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Archive For: WEST FL – All Cruising News

  • GREAT Advice About Cruising Western Florida’s Big Bend Region

    I have lost count of the number of times I’ve said this, but it bears repeating. If you get a dozen veteran cruisers together, you will get at least twenty different opinions about how best to cross Western Florida’s waterwayless “Big Bend” region. For those who have never cruised these waters, the Western Florida’s ICW’s northern terminus is at Anclote Key, while the Northern Gulf ICW does not begin its east to west trek until one reaches Dog Island and the charming village of Carrabelle.
    In between is better than a hundred miles of coastline, with a LARGE shelf of shallow water jutting for miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. These shallows are pierced at fairly regular intervals by man-made channels, leading to the Big Bend rivers such as the Crystal, the Withlacoochee, the Suwanee and the Steinhatchee. Some of these entrance passages are fairly reliable, while others are not.
    So, rather than follow the Big Bend coastline, staying several miles offshore, some mariners choose to cut the corner, and head (northbound) directly for Dog Island or Panama City.
    Whichever route you choose, there ARE challanges. Some day I must relate the story of the most disastrous yacht deliver in which I ever participated, all of which took place in the Big Bend region. But that’s another story for another day.
    For now, let’s all give a good listen to the excellent advice offered by veteran cruiser Captain Bob Duthie below. His words are well worth your time!

    I enjoyed reading this post as it sounded similar to our experience crossing the gulf. The unforecasted winds in the gulf on our trip blew up at night unlike what we were used to everywhere else where the winds tend to die down at night. On our crossing the night winds came from the north-east. There are a few things that might make a more comfortable crossing compared to the course that Muddy Waters took. We did the crossing in a 36 Grand Banks with no stabilizers. We had 4 adults aboard and changed the watch after dark every hour. The autopilot did all the steering and we planned a straight line course without any deviations.
    1. Leave from Carrabelle and go staight to Tarpon Springs which is 168 miles vs 180 miles for Appalcahcola to Clearwater. This means less time on the gulf.
    2. Stay 50 miles from shore in deep water to avoid all the crab pots that are found 20 miles from shore. Don’t follow the Big Bend.
    3. With north-east or north-west winds you will be rolling uncomfortably. Since you are 50 miles out, you can turn to the east so the winds are now on the bow/stern or one quarter. This reduces or eliminates the rolling.
    Slow down from 8 mph to 5 mph since you don’t want to get too close to shore at night and the slower speed makes it easier to take the waves. The up and down motion is much easier for people and all the stuff inside than rolling. The autopilot also can maintain a straight course.
    4. I estimated the highest wave at 8 ft when the bow platform was buried once into a wave with green water coming over and along the decks.
    5. At 5:00AM the sun came up and the wind died down. At about 10 miles off Cedar Key we changed course and headed for Tarpon Springs. The strings of crab pots were now easy to see.
    6. Overall it took us 24 hours vs a planned 18 hours and we went 25 miles further due to the change in course.

  • Sanibel Island Marina (WF ICW, Statute Mile 0)

    Here’s a very brief word from a long-time SSECN contributor about Sanibel Island Marina. This facility is located near the island’s southern tip (Point Ybel), and within walking distance of the lighthouse. I would also add to Captain Alan’s notes, don’t miss a meal at Gramma Dot’s Restaurant, on the marina grounds!

    Sanibel Island Marina is next. Walk to the lighthouse beach and collect shells. Try a cuban sandwich at East End deli.
    Alan Lloyd
    Author, Great Loop Navigation Notes
    http://www.NavigationNotes.com

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

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

  • Cabbage Key Inn and Marina (Western Florida ICW, St. M. 21.5)

    If you have not visited Cabbage Key at least once, you have missed one of the most unique cruising opportunities offered by the Western Florida coastline. The marina is just average, but the food, particularly in the evenings, is good, and you just have to see the “unique” dining room wallpaper for yourself!

    Continue the ICW to ‘Green 61’ where you find the channel to Cabbage Key restaurant. Stop for lunch or stay overnight. If overnight plan to arrive after the busy lunch period. Take a clean dollar bill to add your name to the wall.
    Alan Lloyd
    Author, Great Loop Navigation Notes
    http://www.NavigationNotes.com

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Cabbage Key Inn and Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Cabbage Key Inn and Marina

  • More on Pelican Bay Anchorages (hard by Cayo Costa Island/State Park), Western Florida ICW Statute Mile 25

    Not only is Pelican Bay one of the best series of anchorages on the western coastline of the Sunshine State, but it is also one of the most discussed. Back on 11/12/12 (we published a whole series of messages about this overnight haven, and its adjacent Florida State Park – see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=102473).
    But, as I’ve often said, there’s no such thing as too much information when you are on the water, so there are two more observations concerning this anchorage copied from the AGLCA forum.

