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Archive For: WEST FL – All Cruising News

  • Update 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!

    Bradenton Beach anchorage update: As of 5/12, the city has made no further blatant efforts to harass boaters. As a member of the “Mooring Committee” I can say that the city has no interest in really developing a boater friendly community.
    Still, I recommend to everyone that, rather than avoid areas of “conflict ie. St Pete, St. Augustine, etc., they use these areas and RESIST (nicely, of course) the erosion of navigation rights.
    As for the notion of the city “noticing the reduction of boating visitors and responding accordingly”, the city of B.B. would be quite happy if no one EVER anchored a boat in “their” waters.
    W.W.

    I respectfully disagree with this assessment of Bradenton Beach. I kept two boats there for the better part of a year…the first a 24-foot sloop…then a 29-footer…A friend of mine protested the 15 dollar/year fee for using the mooring field.The mooring field was illegal but I think that the reason he fought it is the slow erosion of rights and I am glad now that he did. They backed down on advice from their lawyer and I think that even though 15 dollars/year for showers and dinghy dock is a small price to pay for a decent facility with access to free trolley up and down the whole island…I think that the costs would slowly have risen over time and a bad precedent set. Having said all that…I DO NOT think that they hate boaters and liveaboards here…especially now that some of the riff raff has cleared out. The depths are overall poor for bigger boats…the approach in front of the fishing pier is a sad joke…but there is a back door further south beyond the sand shoals you can come in from if you keep going south after coming thru the bridge from the north about 3/4 mile and then come back in…at a NW angle…All in all…this is a decent area to keep your boat for awhile…amenity-speaking…but not for more than a few months IMHO…
    BTW..in case it wasn’t clear..it was BB city comission that backed down…on advice of their attorney and they dropped the $15/YEAR sticker fee…
    Morgan R

    Hi Morgan and all,
    I did not say that B.B. “hates” boaters and liveaboards. I said that the city has no real interest in developing a boater friendly community. I base this on my own experience with the mooring committee and the council. My belief is that this is due to a lack of familiarity with the subject as well as a lack of funds to promote the area.
    I approached the city about a year and a half ago with the idea of establishing a yacht club for the purpose of promoting the area to boaters and managing the amenities and dinghy dock and to provide assistance/info to visitors re. anchoring, sanitation, etc.
    The city seemed receptive to the idea. They have strongly indicated that they would like the “anchorage community” to self regulate. This indicates, to me at least, that city has no real interest in reaching out… they would prefer that “we” do it.
    As I could not find two other qualified people to willing hold the required offices to charter a legit club, as well as volunteer time to such, I abandoned the idea. I would be most happy to revisit the subject with the city if there is enough interest.
    If the CITY were truly interested in reaching out to the boating community, I feel they would have made more/better effort to do so to date.
    I urge any and all to visit B.B. as Anna Maria IS. has some nice things to offer cruisers.
    Note: riff raff is in the eye of the beholder.
    There are still a few boats that are derelict or nearly so.
    If anyone in the local area is interested in organizing a fully chartered club, please contact me. My # is 512 903 4498
    Very Sincerely,
    Dr. W. W. Waldrope

    Thank you for the info. Last time we came through we anchored on the East side of the ICW because we could not figure out how to get into the anchorage. We anchored without problem in about 10 feet of water. The ride to the dinghy dock was a little long and there were boat wakes to crash through. BB was a great place to visit and would gladly paid a fee for the shower and/or dinghy dock but free was good.
    Frank Cushing

    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

  • Great Words For Renaissance Vinoy Resort Marina (Western Shores of Tampa Bay, in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida)

    The Renaissance Vinoy Resort Marina is found in the northernmost of the three downtown St. Petersburg dockage basins, hard by the vibrant downtown St. Petersburg dining and shopping district. I have always been VERY IMPRESSED with this facility and am pleased to hear that Captain Block had such a good experience here.
    Of course, cruisers should also consider the adjacent St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, and, quite simply, one of the largest and best managed city owned and operated marinas it has been my pleasure to review in my 30+ years as a cruising guide author!

