Posted by Claiborne | Posted on 09-29-2009
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Recommendations of this type from fellow cruisers make for some of the best information you can get!
Call Dan Matos, marine engine surveyor (239-461-0366), and Steven Berlin, Accredited Marine Surveyor (239-466-45440 , They are both from Ft. Myers. Reported to be one of the best in Florida. We used them both on our new (new to us) Heritage East 44.
Ron on “Meander”
We have used Dan on two occassions. He is VERY GOOD, thorough and you can have confidence you are getting the best rests
Mary Anne Osborne
Even many veteran Western Florida cruisers have never known that the “official” path of the Western Florida ICW, across the mouth of Tampa Bay, cuts east-northeast under the huge Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and then takes a LONG curl back around to the north and west before passing under the Skyway’s northernmost section (known as the Misner Brige), and eventually rejoins the “official” Waterway just west of the Misner span. We don’t know of any cruiser who actually follows this route consistently.
The vast majority of captains continue north from the Waterway’s buoy #1A, through what the NOAA charts call the “Sunshine Skyway Channel,” rejoining the Western Florida ICW at marker #15. As alluded to above, many mariners think this is all part of the “official” Western Florida Waterway.
Not so, and that means that the Sunshine Skyway channel is not as carefully maintained as the Federally sponsored Western Florida ICW. And so, the shoaling reported below by Captain Davis is actually a long standing problem between Sunshine Skyway Channel markers #3 and #2. If memory serves, which sometimes it does not, while performing research here in 1992, for the first edition of “Cruising Guide to Western Florida,” we found less that ideal depths between #3 and #2.
So, if your vessel draws more than 4 1/2 feet, try to time your passage through the southern foot of the Sunshine Skyway Channel for mid to high tide. And, note Captain Davis’ advice to favor the eastern side of the passage.
In any case, proceed with caution. Once #3 and #2 are in your wake, the Sunshine Skyway channel soon deepens all the way north to the juncture with the official Waterway.
Shoaling at marker 3 in the Yacht Channel [Sunshine Skyway Channel] just North of the Main Span of Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St Pete. Shoaling extends midway through channel, stay towards the Eastern (red) side. Hit bottom with 4.5 foot draft at mid tide.
There was a temporary red [marker] more to the east of the shoal spot a month ago. We favored the west and bumped with 4’5 draft at mid tide too. Next trip I’ll favor the east temporary red marker as suggested.
This posting was prompted by a recent recommendation for a fuel delivery service in the Fort Myers area: http://cruisersnet.net/?p=113209. Manatee County is the Bradenton area south of Tampa. Cruisers’ Net would like to hear the opinions of our readers on the issue of truck-to-boat fuel delivery.
Please use the “Comment” function below, or follow the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link found on the upper right of this, and all (except Chart View) SSECN pages.
Our Homeowners Association in Manatee County has banned the delivery of fuel to vessels in our community. I am trying to find out if this ban is legal. I am aware of three locations where such bans were overturned or rescinded. Dania, North Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. The delivery service we were using is fully insured and has been in business for many years.
St. Petersburg Municipal Marina – A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! – lies west, northwest of Tampa Bay’s flashing buoy #3. Enjoy this very complete on-site description of this large municipal marina in downtown St. Petersburg.
Claiborne, as you asked a couple of weeks back as we left the Keys, here is a report on St Petersburg Municipal Marina. I will not recap the many published statistics on depths, etc, etc.
For the newbie to this area (us), it is important to understand that the entrance is just a bit tricky because this marina is located in the Central Yacht Basin between North Yacht Basin (known locally as Vanoy Basin) and
South Yacht Basin, where the St Petersburg Sailing Center is located. The St Petersburg Municipal Pier sticks a goodly distance into the bay between North (Vanoy) Basin and Central Basin; so there is little confusion about
the difference in those two basins. However, there is a “Y” in the channel as you enter the breakwater to the Municipal Marina which allows a right turn into the Central Basin or a left turn into the South Basin . The
sometimes noisy local small aircraft airport is located immediately to the south of South Basin but was not a nuisance at the transient pier.