    Alan is absolutely correct about Pelican Bay; it’s one of the premier anchorages you will find anywhere. However, “local knowledge” is important getting in there. Neither the approach to the bay, nor its entrance channel, are marked. So, ass/u/ming you are southbound on the G-ICW, turn west at a point south of G “75,” and about 200′ north of R “74.” Note that just off the shoreline, there is a Florida Speed Sign visible. Head toward that sign. Just before you reach the sign, turn SW and follow the line of the beach on Cayo Costa Island there, holding your course parallel to the beach and holding the shore close by to stbd at 50′ – 75′. Yes, a boat length or slightly more off the beach line. That “channel” carries 9′ of water, but it shoals very rapidly to the south, to 3′ or less. Many, many unwary boats go aground there. When you have passed by the beach, you will
    see the Cayo Costa State Park docks at your 11 o’clock, at a distance of about 1/2 to 3/4 miles. Aim at those docks, and set a rhumb line to them until you are past the shallowest water. There are slips there, with no services, but cruising boats generally can’t use them. Only the very outermost slips carry sufficient water depth. The dock tee heads are reserved for tour boats, of which there are several that ply those waters. Plan to anchor. The bottom is sand, and the holding is excellent.
    The gulf coast of Florida has diurnal tides; that is, one high and one low per day. Water depths are lowest in the morning and moderate to high in the mid-to-late afternoon. The tidal range at Pelican Bay is only about 2′. The rhumb line from the beach to the State Park docks will get down to 5-1/2′ at MLLW. By the time you get to the docks, you’ll see 6-1/2′ or more. There is a deep pool correctly charted on the current charts that carries 9′, which is the deepest water in the bay. Some older charts that are still widely circulated do not show that 9′ pool correctly. If you do not see that deep pool, you do not have the current charts of the basin. The basin is actually a “pass” between Cayo Costa Island to the west and Punta Blanco Island to the east. To the south from Pelican Bay, the water appears visually to be open; but, it is shoal, and not navigable by cruising draft boats. The only access back to the G-ICW from Pelican Bay is the one to the north of Punta Blanco Island, described above.
    Armed with this “local knowledge,” you will find Pelican Bay to be a delightful, well protected anchorage with a lot to see and do.
    Hope this is useful.
    Jim

    There are two really good anchorages near Boca Grande entrance to Charlotte Harbor. The second is Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa. This is one of our favorites. Many people avoid it because of the shoal at the entrance. Just hug the beach – stay 25-50 feet off the beach and you will be in 6-9 feet of water. We draw 4.5 feet and anchor here a lot. The beach and park at Cayo Costa are great and again the park is only accessible by boat.
    Marty & Jerry Richardson

    Pelican Bay is right in my backyard, and I have been there a number of times. The descriptions above are reasonable, although the details change often.
    However, the discussion about tides is not correct. The tides in this part of the world cycle from diurnal to semidiurnal twice each month. The diurnal tides are near full moon and new moon, while the semidiurnal tides are near the first and third quarters. There is also an important annual component. The lowest tides tend to be mid-day in the winter and mid-night in the summer.
    There are no simple rules that can be conveniently remembered. Even thought the average tidal range is only a couple of feet, tide tables are essential if depth is important to you.
    Gene Fuller
    Punta Gorda

    The nun has now been replaced with a post R74. We were just there 1/20/13.
    Frank Cushing

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Pelican Bay Outer Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Pelican Bay Park Service Dock Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Pelican Bay – Punta Blanca Island Anchorage

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

  • “Druggies” Using Crab Pots In the Gulf of Mexico??????

    OK, folks, everyone has to take a look at this series of messages just copied from the AGLCA forum. All I can add is that this reminds me very much of the lyrics of one of my favorite 1960’s songs:

    “It’s a strange, strong world we live in, Master Jack!”

    Memsahib was stopped by Homeland Security for a routine document check about 10 miles south of Tarpon Springs. The Coasties didn’t even come aboard — we just handed them our papers and that was it. But it was a nice day and they hung around talking about the boat and the trip. etc.
    One of my comments was that I couldn’t understand the economics of the stone crab business because on our Gulf crossing we started seeing pots 32-35 miles out of Tarpon in 50 feet of water. How could anyone afford to fish those traps? The boss security guy became very, very interested and asked if they were rows or singles (singles and pairs), whether there was evidence of any otherpot lines in the area (no), whether we saw any suspicious boats (no — just that night’s Looper Flotilla). Seems that planes are dropping drugs way out and marking them with crab pot floats so nobody thinks anything about it.
    Thanks to a rendezvous with Catmandu to dodge pots, we were exactly on the rhumb line to Buoy R4, so I was able to give them a pretty accurate description of where the pots were, but I didn’t have my tracking feature turned on, so couldn’t give them a GPS fix.
    I would strongly suggest that if any future crossers see single spots way out in deep water, that they plug in a waypoint and phone it in when you land. Also, that’s another good reason to reach Crabland well after dawn,
    since running into a black Cigarette boat full of drug fishermen wouldn’t be any more fun than snagging a pot line.
    Paul