    We’ve bareboat chartered sailboats in BVI, PNW, and other areas in the Gulf. All the charters were fine but none of the charter companies come close to the quality, service, and value provided by Sailing Florida Charters. The charter company crew was led by Site Manager Patrick H. The entire crew was great but Patrick was totally amazing. He was completely determined to make our charter and sailing experience a delight and he succeeded.
    We had planned to visit other anchorages and marinas in the Tampa Bay area but when we became aware of the great service and facilities at St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Marina we couldn’t resist just returning there at the end of the day. Very nice dock area and right across the street from the Renaissance Vinoy Resort. Each day we left the Mediterranean-style docking (backing into the wind) to Patrick and his crew.
    We spent only one night on the boat. The Resort was too enticing and we ended up spending the other nights of the charter there. Very nice – and we were given a room upgrade and a bottle of champagne when they learned we were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. We also became well acquainted with the nearby 400 Beach Seafood and Tap restaurant and strongly recommend their seafood salad.
    Thanks to Patrick, his crew, and others in St. Petersburg, FL for a great vacation. The only downside is that now we’re really spoiled.
    We’ll be back!
    Loren Block

    We stayed at the Vinoy Marina for most of the Memorial weekend this year. Very pleasant experience. Easy in-out to channel. Harbormaster Wes is wonderful. My bride doesn’t care much for advanced line handling, we rig the finger pier side bow and stern lines, she hands them off to Wes, tosses him line for the springs, and goes below to freshen up. He does the rest. If momma is happy – everybody is happy. Transient dock is not long, so it’s an easy walk to sea wall and street. Entry and exit is secure, there is a day head at the entry, very thoughtful. Full bathhouse amenities across the street in the Vinoy adjacent to their spa. All Vinoy dining venues are excellent. Great dining also at 400 Beach, Moon Under the Water, and Parkshore just a block away. Bayfront St. Pete is not to be missed. Lots of green park space. Very pet friendly; our dog was given a bowl of water before we were asked what we wanted to drink. Oh, I know it is bumpy when the wind is out of the East (it was while we were there). People who don’t like a little rolling should buy motorhomes. The Vinoy is beautiful. Great Italian illy coffee is available at 6:00AM in the convenience area off the lobby. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
    Blake Whitney

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Renaissance Vinoy Resort Marina

  • Fort Myers Beach Dining Recommendations

    The Town of Fort Myers Beach proudly operates and maintains the Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field. The field boasts 70 mooring balls available for public rental year-round, and accommodates vessels up to 48 feet in length. The mooring field is located east of the Sky Bridge between San Carlos and Estero Islands in Matanzas Pass. For recreational cruisers, the Fort Myers Beach Mooring Field is a wonderful destination. Coming ashore at the Town’s dinghy dock puts boaters in walking distance to beaches, restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and public transportation. Mooring ball rental fees are $13/day or $260/month. All renters MUST register with Matanzas Inn upon arrival. The dinghy dock is available for public use to tie up dinghies 10’ or less (no overnight tie-ups). The dock is located beneath the Sky Bridge between Matanzas Inn Restaurant and the public fishing pier. Good review of some of the many dining options while visiting SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Fort Myers Beach!

    Fort Myers Beach – Several. My favorite may be the restarant just before the bridge on your stbd side as you enter (Nervous Nellies). You cna grab a slip there. If you go inside, take the north route (hang a left) and eat at the touristy Doc Fords. If you take a right, you can eat at Mantanzas, but not as good I think as Doc Fords. Doc Fords closes down for the summer sometimes, FYI, but Mantanzas does not. You can also tie up there (better buy a drink) and take a walk to the SOB (Smoking Oysters Brewery). Pretty good and usually a live band. There are many others places there if you want to chat about it, but if you tie up around there, you are in the FMB strip and open to lots of stuff and touristy walks. If you have a dink, forget tying up and just grab a ball in the mooring field. The public dinghy dock is on the S side under the bridge.
    Brian

    Fort Myers Beach is blessed with a large number of waterfront restaurants. In the winter they are crowded but accessible and fairly inexpensive. The above mentioned restaurants are great but don’t forget Bonita Bills just beyond Sky bridge on Port side. Good food reasonably priced with dinghy dock, no booze. Dock Fords is good but Matanzas is as well. Big Game Waterfront Grill and Parrot Key Caribbean Grill are in Salty Sam’s Marina. Lot of dockage and fuel plus ships store and several attractions for visiting g-kids. Many others as well. Good moorings. Anchoring around back side of islands. Cruiser friendly with mutual respect!
    Ed

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

  • Port Tarpon Marina Goes Above and Beyond (on the Anclote River Just Downstream of Tarpon Springs)

    Port Tarpon Marina is the largest of several facilities gathered along Anclote River’s northern banks near marker #40. Recommendations like the one from Captains Bob and Ann below are perhaps the very best indication of a quality operation!!!

