Another boat and myself crossed last week. There was an issue with a bridge on the rim route, not sure if still the same but we went the other route. We had no issues. The first lock on the east side of the lake allowed us to pass through at idle speed. Safe travels.
M/V Livin’ the Dream
Congraulations, you have started something you will never forget. We went thought from Ft. Meyers to Stuart a week and a half ago. We did not do the Rim Route due to the bridge. We went route 1 across the lake. Depths were fine ACOE was reporting depths in channel of 12.5 feet. The crossing was plesant. Make sure to check winds as lake is a large body of water and can build waves quickly.
Enjoy the ride!
Kurt & Barbarajean Walter
M/v “in HIS time”
We just finished an East -West crossing two days ago and had no problems. Both nights we tied between dolphins near the locks waiting for the locks to open in the morning.
Easy trip and the lock masters were very helpful.
Only issue was with a couple of fast cruisers passing us at speed.
Curtis and Bonnie Combs
Off The Radar
The current Okeechobee water stage is 12.07 feet providing a depth of 6.01 feet. On April 2 we crossed with a depth of 6.5 feet but found coming out of Clewiston east bound just a little over 5.0 feet. There are a few low spots in the canal west of Clewiston. Our draft is 5.0 feet.
The Indiantown RR Bridge was being opened and closed manually when we passed April 2 taking about an hour.
Jim & Pam Shipp
aboard Silver Boots
Check the lake depths here before you commit: http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml.
Use the cross lake route at this time of year, not the rim route.
The shallowest water is the 5 mile channel leaving Clewiston, but there are some shoaling problems in the canal between Moore Haven and Clewiston.
Leaving the Port Mayaca lock, eastbound, you will see a set of commercial dolphins. There is a red/green pair of dashboards there. Honor them. DO NOT cut instead the red.
There has been some work going on that the Indiantown RR bridge. Check that the bridge is operating (it’s normally open).
Mind the markers carefully after you leave the St. Lucie Lock eastbound. The St. Lucie River there is very shoal outside the channel.
Quote “Depths were fine ACOE was reporting depths in channel of 12.5 feet.”
Just a reminder, on Lake Okeechobee if the ACOE reports the water level, eg 12.5 feet.
It is necessary to subtract six feet to get the water depth, eg 6.5 feet
Author, Great Loop Navigation Notes
We also started our Loop from Stuart (actually Port Salerno) but in February of 2014 and went across the OWaterway to Ft Myers, Naples, Key West, and back up to Stuart before continuing north. On the O Waterway we stopped at Indiantown and Clewiston (on Lake O).
Indiantown is a fun small town and has an interesting marina. A small marina, so call ahead, but a HUGE boat dry storage area. Folks like it because it is relatively inexpensive for dry storage and it is far enough inland to have negligible threat of storm surge.
We had good weather for crossing the middle of the lake and topped at Clewiston , an interesting collection of rednecks, motorcycles, Key West style Roland Martin Tiki Bar and Grill, and sometimes huge pleasure boats. The dockmaster there is a legend, although I can’t right now recall his name. One comes through what appears to be a lock but is actually a storm gate, and then ties up to the long dock parallel to the relatively narrow channel with boulders on the far side. As we were finishing drinks and our meal at the Tiki Hut, I felt a shadow and presence go by. A boat approximately 100′ long was backing up the channel past our 31′ Camano. I would not have guessed there was sufficient room between our boat and the boulders to fit the width of the vessel (Margaritteville?) However, there obviously was, and the captain was standing on the stern manipulating his joy sticks controlling all his thrusters to bring the ship through the gap and to the dock.
After stopping at Ft Myers (City Marina), Ft. Myers Beach (marina under the bridge), and Naples (City Dock), the first time we went directly to Key West, about 110 miles. At bit of stretch to get there during daylight that is available in the winter. After finishing our Loop at Ft Myers in January of 2016, we went from Naples down the old ICS to Marco Island, then Everglads City, and Flamngo, before crossing to Marathon. The coastal route has shorter jumps and less challenging for daylight.
Have a great trip!
John & Susan Gunning
Two days ago I spoke with the lock tender at the Franklin Lock, as the Cruise Club I belong to goes up river through the Franklin Lock monthly.
I was advised that at this time there is no directive from either the Clewiston or Jacksonville USACE offices on any restricted lock openings.
It would be prudent, in my opinion that you contact the lock tenders by phone at each end of the Waterway to make sure. Franklin Lock, 239.694.5451.
Stay well clear of the south side of the canal from Moorehaven eastward, near a site involving a steam shovel (or equivalent) digging rock from the canal edge. The Boat U. S. Team that piled us off of a sandbar (rock pile) said that debris from the construction activity had created (or more generously, “contributed to”) the creation of several such hazards that have helped keep him in business.