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The Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers

Archive For: WEST FL – All Cruising News

  • In-Depth Article Now Available About Anchoring on Boca Grande Bayou (Gasparilla Island, near St. M. 28.5)

    It was almost a year ago that we posted an article here on the Cruisers’ Net about the possibility of boaters being denied the right to anchor in popular Boca Grand Bayou (hard by the shores of Gasparilla Island), behind the Pink Elephant Restaurant, due to possible private ownership of the bottomland in question (see A slightly later article provided more details (see

    Gasparilla Bayou Anchorage

    Then, over this past Thanksgiving holiday, yours truly and the first-mate, first-mate spent a wonderful week in Boca Grande. I personally observed only two vessels lying at anchor in the Boca Grande Bayou Basin anchorage, where formerly there were many more. In asking around, I began to hear rumors that vessels anchored on the northern end of the basin were being asked to move along, as the bottomland was claimed to be private property.
    Last week, a fellow cruiser sent me a “Letter to the Editor” which appeared in Gasparilla Island’s superb weekly newspaper, the “Boca Beacon.” Here is a link to that article:

    Most importantly, I learned in a telephone conversation last week that the “Boca Beacon” editor, Ms. Marcy Shortuse, was working on an in-depth article concerning this very complex issue. I shared my insights on this subject, and sent Ms. Shortuse a link to my “Whence Come The Anchorage Regulations” editorial ( Last Friday, 12/16/11, Marcy’s article was published, and it is linked below. Her excellent, in-depth study of this situation is a must-read for anyone interested in the Florida anchoring issue:

    We solicit additional input on the issue of anchoring in Boca Grande Bayou from the cruising community, particularly those mariners who frequent the waters of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. Please follow the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link on the upper right of this page, and share your point of view.

    I deleted Boca Grande from my website, too risky to suggest it as an anchorage.
    Mary Dixon

    Very simply and to the point the U.S. Supreme Court has already spoken on this issue.
    “1.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.””
    Robert Driscoll

    Driscoll nails it. It doesn’t matter whether or not the bottom is privately owned, there is still a right of navigation that trumps that. Anchoring is considered to be a normal part of navigation. Take a look at St. Augustine where the city has claimed they own the bottom land since forever, yet they were unable to prevent anchoring in those waters until they built mooring fields over most of the anchoring area.
    John Kettlewell

  • Cruisers’ Letter to Sarasota County Sheriff’s Dept. Concerning Blackburn Bay Anchoring Incident Pays Off

    Earlier, we posted a letter copy here on the Cruisers’ Net of a missive sent from Captain Arthur Richard, to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s department, concerning a less than happy meeting with a deputy, while anchored on the waters of Blackburn Bay (see As you will see, Captain Richard’s note got a favorable reply, and it undoubtedly clued everyone in the sheriff’s department to the latest Florida state laws concerning anchorage.

    Reference my earlier report on Anchoring in Blackburn Bay, Sarasota County, FL. It seems that our anchoring rights in Sarasota County, FL are in accordance with
    Florida law. Apparently I experienced and ill-informed, overzealous part time deputy Sheriff.
    I received the following response from the Sarasota County, FL Sheriff’s Office”

    From: Richard Mottola
    Subject: RE:Anchoring in Blackburn Bay
    Date: December 19, 2011 10:31:25 AM EST
    Mr. Richard,
    This is Captain Mottola from the Sheriff’s Office. The Marine Unit is one of the
    areas under my command (Special Operations Bureau). I checked with our two
    full-time boat captains and neither recalls speaking with you about this. It
    could very well be that you spoke with one of our part-time captains. I could
    most likely determine this if you could provide a date and time of the contact.
    Despite that, it appears you are correct in your interpretation of the statutes
    I can only surmise that the captain you spoke with, for some reason, believed
    you were actually living aboard your vessel and therefore assumed that county
    ordinance 130-42 may have applied. Otherwise, it would not be applicable.
    County Statute 130-42. Mooring of Vessels used as dwelling units:
    Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions (861-4049) – Or you
    may contact Captain Shipp with the Florida Wildlife Commission (Southwest Region
    Thank you.

    Arthur Richard

    And, with the comments below received after publication of the above article, the plot thickens CONSIDERABLY! Looks like the Sarasota Sheriff’s Department is using their own version of what constitutes a “live aboard vessel,” and, by the way, this definition is in contravention of Flroida state law!!!