    While on our trek home from Florida to Nashville, TN my wife came down with a very bad case of vertigo. What to do? We decided that we would have to cut short our journey but where? We ended up staying at Port Tarpon Marina.
    The management of that marina went above and beyond what we could have asked them to do. Not only did they make sure that we had transportation to and from town but also the doctor and the pharmacies. The beauty of this marina is not only the management but it is the first marina on the port side as you approach Tarpon Springs, the water is over 9 feet at the dock, so there is no worry about running aground. The marina was clean, etc. I can not say enough good things about Port Tarpon and the crew.
    After talking with them they are now members of the AGLCA so if you are going to stop at Tarpon Springs, please stop at Port Tarpon Marina.
    Bob and Ann Levine
    Sandpiper 44 Endeavour Cat

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

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

  • ARGUS Shallow Water Report on Channel from Clearwater Pass to Clearwater Yacht Club and Municipal Marina

    One of the real advantage to our new ARGUS service, is that we receive advance warning of new shallow water reports directly from Survice Engineering. Be SURE to follow the “Chart View” link below to get a bird’s eye view of where this shallow spot is to be found. After following the link, turn on the new Argus layer by clicking in the “Argus (MLLW)” checkbox.
    As you will see, the shallow soundings in question seem to lie just north of the intersection between the Clearwater Pass inlet channel and the marked, northward running cut which leads to Clearwater Yacht Club and Clearwater Municipal Marina, between markers #2 and #4.
    We would WELCOME reports from local Clearwater area cruisers who have seen similar or dissimilar soundings along this stretch!!! Please click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.
    We are establishing a Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Navigational Alert between markers #2 and #4!

    Capt. Bill of Reality Check Sailing provides this report on the approach to Clearwater Marina. Capt. Bill noted water depths as low as 5 1/2 feet, confirming previous indications now available through Cruisers Net.
    John Hersey
    ARGUS Development Team
    SURVICE Engineering
    http://argus.survice.com

    We ran aground between G6 and G7, less than 5 feet on that side of the channel. Favor R4 side in that area.
    Stealing Home

    About 6 months ago I was in that area. Knowing the perennial problem, I did some sounding with my dinghy. I discovered that the shoaling between R4 and R2 had extended from the west clear across the channel. However, there is a deep streak (over 10 feet) just outside (east) the marked channel.
    When I later went through with our 5 1/2 foot draft boat I went very close on the correct side of R4, swung out of the channel, and then came back in very close to the correct side of R2. No problem at all.
    It appears that the channel may have actually moved from the charted and marked location. However, I did not verify the width of the “new” channel, and it could be quite narrow.
    Gene Fuller
    Punta Gorda

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position on the Channel from Clearwater Pass to Clearwater Municipal Marina

  • Dining Recommended at Marina Jacks (Sarasota, FL, St. M. 73)

    Everyone refers to the large, downtown Sarasota, Florida “city marina” as “Marina Jacks” but, in reality, that is the name of the on-site restaurant, and the maritime part of the operation is officially known as “Marina Operations.” For twenty years, I’ve never heard a single, fellow cruiser use this moniker.
    Whatever you call it, the food at Marina Jacks is certainly good, In March of 2012, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Sarasota Power Squadron, upstairs at Marina Jacks. A GOOD time was had by all, particularly yours truly!

    Don’t miss Marina Jack, Sarasota. Dining from outdoor casual to upstairs white tablecloth. !st class marina facilities, and professional staff. Lovely city waterfront park on-site. Easy walk to Main St. with dozens of more dining choices.
    Blake Whitney

    We stopped here in early May 2012. The staff are anxious to help, floating docks are roomy, laundry and shower facilities clean,a free newspaper is at your slip daily, and free DIY pumpout is available at the slip. We loved being able to take the courtesy van to the Ringling Museums. Only gripe is the charge for WiFi – almost every marina now has FREE WiFi.
    Julie Stocksdale

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marina Operations/Marina Jacks

  • PLEASE Help Captain Sara With Her Listing of SW Florida Waterside Restaurants

    Captain Sara contacted me and asked if the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net would be interested in publishing a list of on-the-water, cruising craft accessible restaurants in SW Florida. I may have gotten a bad case of whip-lash from saying “YES!!!!” soooo quickly.
    Anyway, check out Sara’s message below, and PLEASE send her info directly if you can.
    Once their June cruise is complete, we will publish Sara’s dining directory here so it can be a lasting tool for the cruising community!!!

