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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers

Archive For: WEST FL – All Cruising News

  • Thoughts on Tides and Cruising the Western Florida Coastline

    Captain Pickelmann’s message below is copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list, and is answer to a query about whether there might be any limitations inherent in cruising this coastline aboard a vessel drawing 6 feet. I agree with every sentiment express in Randy’s message below. There is no better cruising than, for instance, the Pine Island region of Western Florida, BUT trying to do this in a 6-foot draft vessel would be, to say the least, challenging!

    There is a nearly unlimited supply of great cruising on Florida’s Left Coast. In fact, it took us twenty years to finally make it to Key West by boat. We kept getting sidetracked by good cruising along the way – finding new places and revisiting old favorites. But, let there be no doubt, the west coast of Florida is shallow. We used to cruise with a 5′ draft sailboat and it never kept us out of anyplace we wanted to go, although we did have to wait for the tide from time to time. And, in the interest of full disclosure, once or twice we had to sleep on an angle while waiting for that tide. Clearly, a six foot draft will be a challenge from time to time, but I wouldn’t let that discourage you. There are several excellent cruising guides available.
    Randy Pickelmann
    Morning Star

    And, here are some more really useful thoughts on cruising the Western Florida coastline from fellow cruisers Captains Peg and Jim Healy. I might add that ALL the anchorages, and more, which were listed in the old BAIL “Guide to Anchorages in Southwest Florida, are listed and described in the Cruisers’ Net’s “Western Florida Anchorage Directory (

    You probably already know, generally, there is only one high tide on the gulf per day, and it happens in the afternoon. That’s important to understand about the West Coast of Florida.
    With your boat, you may well have troubles on the “old” ICW south of Naples, but that shouldn’t bother your trip plan. From Key West, you can run to the Little Shark River for a very nice and very remote anchorage in a Mangrove Swamp. No cell phone, no wi-fi! No place to land pets! Nevertheless, a great place!
    From the Little Shark, run up to Panther Key and turn right, to Everglades City. The only part of the Baron River that you have to think about is the mile or so immediately at EC. Do that at or past the daily flat tide at late morning. If we transit the EC channel in early morning, at low water, we touch at 4′ in the marked channel. All that said, EC is a superb stop. Stay at the Sportsman’s Club (cash or check only; no credit cards) for ambiance, or the marina 1/2 mile above the Sportsman’s Club. There is a swift current in the Baron, but it will not affect you. It doesn’t bother us.
    When we run North from EC, we come in at Coon Key Pass and proceed inside through Goodland into Marco. From Marco, we run inside to the inlet just south of Naples, where you have to go out. There are parts of both of those legs that could/would be problematic for a 6′ draft boat. You could make it at high tide – maybe – but it’s a long enuf distance with enuf small boats that the tide might not carry for all the time you need. But, you can get into Marco via the gulf inlet there, no problem. Same with Naples, so you can enjoy the towns. Just run offshore. Be careful to run far enough out around the Cape Romano shoals.
    From Naples to Ft. Myers Beach, you have to run offshore. No problem getting into Ft. Myers Beach.
    From Ft. Myers Beach to the G-ICW north to Clearwater, you’ll have no depth problems. At the Sanibel Causeway, follow either the “A” Draw or the “C” Draw to pick up the G-ICW. Depths are fine in both. The “C” Draw (West end) has a 26′ MHW fixed bridge. If you can’t make that, the “A” Draw has a 65′ bridge. Pine Island Sound carries at least 10′ all the way north to Charlotte Harbor. Charlotte Harbor is correctly charted, and deep for western Florida standards. Come see us at Fisherman’s Village in Punta Gorda.
    No problems on the G-ICW from Charlotte Harbor to Tampa; some less-than-friendly bridges. That’s just life. Watch the channels across Tampa Bay. Some of the
    Bay is real shallow, but the channels are OK.
    Before you leave, and if you can find it, get a book called: “A Guide to Anchorages in SouthWest Florida,” Second Edition, published by BAIL (I forget what the initials stand for; some group; maybe “Boaters Action Information League”). Somewhat dated, but nevertheless, some very good information if you like to anchor.
    Hope this helps.
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

