule in a memorandum that was transmitted to you via email dated January 13, 2010. I am still not prepared to recommend repeal of Sec. 10-52, but due to the high probability that the continued validity of the ordinance will be litigated at some point, I want to be certain that the City is in the best possible position before that happens.
Robert M. Fournier
City of Sarasota
I would like to thank everybody who helped get me through this situation. The support and kind comments, advise and hard work done by many people has this possible. Thanks especially to Jeff Bole, Ken Delacy and my attorney Joanne Foster. Also the NMMA,the Cruisers Net, and the Sarasota Herald Tribune. After paying the bills and working for a short spell to replenish the cruising fund, I will be headed toward the Bahamas after all! If we stay organized, the cities and counties won’t stand a chance if they choose to ignore the new anchoring rules the state has put into effect. (be aware that the city of Miami owns some submerged lands and they call the shots there) I hope to see some of you in paradise, if you see my catamaran, Mahina, come on over and we’ll chat, maybe have a beer or six.
TODAYS JOKE IN THE “BACK CHANNEL”
Question- Why do Lions do what they do?
Answer- Because they can!
Question-Why is the Citys’ Attorney trying to do what he’s trying to do?
Answer?- Because he can’t? Maybe he just thinks he’s a Lion? A real Lion would know the difference between service anchors and moorings!
Older message below were authored and posted here on the Cruisers’ Net PRIOR TO the abandonment of the charges against Captain Pete.
Subject: Sarasota Anchoring Ordinance Versus FL State Law
Cruising News: For the last six months, I have been working with the city government of Sarasota, FL to try to get their 500 foot rule repealed. This city ordinance prohibits anchoring within 500 feet of a residence for more than twelve hours, which appears to be in violation of Florida Statute 327.60′s prohibition of local anchoring regulations as referenced in the BoatU.S. information sheet titled “Anchoring Information for Florida Cruisers”.
I have opinions from an FWC attorney who indicates that Special Act 86-458 (the act that gave Sarasota the loophole to initially enact their law) is now obsolete since the special act simply defines a term that is no longer in the state statute that it references (327.60) and from Donald Day, the attorney that won the Marco Island v. Dumas case, who thinks that Sarasota\’s anchoring rule would not stand up in court.
However, the Sarasota city attorney is holding firm in his stance that the Special Act is still valid and that Sarasota\’s ordinance does not defy state law. Without convincing him to change his opinion or a strong legal argument to counter his, I can not acquire enough votes from the city council to overturn their anchoring restriction.
A January 12th memorandum from the city attorney to the city commissioners addressed the 500 foot rule. He thinks that, regardless of the actual language used, the intended effect of the special act still stands and that the 2009 general rule does not supersede the 1986 special rule since the general rule does not explicitly state that it does. My counter that, “As a participant in the drafting process of HB 1423, I know that the intended effect of the revision to 327.60 was to standardize anchoring regulations statewide by prohibiting local ordinances,” does not convince the city commission to vote against the opinion of their attorney.
As cruising sailors are currently being cited for violation of Sarasota’s anchoring ordinance, I would appreciate any help that anyone may offer in
countering the city attorney’s argument so that we can get this law off of the books as soon as possible.
Subject: Fla anchoring citation
Cruising News: On jan. 10 I was issued a “complaint” form the Sarasota marine police for violation of city ordinance 10-52, for anchoring within 500 feet of a waterfront property. I called the telephone # printed on the back of the complaint and was promptly connected to the “Yuppy Puppy” pet salon. After calling around a bit, trying to find the penalty for this , I was connected to the clerk of court, who had no information as to the penalty involved. I intend to challenge the ordinance in court, as it should have been eliminated by the new anchoring law passed by Fla. and in effect since Oct 1, 2009. Iwas staying in the Plymouth Harbor anchorage near lido key and was 352 ft. away from the nearest home. I could use any legal advise or other assistance anyone could give me to overturn this ordinance. My court date is feb 1, which puts a cruise to the Bahamas I was planning on hold until this is cleared up. Anyone who wants to contact me can e mail me at email@example.com thanks.
I believe that in the [SSECN] archives there is history of a similar case in Stuart a year or so ago, the defendants pro bono lawyer won an out of court settlement based on the facts that the ordinance enforcement violated the defendants civil rights, I believe the City had to pay up. Worth researching.
Have either of you contacted the State Attorney’s Office yet? This would be the first place I would go, and request an opinion from him.
I was thinking about this today as I cruised south towards ground zero – Ft. Lauderdale – and thought – we’ve had love-ins, sleep-ins, laugh-ins and sit-ins. Maybe it’s about time we all got together in one location, like Ft. Lauderdale, and had an anchor-in – and fought for our rights as a group, together by demanding the FL police issue each and every one of us a ticket.