    I would like to make a comment and pose a few questions pertaining to this important subject and more specifically my recent experiences anchoring on Blackburn Bay. I have been visited by the Sarasota county Sheriffs Dept. Marine unit on 3 occasions once when my vessel was not even actually present for apparently violating the 24 hour time limit for live aboard vessels, this most recent warning requires that I move my vessel by December 22 2011 or be subject to fines of 250 to 500 dollars a day. The Deputy asked me with issue of this most recent warning if I understood the reason why he had delivered it, to which I again replied something to the effect that, and to the very best of my knowledge and understanding of the applicable Florida State Statutes regarding anchoring outside of approved mooring fields and the definition of a live aboard vessel, that I have actually never been in violation of any of these law’s. He became visibly agitated and spoke to me as if I were an insubordinate child indicating that it had absolutely nothing to do with the Florida State statutes, I thanked him and said goodbye, I am very thankful that he left. My sailboat is in fact anchored outside of any mooring field and is a fully navigable vessel with all required safety gear. Can anyone comment on the enforceability of these muni-codes in light of the Florida State Statutes regarding anchoring?
    Cap’n Ron

    The county code referenced, strictly interpreted, is favorable to people who live in houses and cruise for extended vacations. For those of us for whom our boat is our home, the code invites us to leave in 48 hours.
    Nice of the Sheriff to be civil, though.

    Below you will find more from Captain Richard, with his reply to the Sheriff’s department, and their subsequent message to him:

    Captain Mottola,
    Thank your for your response to my inquiry. A Sarasota Sheriff boat visit to my vessel in Blackburn Bay occured on the afternoon of November 30, 2011. The Sheriff’s boat remained at least 10 yards from my vessel, and I was not boarded. The operator of the Sheriff’s boat did not give his name, nor request mine.
    I am pleased to find that my anchoring in Blackburn Bay was not in violation of county ordinances. It would be beneficial to the boating community if all of your officers were made aware of this.
    Thank you,
    Arthur M. Richard

    From Captain Mottola (Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office):
    My pleasure, and yes we are ensuring that ALL boat captains are made aware so that we do not have any further misunderstandings. Happy Holidays!

    Chris: That is incorrect. It doesn’t matter whether or not you are living aboard for more than 48 hours. As long as you vessel is used for navigation and not solely as a residence you are not a liveaboard by Florida law, which trumps any local ordinances. Florida statute says this:
    327.02 Definitions of terms used in this chapter and in chapter 328.—As used in this chapter and in chapter 328, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning, the term:
    (17)“Live-aboard vessel” means:
    a) Any vessel used solely as a residence and not for navigation;
    b) Any vessel represented as a place of business, or a professional or other commercial enterprise; or
    c) Any vessel for which a declaration of domicile has been filed pursuant to s. 222.17.
    John Kettlewell

  • Anchoring Hassles on Blackburn Bay (Statute Mile 61.5)

    The note below was copied to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net, and shows a letter written by Captain Arthur M. Richard, to the local sheriff’s department. The “Blackburn Bay” anchorage referred to in Captain Richard’s note lies between Venice and Sarasota, directly on the path of the Western Florida ICW.
    If I may indulge in an editorial comment here, it’s a real shame that incidents of this type are still taking place in Florida waters. The 2009 Florida Anchoring Law has been on the books for some time now, and you would think that county sheriff’s departments would have gotten the word long ago!!!

    Recently, I anchored my sailboat in Blackburn Bay. I was approached by a deputy sheriff (in a Sheriff’s Department boat), and politely informed that anchoring in Blackburn Bay is restricted to 48 hours. He said that the local residents did not like boats anchoring for longer periods. Please send me a copy of the County statue which authorizes such anchor limitation.
    Are you aware that under state law, boaters who use their boats for navigation (even if only occasionally) will not have their anchoring restricted by a local city or county outside of permitted mooring fields. Cities and counties are expressly forbidden to “enact, continue in effect, or enforce any ordinance or local regulation … regulating the anchoring of vessels other than live-aboard vessels outside the marked boundaries of mooring fields.”
    Although local governments are allowed to regulate anchoring within the marked boundaries of properly permitted mooring fields, Blackburn Bay is not a permitted mooring field.
    The following laws apply:

    (FL law) 327.60 Local regulations; limitations)
    (2) Nothing contained in the provisions of this section shall be construed to prohibit local governmental authorities from the enactment or enforcement of regulations which prohibit or restrict the mooring or anchoring of floating structures or live-aboard vessels within their jurisdictions or of any vessels within the marked boundaries of mooring fields permitted as provided in s. 327.40. However, local governmental authorities are prohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of such mooring fields of non-live-aboard vessels in navigation.
    (from Chapter 2009-86, section 14)
    (3) However, local governmental authorities are prohibited from regulating the anchoring outside of such mooring fields of vessels other than live-aboard vessels as defined in s. 327.02.
    Therefore, your deputy was in error when he informed me that I could not anchor in Blackburn Bay for more than 48 hours. I recommend that you make yourself and
    your deputies aware of the Florida State Laws on anchoring by boats other than live-aboard and commercial vessels.
    Arthur M. Richard

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Blackburn Bay Anchorage

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

  • Marco Island to the Florida Keys

    There is a wealth of good cruising tips in Captain Lloyd’s note below. His description of the “inside” passage navigational challenges, behind Marco Island, is spot on, as is his description of Little Shark River’s shoreline.
    I might also add that as of a few months ago, the entrance channel into Flamingo was still quite shallow!

    You can take the inside route behind Marco Island with a 4′ draft but avoid low tide. Charted depth is 4′ but depth increases by 3′ at high tide. Pay attention after Bear Point bridge as daymark colors switch sides. A red daymark appears to be out of position but it is not!
    Definitely stop at Goodland, an old-time fishing village that is a marked contrast to the rest of Marco Island. Calusa Island Marina is within walking distance of restaurants.
    Some boaters recommend Everglades City but I usually go directly from Goodland to Little Shark River in Everglades National Park. This area of the park consists of mangrove Islands and hardwood hammocks, not acres of sawgrass that one usually associates with the Everglades. There is a very protected anchorage about 1.5 miles up river.
    I have not been to Flamingo since it was rebuilt after the hurricane. The approach was shallow at that time. I recommend a direct route from Little Shark River to Seven Mile Bridge and stop at Marathon.
    Alan Lloyd

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

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

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Little Shark River Outer Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Little Shark River Outer Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Little Shark River Southern Fork Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Little Shark River Southern Fork Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Little Shark River Upper Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Little Shark River Upper Anchorage

  • Englewood Beach Anchorage (Statute Mile 43.5)

    The anchor down spot referred to below by Captains Rick and Donna is listed in our Western Florida Anchorage Directory as the “Englewood Beach Anchorage. They are quite right in describing this spot as a “good anchorage.” In fact, it’s one of the best sheltered along this section of the Western Florida ICW, and there is a restaurant withing dinghy distance as well!

    There are no anchoring restrictions in lemon bay, except in the ICW. There is a good anchorage on the Lemon Bay side of Englewood Beach. To reach it, one bears right [southwest] after passing through [south of] the Tom Adams Bridge, leaving the ICW to your port. Stay in the middle of the channel, and head toward the moored and anchored boats off the mangrove island on your port side. Just past the moored boats there is a secure and safe anchorage. We live in North Port, and cruise Lemon Bay regularly.
    Fair Winds,
    Rick & Donna
    Reprinted from the MTOA List Serve, with permission of the authors
    Find out more about the MTOA at:

    Good info, but there is nowhere to go ashore except the restaurant. So you can’t tie up there and go to the beach. Dockage is available at Chadwick Cove Marina adjacent to the restaurant (The White Elephant).
    Denny Botkin

    This is a good anchorage, but since we have a heavy Gulfstar 39 sailboat with a 5′ draft, we want to point out a shoaling area along the western (toward the Gulf) side of the ICW that you have to clear before getting into the deeper water of the anchorage. We have bumped over this bar a couple times, but during higher tides we’ve had no problem. We tend to favor the bridge side of the sandbar before heading into the anchorage and have had fewer problems with access in our sailboat. There is a strong tidal current so set a good anchor with some scope and chain.
    Mark Suby

    And, here’s some good navigational advice on how to gain entry to this anchorage with the best depths possible.

