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Lake Okeechobee to Kissimmee and Orlando

Now, here’s a topic which I don’t think has ever come up on the Net before. As you will see, Captain is wondering whether it’s possible to take a cruising size craft north from Lake Okeechobee to Lake Kissimmee.

Does anyone know if a 4 foot draft trawler can go from Lake Okeechobee to the northen extremes of Lake Kissimmee? Once there, is there anchorages? or is there a closer spot to anchor to
visit Epcot?
M/Y Mary M

While is possible to get from Lake Okeechobee north all the way to downtown Kissimmee, FL at the north end of Lake Tohopekaliga, the route is
maintained primarily for relatively small local boats such as bass fishermen use. Lock outages are frequent and may be long in duration. Also, weed removal in main channels may or may not allow liveaboard sized craft to pass. And, as another poster noted, bridge clearances of only around 11 feet are a problem. Also, refueling options will be very limited. The only real marina along the way is just south of Rt. 60 at River Ranch Resort. The city of Kissimmee has a marina adjacent to its downtown. Transient vessels are a rarity there, but space would likely be available.
More information on this route is available at
A much better alternative for larger boats wanting to get the attractions around Orlando is to use the St. Johns River from Jacksonville, FL south to
Sanford. This route is well maintained, offers great anchorages, is clearly marked, very scenic, and offers a full service marina in Sanford at the
north end of Lake Monroe. Either public transportation or rental cars are available there.

A quick google search, “Kissimmee River Navigation”
Six navigation locks are located between the city of Kissimmee and Lake Okeechobee.
Each lock measures 30 by 90 feet and has an average depth of six feet. From downtown Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee, six bridges are located along the waterway, all having vertical clearances of 11.5 feet or more.
Another site states that north-south navigation is closed through 2011, due to construction.
I could not find navigation project depth, but the 11.5 foot bridge would limit the size of the boat.

I don’t think its possible to take a 4′ draft trawler from Lake O to Lake Kissimmee anymore, if it ever was. The Army Corp of Engineers has been undoing the canalization of the Kissimmee River for years now. Then there are the highway bridges over the river.
Mark Richter, Winnie the Pooh, Ortona, FL on the Okeechobee Waterway

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