    In advance of my bareboat charter out of St. Pete down to the Keys in June, I’m compiling a list of restaurants that offer tie-ups to boaters. I will be collecting lat/long, depth, dockage description, dining experience and any other relevant data for each restaurant. This information will then be made freely available to the boating community. If you have info to share that would make the resource more useful to all, please contact me via email at:

    saraburns2000 AT yahoo DOT com

    If all goes well, I believe I might have found another interesting and productive hobby! Thanks! 🙂
    Sara Burns
    Facilitator, The Work of Byron Katie
    Transforming Education in America

  • Riviera Marina (on the western shores of Charlotte Harbor, between Burnt Store Marina and Punta Gorda)

    Honestly, I have always considered this facility to be a “train wreck” on each and every occasion I have visited here since the first edition of my “Cruising Guide to Western Florida” in 1993. Clearly, there are others with a very different opinion, and Captain Broom (see below) is not the first to defend this facility and its owner.

    The above comments [earlier reviews of this marina – editor] are a little out of date. Barry has continued to work on cleaning up after Charlie. Most all of the old boats are gone. Environmental problems have been taken care of. The biggest complaints come from cultural differences. Those of us that want a old Florida style DIY marina and those that have moved in recently and want a modern yachty marine. It is still a good usable marina that takes care of the locals here. Part of the problem has been people bringing in old boats to work on and then abandoning their. It would also help if people would stop dropping off their unwanted cats there, knowing that Barry will take care of them.
    I have been a twenty year year resident in the neighborhood and not afraid to post my name.
    Ted Broom

    Well, as you will see below, I was challenged to amplify my “train wreck” comment above.

    I have to say that describing a place as a “train wreck” is not very useful. What exactly does that tell me? Some details about what is wrong (or right) with the place would help others to know what to expect and to make a decision whether to stop there or not.
    Don Million

    Well, here goes. I’ve never been at this facility where I did not spy a host of ugly, abandoned craft, spread around the grounds, and sometimes at the docks. The entire marina is overrun with the largest population of stray cats I’ve ever seen, and the odor of cat urine wafts its way through the air everywhere. There has always been other trash lying around, and the one time I met the marina owner, I was, to be blunt, not impressed. In short, this is one of those marinas/yards, where I’ve sometimes paused to ask myself how it could possibly have survived this many years. Clear enough?

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

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

  • Riviera Dunes Marina Resort Offers Summer, 2012 Dockage Specials (on Manatee River, off Tampa Bay)

    Riviera Dunes Marina Just off Tampa Bay Owned and Operated by BoatersSALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR Riviera Dunes Marina is offering some really appetizing summer dockage and long term dockage special. TAKE A LOOK!

    We are currently running the following specials:

    I. 3 month lease for the annual rate of $10/ft

    II. Month-to-month @ $12/ft. (vs $16)

    III. Annual lease gets you the 13th month free

    We now also have 4 dedicated slips for small boats (up to 26’) for $219/mo. or a 3 mo. lease that includes the fuel discount for tenants. All 3 month deals end after 3 months; no renewals. Special Hurricane Safe Harbor Storm Reservation Program
    Doc

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Riviera Dunes Marina Resort

  • Good Depths and Gasoline Found in Everglades City (south of Marco Island – Western Florida)

    Glad to hear that Captain Steve discovered good depths moving upstream on the Indian Key channel to Everglades City. Some other cruisers have reported thin soundings at low water along certain stretches of this channel.
    And, while Steve did discover some self service gasoline to pump, that does not solve the problem of finding Diesel fuel in Everglades City. Has anyone found a place to purchase diesel here??????

    I posted a question some time ago about finding Fuel in Everglades City. I had found a marina there just up the river from the Rod and Gun club online and they advertised fuel. You posted my question and no one had any experience at
    that time. I just wanted to let you know, i did go back there and found the fuel. I had plenty of depth. It was a self surface pump (gasoline only) that takes credit cards. There was a very nice floating dock and ramp. It was very
    convenient and offered us a nice stop on the way to Key Large for refueling.
    Thanks,
    Steve

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For the Rod and Gun Club

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Rod and Gun Club and Everglades City

  • Good Words for Legacy Harbour 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.Well, of course, Legacy Harbour Marina is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!!!