By the way, the “upside down pyramid” which has long marked the end of The Pier is scheduled to close very soon and be demolished. A grandiose design has been offered up, but there is local dissention about what will ultimately grace this area.
Further confusing to the newbie is the fact that there are three separate landside marina entrances to their three separate piers (each with an office at the locked entrance), and the St Petersburg Yacht Club also resides in
Central Basin. The long transient alongside-tie pier is part of the North Entrance pier structure and is quite easily seen once you enter central basin. You just angle right about 30 degrees to enter the basin from the
breakwater entrance and then dogleg left about the same and look for the long pier.
Piers are fixed, and tide is a couple of feet. We had to step on the handrails of our GB-42 at low tide in order to get aboard. Power was adequate with 30- and 50-Amp plugs at each pedestal. A limited cable TV service was provided, but was essentially worthless due to the poor channel selection.
Potable water tasted good with no hint of sulfury “beach water” we encountered in marina near the coast.
The northern portion of the basin is subject to the effects of easterly wind. We had some light winds from that direction during a part of our stay and rocked gently. Strong easterly winds might make it uncomfortable.
We were not certain how long we intended to stay while awaiting a Gulf-crossing weather window to get home to the panhandle so we decided to sign up for a week, which the staff said they would rebate if we left early.
The weekly “slip rate” before taxes for our Grand Banks 42 was $283.08 or a bit less than a dollar a foot per day while the daily rate was about 2 bucks a foot. Since my wife fell ill with a stomach virus and was out of commission for several days, we ended up needing at least four days, and by the fourth night, we were ahead of the game had we been paying a daily rate.
The facilities are very clean and well kept without any of the usual rust and grime one so often sees in marina bathrooms and showers. The staff is friendly and helpful – ignore the one negative comment on Active Captain,
except for the warning about strong easterly winds the guy must have encountered.
We find the downtown area of this small city to be almost European in atmosphere with cultural, dining, and shopping clustered close to the marina amongst buildings in which people also live. The nearby college probably has something to do with this. In previous trips up and down the west coast of Florida, we were busy getting to some place else and ignored this place, but it really should be a destination in any trip by here. It is easily accessible from the ICW by simply running under the causeway of the Sunshine Skyway bridge to Bradenton and following the well-marked channel a few miles up the bay.
There is a trolley stop outside the entrance to the north piers of the marina and 50 cents (25 for folks over 55) gets you aboard. It connects with buses which will run you all the way to the beaches and even Tarpon Springs.
Calypso (GB42 Hull # 295)
Panama City area, FL
We have stopped at St. Petersburg marina a couple of time and enjoyed it.
Monk 36, Gumbo
Cut “C” Channel is the main channel from Tampa Bay into downtown Tampa and the Hillsborough River. This barge is east of the channel between markers #26 and #28.
FLORIDA-WEST COAST-TAMPA BAY-HILLSBOROUGH BAY-HILLSBOROUGH CUT C CHANNEL: Hazard to Navigation.
The Coast Guard received a report of a 195ft barge in the vicinity of Hillsborough Cut C Channel approximately 100ft east of the channel in approximate position 27-53-39.900N 082-26-14.610W. Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area. Chart 11416
Here’s a quick but important word about the anchorage regulations proposed by the city of St. Petersburg, in regards to this community’s participation in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program.
Re the anchoring restrictions: The comment period for the St Petersburg ordinance ended on March 18, but all should know that if adopted as proposed there will be no anchoring in the various basins except for a limited area in Bayboro Harbor, west of the entrance to the Harborage Marina.
Chuck Waygood Sr
March 8, 2013
Bayborough is also off limits. I was just there and can buoys proclaim the area is a construction area and vessels will be removed. Cruisers are not welcome here. I’m not spending one red cent in st pete.
There are countless boater friendly spots in Pinellas county and Tampa. Boaters have no need to run the St. Pete anchoring gambit. Vote with your wallet.
Downtown Tampa has never been known as a prime cruising destination, but if you can find dockage space, Captain David and Brenda’s explanation below would be well worth exploring. Sounds like you will need a taxi ride from the docks to this dining attraction.