    “You probably already know, generally, there is only one high tide on the gulf per day, and it happens in the afternoon. That’s important to understand about the West Coast of Florida.”
    I don’t understand that statement. Here’s a link to tides in Lemon Bay, Englewood, part of the GICW, there clearly are two tidal patterns on some but not all days, and no time of day that shows consistently high tides.
    What am I missing?
    Bob Kunath
    Sans Souci

    Your query is quite fair. I realized when I added that point in my previous note that a closer inspection of the phenomena by a curious mind might evoke this question. You’re it! I don’t know the celestial mechanics or planetary hydrodynamic reasons for this behavior, but celestial mechanics and the hydrodynamics of gulf tides was a sidenote to the point of the original topic. That said, here’s what little I can add… but I think we’ll agree that the following would have unnecessarily burdened the point of my original post…
    On the Atlantic Coast, the tides precess, with the 28-day lunar cycle, by around 42 minutes a day. The tidal highs and lows at any given location occur at different times each day. Through whatever magic of planetary mechanics, that isn’t the pattern I’ve actually observed in the gulf in SW Florida.
    For neaps, the daily tide cycle in Charlotte Harbor – and Florida’s West Coast generally – starts low in the morning, 05h30 to 06h00, rises to a plateau by late forenoon, and then rises to the daily high water level in late afternoon. The daytime pattern looks a bit like a stair step, with a prolonged flat “slack” period bracketing midday. (I haven’t paid much attention to the overnight pattern, and I can’t accurately describe that. Will look at it this season.) The duration of this midday flat changes slightly with the moon’s position in it’s cycle.
    For springs, the stair step slack period is less apparent; i.e., shorter. At new and full moon, there are, indeed, two discernible peaks in the daily pattern. The daily low is still in the early morning, 05h30 to 06h00. There is a smaller peak in the late forenoon, a slight fall/reversal, and then a significantly larger peak in the late afternoon. This is more similar to the typical Atlantic Coastal pattern, except that the afternoon peak is always higher than the morning peak. In the transitions from spring-to-neap and neap-to-spring, the wave form of the
    midday flat/low peak morphs gradually into it’s terminal wave shape.
    As I said, I’m not an expert on why this happens or why it’s different from the
    Atlantic tidal patterns. It’s just what I’ve observed in the winter months, so it may be different in the summer. And I also don’t personally know if this phenomenon is gulf-wide or just local to SW Florida. It is the recurring experience I’ve observed through our 6 “seasons” in the area.
    So now, if I relate the above observations into the practicum of day-to-day cruising in SW Florida, I logically leap to the statement that: “…there is only one high tide on the gulf per day, and it happens in the afternoon.” Therein is the pearl!
    In SW Florida, water will be consistently deeper in the afternoon than any other part of the cruising day. Since the water in the region is very shallow anyway, even the moderate daily tide cycle can be of help, for some deeper draft boats, in transiting some areas, such as that old ICW channel from Coon Key Pass thru Goodland and up through Marco to Naples. But even in the afternoon, I wouldn’t encourage that passage for a 6′ or greater draft boat.
    And there is a corollary, too: any boat that anchors in that area – say, at the Rookery, just north of Marco – in 6′ of water at 17h00, may find itself on the muddy bottom in the overnight. Please, though, don’t ask (at least publicly) how I came to know that! I’d prefer not to have to admit that I did it!
    Anyway, I hope you find this useful.
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

    Gosh Jim, I’ve lived and boated much of my life in Clearwater and we usually have two highs and two lows each day. Of course the tide only rises or falls about three feet on a big day, oftentimes only a foot or so, so some of the tidal changes are very subtle.
    Randy Pickelmann
    Morning Star

  • GREAT Article About Florida Anchorage Regulations and Mooring Fields

    By special permission from the author, Captain Bill Bishop, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is proud to present, “The Mourning Field,” one of the wittiest, wry-est (is that a word) articles ever written concerning Florida anchorage regulations and mooring fields. IF YOU HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST INTEREST IN EVER DROPPING YOUR HOOK IN SUNSHINE STATE WATERS, or just want to read very well written prose, follow the link below. YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY!!!

    Click Here To Read Captain Bill Bishop’s Article, “The Mourning Field”

  • Southwest Florida Yachts Has A New “Boating Dog!”