    If you want to experience a top notch marina while visiting a wonderful Florida city, consider a night or two or an entire season at the Legacy Harbour Marina in downtown Fort Myers. It will fulfill your every dream, ie floating docks, protected harbor, dockside pumpout, cable TV, Internet, attentive dock hands when coming or going, security fences, boaters lounge, swimming pool, cabana for hanging out, free parking, walking distance to bakery, Publix grocery story, liquor store and restaurants, weekend entertainment at adjacent city park, marina movie nights, and competive rates. If you need work done on your boat, they have a full service of
    contractors. Try it the next time you are in the area and you will find it hard to beat.
    Stay safe,
    Tom (the weather guy)

    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

  • An Unhappy Experience at Fishermens Wharf Marina Park (a. k. a. Marker 4 Marina) – Venice, FL (St. M. 57)

    Saw the signs for “Dock and Dine” at the Marker 4 marina. Tried to contact on vhf with no answer. Called the restaurant and they said “sure, come on in, just pick a slip”. Up to this point, everything is great. Great restaurant, grocery store near by, and good food and vibes at the restaurant. However, at sunset, here comes the so called dock master, who wants two dollars a foot for dockage, forget the “dock and dine” sign. Forget that you have no power or water or that you just go suckered into a “dock and dine” situation. I have just about crossed Venice off my list of stop over sites. it seems like just when you think everything is going OK, someone intervenes and give the town a bad reputation for cruisers.
    I paid the dock master $1.50 a foot just to keep peace for a slip. I’m sure the cash never made it out of his pocket into the confers of the marina owners.
    Bob & Pat Hutchison
    S/V Maverick

    Doesn’t dock and dine mean just what it said? You had free dockage while you dined. How do you expect to get a free night of dockage after that? You eat, you go back to your boat and you leave to drop your anchor back in a proper anchorage, not think dock and dine entities you to stay all night for free and then accuse the dock master of pocketing what was actually less than the required fee.
    You can actually still drive a boat after eating and at night.
    Jesse

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fishermens Wharf Marina Park

  • Dinghy Dockage Rules on Smokehouse Bay Anchorage (Marco Island)

    Apparently, Esplanade Marina on Marco Island’s Smokehouse Bay will no longer allow dinghy dockage unless you spend all your time ashore at the marina and its surrounding shopping complex. It’s a good thing there is another source of dinghy dockage nearby at the local Winn Dixie (see below).
    We verified this report by calling Esplanade Marina on 4/23/12, and were told their “dinghy slip space is for patrons of the Esplanade.” So, looks like Captain Noel’s info is accurate!

    April 19, 2012 — We are anchored in Smokehouse Bay and just notified the harbormaster of our intention to come ashore to do some shopping and sightseeing around the island. We were informed that new rules have been adopted that anyone coming into the Esplanade docks will be required to remain on Esplanade property. I was informed that a dinghy found at he dock earlier was going to be “locked up”. The harbormaster was very polite and informative. I’m sure the rules are not his to decide – only enforce. We will be proceeding to the dock behind the Winn-Dixie where we expect our presence and money will be more welcome.
    Noel

    It’s their private property. I see nothing wrong with this. Especially with a great dock at Winn Dixie.
    Ted

    And, well considered input directly from the folks at Esplanade Marina:

    While the above reports are true, I think that it is important to clarify that this rule actually has always been in effect and is contained in the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions that were filed 04/02/2003 with Collier County, FL. In this document we have USE RESTRICTIONS that outline how and what of our marina will be used for the general boating public. This outlines that in fact the general boating public has access to the Esplanade to conduct business at the Esplanade. (Para phrasing of course with consideration to time and space with no change to the intent),. In addition it goes on to say that the Esplanade Marina Board of Directors has the full responsibility of enacting and enforcing rules regarding dockage and the entire marina facility property.
    With all of that stated; in the past, the Marina Board, my staff and I attempted to be very generous with our enforcement of the rules when it came to cruisers moored in Smokehouse Bay. However after having our generosity taken advantage of more and more over the last 24 months by cruisers who have trespassed on to locked private gated docks to dump trash and fill water, cruisers who came in to walk pets and did not pick up after the pets, documented and proven cases of cruisers who have been pumping waste straight overboard into the water, and more and more cruisers who would leave dinghy’s tied to our docks for 5,6,7 and 8 hours a day without contacting the Dockmaster we decided that we needed to take a more defined level of enforcement regarding how our docks are being used.
    So with all of that said here is our current policy that follows our Use Restrictions, and Marina Guidelines generally related to dinghies and Boaters moored in the bay so there is no question:
    All vessels entering into the Esplanade Marina must abide by all Coast Guard Regulations or will not be allowed to dock.
    The Esplanade Marina technically does not provide any dingy dockage however will allow those with dinghies to dock only on the single floating slip to the left of the mole located between B and C dock. If a powerboat is in this spot than unfortunately we will have no dingy dockage at that time regardless of what other space exists at that time. All guest dockage is limited to 2 hours.
    All Guest dockage is for the use of the Esplanade Businesses only. You may not dock your dingy and leave the Esplanade Property; if you do so your dingy may be locked to the dock and or towed at the owner’s expense.
    All Boats needing dockage must contact the Dockmaster either on VHF ch.16 or by phone number provided on the whalers of all docks.
    The Esplanade will not accept any Trash from any boat and will not fill water containers.
    The Esplanade Marina will provide Pump Out services to any boat based on Dockmaster availability. You must schedule your pump out in advance.
    It is and always has been the intent of the Esplanade Marina Board of Directors, its Staff and Slip Owners to be good neighbors and great Stewards of the Sea’s that we all share. It is however our responsibility to those individuals and businesses invested in the Esplanade Property to make sure that we are taking each one of them into consideration when it comes to how we manage the Marina Property. We hope that all Boaters can understand and appreciate the knowledge that we welcome you to our property with the understanding that while you are here you are our guests and must follow a simple set of rules that we have set forth.
    We look forward to seeing you on the water and on the docks.
    Kris Greenough
    Dockmaster

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

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

  • Seafood Shack Marina and Restaurant, GICW, Statute Mile 87

    The Seafood Shack Marina and Restaurant guard the eastern flanks of the Western Florida ICW, only a few miles south of the Waterway’s entrance into Tampa Bay, hard by the Cortez Bridge. The marina part of this operation has always seemed a bit “casual” to me over the years, but our dining experience here has always been good.

    Nice people at the restaurant. Docks are in terrible disrepair.
    M. Farinas

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

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

  • Good Words for Longboat Key Moorings (Statute Mile 77.5)

    Step off deck at Longboat Key Club Moorings and come ashore to our Four-Diamond beachfront resort offering a private white-sand beach, 45 holes of challenging golf, the Island House Spa, six on-site restaurants, the award-winning Tennis Gardens and so much more.Longboat Key Moorings, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, lies along the western shores of Sarasota Bay, north of the like named city, and south of Longboat Pass. LKM is blessed with a very well sheltered harbor, and there is an excellent shopping center with supermarket and multiple restaurant within easy walking distance, And, would you believe, there’s even a golf course next door!

    Very classy marina. Helpful staff. Excellent facilities. Italian restaurant needs a real Italian chef.
    M. Farinas

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Longboat Key Moorings

  • Southwest Florida Yachts (North Fort Myers, FL) Addis PDQ 34-Foot Catamaran to Their Charter Fleet

    Southwest Florida YachtsWe simply can’t praise our good friends, Barbara and Vic Hansen at Southwest Florida Yachts enough. Not only are these good people a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, but they also offer one of the best power and sail charter fleets in Florida, and all within easy cruising distance of the cruising rich waters of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor. What’s not to like?