Try Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Tampa. It is located in a historic part of Tampa called Ybor City so the area is also interesting. On top of that, it is listed in Diners, Drives and Dives, so the food is excellent.
David & Brenda Middleton
This just in from our good friends at TowBoat/US. Looks like the Tampa Bay franchise of this very popular service is really up to snuff!
Notice this franchise has satellite operations on the Western Florida coastline, from Tampa Bay north through the Big Bend region!
CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla., January 29, 2013 — An on-the-water towboat company that helps Gulf Coast boaters get home safely was singled out for its professionalism at the BoatUS Towing Services Annual Conference recently held in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Tower of the Year honors went to TowBoatUS Tampa Bay, which is owned and operated by Capt. Larry Tieman and Capt. Clayton Tieman. The company has eight locations along the Gulf Coast from Tampa Bay to Cedar Key, including St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Hudson, Homosassa River, Crystal River and Yankeetown.
The company also received two additional awards – the BoatUS Membership Achievement Award for selling the most BoatUS memberships in the entire fleet, and was honored with the BoatUS Dispatchers Choice Award, given by the dispatching staff at the BoatUS 24-hour call centers for providing members with fast response and utmost professionalism during the dispatch process.
“We have grown our business to become the largest BoatUS towing service provider in the United States and we are very proud of our accomplishments,” said Capt. Larry Tieman. “With fourteen boats and sixteen captains, we handle over 2,500 requests a year for on-the-water assistance. If you’re broken down or run out of gas near shore, we’re very proud that we can get a bright red towboat with a professional captain to your location in usually an hour or less,” he added.
“The Tieman’s operation is the standard bearer that many in our towing fleet look up to, showing others how to run a successful on-the-water towing business in one of the busiest regions of the country,” said BoatUS Vice President and Director of Towing Services Adam Wheeler. “And they do it professionally, with the great care that our members deserve, and always with a positive attitude.”
BoatUS Towing Services offers an “unlimited” towing plan for Florida boaters for just $149 a year, which includes BoatUS membership. Without a towing plan, the national average out-of-pocket cost for a tow is about $600. For membership and towing information visit http://www.BoatUS.com/towing or call 800-888-4869.
Bird Key anchorage is found on the tongue of deep water north-northeast of Bird Key and north of marker #13.
We sail a Catalina 36 and have stayed at bird key and in the North end many times. Great anchorages.
There has been an interesting discussion underway on the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGLCA) forum about good boat storage facilities along the western coastline of the Sunshine State. The first two facilities mentioned below are located off Charlotte Harbor, south of Punta Gorda, and the third is found on Salt Creek, hard by the downtown St. Petersburg, FL waterfront, just off Tampa Bay!
Try All American Storage in Charlotte harbor. DIY ok and very safe in a
Link to there website
Plus another great place next to All American is Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage…we have been there the past 3 summers. And you can live aboard your boat there while working on it……Has nice showers , kitchen, and a large community room… Our 38 ft. costs about $243/month….
Jeff & Dorene DeVine
Try looking at Salt Creek Marine Center [in St. Petersburg, Fl, off Tampa Bay). They have storage and are one of the few yards around this area that allow DIY. Call 727-895-4481 and ask for Anna.
We are very pleased to help bring to the attention of the cruising community the fall and winter, 2012 special and promotions from SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Twin Dolphin Marina. This fine facility sits perches on the southern shores of Mantee River, just short of the Highway 41 Business bridge. We suggest that cruisers in the Tampa Bay region take full advantage of these special deals!
To whom it may concern,
Please take note of our Marina Specials and Promotions. We would greatly appreciate your support to help us promote these great deals!