    Southwest Florida YachtsI will dearly miss “Star, who I met and played with many times over the years.” What a great pooch, BUT hats off to Barb and Vic Hansen for rescuing “Skye!” Both I and the “first-rate, first-mate,” Karen Ann, have been the proud parents of a (now) ten year old Labrador Retriever, named “Sonny” for four years. I risk no inaccuracy when I tell one and all that you will never know a truer form of love than what comes your way from a rescued animal. They will give you back ten fold whatever you give them. So, please remember that when it comes time to select your next four legged companion.
    For the moment, though, a hearty WELCOME to Skye, and many thanks to Barb and Vic at SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Southwest Florida Yachts for sharing news of their new friend!

    Call me Skye the Boating Dog
    By Skye Hansen
    October 2011

    My name is Skye. I’m the new Border Collie around here. My assignment is to be the office dog and security dog for the Southwest Florida Yachts charter fleet. I also serve as the personal house pet and boat dog for my new parents, Barb and Vic Hansen.
    Barb, my new mom, asked me to write this month’s column so I could tell you my story.
    I’m not a puppy. I’m already five and a half. The Hansens adopted me just a few months ago after their beloved Star passed away at the age of 16. They were very sad. One day Aunt Theresa at the animal clinic called them and told them she had a dog – that was me – who needed a home and some attention. They decided to give me a try.
    Of course, I had to be on my best behavior because I knew right away that this would be a special place. First of all, I would not have to work 24/7 and sleep outside in the yard like with my first assignment. Before I was given up for adoption, my first parents kept me outdoors all the time. Today I have my own bed inside an air-conditioned house.
    Right off the bat I learned it would not be a good idea to bother the house kittens or chew on the sofa. No big deal. Mom gives me really good food and lots of yummy treats. I’m pretty sure I’ve passed the probationary period.
    I’ve come to understand that I’ve got four big feet to fill. Star the wonder dog was Barb and Vic’s heart and joy. She was a Border Collie, too, which endowed her with exceptional skills.
    Mom told me that Star was the official greeter at Southwest Florida Yachts. Her job was to welcome all, smile, and to lie down and be quiet when they had visitors. I hear ya, Mom.
    They took me to Marinatown where the fleet boats are headquartered. Mom told me Star was very good at patrolling the docks at the marina, providing security of a sort and shooing away birds from the boats. Heck, I can do that. When I was at the pound I overheard somebody say that that the local airport was spending $5,000 to train a border collie like me to chase birds off the runway. For free dog food and medical care I can shoo birds from boats. It’s in my DNA.
    Please understand I have nothing against birds. It’s only that they need to know that there is a place for everything and a boat isn’t one of them. I went on a short weekend cruise with Mom and Dad recently and, oh boy, did I learn that lesson.
    I haven’t been on any extended cruises but I’m really looking forward to them. They told me Star liked to pace around the boat and when a dolphin surfaced she’d give a shout out to the passengers to let them know the show had started. Mom told me the more Star ran around the deck barking at the dolphins, the more they would perform. I could do that.
    I’m good to go. I could even write a guest column now and then.
    Just call me Skye the Boating Dog.

  • Southwest Florida Yachts Announces 30’th Anniversary Specials

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

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

  • “Wave Attenuators” Being Added to Bird Sanctuary South of Alafia River Channel (Tampa Bay – Hillsborough Bay)

    Sounds like it might be a good idea to enter and exit the Alafia River channel at no-wake speed until this project is complete.

    Audubon of Florida will be installing concrete Wave Attenuation Devices on the shoreline of Alafia Bank Bird Sanctuary’s western island, south of the Alafia River Entrance Channel. This installation will commence on Monday September 26, 2011 and is expected to occur daily from 7 A.M. to 5 P.M. until approximately October 2, 2011. On scene equipment will consist of two barges and a small tugboat. Mariners are to exercise extreme caution when transiting the area so as not to disrupt the construction process and contact the work crews on VHF Channel 68 or at (813) 727-5476 for further details. Chart 11416

  • Listing of Western Florida Dinghy Accessible Grocery Stores

    The Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net sincerely thanks Captain Mary Dixon for bringing her very useful list of dinghy accessible grocery stores along the Western Florida coastline, to our attention. Of course, we also list “Provision Possibilities” in all our marina directories as well.