The publicity alone, which would be national, would cause the municipalities to rethink what they are doing and force the state to act to enforce its own laws.
Sarasota is an extremely desirable place. Look at marina jacks, it gets crazy with 100’s of boats… but i would think they have every right to be there.
Name not provided
Assuming one day soon Sarasota’s 500′ rule is found to be in violation with the new State anchoring laws and done away with how may this effect the proposed mooring field? This may seem like a big assumption, but one FWC attorney and the prevailing attorney in the Marco Isl. case have both stated Sarasota’s 500′ rule is currently unenforceable. Well one could guess that if a mooring field is installed in the protected waters of the current harbor those not wishing to patronize it will seek protected waters elsewhere. That could very likely lead to many boats moving back to the Otter Key / Plymouth Harbor area which is what caused Sarasota to seek the 500′ rule back in the 1980′s. I would suggest the City abandon the proposed MF if they do not want this to happen once their 500′ rule is dissolved.
That makes a lot of sense, which is probably why it won’t happen. In case anyone in this group hasn’t heard yet, I’m the guy who got the ticket and I believe I have a good chance of overturning the ordinance. The reason I anchor on the west side of the bay is the calmer water and the fact that the city have placed so many parking restrictions at Island park, I actually have more available parking over on lido key! Why don’t they just make Island Park the easiest place for boaters to anchor and land their dinghies (no fees) and then everybody will anchor there.
Yet another demonstaration of how “friendly” Sarasota is to visiting crusiers (grin!)!
For those List members not in the harbor you may not know that 2 nights ago the SPD initiated “Operation Anchor Light.” Reports are police boats moved through the harbor shortly after sunset visiting those aboard that did not have an all around white light, or an anchor light, illuminated. The citation is in the $75 area, and some were told that the owners of the unoccupied boats without the light on would be receiving the ticket by mail. I assume Marine Police Officer Ken Goebel, cc’ed here, participated and is invited to offer any corrections or additional information to our community.
Anchor lights are not required in a designated anchorage, but as far as I know our harbor has never received this official title regardless of it’s status as an anchorage for decades. Maybe even a century.
This item perpetuates a popular myth about anchorages. It is simply not correct that “Anchor lights are not required in a designated anchorage”. The ONLY except for the required anchor lights specified in the Nav Rules is for “special anchorages” that are designated by US law. There are currently only seven such anchorages in Florida waters.
The seven special anchorages are at specific locations in the St. Johns River, Indian River (2 areas), Stuart, Marco Island, Manatee River, and Apollo Beach.
In every other location, including mooring fields, anchor lights are required by federal law.
The two Jewfish Key anchorages (see links below) can be accessed directly off the Western Florida ICW, hard by the Waterway’s intersection with Longboat Pass. Even though, as you will read below, dinighy landing is no longer as convenient here, these are still great spots to drop the hook!
It’s been a couple of years since we’ve anchored in the waters adjacent to Mar Vista and Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant. Same beautiful water, scenery, and protection … a wonderful waveless anchorage even in 20 knots of breeze. Still the same anchoring issues with the relatively deep bowl, numerous boats, and current … nothing that two anchors does not solve. Two items of note. There is a town ordinance now that prohibits tying off to the town dock … very convenient in the past. There is a small beach some 30 yds south of the town dock where dinks can be put ashore but it was convenient in the past not to get your shoes wet when going ashore (temps are in the 50’s today giving special meaning to “convenient”). A second item is that the upscale grocery that was within easy dinghy or walking distance is now permanently closed … a liquor store has replaced it … less useful for those looking to do a little restocking.
Paul and Mary
S/V Merry Sea
Here’s one I did not know about, but after a conversation with “Southwinds” magazine publisher, Steve Morrell, I learned the entrance to the facility described below, cuts to the east, south of the Cortez Bridge.
Subject: Cortez Cove Boatyard & Marina
Cruising News: We recently had a bottom job done at Cortez Cove Boatyard & Marina in Cortez, FL across the ICW from Anna Maria Island just south of Tampa Bay. We highly recommend this yard to fellow cruisers. They did an excellent job of prepping and painting. AND they allowed us to stay aboard while \”on the hard\”, something that many yards don\’t allow and very important to us as full-time cruisers. The staff was very friendly and accomodating, knew what they were doing, worked quickly and didn\’t \”run up the work hours\”, etc. The price was in line with other yards in the area but the meticulous work was more than worth what we paid!
I e-mailed Captain Sherman and asked for more definite access instructions to Cortez Cove Boatyard. He graciously responded below:
Here is the additional info you requested:
The Cortez Cove Boatyard and Marina is located just south of the Cortez Bridge (a couple of miles north of Longboat Pass) on the mainland side of the west coast ICW at about statute mile 87. The coordinates for the marina are 27 degrees 27.95 minutes north, 082 degrees 40.97 minutes west.