Twin Dolphin Marina
1000 1st Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34205
§ NEW Marina Specials/Promotions
o Slips starting at $9/foot
o Slips starting at $199/month (for a limited time, subject to availability)
o 1st Month FREE with NEW signed annual contract for a limited time only
o Get-Away-Package: Stay for 2 nights at Twin Dolphin Marina and receive a $20 gift card to Pier 22 Restaurant, A FREE bag of ice daily, and 50% of admission to South Florida Museum
From: “First Matey”
Subject: Isaac Preparations and Riding Out of Storm
We were tenants at Riviera Dunes Marina, Palmetto, FL, during the approach and passing of T/S Isaac. This marina has a reputation for being a great place to be during a storm because of its location five miles up the Manatee River off Tampa Bay (thus tidal surges have a lot of space to fill before getting too drastic etc.), but being there during this one was most revealing. Doc Craig, the marina manager, had his crew use lines that the marina owns, (three strand nylon with sizes for each size vessel) actually double line every vessel in the marina. See photo that shows owners lines and the white marina lines…
The marina staff started several days before the storms forecasted arrival in accordance with marina storm preparation “SOP”. Several captains volunteered to help to make sure that all vessels were properly fendered, tied, and prepared for the storm. I have never seen this in my years of cruising, although it is such a great thing to offer, I am sure it exists in some other places. I understand this marina has a special offer to insure a slip during a storm for any captains who may want to insure a spot for the ultimate protection of this 360 protected marina harbor.
As you know, Bradenton – Palmetto, did not get much of the storm effects. Actually the wind is blowing more today, Tuesday, August 28th than it did during the day the storm was to pass. None the less, no damage, no nicks, in fact all is well and in place.
Our prayers are with everyone who remains in the path of Isaac and hopefully all will fair without harm.
We are in love with this area up the Manatee. Palmetto is a slice of old Florida and Bradenton has all that one could want with a beautiful river walk park. It is just nice. And we actually enjoyed riding out Isaac here with the fine folks who run Riviera Dunes, especially their Dockmaster and marina manager, Doc Craig and his lovely wife Linda.
Our prayers are with everyone who remains in the path of Isaac and hopefully all will fair without harm.
Thanks for all you do Claiborne in getting good info out to all.
Our sincere thanks to Skipper Sue and Capt. Warren for these recommendations. As I’ve often said, tips by fellow cruisers pointed towards talented and fair service professionals are worth several times their weight in gold!
I was cruising out of Bradenton, Fl recently and needed some quick air conditioning repairs and diesel engine repairs. As a result of some local recommendations and my own personal experience, I want to share and highly recommend these two resources.
For my engine repairs, I learned of a young man named Jon Lynch who runs Florida Marine Power. I called Mr. Lynch and he responded quickly. The work took some time and Mr. Lynch stayed on board with us until 9:45PM until the work was completed and tested for satisfaction. His rates are fair also. What a fine young man. The point I want to make and let other cruisers know, is that I have never met such an honest and talented diesel technician. This skipper would like to highly recommend Florida Marine Power and Mr. Jon Lynch, telephone 941-545-8250. You will not be disappointed.
Our air conditioning system repairs were met with equal responsiveness. We were told of “Brad’s Marine Air Conditioning” and a Mr. Brad Coats. Mr. Coats worked us into his schedule quickly, even though it meant coming by in the evening. He worked diligently and saved us a lot of money by repairing the compressor, rather than just selling us a new unit. I heard several skippers tell of how Brad had helped others saving money and keeping the crew cool and happy. Brad is located in St. Petersburg and covers down to Sarasota if necessary. His tele: 727-492-2622
We’ve worked with a number of marine technicians, but these two are definitely stand outs !!
I also have had wonderful service from Jon Lynch, who specializes in diesel engines, as well as general maintenance. He also works with a very talented electric tech – Eric Stammer, who can be reached via Jon Lynch.
I would also highly recommend Patrick Halbert of Accelerated Yacht Services, Phone: (727) 656-0250
Patrick’s a whiz at everything boats — from master woodworking to diesel repairs & repowering, and all categories in between. Also, reasonable, competitive rates.
For Patrick’s bio, check out
Captain Paul Warren
Twin Dolphin Marina’s twin breakwater protected dockage basins are found along the Bradenton, FL waterfront section of the Manatee River, just west of the Highway 41 Business Bridge. There are multiple dining opportunities and the South Florida Museum and Aquarium, all within walking distance. And, let’s not forget, this fine facility is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
We visited Twin Dolphins in April 2012. Stayed for three nights. Wonderful place, friendly and very helpful staff. The pool and grills were great! The staff brings the pump-out hose right to your boat while at your slip. Definitely will return in the future.