    Beware shoaling south of T. Adams Bridge along the west edge of the ICW. To avoid this shoal [when entering the Englewood Beach anchorage] that has formed further north than shown on the charts, turn toward the moored boats immediately after clearing the bridge (if southbound) and head directly toward the moored boats/mangrove. Note the additional shoaling north of the mooring field.
    Any boats carrying over 4 to 4 1/2 foot draft should avoid transitioning from the ICW at low tide – unless you have local knowledge. The best way to proceed from the bridge is to go directly toward and into the mooring field (idle speed, of course) from the bridge. Favor the south side after clearing the shoaling that parallels and is immediately adjacent to the ICW. Additional shoaling north of the mooring field extends from a point just west of the bridge almost to the docks on the western shore. If going to the White Elephant or to Chadwick Cove Marina, remain close to the docks on the western shore. Cutting the corner can put you hard aground.
    Having said that, the anchorage is protected quite nicely in virtually all weather conditions.
    Kindest Regards,

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

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

  • Thoughts on Florida Anchoring Space

    Captain Feiges is responding, in her message below, to a posting which appeared here on the Cruisers’ Net some time ago, about the victory in St. Augustine, when the city proposed ten day anchoring limit outside the mooring field, was shot down, and changed by the FWC to a thirty day limit.
    Her point in this missive is very different, and very much worth the cruising community’s thoughtful consideration. Beverly speaks of a lack of anchoring “space” in Florida due to the proliferation of private moorings!

    We are cruisers, plain and simple, and seldom stay in one spot for even a week. Even in Georgetown, in the Bahamas, where we may spend a month or more, we switch anchoring spots every so many days, depending on wind or activities ashore. Putting in mooring fields in very popular spots has the advantage of allowing many more boats to safely anchor, but it is also nice to have some room to anchor left over for those of us who may be too big for the spacing and holding power of the moorings, or too high off the water to easily pick up the mooring. Having permanently anchored boats in what is a limited area, even if they must move them every thirty days, does not help the honest to god cruiser who is passing through and wants a spot for a night or two. Even worse seems to be the unregulated dropping of private moorings everywhere it used to be possible to anchor.
    I want the right to anchor, but there must be room to do it, and in allowing people to set their private moorings all over the place, (in Maine some people have as many as five in different harbors), or to stay anchored more than 5 days without a valid reason, then this room does not exist, and you just as effectively have cut off my right to anchor. We had this experience in St. Augustine this fall, almost impossible to anchor.
    Beverly Feiges

    Virtually all anchoring regulations being promoted by FWC are in violation of Florida Statute 370.04 in the wake of two Florida Supreme Court decision favoring boater’s (almost) unrestricted anchoring rights. There is nothing to be applauded here as FWC seems to be forging ahead unempeded with its greed and rise of power with little or no sound rationale or legal foundation.
    Make your resistance known against this flagrant arrigance and disregard for formal constitutional decisions.
    Bruce Bingham

    Perhaps a private mooring can now be considered “the owner is anchored” and falls under the new regs ?? Interesting possibility…
    Dennis McMurtry

    I agree with Beverly. Sure, Florida’s mooring fields are busy in the winter, but for most of the year there are many vacant moorings that eliminate huge areas that used to be available for anchoring. St. Augustine has effectively eliminated all of the best anchoring areas by covering the harbor in moorings, most of which remain vacant most of the year. Same thing in Marathon. I have squeezed into the remaining anchorage there during the off season when half the moorings were empty.
    John Kettlewell

    Laws continue to be changed. FL Statute 370.04 I could not find. Overriding everything is our Federal Navigational Servitude and the Public Trust doctrine which provide, among other things, that navigation includes the right to anchor in all navigable waters.
    FL Statute 327.44 states “no anchoring…in a manner which shall unreasonably or unnecessarily constitute a navigational hazard.”
    Jay Bliss

  • A Humorous Look at Florida Manatee Zones

    I have NOT stopped laughing since I first read this article!!! Many, many thanks to Captain Ames for allowing us to use his words and photos. They will bring smiles, possibly outright guffaws, to anyone who has ever cruised in the Sunshine State!!!

    by Captain Allen S. Ames

    Once you get into South Florida, there are all kinds of “Manatee Zones”, restricting boat movement in one way or another. In truth, boats with their propellers can be fatal to the once-endangered manatees, but the reality is a bit more political, methinks.

    Note that the “Summer Manatees” must be more agile than the winter ones, since they apparently can avoid boats going 5 MPH faster. Note also that few people live in their winter “cottages” along the shore in summer.

    We have noticed in the past that manatees are upwardly mobile socially and tend to hang out off the very expensive mega-mansions and condos of the super-rich. There are far more manatee speed restrictions in these areas than off trailer parks and undeveloped land. (I refuse to believe that politics or payoffs would have had anything to do with these designations for the betterment of these lovely Rubenesque mammals.)

    As upwardly mobile as these animals may be, there are still some areas where they can only afford to go on winter weekends. I haven’t yet read the research that shows how they learned to read calendars and clocks, but I am delighted that some government grant or other was able to furnish them the opportunity.