Immediately south of the Cortez bascule bridge turn east off the ICW and then go through the anchorage, past the Coast Guard station, past the A.P. Bell seafood company docks (close to the docks) and you will then see a well marked private channel. Where the channel forks take the channel to port into the boatyard’s basin.
Here’s a new one on yours truly. A year or two ago, we have many posts here on the Cruisers’ Net about a shoal near the Ringling Bridge, courtesy of some leftover construction materials when the old span was removed. However, that trouble spot has been marked for some time now.
Has anyone had the same experience as outlined by sailing vessel Endeavor below. If so, could you please send additional details to CruisingWriter@CruisersNet.net. Thanks in advance!
Subject: Sarasota Ringling bridge shoals?
Cruising News: we passed the Ringling bridge today at 0.3′ over MLLW and had the depth alarm go off (set at <6′) right underneath the main
overspan a bit to the west of the middle. Maybe it was a dolphin or manatee, but it sure surprised me and I will stick to the middle next time.
Captain John’s discussion below of Western Florida bridges in general, and the Anna Maria Island Bridge, in particular, gives some great cruising advice for all mariners plying the western coastline of the Sunshine State. And, watch out for a certain bridge operator (see below)!
We have cruised the FL West Coast extensively, both offshore and ICW. SUNBURST has been through every bridge along the west FL ICW at least once (excepting Charlotte Harbor’s eastern reaches) and with a vertical clearance of 23′ has required her share of openings. This height, as it turns out, is exceptional in that it also approximates the vertical clearance of innumerable west coast bascule bridges. The decision to request an opening is never taken lightly, and we have no designs on unnecessarily impeding road traffic or taxing the bridge tenders. However, we also emphatically endeavor to avoid dis-masting ourselves; placing SUNBURST or crew in peril, or otherwise engaging bridge spans in a physical sense. (We know the bridge will win every time!).
So the usual drill as we approach any bridge that is even remotely close to our vertical clearance involves the oft rehearsed combination of straining (to discern a tide card reading) through binoculars and hand wringing. Anything less than 24 feet will generate discussion on Ch 9. The vast majority of our bridge tenders are very professional and courteous, and in keeping with our collective goal to transcend the said span safely, readily and happily comply with our requests for an opening (within the constraints of the bridge opening policies).
Here, the Anna Maria bridge has distinguished herself as consistently problematic. On no less than 4 occasions within the last 12 months the bridge tender has proven recalcitrant, difficult, unpleasant and frankly cantankerous. This has now become part of our planning calculus: whenever feasible (weather, etc) we opt for offshore passage between Tampa Bay and Long Boat Pass.
I would like to emphasize the fact that approaching this particular bridge, like so many others along the ICW, does NOT uniformly generate a request for opening. Due consideration is given to the tide, tide card reading, and so forth such that we pass safely under the closed span just as often as we must (reluctantly, in this case) request a bridge opening. The point is that responsibility for the safety of my crew, my boat rests squarely and unambiguously upon my shoulders. I cannot be “bullied” into unsafe operation under any circumstance.
Although I have posted this negative comment regarding one particular bridge (and perhaps one individual?), I just as vigorously applaud the professionalism of the vast majority of bridge operators along the FL west coast ICW!
Capt. John Moritz
Subject: Ana Maria Bridge tender
Cruising News: I have been Passing under Ana Maria Bridge for Years. This is the worst Bridge tender on the west cost of Florida. He seems to forget he would not
have a Job if it where not for sailboaters
Anytime cruisers can find a good boat repair service, it's cause for celebration! And, sounds like Captains Russ and Carolyn found two super repair firms in Sarasota!
Recently we had a fairly bad crossing of the Big Bend. We experienced some damage to the gel-coat and to some covers. When we arrived at the Sarasota Yacht Club, I asked if there were someone who could make emergency repairs. They referred me to Jim Wasilewski Marine Services (941-320-6003). It seemed like only a matter of moments before Jim arrived and they began the repairs immediately. I had a tear in the tender cover and Jim had someone at the boat that afternoon. He fixed the repair for $50. Then our clothes washer failed. Within an hour or so, we had a replacement on the way. When we pulled the rugs in the saloon, to remove and replace the washer, Carolyn became entranced with the teak and holly floors. Jim recommended Capt. Rick Hanson of Rick's Performance Marine (941-915-5465) to remove the rugs and refinish the floors. Capt. Rick, on short notice arranged to have the floors prepared and varnished. We were having some difficulty with
one head and the holding tank. Since Capt. Rick handles air conditioning, refrigeration and plumbing, he took care of it. Since we removed the carpets from the two staircases to the staterooms and
engine room, we needed new rugs. Presto, Jim had Dane Halse of Custom Marine Interiors (941-356-3466) arrive to measure, cut and install the new rugs. Carolyn likes the rugs so much, she wants the same material in our home. Everything was done quite professionally, expeditiously, reasonably and with a smile. I would recommend them if you are in the area. Apparently they operate from Naples to Bradenton.