    I created a blog for SW FL of grocery stores that you can dinghy to since that is where we cruise most of time.
    Mary Dixon

    I sent this e-mail to Mary with some additional locations:

    Great blog, should be of great help to cruisers. We also cruise the west coast (and the east coast and Keys). We are full-time cruisers on a 27 foot sailboat, almost 6 years now. We have used every one of the supermarkets you list. :-)
    There are a few more you might want to add. You can use Google maps to find these:

    Belair Bluffs (Clearwater area): anchor off the boat ramp, dinghy to ramp. Walk 0.6 miles up the hill to Publix

    Treasure Island: go in towards Blind Pass from ICW and then north into the canal across from Blind Pass Marina (stay close to port shore for deep water) and you can anchor and dinghy to Publix (YES, Publix has their own dock!) Nice, very protected anchorages up in here! You can anchor in the last most northerly cove for a totally enclosed storm anchorage.

    Lemon Bay/Englewood: anchor in 6 feet south of the park and north of Tom Adams Bridge. You leave the ICW and go east towards shore midway between markers 25 and 26. Dinghy to park on east shore north of anchorage. A one mile walk to a Publix.

    And, of course, in Factory Bay on Marco Island you can pay $5 and use the marina dinghy dock and walk less than a mile to Publix and West Marine. This year we finally went into Smokehouse Bay which was very convenient and very nice!
    Hope that is useful info.
    Larry Sherman
    s/v Enchantress

  • 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

    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.
    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

  • Good Report on River Haven Marina (Western Florida Big Bend Region, Steinhatchee River)

    River Haven Marina is the most upstream facility catering to cruising size craft on the Big Bend’s Steinhatchee River.

    We had a very pleasant experience at River Haven Marina Sept.12,2011. We were running late and called and told them we would probably not get there by their 1800 closing and to please give us our slip assignment. They said not to worry they would stay until we got there. As it turned out were were only minutes late but appreciated their kind attention. We actually stayed an extra night and enjoy a dink ride up the river,secure in the advice they gave us about the rocks ahead.
    They also offered to pick up a prescription for us at a pharmacy 20mi away. River Haven will go 20 times the extra mile for their customers.
    Dolores Reinecke

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of River Haven Marina

  • Legacy Harbour Marina (Caloosahatchee River – Fort Myers Waterfront)

    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.Legacy Harbour Marina is one of two side by side SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS, on the downtown Fort Myers waterfront, the other being the City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin. Clearly, Legacy Harbour has a LOT going for it, and all the many Fort Myers downtown attractions and dining are within easy walking distance!

    My wife and I enjoyed our stay, last winter, at the Municipal Marina, however, we’re looking forward to staying at Legacy Harbor Marina this winter. We’ve visited (walking) their facility on several occasions and are very impressed. Not only are their facilities impressive, the staff was extremely pleasant and down-to-earth. Looking forward to staying there this winter!

    Your recent posting about Legacy Marina in Ft. Myers is absolutely true. It is a great place to stay.
    All docks are floating and in excellent shape. The staff is most accommodating and available.
    The ability to walk to nearby downtown facilities is also very good. A very fine Oriental restaurant exists just southeast of the marina, within a few blocks walking distance. This marina is a “must” when transiting the Ft. Myers area.
    Capt. Ken Wright
    North Palm Beach, FL

    December 2010 and January 2011 we spent at Legacy and loved every day of it. The staff is knowledgeable, very helpful and an asset to the marina. The Edison-Ford Museum is just down the street and is a must-see. We could easily spend 5-6 hours there. Ft. Myers downtown has been revitalized and is also a short walk. We look forward to our next visit to Legacy Harbour Marina.
    Laura Bender

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Legacy Harbour Marina

  • A Good Visit to Sea Hag Marina (Western Florida Big Bend Region – Steinhatchee River)

    We have long held the opinion that Sea Hag Marina is the most cruiser friendly facility in Florida’s Big Bend region. Looks like Captain Dye agrees!