    For what’s it worth, when we came across last week, the crab pots appeared to be in straight lines, typical of normal fishing style. When we saw a single, we sometimes had to really look for its mates but normally saw them. Also, we observed typical lobster boats working those traps. That said, everyone should stay alert to suspecious activity. Cruisers are the best eyes and ears for Homeland Security and they know it.
    Stay safe,
    Tom

    Tom’s right, what appear to be isolated pots could well be in lines so far apart that they are hard to spot. Still, I felt badly that I couldn’t give them a good fix, and hope any ohters spotting really dodgy ones will do so.
    Paul

  • A New Wrinkle in the Florida Sojouners Permit/FL Registration Discussion

    (Editor’s Note as of 1/23/13 – Two of the prinipal questions posed in the article below have been answered in a later published posting here on the SSECN. See http://cruisersnet.net/?p=106014. We are leaving this older article in place for awhile, as it contains additional information, particularly in regards to “antique” Florida boat registration).

    Recently, we published yet another discussion of the Florida Sojourners Permit here on the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=104513). As part of our introductory remarks, one of the reasons we cited for obtaining such a permit was:

    “1. If your vessel is registered in another state besides Florida, you can operate in Floridian water for up to 90 days without a problem. HOWEVER, if your vessel is Federally Documented, and NOT ALSO state registered, you MUST register it with the state of Florida, or you may be ticketed immediately upon entering Floridian waters. Or, put another way, Federally Documented vessels MUST ALSO be state registered (either with Florida or another state), or you face the possibility of a ticket.
    By the way, it’s this onerous feature of Florida state law that used to allow the “Venice Water Nazi” to ticket boats coming and going in the city of Venice.”

    Well, a new wrinkle has surfaced since we published this report, which originally appeared on the SailBoatOwners.com forum. One of this list’s enterprising members unearthed the Florida statute that controls this situation, and here it is:

    328.58 Reciprocity of nonresident or alien vessels.—The owner of any vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which has been awarded by:
    (1) Another state pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state;
    (2) The United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system; or
    (3) The United States Coast Guard for a federally documented vessel with a valid registration in full force and effect from another state,
    shall record the number with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles prior to operating, using, or storing the vessel on the waters of this state in excess of the 90-day reciprocity period provided for in this chapter. Such recordation shall be pursuant to the procedure required for the award of an original registration number, except that no additional or substitute registration number shall be issued if the vessel owner maintains the previously awarded registration number in full force and effect.
    History.—s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 57, ch. 96-413; s. 16, ch. 99-289; s. 25, ch. 2009-86.
    Note.—Former s. 371.081; s. 327.16.

    Now, IF YOU READ THIS CAREFULLY, it would appear that if you have a Federally documented vessel, and IF your vessel’s home port is in a state that refuses to state register Federally documented vessels, your vessel is excused from the requirement of having to have some sort of state registration while navigating in Floridian waters.

    It is a fact that certain states do indeed refuse to state register Federally documented vessels. The state of Maine is an example.

    So, consider this message which first called our attention to this possible exception:

    I repeated your information about not having a state registration for a documented vessel being a ticketable offence in Florida on my blog and got shot down. You should check this post which has the cite:

    http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?t=148671&#post990299

    The specific wording is:
    328.58 Reciprocity of nonresident or alien vessels.—The owner of any vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which has been awarded by:
    (1) Another state pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state;
    (2) The United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system; or
    Italics added.

    I know this doesn’t mean that know nothing jackboots aren’t issuing tickets in ignorance of their own laws but it does mean cruisers with documented vessel have a leg to stand on if they are from a state like Maine.
    I still wouldn’t take this as absolute gospel without a lawyer. For example, Maine does have a number system for non-documented vessels and I assume it it federally approved. The state does not have registration for documented vessels other than local excise tax and a decal. I’ll bet you could spend five figures arguing this in court in FL if you decided to contest a ticket.
    It’s getting so you can’t cruise intra-state without a lawyer on retainer.
    Roger Long
    S/V Strider

    So, what does all this mean? If you have a Federally documented vessel, whose home port is located in a state that does not allow state registration of said vessel, does that indeed mean you can legally operate in Florida waters for up to 90 days WITHOUT your vessel being registered in any state???? Quite frankly, we do NOT yet have a definitive answer to that, but we are working on it!

    Any of you out there who are attorneys, particularly if you practice in Florida, we would WELCOME your input!!! Please follow the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link on the upper right of this, and all (except Chart View) SSECN pages, and share your information.

    One final point, even if this is a correct interpretation of Florida state law, that does not mean that some on-the-water “county mountie” who barely knows that the bow is the pointy end of the boat, may not write you a ticket anyway if your vessel is not state registered.

    As noted above, we’ll keep working on this thorny “only in Florida” problem!