    Some new signs are beginning to show up that weren’t in evidence two years ago. Do they signify a little less corruption in government and government-appointed employees or the simple fact that scientific research has shown that manatees are no longer endangered and that they better find another way to restrict the speed of boats off rich people’s winter homes? Next year, we expect that all the manatee signs will be replaced with ones that read:


    I am not making this up! There are photographs of all the above signs in my
    blog at:

    Flagler County, Fl. is in the process of trying to make the entire ICW within their county a no-wake zone for the same issue…hope it fails!
    Bob Whitehurst

    Abolutley priceless! Thanks so much.

  • A Quick Vote of Confidence in Salty Sams Marina (Fort Myers Beach)

    Salty Sams Marina is the most upstream facility on Estero Bay. It lies along the bay’s northern shores on San Carlos Island.

    If you want to be close to the beach, select Salty Sam’s Marina(239-463-7333) in Ft Myers Beach….very protected also and good for a short or long term stay.
    Tom Jones
    m/v Marbles

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

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

  • Happiness at Legacy Harbour Marina (Fort Myers Waterfront on the Calooshatchee River/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.Of course Captain John had a good experience at Legacy Harbour Marina. These good people are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    We stayed at Legacy and left our boat their and then decided to stay longeron our return. It was absolutely delightful. The is a new Publix foodstore two blocks away and plenty of restaurants and entertainment.
    Both marinas are good, but Legacy is the most comfortable with floating docks and pump-outs at the slip, etc.
    John Haluska
    M/V Emery El
    DeFever 40 RPH

    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

  • Crystal River Depth Problems (Western Florida’s Big Bend Region)

    Sounds like Captains Barbara and Jim, plus Golden Retriever Lily, may have run into some lower than usual tides. I don’t ever recall finding such shallow depths in Crystal River. Have you had a similar or dissimilar experience on these waters? Please click the “Click Here to Submit Cruising News” link on the upper right side of this page, and share your information!

    Our draft is 4.7 and had no problems in Steinhatchee. However, when we reached Crystal River, we had to wait 1 1/2 hours at the entrance to the channel to wait for the tide to come in for enough water for our draft. Boat US heard us talking on the radio to our buddy boats and told us to wait. We docked at Twin Rivers since it was getting dark and did not want to proceed further. The next day we were sitting in the mud. We were told there would be enough water at the docks there, but not so! By the time the tide rose the next day, it was too late to leave. SO, the next day, we headed up to Pete’s Pier. There we had .6 under our keel at low tide. We were lucky to have a good weather window and by leaving at 0900, were able to make it down the river and to the Gulf during high tide. If we didn’t leave that day, we would have had to wait 2 weeks for the tide to roll around with enough daylight to get to Tarpon Springs.
    Both towns were nice and worth the stop, however, the tides would make the deciding factor. It was a bit tricky with the timing.
    Barbara and Jim Benjamin and Golden Retriever, Lily
    Golden Lily, Nordic Tug 42

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To Crystal River’s Entrance Channel

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

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

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Pete’s Pier/Kings Bay Marine

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Pete’s Pier/Kings Bay Marine

  • Excellent Explanation of Florida Restrictive Speed Zones

    The very informative message below is copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) Mail List. This free list is an excellent adjunct to the Cruisers’ Net, and we highly recommend it.
    Thanks to Captain Jim Healy for giving one of the best and most thorough descriptions of restrictive speed zones I have ever seen!