    Cruising News:
    I had a great experience at Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee, Florida. I was helping the new owner of a 1982 Egg Harbor move his new purchase from Punta Gorda to Destin. Because of weather and maintenance issues, we decided to go into Steinhatchee. The marina isn’t a regular stop for transient cruisers, but Sea Hag was easy to get into and they welcomed us. We explained the maintenance
    issues and they said, “No problem.” Thorough, professional, clean and technically competent, they did an amazing job! Charlie Norwood is the owner and ever-present. His professional and friendly personality permeates the entire organization. Sea Hag is one of those pleasant finds while cruising.
    Jake Dye

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Sea Hag Marina

  • Hernandon Beach Channels To Be Dredged (Western Florida Big Bend Region)

    Hernando Beach is a small community with a little used (by visitors anyway) channel, which lies north of Western Florida’s Anclote Key, and south of Homosassa River. I sounded these channels some years ago, and found them so shoally, that I have never recommended them to visiting cruisers. So, the dredging reported below in the Local Notice to Mariners, could hardly be bestowed on waters that need such a project more.

    B.C. Peabody Construction Services dredging operations ongoing through January 1, 2012 in the Hernando Beach Channel, Hernando Beach, Florida. The mechanical Dredges “800” (orange 800 Hitachi excavator) and “400” (yellow 400 Komatsu excavator) will conduct operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will monitor channel VHF 68. Hydraulic Dredge and all associated pipeline has been removed from the channel. Associated workboats are material barges, push boats skiffs and a secondary barge with smaller yellow excavator “200”. Barges will continue to be spudded down in the channel and material barges will be constantly moving material. All watercraft will be lighted and clearly marked. Hernando County Parks & Recreation is working closely with B.C. Peabody. For further information please contact the Project Manager, Mr. Wayne Konga, 941-545-6188. Chart 11409

  • Punta Gorda Mooring Field Ready For Business (Charlotte Harbor – Peace River)

    During the morning of 9/1/11, we heard from Captain Jay Buckley, Chairman of the Punta Gorda Waterfront Development Advisory Commission. Captain Jay gave us excellent details about a mooring field recently established by the city of Punta Gorda, on the western mouth of the Peace River, a short hop east of the Highway 41 Bridge, and the charted overhead power cable.
    This field consists of 32 balls, and is administered by nearby Laishely Park Municipal Marina. Call 941-575-0142 for information and to reserve a mooring.
    One caveat to this field is that your vessel must be able to clear the fixed 45-foot Highway 41 bridges to access the moorings. Taller sailcraft are out of luck!
    Mariners moored in the field can make use of dinghy dockage at Laishley Park Municipal Marina. A host of shoreside businesses, including quite a collection of restaurants, are in easy walking distance of this facility. Ask the friendly staff at Laishleys for recommendations.
    So, now there is another wet storage opportunity available to facilitate a visit to charming Punta Gorda. See you there!

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The Punta Gorda Mooring Field

    All enjoyed Punta Gorda and their Marina, hope it is a success for all and other towns and |cities pay attention to how to bring in business.
    Dennis McMurtry

    It is too bad that the mooring field is east of a 45′ bridge. I think there is a dock to dinghy up to and there are few places within walking distance.
    Since my mast is 60′ I usually anchor west of the bridge off Fisherman’s Villiage where there are many restaurants and shops. If you are not going to spend the night you can tie up along side the shops and restaurants. The marina usually has slips also.
    I hope the field does well but there is more to see and do at Fisherman’s Village.
    Jerry & Linda Villines

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

  • Hazard to Navigation, Hernanco Beach Channel

    The waters west of Hernanco Beach are extremely shallow and Hernanco Beach Channel leads westward to depths of less than 3 feet. The daybeacons mentioned below do not show on Chart 11409. Dredging is in progress in this area until September 2, 2011

    The Coast Guard received a report of a sunken 25ft S/V with 2 masts showing above the waterline in approximate position 28-29.9N 082-40.1W in the channel between Hernando Beach Channel DBN 64 (LLNR 27770) and Hernando Beach Channel DBN 66 (LLNR 27780). [Ref: STP BNM 877-11] Chart 11409

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Hernanco Beach Channel

  • Captain Charmine Comments on Reaction to Her Latest Florida Anchoring Rights Article

    Captain Charmaine’s message below is actually a reaction to multiple comments received in response to her latest article concerning developments vis-a-via the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program in the Florida Keys (see However, I knew this article would get more visibility published as a fresh posting. so here it is.
    If you are at all interested in the question of Florida anchoring rights, PLEASE read Captain Charmaine’s thoughts below. They are worthy of every cruisers’ time and attention!

