The so-called Marina Stadium Anchorage is actually a large cove indenting the northwestern banks of Virgina Key, lying opposite the city of Miami on the eastern flank of Biscayne Bay. For any number of years, we did not recommend anchoring here, as the city of Miami was ticketing vessels who dropped the hook on these waters. Well, those times seem to be past, and this anchor down spot can once again be labeled as a good place to spend the night, within sight of downtown Miami.
The excellent article below, authored by our strategic partners, Captains Mark and Diana Doyle, founders and owners of On The Water ChartGuides (http://www.onthewaterchartguides.com/), is largely taken from this dynamic duo’s very soon to be released, two volume paper AICW Anchorage Guide series. And, if that sounds appealing, Mark and Diana are currently running a 42%, pre-release discount for their new guides through 8/10/12. Follow the link above to learn more!
People always ask us if there is a spacious, scenic, and safe anchorage in the heart of Miami.
And our response, “Absolutely! Try Marine Stadium anchorage.”
Marine Stadium is a huge manmade basin along Virginia Key, constructed in 1963 as the first stadium in the U.S. specifically for powerboat racing. Spectators viewed high-speed races, or sometimes floating concerts, from the 6,566-seat grandstand stadium, enjoying the backdrop of the Miami skyline.
But you don’t have to worry about hydroplane races now. The last major race was held there in 1987 and the basin has become the perfect training venue for Olympic sailing and rowing teams. We enjoyed watching the men’s Canadian 49′er team showing off their stuff during our last visit.
The grandstand was declared unsafe after Hurricane Andrew, and it has since become a bit of a three-dimensional canvas for colorful graffiti artists. But don’t let the urban art create the impression the anchorage is unsafe. We have noticed regular patrols by the Miami marine police and the anchorage is consistently populated by local and transient vessels.
The anchorage is surprisingly “scenic” — in a South Florida sort of way. The basin opens to the northwest, framing a perfect view of the day- or nighttime Miami skyline. The grandstand, along the southwest shore, is still an interesting historic structure. And the northeast shore is an undeveloped greenspace, with a small dock and sandy beach with casuarina trees where you can take Fido ashore.
At the mouth of the basin you can dinghy to the Rusty Pelican restaurant near Rickenbacker Marina (which has an easy to hit fuel dock and a few moorings of its own). Personally we prefer the shelter (and price!) of Marine Stadium anchorage to the exposure of these out-of-the-basin moorings.
Marine Stadium’s next metamorphosis may be to a full-fledged mooring field. The city has plans to populate the basin with guest moorings, but the project is currently on hold due to budget constraints.
But no need to wait until the moorings are in to enjoy the history, scenery, and convenience of Marine Stadium anchorage.
Best and see you On the Water,
Captains Mark & Diana Doyle