    Florida does by far the best job of identifying speed zones as any other US State. By far. (Canada is best of all, but I digress.) Florida Law defines three categories of marine speed limits: 1) “Idle Speed, No Wake,” 2) “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake” and 3) “Normal, Safe Operation.” There are several variations of “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake:” everything from 25MPH nights, 30MPH days, to date restrictions, etc. Many, many “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake” signs
    have small print that says “channel exempted” or “channel included.” Or, within 300 feet of the west (or) east shore.” Or, “within 300 feet of the bridge.” Or, effective dates. Take a pair of binoculars and make sure you read the small print. That small print can save you travel hours and personal anxiety.
    In almost all Manatee areas (narrow channels with shallow waters where the animals are likely to be in the deeper channel areas), you will see long stretches of “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake.” One that’s about 6 miles long runs from below New Smyrna Beach to Mosquite Lagoon. The good news is, there are actually relatively few “Idle Speed, No Wake” zones, and Florida in general does not abuse them. Remember, the best way to get compliance is when people
    generally agree that the rules are “right.” If people comply because it’s the right thing to do, enforcement is not required. So, “Idle Speed, No Wake” zones
    in Florida are generally short, and virtually always surround narrow bridges and boat ramp launch areas.
    Florida State Law defines “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake” as “fully settled in the water,” not making a wake that would cause harm to other nearby boaters, and minimum wake. For trawlers that travel at hull speeds of 7.5 kts, “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake” is essentially not much different from your normal speed. All I do is back off 200-250 rpm or so to make sure my wake doesn’t break at the crests. That’s where I’m fully compliant with the law.
    NOTE: This set of distinctions is NOT well understood, even by other boaters, so from time to time, people will yell at you. I always wave back in friendship.
    One such area is the bascule bridge tender at the Haulover Canal. Another is the area of Peck Lake, just above Hobe Sound (Jupiter Island). And yet another is at the Royal Palm bridge in Palm Beach County. They’ll yell at you that you’re in a “No Wake” zone. Not true; the zones are clearly marked “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake.” When you remind them of that (high power, channel 13 or 16, so the whole world hears), they go quiet, or mumble and mutter. But, these areas are heavily patrolled, especially on weekends, and none of the police agencies (FWC, sheriff, metro) will quibble with you. In fact, they often operate (non emergency mode) with wakes larger than your own. We’ve never been stopped, and we always wave and get friendly waves back. Good judgement is important, too, since some min wake areas are more sensitive than others.
    The pearl is, Florida “Slow Speed” zones are designed to protect Manatees by controlling heavy, powerful sportfish and sea-ray types that are fast, selfish
    and have exposed wheels; Manatee can easily avoid trawlers and slow cruisers. And of course, sail boats. So except for the immediate area of South Florida between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, you will rarely be inconvenienced by “No Wake” zones.
    A good guide in South Florida is to watch what the local 12 – 18 foot day boaters are doing. They are a useful indicator in unfamiliar territory. If they’re ripping along, you’re OK. If they’re dawdling along, check the signage.
    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
    Currently at Franklin Lock, Alva, FL, southbound

    What you write makes sense, but unfortunately law enforcement does not always use common sense. I have been stopped in my sailboat in a “Slow Speed, Minimum Wake” zone while creating at most a 6-inch wave which I produce at my usual cruising speed. The most infuriating thing was that moments before I was pulled over I was seriously waked by a whole string of powerboats going full tilt through the same area. Luckily, when I angrily confronted the police officer with this information he let me go. His take was that even on a sailboat throwing almost no wake we must slow down significantly in these zones.
    John Kettlewell

    I have to disagree with Jim. Here on the West Coast you better be going slower than 7.5 kts in a min wake zone. I have personally asked three FWC law enforcement officers how they define min wake and none gave me an answer other than go very slow. They did not have any definition and most just shrugged their shoulders. Even the definition you quote just says “minimum wake” at the end. I usually slow down to 1300 RPM or around 4 knots. Even at that speed I have had sheriffs boats pull along side of me and told to go slower. At anything over 5knts on the West Coast, you’ll get a ticket.
    Dick Goldfarb

  • Grounded Vessel in Tampa Bay

    This grounded sailing vessel is in Tampa Bay south of marker #6 in Gadsen Point Cut.

    The Coast Guard has received a report of a 30ft sailing vessel aground approximately 1 NM north of the Little Manatee River Entrance in position 27-44.339N 082-29.263W. All mariners are advised to transit the area with caution. [Ref: STP BNM 1359-10] Chart 11416

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Grounded Sailing Vessel

  • Little Bayou Anchorage Navigation (Tampa Bay, Western Shore – south of St. Petersburg)

    Captain Collins has provided important and helpful navigational advice below for entering the Little Bayou Anchorage, south of St. Petersburg. This posting is in response to an earlier Cruisers’ Net article about anchorage no longer being allowed in St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Basin. As part of that posting, we listed other anchoring alternative in the area, of which Little Bayou is one.
    Having visited Little Bayou myself many times, Captain Mike’s warnings below are correct, and need to be taken seriously.