    And, just in case you didn’t think this is a MURKY issue, we received these thoughts from fellow nautical author, and long time Florida cruiser, Captain John Kettlewell:

    Claiborne:
    Florida has always interpreted this as requiring your boat to have a “registration” in some state, whether or not it is “documented.” In 328.58 the sentence labeled (2) refers to the practice in the past that the Coast Guard provided state registration numbers and services in a couple of states that had no state registration program. I am not certain if any states still do not have a “registration” program, but it used to be this way in New Hampshire and Alaska, for example. The sentence labeled (3) is the one that pertains to most documented boats, and states clearly that even if you have CG documentation you must have a state registration to operated in Florida. The Venice “water Nazi” used to be quite explicit about these when he ticketed someone. The confusion comes because the terms “registration” and “documentation” mean different things.
    John J. Kettlewell

    Meanwhile, here is some seemingly contradictory info from Captain Ted Guy, maritime lawyer in Stuart, Florida, and past president of the Treasure Coast Marine Industries Association:

    For LESS than 90 days, no Documented vessel requires paying Florida tax or “registration”.
    W.E. Ted Guy, Jr.

    Ted, my understanding has been that law enforcement understands the law to mean even a documented vessel must have a state registration from some state to operate on Florida waters for those 90 days, even if your home state does not require you to register a documented vessel.
    John Kettlewell

    Are there any vessels that are “grandfathered” from this regulation? For instance, a documented 1965 vessel that has been in Florida since 1970 and continuously operated in Florida waters.
    sv Karen from Chicago

    Karen, there is no “grandfathering,” but if your boat is 30 years old it qualifies as an antique vessel and it is very cheap to register it in Florida–something like $5 per year in most counties. Here is a link to information on that: http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/forms/BTR/87243.pdf
    John Kettlewell

    Here is a VERY GOOD question. Anyone got an answer?

    Would someone please define “90-day period”.

    Is it 90 consecutive days?
    Is it 90 days in a calendar year (1/1 – 12/31)?
    Is it 90 days in a 365 day period?
    Is it 90 days, period.
    Jeff Graham

    Now, here’s a really GOOD idea. We’ll get right on it!

    Claiborne,
    Perhaps you, or Larry, could write on SEECN letterhead to the Florida Attorney General and ask for a legal “opinion” that applies to USCG Documented Vessels from states that do not register vessels. I know in NY an Attorney General’s “opinion” carries the force of law in any NYS court of competent jurisdiction. It would be “enlightening” to see what Pam Bondi has to say about this, and her opinion would bind courts and future administrations in the absence of intervening legislative action. The request must be rather specifically worded. Perhaps Ted Guy could help craft it.
    Whatdya think?
    Jim

    Another twist. I live in a state which requires surrender of federal documentation if you wish to register a federally documented vessel in that state. However, they did not require me to surrender mine when I registered my boat. Therefore I have a current state registration and a current federal documentation. I guess I get to pay double in Florida?!
    Reggie

    Claiborne answers – No, Reggie, I think you are OK. If your vessel is state registered in any state, then you are compliant with Florida state law, at least for stays less than 90 days! A stay of more than 90 days means you will have to acquire a Sojourners Permit!

    Reggie,
    Could it be that you’d surrender your USCG COD (a US Government Certificate of Title) if you wanted to “TITLE” it in your home state? Titling and registration are *not* the same thing, legally, although they are often done together, and some states will process them together. This is a case where boats are very different from cars, and the automobile model does *not* apply to boats. You can not “Title” a car with any US government agency, such as we do with the Coast Guard for boats. Because of a quirk in that process, I actually wound up with both a State of Maryland Certificate of Title and a USCG COD for Sanctuary.
    Jim Healy, aboard Sanctuary

    I printed out and read through the antique exception. If I understand it correctly, the vessel must first be registered in Florida, and then the registratio can be changed to antique.
    Reggie

  • Report and Comments on Bradenton Beach Anchorage (Western Florida ICW, Statute Mile 87)

     The anchorage under discussion below lies just south of the Cortez Bridge, west of the ICW.
    Two important notes need to be considered when evaluating this anchor down spot. First, successful entry can be very tricky for first-timers, AND the city of Bradenton Beach has twice tried to regulate this anchorage, first by creating a mooring field, and later by city registration of boats. Both attempts failed, but who knows what may happen here in the future!

    I am writing this as I am anchored here today (the first time in four years). I have always found this to be a great anchorage due to the fact that it has just about everything for onshore that a cruising sailor would want. A beach, a fair number of good places to eat and drink, a free trolley to take you up and down the beach to get to West Marine and the grocery stores and other places to eat and drink (circle K convenience store is just a block away).
    I have never had a problem navigating the pier entrance (draw 4 feet) but the first time I grounded when I tried to enter the anchorage directly off the ICW and hit the shoal. So go in as directed.
    There are still some derelict boats, one is sunk. It is somewhat noisy mostly from the road traffic going over the bridge or pier fisherman. The anchorage is shallow and the charts do a fairly accurate job of showing the depth. Holding is mud and I have dragged a little bit is a 20 knot blow. As for the the winds out of the south east, this is a lot better than jewfish key anchorage. However, any winds coming from the south or northeast, above 20 knots, I would find another anchorage.
    For the politics here, I had a conversation with a local town rep and they said the problem was not the cruising sailors, it was some of the local anchored live aboards that were creating some police issues and had some assorted conflicts amongst each other as well as some theft. The town was trying reduce those issues by putting in a mooring field…. . However, the town cannot do it as this is part of the ICW.
    As far as I am concerned, people need a place to live and in this economy, this offers an economic refuge in relative paradise. But, people have to be responsible for their selves and their assets and respectful of others and the environment too. Unfortunately, because some people do not follow this, that cruisers and local live aboards suffer from this tide of regulation.
    Brad