    Thank you all for your comments. Public outrage is exactly what is needed to stop this gross manipulation of the law by a few at the total dismissal of the expressed wants of the majority. It is even more stomach turning when one realizes the “chosen” sites for the Pilot Program are mostly comprised of the same cities that have been caught red-handed enacting and enforcing illegal anchoring ordinances. They lost in court, yet they continue to flex their muscles once again by creating a ploy to go around existing law.
    Law enforcement is caught in the middle of a political game and are being used to do the bidding of a few powerful people. The Pilot Program is a tool being used to dictate to law enforcement how to enforce the otherwise unenforceable. The politicians who backed the Pilot Program will distance themselves and run for cover once the general public grasps the enormity of the Pilot Program’s hidden agenda and total disregard for the protection of boats in navigation under the law. FL Statute 327.60(2) was written to shut the door on their attempts–the Pilot Program does not have to adhere to that Statute. Does it make it right to concoct an instrument that circumvents existing law? The Right of Navigation includes anchoring.
    Those who want to own the land and the water shall not succeed if we stand together to expose their greed and arrogance. Safety at sea is priority one. It should also be the FWC’s number one priority. Where it is permissible to anchor and for what length of time should not be a concern for any captain whose thoughts should be concentrated on safety first and foremost. This is a recipe for disaster. A captain may, in his or her haste to avoid an anchoring violation, leave an area under pressure when it otherwise would be prudent to stay. It is obvious that landlubbers who know nothing of why the Right of Navigation is imperative to safety, are the driving force behind the Pilot Program and its open door to enacting anchoring time limit ordinances.
    Please write the FWC and send a copy of it to Boat US. Allow your objections to be on the record. It doesn’t matter where you live, as the waters of Florida are held in the Public Trust for all. There is power in numbers and we need to speak up. Tell others about this injustice. Our servicemen and servicewomen fight for the freedoms of others abroad, yet we are still fighting to retain freedoms among ourselves right here in America. That is a very sad state of affairs.
    Tim’s comment made me recall this quote:

    “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

    Again, many thanks!

  • Grounded 27-Foot Sailing Vessel Reported on Caloosahatchee River, North of Fourmile Point (near OKW St. M. 137)

    We have plotted the position of the grounded sailcraft reported in the Local Notice to Mariners extract below, and it lies fairly close to the Caloosahatchee River’s western shoreline, north of Paradise Yacht Club. Considering its position, this derelict will probably affect most cruising craft, absent a rather gross navigational error. Nevertheless, all navigators operating on the waters of the Caloosahatchee River near Paradise Yacht Club, should take extra caution.

    There is an aground 27FT white sailing vessel anchored and lit in the Caloosahatchee River in approximate position 26-37.8N 081-54.7W. All
    mariners are advised to use caution when transiting the area. Chart 11427

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the General Location of the Grounded Vessel Reported Above

  • 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
    Fred Sorensen

    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

  • Florida Anchoring Regulations – The FEDERAL Dimension

    Most of us who have been involved in the Florida anchoring rights issue for more than a few years, know there is a Federal dimension to this issue. And, that issue is, many would argue, ONLY the Federal government, NOT states, counties or municipalities, can regulate “navigation,” AND anchoring is very much a part of “navigation.”
    In fact, several years ago, a fellow cruiser sued the city of Stuart, Florida in Federal Admiralty Court for prohibiting him/her from anchoring. Not only did the cruiser win the court case in question, but the city of Stuart had to pay all the cruisers’ attorney fees, and pay a sum of money for damages.
    So, while many of us have fought the fight for Florida anchoring rights on the state level, most of us have known there is a “fall back” line of defense by way of the Admiralty Courts. Captain Robert Driscoll lays out a good case below for the notion that only the Federal government can indeed regulate anchorage.
    This is very interesting input indeed! If there are any maritime lawyers out there reading this missive, PLEASE give us your input as well by clicking the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below!