    There is an obstruction in the middle of this bayou. It’s about 2 1/2 feet off the bottom, so at an average tide it is about 2 1/2 feet below the surface. It is a hard, man made object, roughly the shape of a fin, possibly an old keel without the keel bolts.
    Also, there are several shoals in the bayou. The estimate of 5 to 6 foot average depth is accurate for the rest of the bayou. The deeper water tends to be around the rim, which is why the channel is around the rim.
    Mike Collins

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The Little Bayou Southern Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The Little Bayou Southern Anchorage

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The Little Bayou Northern Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The Little Bayou Northern Anchorage

  • Publix Supermarket Within Walking Distance of The City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin’s Dinghy Dock (Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway)

    Located at Mile Marker 135 on the Okeechobee Waterway, 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Yacht Basin is a well designed and protected marina. It is owned and operated by the City ofHow typical of a CLASS Operation and a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR like the City of Fort Myers Dockage Basin to provide a dinghy dock. And, thanks to Captain Dunham, we know there’s a Publix Supermarket within walking distance.

    The City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin, located on the Caloosahatchee River, has a free dinghy dock. The marina is located in a downtown location and a Publix is .8 mile from the marina.
    Susan Dunham

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For The City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of The City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin

  • Big Bayou Anchorage Navigational Advice (Western Shore of Tampa Bay, south of St. Petersburg)

    Many, many thanks to “Local Sailor” for providing the very specific navigational advice below to facilitate a safe entrance into the Big Bayou Anchorage. This posting is in response to an earlier Cruisers’ Net article about anchorage no longer being allowed in St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Basin. As part of that posting, we listed other anchoring alternative in the area, of which Big Bayou is one. Now, with “Local Sailor’s” advice, we can feel a bit more confident about this anchor down spot.
    By the by, I checked my notes which resulted from our last research trip to these waters, and “Local Sailor” is right on the proverbial money!

    This is a tricky one, if you’re not very familiar with it.
    1. If you are sailing in from the Bay you would need to approach from the North and make the turn to Starboard.
    2. There is a 90+ degree turn to port at the back side of the bayou.
    3. The anchorage area is pretty full of derelict boats also so….watch your scope.
    Local Sailor

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For The Big Bayou Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Big Bayou Anchorage

  • Info on Burnt Store Marina (off the Western Florida ICW, on Charlotte Harbor)

    Southwest Florida YachtsBurnt Store Marina is a large, well sheltered marina flanking the southeastern shores of Charlotte Harbor, well south of Punta Gorda. To be succinct, this is a superb facility, with two restaurants, an on-site variety/convenience store and some repair capabilities. And, if that’s not enough for you, Burnt Store is the headquarters of two major southwestern Florida charter operations, including SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Southwestern Florida Yachts.
    The message below comes from Burnt Store’s harbormaster, Captain Peggy Wark, and was originally directed at AGLCA members. However, I’ve condensed it to info that applies to all cruisers.
    Give Burnt Store a try! You won’t be sorry!!!!

    We are in the middle of our visiting club season so make sure you call ahead to make your reservations.  Our ratesare $14.50 per month and $1.50 per day and don’t forget if you stay three days you get the fourth day free. One lucky boater has already taken advantage of this great deal. Make your reservations by calling 941-637-0083.
    We have two restaurants, fitness center and heated pool and if you care todo so you can also play golf. We will provide you with transportation to and from the golf course. We are a secure, gated community with friendlypeople.
    So plan to put us on your list when traveling through southwest Florida.
    Fair winds and calm seas,
    Capt. Peggy Wark
    Harbour Master

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

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

  • North Yacht Basin Basin/Vinoy Basin Closed to Anchoring (Tampa Bay, Western Shore – St. Petersbrug, FL)

     Slips are now available!! On the brand new Dock 5. For information please call (727) 893-7329 or 800 782 8350

    St. Petersburg was selected some time ago as one of five sites for the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program. And, it was previously announced their mooring field would be located in the North Yacht Basin/Vinoy Basin, which borders on the northern side of the huge St. Petersburg Municipal Marina (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR) and just south of the Renaissance Vinoy Resort Marina.
    It appears that construction is about to begin on this mooring field, and, consequently, the city of St. Petersburg is asking all the anchored vessel in the Vinoy Basin to leave.

    Cruising News:


    Of course, one alternative is to dock at the St. Pete Muncipal Marina. This is one of the largest, and best managed city facilities it has ever been my privilege to review, and, as mentioned above, they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR.
    There are some other anchorages available on central Tampa Bay’s western shores. I have listed links to those havens below. HOWEVER, none are anything like being as convenient and as close to good shoreside support as the Vinoy Basin.