    PDQ 34-Foot Catamaran Joins Charter Fleet at Southwest Florida Yachts
    Named ChriSea, the roomy power cat has two queen bed cabins and offers economical cruising in the Pine Island-Sanibel-Captiva corridor
    NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla., April 5, 2012 –Southwest Florida Yachts has added a new PDQ 34 Power Cat – ChriSea — to its charter fleet for cruising the scenic Pine Island-Sanibel-Captiva corridor.
    The spacious catamaran features two cabins with queen-sized beds, a fully-equipped galley and a roomy head with a separate shower. It has a large dinette with a settee that converts to an extra large bed for additional sleeping room. Amenities include a generator, color TV, washer and dryer, and a CD player with stereo speakers. The skipper’s array of navigation and operation electronics includes GPS and autopilot.
    Barb Hansen of Southwest Florida yachts said the power vessel is economical to charter and to operate. It charters for only $3273 per week in the summer and $4090 in the winter. The vessel is known for being stingy with gasoline. It is powered by twin Yanmar diesel engines, each generating 100 hp.
    Hansen said summer charters of three days or longer will earn two free days of cruising as part of a three-year celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary in 2014. Winter cruises of three days or more from Dec. 15 to April 30 earn one free day of cruising.
    Hansen said ChriSea is docked at Marinatown Marina in N. Fort Myers. Marinatown Marina provides quick cruising access, via the Caloosahatchee River, to the sheltered Gulf ICW. ChriSea is now part of a fleet of nine power cruisers from 32 to 50 feet The company’s five-boat sailing charter fleet is based at Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda.
    Southwest Florida is ranked as one of the best cruising and sailing areas in the world. Visitors have scored the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva as the best islands to visit for their ambiance, beaches, friendliness, restaurants and scenery.
    For more information about Southwest Florida Yachts and Florida Sailing & Cruising School visit http://www.swfyachts.com, http://www.flsailandcruiseschool.com, http://www.swfyachtsales.com Mailing Address: 3444 Marinatown Lane, N.W., N. Fort Myers, FL 33903. Telephone: 800-262-7939 or 239-656-1339, or email info@swfyachts.com

  • Caution for Higel Park Anchorage and Good Words for Fishermens Wharf – Marker 4 Marina, Venice, FL

    Higel Park is a city maintained park with a wooden dock and anchorage for stays up to 18 hours. And, as Capt. Sullivan points out, Fishermens Wharf-Marker 4 Marina lines the northeastern shores of the Western Florida ICW, just northwest of the Hatchett Creek Bridge, and southeast of marker #4.

    Tried to anchor at Higel Park anchorage March 19, 2012, but found it too shallow even for our 3′ draft. Unable to find an anchorage, we docked at Marker 4 Marina which we can recommend. Well protected, good facilities, friendly people, and lower dockage rate than Crow’s Nest. Good restaurant, too. I read they were damaged by the hurricane but they are in business now. Marker 4 Marina is located at Marker 4 just NE of the Tamiami North bridge, just N of the “ditch” going S from Venice. Main business, like Crow’s Nest, is a restaurant [Marker 4 Oyster Bar and Restaurant]. But they have large new floating docks with plenty of space and welcomed us at $2/ft. I didn’t inquire about depth, as we docked at the end and only draw 3′, but there were several large boats there. In the absence of a good anchorage, they would be my first choice at Venice.
    Dennis Sullivan

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Marina Directory Listing For Fishermens Wharf Marker 4 Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Fishermens Wharf Marker 4 Marina

  • Detailed Notes on Redfish Pass (off Pine Island Sound/Western Florida ICW, Between Captiva and North Captiva Islands)

    Our thanks to Captain Jay Wheeler for the welcome, in-depth account of the Redfish Pass channel below. Captain Jay also sent us notes on the channel from Redfish Pass to South Seas Resort Marina, which we have posted separately (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=84905)

    Cruising News:
    I wanted to shorten my passage from Naples to Useppa and decided to use Captiva Pass. After speaking with Tween Waters and South Seas Resort Marina, they pointed out that Captiva Pass was the only unmarked Passage into Pine Island Sound. Neither of them was familiar with Captiva Pass but they were both familiar with Refish Pass and recommended it over Captiva Pass.
    Unfortunately, my North Star and Garmen Chart Plotter as well as my old NOAA charts are not as up to date as the Chart that you have here on Cruisers Net has online. And, if I had inquired online before i made this voyage, i would have had a much better idea as to what i was facing.
    Coming into Refish pass from the Gulf involves following the correct marker confirguration, which requires red right returning. Even as the bottom [soundings – editor] shown on ALL the charts has not changed in years, AND IS TOTALLY INACCURATE AT THIS TIME, this is after all an inlet and subject to radical changes. The marks to Redfish Pass are marked “private’ but now that South Seas Resort has adopted the traditional Port and Starboard marking configuration, you need to follow that routine when approaching Redfish pass from the Gulf.
    On all the charts there is an outside green marker G 1, which is a good starting place for coming in through the Pass. After you pass G 1, line your self up between the Red N 4 and Green Can 5 and proceed with caution. The locals follow this route and the channel is deep enough to get you past Red Nun 4 and into some very deep water in the center of the Pass. From here you want to look for the first Green marker just off the the NE tip on Captiva and stay inside of it, running in along the shore of the island until you are able to pick up the South Seas Resort channel running from their Marina out to deeper water in a SE direction. Remember to leave the reds, going into Pine Island Sound, in this direction to Starboard, Red- Right- Returning from the Gulf. I did this at almost high tide drawingh 5.5 ft. and had not trouble, once I got the buoys straightened out..
    Coming in through Refish Pass from the Gulf saved me a lot of time heading North to Useppa and Cabbage Key.
    Jay Wheeler