    With the understanding that an informed public, in this case the boating public, is the best way to ensure the navigational freedom that we enjoy the follwoing is submitted.
    Anchoring is an act of navigation, navigation is under the jurisdiction of Admiralty Courts. Admiralty Courts exist only at the federal level.
    The laws of the United States are superior to state laws and state laws in conflict must yield. Likewise the Federal Court rulings are supreme.
    With the foregoing in mind consider the following rulings and laws which exist at the National Level, all of which are superior to any state legislation:

    U. S. Constitution, Article III, Sec 2.1
    “The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States, … (and) to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction …”

    U.S. Supreme Court, Butler v. Boston Steamship Co. 130 US 557, 141 US 1, Detroit Trust Co. v. The Thomas Baslum 293 US 21, 42
    “As the constitution extends the judicial power of the United States to ‘all admiralty and maritime jurisdiction,’ and as this jurisdiction is held to be exclusive, the power of legislation on the same subject must necessarily be in the national legislature and not in the state legislatures.”

    U.S. Supreme Court, Knickerbocker Ice Co. v. Stewart 253 US 149, 164
    “Congress cannot transfer its legislative power to the states, … by nature this in nondelegable.”

    U.S. Supreme Court, State of Washington v. Dawson 264 U.S. 219
    In responding to and overturning a lower court decision where a state was attempting to apply a local state law to all vessels which visit or navigate in the state the U.S. Supreme Court decreed: “This cause presents a situation where there was no attempt to prescribe general rules. On the contrary the manifest purpose was to permit any state to alter the maritime law, and thereby introduce conflicting requirements. To prevent this result the Constitution adopted the law of the sea as the measure of maritime rights and obligations. The confusion and difficulty if vessels were compelled to comply with the local statutes at every port, are not difficult to see. Of course, some within the states may prefer local rules, but the Union was formed with the very definite design of freeing maritime commerce from intolerable restrictions incident to such control. The subject is national. Local interests must yield to the common welfare. The Constitution is supreme.”

    U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol 30, 55th Congress, Sess 425, Sec. 10 states:
    “That the creation of any obstruction not affirmatively authorized by Congress, to the navigable capacity of any of the waters of the United States is hereby prohibited; …”

    U.S. Supreme Court, State of Wisconsin v. State of Illinois 362 US 482
    The phrase “not affirmatively by Congress” as opposed to the phrase “affirmatively authorized by law” which was used in an earlier similar law (51st Congress …) makes mere state authorization inadequate.”

    U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Republic Steel Corp. I11 362 US 482
    The diminution of navigable capacity is an obstruction to navigation. “Obstruction to navigation is not limited to structures specifically, but also includes diminution of navigable capacity by other means.” {(personal comment) The State declaring areas where anchoring is not allowed is certainly a diminution of navigational capacity.}

    U.S. Law 28 USC 1333
    Admiralty jurisdiction covers every vessel under the American Flag, whether it is on the ocean or within the boundaries of a state, no matter what size or means of propulsion, or
    whether it is documented or not.

    Federal District Court, Anderson v. Reames 161 S.W.2d 957 961
    “…’rights of navigation’ include the right to anchorage, which may be exercised for either business purposes or pleasure.”

    Federal District Court, Hayn v. Culliford 3 C.P.Eiv 417
    “’navigation’ for some purpose, includes a period when a ship is not in motion, as, for instance, when she is at anchor.”

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

    U.S. Law 33 USC 471 Chap 10
    “The Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized, empowered, and directed to define and establish anchorage grounds for vessel in all harbors, rivers, bays and other navigable waters of the United States whenever it is manifest to the said secretary that the maritime or commercial interest of the United States require such anchorage grounds for the safe navigation….” {(personal comment) when the language “authorized, empowered, and directed” is used it implies sole authority to perform the named act. The Boating Public is a definite minority and it is only by the laws which exist in this country can navigational rights be preserved.}

    I agree that it is pretty clear that Federal law should rule, but the problem is that there is absolutely no political support for this at the state and local level, and no Federal entity, particularly the Coast Guard, wants to meddle in state and local affairs either. Now, if this were some issue that had broad national political support, like gun rights, you would have state and local politicians bending over backwards. Boaters are not organized or united politically, and because of the nature of the problem they are more likely to just move along to avoid the hassle. Plus, this mostly impacts transients, who have zero local political clout. Local and state officials answer to their constituents and supporters. Sure, they could be taken to court, at great expense, effort, time, and aggravation, but who wants to deal with that? Not many of us.
    No Name Supplied

    So, who is going to front the legal costs until the courts rule in a cruiser’s favor, and who is going to eat the costs when the courts don’t?
    While some folks who cruise Florida have very deep pockets, the most aggrieved in this situation are not so fortunate.
    In the absence of a “cruising rights defense fund” or some such construct, I’m not going to be lining up for a test case. I am not willing to double down with shrinking retirement funds on the skills of a government admiralty lawyer.
    The Bahamas are a short distance away and much more welcoming on their worst days.