The Renaissance Vinoy Resort Marina is found in the northernmost of the three downtown St. Petersburg dockage basins, hard by the vibrant downtown St. Petersburg dining and shopping district. I have always been VERY IMPRESSED with this facility and am pleased to hear that Captain Block had such a good experience here.
Of course, cruisers should also consider the adjacent St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, and, quite simply, one of the largest and best managed city owned and operated marinas it has been my pleasure to review in my 30+ years as a cruising guide author!
We’ve bareboat chartered sailboats in BVI, PNW, and other areas in the Gulf. All the charters were fine but none of the charter companies come close to the quality, service, and value provided by Sailing Florida Charters. The charter company crew was led by Site Manager Patrick H. The entire crew was great but Patrick was totally amazing. He was completely determined to make our charter and sailing experience a delight and he succeeded.
We had planned to visit other anchorages and marinas in the Tampa Bay area but when we became aware of the great service and facilities at St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Marina we couldn’t resist just returning there at the end of the day. Very nice dock area and right across the street from the Renaissance Vinoy Resort. Each day we left the Mediterranean-style docking (backing into the wind) to Patrick and his crew.
We spent only one night on the boat. The Resort was too enticing and we ended up spending the other nights of the charter there. Very nice – and we were given a room upgrade and a bottle of champagne when they learned we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. We also became well acquainted with the nearby 400 Beach Seafood and Tap restaurant and strongly recommend their seafood salad.
Thanks to Patrick, his crew, and others in St. Petersburg, FL for a great vacation. The only downside is that now we’re really spoiled.
We’ll be back!
We stayed at the Vinoy Marina for most of the Memorial weekend this year. Very pleasant experience. Easy in-out to channel. Harbormaster Wes is wonderful. My bride doesn’t care much for advanced line handling, we rig the finger pier side bow and stern lines, she hands them off to Wes, tosses him line for the springs, and goes below to freshen up. He does the rest. If momma is happy – everybody is happy. Transient dock is not long, so it’s an easy walk to sea wall and street. Entry and exit is secure, there is a day head at the entry, very thoughtful. Full bathhouse amenities across the street in the Vinoy adjacent to their spa. All Vinoy dining venues are excellent. Great dining also at 400 Beach, Moon Under the Water, and Parkshore just a block away. Bayfront St. Pete is not to be missed. Lots of green park space. Very pet friendly; our dog was given a bowl of water before we were asked what we wanted to drink. Oh, I know it is bumpy when the wind is out of the East (it was while we were there). People who don’t like a little rolling should buy motorhomes. The Vinoy is beautiful. Great Italian illy coffee is available at 6:00AM in the convenience area off the lobby. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
Captain Sara contacted me and asked if the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net would be interested in publishing a list of on-the-water, cruising craft accessible restaurants in SW Florida. I may have gotten a bad case of whip-lash from saying “YES!!!!” soooo quickly.
Anyway, check out Sara’s message below, and PLEASE send her info directly if you can.
Once their June cruise is complete, we will publish Sara’s dining directory here so it can be a lasting tool for the cruising community!!!
In advance of my bareboat charter out of St. Pete down to the Keys in June, I’m compiling a list of restaurants that offer tie-ups to boaters. I will be collecting lat/long, depth, dockage description, dining experience and any other relevant data for each restaurant. This information will then be made freely available to the boating community. If you have info to share that would make the resource more useful to all, please contact me via email at:
saraburns2000 AT yahoo DOT com
If all goes well, I believe I might have found another interesting and productive hobby! Thanks!
Facilitator, The Work of Byron Katie
Transforming Education in America
We are currently running the following specials:
I. 3 month lease for the annual rate of $10/ft
II. Month-to-month @ $12/ft. (vs $16)
III. Annual lease gets you the 13th month free
We now also have 4 dedicated slips for small boats (up to 26’) for $219/mo. or a 3 mo. lease that includes the fuel discount for tenants. All 3 month deals end after 3 months; no renewals. Special Hurricane Safe Harbor Storm Reservation Program