    Yep, and complain about the junk boats and their owners and you will be labelled “politicaly incorrect” keep going, all of the rights of the hard working will be gifted to the non caring, layabout drug smoking forgiven , who will, take away all your fun and enjoyment. Proof of the pudding…
    Dennis McMurtry

    As a local, I regularly traverse this section of the ICW heading to/from Tampa Bay or the Manatee River. Seems that after the creation of the Marina Jack mooring field, some members of that “Floating Junk Flotilla” moved North. Cortez folks may be more tolerant, probably not over time.
    Blake Whitney

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

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

  • Compliments for Legacy Harbor Marina, Fort Myers Waterfront, on the Okeechobee Waterway

    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 Harbor Marina - Click for Chartview

    Well, of course, Legacy Harbour Marina is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!!! Legacy Harbour Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 on the Caloosahatchee River.

    We are at Legacy Harbour in Fort Myers, been here for six weeks now. Folks here are very friendly. Note that some marinas do not allow livaboards. We are one block from Publix, walking distance to Edison Winter Home, many downtown restaurants and the new waterfront that opened last month.
    Alan Lloyd

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

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

  • Good Words for Laishley Park Municipal Marina, Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, FL

    Laishley Park Municipal Marina - Click for Chartview

    Laishley Park Municipal Marina flanks the southeasterly shores of the Peace River, immediately north of the 45 foot Highway 41 bridge, and south of the charted 85 foot powerline.

    You should go a little further to Laishley Park Municipal Marina in Punta Gorda…. It is close to many town facilities and among the best value in marinas….. $8.00/ft/month!! Just past the Hwy 41 twin bridge in Charlotte harbour.
    Michael & Mundy aboard Done Dreamin’

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Laishley Park Municipal Marina

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

  • Praise for C-Quarters Marina, Carrabelle, FL, Northern Gulf

    C-Quarters Marina - Click for Chartview

    C-Quarters Marina is located on the Carrabelle River in Carrabelle, Florida. This full service marina features 67 boat slips. The marina has a complete ship store for your cruising and fishing needs. www.c-quartersmarina.com

    Carrabelle is a must stop for preparing to cross the Gulf and two marinas are always highlighted. We have always stayed at the Moorings which is a wonderful, up scale marina and very popular. This trip we tried C-Quarters and found that they too are a wonderful stop. They continued the Carrabelle tradition of caring about their customers and insisted that we give them a safe arrival call when we arrived at our destination. We couldn’t ask for anyone more helpful. Stay safe,
    Tom

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of C-Quarters Marina

  • More Praise for Port St. Joe Marina (Florida Panhandle Between Apalachicola and Panama City)

    The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, Fl

    Port St. Joe Marina - Click for Chartview

    The praise just keeps pouring into the SSECN concerning this wonderful facility. It is accessed via the Gulf County Canal, which departs the Northern Gulf ICW between Apalachicola and Panama City, and runs south to St. Joseph Bay. Port St. Joe Marina lies hard by the town of, what else, Port St. Joe. And, these good people are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Our stay at Port St Joe Marina was ideal. Everyone was so helpful. This is certainly a good stop for getting ready for your crossing. Please see previous tome on that subject.
    Tom

  • Florida “Sojourner’s Permit” Reprise

    Recently, there has been a lively and ongoing discussion taking place on the AGLCA Forum about the so-called Florida Sojourner’s Permit. This string of messages was kicked off by a posting which opined that the Sunshine State had cancelled the Sojourner’s permit.

    NOT SO! That, as pointed out in all the subsequent messages on the AGLCA forum, was bad info from a badly informed Florida county official. And, by the way, many Florida county officials are NOT fully (or sometimes even partly) informed about this important document for cruisers.

    So, even though the SSECN presented a thorough discussion of this issue back in September of 2012 (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=97389) we thought a perusl of the various AGLCA messages on this subject below, would be very helpful to the cruising community.

    First, though, why is it important to get a Sojourner’s Permit if you plan to have your vessel in Floridian waters longer than 90 days. There are at least two reasons:

    1. If your vessel is registered in another state besides Florida, you can operate in Floridian water for up to 90 days without a problem. HOWEVER, if your vessel is Federally Documented, and NOT ALSO state registered, you MUST register it with the state of Florida, or you may be ticketed immediately upon entering Floridian waters. Or, put another way, Federally Documented vessels MUST ALSO be state registered (either with Florida or another state), or you face the possibility of a ticket.
    By the way, it’s this onerous feature of Florida state law that used to allow the “Venice Water Nazi” to ticket boats coming and going in the city of Venice.
    If your vessel remains in Florida for longer than 90 days, even if it’s registered in another state, YOU MUST ALSO REGISTER IT IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA UNLESS YOU OBTAIN A SOJOURNER’S PERMIT! Conversely, iF you succeed in getting a Sojourner’s Permit in hand you will not have to fork over for a costly FL state registration (again, see below) for stays up to 11 months.
    My, my wasn’t that fun!