    Every cruiser, EVERY cruiser needs to know this. Spread this information to every boater you know, every boating forum, any way you can. Local authorities are over-stepping their boundaries with unjust and, as we now find out, illegal anchoring restrictions.
    Thank you, Claiborne
    Larry McDonald

    I am not an attorney but I used to pretend to be one at the local pubs on Saturday nights. But seriously, being involved in this issue in Florida for many years, it is my understanding that the Federal Government handed over the jurisdiction of the local Waterways to the States many years ago, with some exceptions. Those are mostly exceptions dealing with maintenance and navigational aids which are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineers. The States were given the authorization to pass laws and regulations and enforce those laws and regulations. It is then up to the individual States as to whether they would in turn allow municipalities or counties to pass and enforce further regulations. And this has been the deal breaker in trying to get these anchoring regulations overturned or thrown out in Federal Court. Now my recollections could be fuzzy, so perhaps a true expert can enlighten us.
    Chuck Baier

    The United States Supreme Court has said (see Knickerbocker v. Stewart above) that the federal government cannot, repeat cannot, delegate its legislative power to the states. In doing so it would not be the first time the Federal Legislature has passed a law that would later be found unconstitutional. Unfortunately for a law to be ruled unconstitutional it must first be presented to the court, unti it is the law remains in force.
    Robert Driscoll

    I, too remember something about the feds abdicatiog responsibility for anchoring. Maybe discovered by the woman in Daytona beach who started an organization???
    I know a couple of guys who served on the “Harbor Board here in the 80′s and 90′s I will ask them about their recollections.
    Bill Dixon

  • Thoughts on Summertime Western Florida Cruising by Captain Barb Hansen

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

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

  • Pasadena Marina Recommended (Western Florida ICW, St. M. 116.5)

    Pasadena Marina lies on the northernmost reaches of Boca Ciega Bay. This facility’s entry channel leaves the Western Florida ICW between markers #35 and #37

    We would recommend Pasadena Marina, in St. Pete. Safe secure, clean and very reasonable prices. Plus it is right across the street from the hospital, which we hope you won’t have a need to use. Our two night stay turned in to 3 weeks due to unusual circumstances, so we got to know the staff well and would stay again any time we’re in the area.

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

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

  • Aids to Navigation and Signs Being Updated on Suwannee River Entrance Channel

    Well, this work couldn’t come too soon, as there have been some aids in these waters for years that didn’t mark any channel at all. Even the main Suwannee River Channel can only be relied upon to carry 4 1/2 feet at MLW.
    Once over the entrance bar, however, the Suwannee is one of the Big Bend region’s most delightful streams, with beautiful scenery and multiple anchorage possibilities. So, if new markers can really help captains make better use of this delightful river, so much the better for the cruising community.

    FLORIDA-WEST COAST-SUWANNEE RIVER AND SALT CREEK: Repair & Replacement of Aids and Information Signs
    Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has contracted for the repair and replacement of the Aids to Navigation (ATON) and Information Signs at Salt Creek, West Pass/Alligator Pass and McGriff Channel (Wadley Pass) at the entrance to the Suwannee River and Salt Creek. This includes the replacement of the channel entrance marine aids to navigation lanterns at GPS: N 29° 14.58222 ‘ W 083° 11.78629’ (entrance to Alligator Pass Channel) and McGriff Channel (Wadley Pass) N 29° 18.57992 ‘ W 083° 12.01615’. The project started on May 18, 2011 and is expected to be completed by mid June 2011.
    Any questions, please contact FWC Captain Richard Moore or Dawn Griffin at (850) 488-5600.
    Chart 11408

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of A Portion of the Suwannee River Entrance Channel

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