    Little Bayou Southerly Anchorage:

    Little Bayou Northern Anchorage:

    Big Bayou Anchorage:

    Coffeepot Bayou Outer Anchorage:

    Coffeepot Bayou Inner Anchorage:

    Smacks Bayou Outer Anchorage:

    Smacks Bayou Mid Anchorage:

    Smack Bayou Inner Anchorage:

    Smacks Bayou South Side Anchorage:

    Well, I can answer one of Captain Bill’s questions below. To my knowledge, the ONLY ONE of the above described anchorages with dinghy dock access is the Big Bayou Anchorage. At the back of Big Bayou is a public launching ramp, where you can tie your dinghy off temporarily. And, as a plus, several GOOD restaurants are to be found within walking distance. In particular is Munch’s Restaurant (727-896-5972), one block south. Both breakfast and lunch (open 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) are terrific.
    Now for the bad news. I would not even begin to try and navigate a 7-foot draft vessel into Big Bayou! Captains piloting vessels drawing 5 feet or less, however, may find these waters a a good, or at least acceptable, alternative.


    The FWC Pilot Program is supposed to improve water access – I fail to see how limiting anchoring is ‘improving’ access. This is another of the Florida anchorages we are losing due to this program.
    Wally Moran

    Sam Warr

    Thanks Sam the South Basin has the depth but is the airport closeness a probem? i’ll try it. Thanks

    We have anchored in the Vinoy Basin on and off since 1986 when we first came to Florida. We used to dinghy ashore to visit the museums, shops, and grab a bite to eat about 20 or 30 times a year. Frequently, our stays were just for the day allowing us to spend our money in town. Regretfully, we will now have to find a different favorite place to go.
    Eileen Colon

    There is a small anchorage just south of the mun marina at the Harborage Marina in downtown St. Pete at the location on this link:
    No mooring balls; use your own ground tackle and dinghy to the marina or to a sand bar at the USFSP campus and walk to town. We live aboard at the marina. Good protection and depth and easy access to Tampa Bay and the ICW.
    DeFever 49 CMY

    What will the rules and rates be upon completion?
    Bruce W. Watters

  • Happy Words About Smokehouse Bay Anchorage (Marco Island, Florida – south of Naples, FL)

    To successfully enter the excellent anchorage on Marco Island’s Smokehouse Bay, you must make your approach via a well marked, but exacting channel which cuts off from the southern approach to Capri Pass Inlet and runs through the easterly reaches of Collier Bay. Some low water depths on this approach run as thin as 4 1/2 feet (in one spot), but if you can get past these shallows, your reward will be one of the most sheltered anchor down spots in southwestern Florida, with good shoreside access! Follow the links below to learn more!

    Whole heartily endorse the anchorage in Smokehouse Bay on Marco (this is where the Esplanada is. Dinghy under the bridge and Winn-Dixie has a dingy dock you can use. There is also a great Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays – we always plan to hit there on our way through.
    Marty & Jerry Richardson

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

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

  • Good Words About Naples City Pier (Naples, Florida)

    What a great, one paragraph review of Naples City Pier and the many attractions available within walking distance. This is indeed a great place to coil one’s lines, BUT be sure to call ahead and make dockage reservations as transient space is at a premium!

    Naples is our home port. The city docks are an excellent location. You would be within walking distance of 5th Ave. And 3rd Street for shopping and restaurants. A great foodie type grocery store and hardware store are a short bike ride away. West Marine and Enterprise just a couple miles away. By the time you walk down 5th you are only a few blocks from the beach. Our favorite restaurant (Bleu Provence and their new wine store) is within walking distance.
    Naples is a MUST stop.
    Betty and Rusty Hughes

    Docked there earlier this year on our trip from Ft Myers to Islamorada, very nice stop, friendly people and the trolly ride is well worth the history and the opulence that exists there.
    Dennis McMurtry

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Naples City Pier

  • Salty Sams Marina and Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field (Fort Myers Beach, Florida)

    Good words below from Captain Tom about Salty Sams Marina in Fort Myers Beach. This facility is found on the northern banks of the Fort Myers Beach channel, northeast of unlighted daybeacon #28. Note also the brief comment about the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field. These good folks are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    In Ft Myers Beach a great stop is Salty Sam’s-239-463-7333…..floating docks, fuel, wifi, fun restaurant with great food and entertainment at times. From the north proceed under the Mantanza’s bridge, turn to port and follow the channel past the shrimp boats to the marina. You can dinghy to 4 other restaurants from there, and there is a dinghy dock under the Mantanza’s bridge on the west side if you want to go to the beach. The Mooring Buoys are also reasonably priced and controlled by the Manatanza’s Inn Marina. You can reach them on VHF 16.
    Tom Jones
    m/v Marbles

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field

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

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

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