    2. With a Sojourner’s Permit, you will NOT be hassled to pay sales tax on your vessel. I know this sounds crazy, but if your boat has been owned out of state for less a year before being brought into Florida, and the state in which you purchased your vessel does not collect sales tax on purchases of pleasure boats, the Sunshine State will actually try to charge sales tax on your vessel’s purchase price, if you stay in Floridian waters longer than 90 days (without a Sojourner’s Permit). So, to avoid this ridiculous and expensive charge, get a Sojourner’s Permit. Again, crazy, I know!

    OK, so the above is why obtaining a Sojourner’s Permit is a really good idea. How does not obtain such a document?

    We are pleased to report that our good friend, Captain Mike Dickens at Paradise Yacht Sales and Service (Fernandina Beach, FL, http://www.paradiseyachtsales.net/CruisingCenter2.html) provides what cruisers need to obtain one of these permits on his web site. Follow the links below.

    Sojourner’s Permit Form – http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/forms/BTR/87244.pdf

    Sojourner’s Permit Instructions – http://www.paradiseyachtsales.net/Sojourner1.pdf

    Hopefully, along with a little cash, that’s all you will need to cruise tax free in the Sunshine State for up to 11 months.

    I went to the County Tax Collector today to register my vessel The owner of a vessel registered in another state or a documented vessel is required to register the vessel prior to operating or storing it in Florida more than 90 days. I downloaded and completed the Application Form beforehand; the clerk really appreciated that.
    http://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/forms/BTR/87244.pdf
    I took Certificate of Documentation and Photo ID. (I also took the Bill of Sale to show sales tax paid to another state but the clerk did not ask for it.) The fee for boats under 40 feet is $124.63 and $198.88 for boats over 40 feet. One third of this amount is a county fee. Some counties do not charge the county fee but I don’t know which ones. The fee is scheduled to increase effective July 1st, 2013 then every five years hence. The annual fee is not prorated; it expires on your birthday. My wife’s birthday comes later than mine so we used her birthday as the expiration date since she is a co-owner.
    Alan Lloyd
    Author, Great Loop Navigation Notes
    http://www.NavigationNotes.com
    Visit web site for more information

    I realize this post was originally from 2009 but just so there’s no confusion, the Sojourner’s permit has been and is still available in Florida. Unfortunately not all tax offices know how to process it.
    http://www.leetc.com/vehiclevessel.asp?page_id=vesselsojourner
    Chuck

    If your boat is 30 or more years old in Florida you can qualify for an antique vessel. Once your boat is recognized by the Florida tax authorities as antique, the registration process for a documented antique is less than $10. We registered our 1982 trawler a few weeks ago and its dink at the same time. Cost more to title and register the dink than the trawler !!
    R.

    I purchased a sojourner’s permit in the downtown tax collectors office in Pensacola in mid December(2012), just a few weeks ago. I believe it is still in force!
    Mike
    One September

    I recommend that anyone who falls in this category and has a USCG Documented vessel do extensive due diligence before approaching this process. Sometimes, the “do nothing” case is the best available alternative. That means, in English, never kick a sleeping dog! It may wake and bite you.
    To wit: not all states “register” boats that are USCG Documented. Maryland and North Carolina are two examples. Since Florida does register Documented Vessels, Florida statute appears to be written to require current “registration” from another state for Sojourner’s Permit eligibility, but folks from state’s without registration for documented vessels won’t have that. If you discover that while standing at the HSMV counter, now the discussion will turn to registering the boat in Florida. Do you really want to open that ditty bag?
    The original poster on this topic is/was absolutely right; it is very clear that not all Florida HSMV offices understand the Sojourner’s Permit or the process for issuing it. However, what little I’ve seen suggests the
    Florida Sojourner’s Permit appears to go with the boat, not the owner. I know personally of one case of a Florida Resident (that is, *not* an out-of-state resident), but with a boat registered out-of-state, who in an
    attempt to be “legal,” did get a Sojourner’s Permit for the boat for a winter season. That may have been an error on the part of the issuing office, but if not, it suggests the permit goes to the vessel.
    Do due diligence before facing off with HSMV on their home turf! Look up the statutes yourself. I haven’t personally done the due diligence around this, but it obviously can be tricky, and can lead to (expensive)
    unintended consequences. Caveat Emptor!
    The simple reality is, because state laws are different, one from another, it *may not* be possible to be completely, totally, unequivocally “legal” everywhere at any one given time. Now isn’t that interesting to
    contemplate?! If you don’t believe that, take a look at gun laws!
    Jim
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