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Redfish Pass

  • South Seas Island Resort Marina Entrance Channel (Statute Mile 13.5)

    Captain Wheeler is quite correct in stating that the entrance channel which leads cruisers from the Western Florida ICW’s run through Pine Island Sound, to South Seas Island Resort Marina, has been completely altered within the last year or so. Several earlier postings here on the Cruisers’ Net have also noted this change, but we thank Captain Jay for pointing it out anew.
    This can be a VERY confusing situation if you arrive without the very latest paper chart aboard, or if your chartplotter still shows the older channel!

    The current Cruisers Net chart [“Chart View” – editor] correctly shows, as several mariners have commented, that the South Seas Marina passage has been completely re-routed. On the OLD NOAA charts and many chart plotter’s, the privately marked channel from the ICW to South Seas Resort Marina runs in an easterly westerly direction. The new channel runs, as has been previously noted, in a sotheasterly to northwestly direction and starts well west off the ICW from Pine Island Sound, as shown on the Cruisers Net chart. The markers are correctly configured port and starboard, so coming in from the ICW, you leave the reds to PORT!
    Jay Wheeler

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

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of South Seas Island Resort Marina

  • Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Now Readily Available in Palm Beach, Broward and Dade Counties, Florida

    Within ten minutes of receiving the important message below from Captain Hyde, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net was on the telephone with Wise Gas, Inc. to determine their area of service. That’s one of the advantages of being a “non-wicki,” professionally moderated web site. Anyway, what we discovered is a potential boon for cruisers in southeastern Florida. More on that in just a second.
    So, why is a ready source of CNG such big news for the cruising community? Quite simply, CNG is a superior fuel for all on-board cooking and heating purposes, as compared to propane/LPG. As many of you already know, LPG/Propane is heavier than air and, should there be a leak, can accumulate in bilges or a low place in a boat, leading to a potentially explosive situation. Conversely, CNG is lighter than air, and tends to naturally disperse.
    The problem is, as we so clearly learned while formulating the SSECN’s LPG Availability Directories, that CNG is hard to obtain. Quite simply, there are very few dealers to which cruisers have easy access where their CNG tanks can be refilled.
    Back to Wise Gas, Inc. Our telephone call revealed that this company will pick up, refill and deliver back to your vessel, CNG tanks from the “tri-county area” of southeastern Florida, which is comprised of Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties. Additionally, WITH ADVANCE ARRANGEMENTS, sometimes the same procedure can be undertaken along the west coast of Florida, particularly in the Tampa Bay region.
    So, while it’s still not a perfect solution, nor one so broad ranging as we would like, at least now from North Palm Beach to Miami, cruisers can be sure of having a source to refill CNG tanks. It’s a start!

    Claiborne —
    On your recent visit to Punta Gorda, Florida I mentioned to you that if I was ever able to locate a source of CNG for those using the gas onboard their boats, I would let you know. I have finally found a source. Wise Gas, Inc., 1058 Bluewood Terrace, Weston, FL 33327 is source of CNG for vessels and vehicles in south Florida. Its website advises the following:

    “At present time, Wise Gas, Inc. is offering CNG tank refills to marine boaters in the South Florida area only. We do anticipate expanding this service in terms of geography and service options in the future. Call Wise Gas, Inc. in advance at (954)-636-4291 to coordinate a CNG refill. A member of our team will meet you, pick up your current, approved cylinder in good condition and refill it for you and deliver it back to you.”
    The cost of this service varies based on cylinder size and location. Call in advance to schedule your refilling needs.
    E-mail: info@wisegasinc.com
    Phone: (954)-636-4291

    I recently met with a Wise Gas representative who was in Punta Gorda making deliveries on the west coast and exchanged my empty tank for a full one. It was a smooth and convenient process. The cost was $40.
    I would advise your readers to visit the Wise Gas website at http://www.wisegasinc.com for all the information. I hope this helps and thanks for a great presentation to the boaters of Punta Gorda.
    Noel Hyde
    s/v Kismet

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