Russ and Carolyn Deane
The story below is reproduced by permission of the authors. This story was originally contributed to the "Sarasota Herald Tribune," but it was substantially reduced in size by the newspaper. We present the entire, original text below.
For those who don't know, the city of Sarasota is trying to establish a mooring field off its downtown waterfront, hard by Marina Operations (Marina Jacks). A dedicated group of boat owners who have long been anchored on these waters are opposing this project. Captain Ken Delacy, co-author of the article below, is one of the prime movers in this group.
Rarely has a civic issue been so filled with multi-dimensional problems as the city’s thrust to construct a mooring field — slated to begin June 21 — in the most exquisite portion of Sarasota Bay, between Marina Jack and Selby Gardens. According to the city’s own report, the wasteful plan will cost taxpayers approximately $17.5 million over the next 20 years, with no concrete benefits.
A host of powerful reasons — legal, fiscal, environmental, aesthetic, human rights, and monopoly-related — underlie why this plan must be stopped.
Construction would likely dilute and permanently alter the French Riviera-like beauty of this sailboat-adorned bay – the charismatic jewel of downtown Sarasota. The natural look, rather than the organized plan the city is pushing to institute, is unique in Florida and rare in the entire world. Tampering with this sublime gem would be a tragic loss to the city.
The plan is engendering resentment among diverse demographic segments – from wealthy retirees to international tourists, condo and business owners. Too many unanswered questions/loopholes exist, too many concerns of legal improprieties, railroading a plan through against the wishes of the citizenry, and a power grabbing thrust by the Marina Jack Corp., the entity slated to manage it.
There was no rigorous cost-benefit analysis offered to taxpayers, documenting why a project – of such nebulous and questionable benefits — warrants spending so much in these brutal recessionary times, when the city is oppressed by a $9 million deficit. Wouldn’t this expenditure far better be allocated for social programs, health care, education, and job creation?
The travesty is that while the plan costs $1 million, the City is giving Marina Jack a deal: lowering its rent from 3.5% to 3.0% of gross sales, in exchange for operating the fields – leading to the estimated $17.5 million in lost tax revenue. Taxpayers would bear the burden for this sweetheart deal between Marina Jack and the city. Such deals are only justifiable if private investors can demonstrate compelling benefits to taxpayers, clearly not the case here.
It is unacceptable that there was no open bidding process for this contract, given that Marina Jack already profits from managing the downtown yacht harbor and O’Leary’s, plus being landlord to downtown boat rentals and LeBarge. Doesn’t the city have an obligation, to citizens, to spread the wealth beyond one corporate entity — one already enjoying what many consider over-arching power in Sarasota? (Unlike other downtown restaurants, MJ does not pay property taxes.)
If the plan moves forward, Marina Jack’s power grab would expand to the entire downtown bayfront, giving them monopoly control for decades. Many feel this project represents a conflict of interest: a profit making entity managing a not-for-profit operation, eliciting widespread cynicism about claims that Marina Jack would not profit from their managerial role.
The plan’s later phases will entail the environmentally risky dredging of the bay, and drilling into the bay floor to install 109 mooring holes, sparking concerns this could stir up the lead/arsenic documented in the immediate area. Many are outraged that this threat to the bay’s health is moving ahead without a detailed environmental impact study, independent oversight by an environmental entity, and meticulous documentation throughout the proposed three phases.
An injunction is urgently needed, to allow time for necessary legal, environmental and fiscal review, to satisfy citizens’ legitimate pressing concerns. The City Commission exists to serve taxpayers. We hope it urges a delay, pending full disclosure, a detailed cost-benefit analysis, and environmental impact study – the accountability taxpayers deserve.
We urge all concerned citizens to speak out at the City Commissioners’ meeting: Mon., June 15, 2:30 and 6 p.m., City Hall.
Jenny L. Rosenbaum, waterfront condo owner, and Capt. Ken Delacy
Sarasota Bayfront Alliance, a Coalition of Concerned Citizens
Below, Captain Randy gives some excellent advice about various inlets between Venice and Longboat Key. I think his observations are spot on, except I might add that I think "New Pass"is even worse. I would not take a row boat out New Pass.
Personally, I wouldn't consider Big Pass, at Sarasota, a viable, all-weather inlet. The shoals around there move frequently and local knowledge is a must. The same is true, but to a lesser degree, of New Pass. The excellent Sarasota Sailing Squadron is located just inside New Pass and their members frequently sound the location of the deep water. Sea-Tow or TowBoatUS could probably
give advise on the VHF. Longboat Pass, to the north and Venice Inlet, to the south are much more dependable.