    I’ve heard this discussion come up every year since 2005, but I never met a cruiser in Vero or Boot Key harbor who has a sojourners permit, or who had legal troubles with a documented boat in FL more than 90 days.
    I suspect that the problem could be Florida’s assertion of rights in excess of their authorization. We have an analogous situation with Florida anchoring rights. Many suspect that Florida’s laws would be struck down in federal courts considering maritime law and international treaties, but the question hasn’t been adjudicated yet.
    Maritime laws and treaties are designed to allow vessels to travel freely without these local hassles. Queen Mary II owned by Cunard can come into Florida. or any other port globally, without local registration. Nations bind themselves to that by treaty, and subdivisions of those national governments (like states) are not allowed to modify those rules. Legally, Queen Mary II is the same as my documented vessel or yours.
    Imagine if Florida tried to seize a Luftansa 747 that landed in Miami because it didn’t have a Florida registration. Vehicles and vessels need to be able to travel internationally relying on treaty rights signed by national governments.
    That leaves ordinary citizens like us in a pickle. It would cost a fortune to push the issue through Federal courts to prove the State of Florida wrong. So what do we do in the meantime? It is against our culture to defy a state law enforcement officer on the grounds that the state law is invalid. All we can do is fret and worry.
    In all the discussions I’ve heard on this subject, I never heard of these Florida laws being enforced against a documented vessel. Of course if they’re never enforced, they can’t be challenged in court. What do other cruisersnet.net readers say? Have you ever had these Florida laws enforced on you? If so, what happened?
    Dick Mills

  • More Good Words for Port St. Joe Marina, St. Joe Bay, Northern Gulf

    The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, Fl

    Port St. Joe Marina - Click for Chartview

    This wonderful facility is accessed by the Gulf County Canal, which departs the Northern Gulf ICW between Apalachicola and Panama City, and runs south to St. Joseph Bay. Port St. Joe Marina lies hard by the town of, what else, Port St. Joe. And, these good people are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    We have been in Port St Joe Marina for 2 days now and have been told 3 times that the water is too shallow for our 5 feet draft. Folks, that is just not so. We have seen water only down to 8 feet at the transient dock and that is at low tide with a north wind blowing. The marina has even deeper spots available. Give them a try, even Mikie likes it (am I showing my age to remember that?). Stay safe,
    Tom

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Port St. Joe Marina

  • Interesting Night in Russell Pass Southern Anchorage, between Indian Key and Everglades City

    Russell Pass Southern Anchroage - Click for Chartview

    Russell Pass sits between Indian Key and Everglades City. The marked Indian Key Channel, which eventually leads to the Barron River and Everglades City, allows relatively easy access to Russell Pass. The southern anchorage is found on the waters of charted Russell Pass which opens into the northern flank of the Indian Key-Everglades City channel, southwest of marker #7.
    Granted, Captain Kydd’s info is a bit dated, but we suspect the same, strong currents are still very much present on these waters.

    In February 1980, while my wife, Helen and I were cruising in our 26 foot Pearson sailboat, we were anchored in Russell Bay when the anchorage became very choppy and we moved to Russell Pass. During the night we dragged anchor and at 0300 were wakened by mangroves running both sides of the boat. I rowed the dinghy till I found the pass again, went back and motored out to re-anchor with two anchors. The current in these passes can be pretty strong.
    What a beautiful cruising area.
    Ed Kydd

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Russell Pass Southern Anchorage
    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Russell Pass Southern Anchorage

  • Good Words for Bird Key Anchorage, Terra Ceia Bay, off the Manatee River

    Bird Key Anchorage - Click for Chartview

    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.
    Kim Updyke

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Terra Ceia Bay – Bird Key Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Terra Ceia Bay – Bird Key Anchorage

  • New Pink Shell Resort Marina Opens in Fort Myers Beach

    Pink Shell Resort and Marina - Click for Chartview

    We had an earlier contact here at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net with the dockmaster of what was then the as yet unopened marina at Pink Shell Resort. Sounds like this facility is going to be a GREAT addition to the cruising scene for the waters hard by the southerly genesis of the Western Florida ICW, and the westerly extreme of the Okeechobee Waterway/Caloosahatchee River.
    From Captain Smith’s report below, looks like some of the marina’s wet slips are already open and ready for business, while the rest will be coming online by the 25’th of this month (January, 2013).
    From our previous research, we know that Pink Shell Resort guards the southern shores of the Mantanzas Pass channel, west of Moss Marine, making this new marina the first facility encountered as one enters from the waters of the open Gulf!
    It’s really great to get such an early, positive report of a new marina such as this one. Can’t wait to check out this facility in person!

    Cruising News:
    AT LAST! the Pink Shell Resort, located just inside Matanzas Pass on Fort Myers Beach, has finally opened their new docks – and what a lovely spot it is indeed! Brand new floating docks, with all the amenities of the resort for your use and enjoyment.
    We were fortunate to be among the very first customers at the new docks for this past New Years weekend. While the new docks aren’t yet complete (I was told by the dockmaster that all 41 slips should be done by Jan 25), this new facility sure shows a lot of promise. Once checked in, you get the run of the Pink Shell Resort, including all the pools, fitness center, and spa, as well as easy access to the newly restored beach, all just across the street from your docks. It is absolutely first class! There is also an inexpensive trolley service to the hub of Fort Myers Beach at Times Square – a delightful walk along the beach if you choose.
    Contact Dock Master Dave O’Connor at doconner@pinkshell.com or marina@pinkshell.com for details – group rates are also available.
    Capt Mike Smith
    S/V Blue Skye

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Pink Shell Resort and Marina

  • Confirmation of Low Water Shallow Depths at Entrance to Suwanee River (Western Florida, Big Bend Region)

    There have been MANY other postings here on the SSECN about a shallow water bar at the entrance to the Suwanee River, from the Gulf’s waters. Never before, however, have we heard of someone with a draft of 15.5 inches having problems. Looks like Tranqilo found deeper water with a bit of work.
    And, their note about “avoiding all shoals” may be a bit optimistic. I have never found more than 4 1/2 feet of water over the entrance bar a low tide.

    Our draft is 15.5 inches. We had 1 problem with shoaling at low tide coming out of Suwannee River. We are able to pole back into deep water with a boat hook and a zodiac paddle. A route can be plotted that avoids all shoals. Try a mid tide for entry into any of the well-marked channels to these out of the way places.
    Tranquilo

  • A Word From the New Director of Marker One Marina (Western Florida ICW, Statute Mile 142)

     Captain Steve Arndt, author of the message below, and the new dockmaster at Marker One Marina, gained a superb reputation for his welcoming, can-do attitude towards all cruisers during his former directorship at Bay Point Marina in Panama City, Florida. With Captain Steve at the helm, we feel strongly that things will look up very quickly at Marker One.

    Now you’ll be able to enjoy that same level of friendliness and service at a new location a few miles farther south! Marker 1 Marina, (http://www.marker1marina.com – my new home in Dunedin, FL) is located on the [Western Florida] ICW just north of Clearwater and is a wonderful stop along the Loop. With grocery stores, restaurants, banks and thrift stores just a few blocks away, you’ll find just about everything you need close by. Caladesi Island State Park (recently named the Best Beach in America) is just a short kayak or dingy ride away. Meanwhile the town of Dunedin is proud of their Scottish roots and has a diverse selection of bars, restaurants and shops that just beg to be explored. And with 300 feet of lay along transient dock, private showers and 24 hour security, your boat will feel right at home, too.
    I look forward to sharing my new hometown with many of you in the coming years!
    Thanks,
    Steve Arndt
    Director, Marker 1 Marina

    Click Here To View the Westerb Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Marker One Marina

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

  • Millers Marina and the Suwanee River

    The Suwanee River is arguably, along with the Withlacoochee River, the most beautiful of the Western Florida Big Bend rivers. The Suwanee offers many superb anchorages, and one basic marina.
    HOWEVER, there is an entrance bar which carries a slim 4-feet, or even slightly less, at MLW. Once on the stream’s interior reaches, depths improve considerably, but you may have to work the tides to make good your entry and egress!
    Like Captains Judith and Paul, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the seafood at Salty Creek Fish Company restaurant. Year in and year out, it’s been some of the very best I’ve ever had!
    See you there!

    The wild and beautiful Suwanee River was next on the list, bypassing Cedar Key about which we had not heard good things. We stopped at Miller’s Marina for fuel and a pumpout. This is a very basic place on a lovely pool approached from the river by a leafy narrow canal. A short walk to The Salt River Seafood Company Restaurant provided us with a delicious lunch. We understand they will let you stay the night at their dock for free if you eat there. 350 people call this village home with 750 vacation homes–small is an overstatement. Predicted stormy weather prevented our anchoring out up the Suwannee which we very much wish we had been able to do–you know, the song and all!
    Judith and Paul
    Tranquilo
    26′ C-Dory

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

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

  • Twin Rivers Marina (on the Crystal River – Western Florida Big Bend Region)

    Personally, I prefer Pete’s Pier, farther upstream on Crystal River, to Twin Rivers Marina, but, hey, that’s just me, and it is certainly a far longer cruise from the Gulf to reach Pete’s. So, read up on both, and make your decision accordingly.

    After a few hours of being hammered on the open Gulf, we slipped into the first marina on Crystal River, Twin Rivers Marina. They are 6 miles from town, but had a floating dock for us which we prefer, being so small. One
    could stay in town at Pete’s Pier. TRW is a full service marina, and we need a wiper repair and a stove repair after our Gulf ride. Crystal River is home to the largest herd of manatees in Florida. Photographing manatees
    is similar to dolphins–as soon as you focus, they are gone.
    We are waiting here for a window to get down to Tarpon Springs and back on the ICW. We have met friendly people and had quiet, secure havens and would highly recommend Florida’s “Forgotten Coast” to complete your Loop experience.
    Judith and Paul
    Tranquilo
    26′ C-Dory

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

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

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