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The Salty Southeast
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18A. Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage

Smokehouse Bay – Marco Island Anchorage
Lat/Lon: 25 57.416 North/081 43.818 West
Location: entrance channel cuts south from the Marco Island – Capri Pass channel between markers #12 and #14
Minimum Depth: 4 1/2 feet
Swing Room: sufficient room for vessels as large as 48 feet
Foul Weather Shelter: Very Good


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Comments from the Cruisers' Net Community (10)

  1. Jim Merritt -  May 18, 2015 - 12:32 pm

    Anchored twice in Smokehouse Bay in May of this year (2015) and found the bay and the holding excellent. The Winn Dixie dock around the corner under the bridge was very convenient. The only note I would add that isn’t in the previous postings is that the navigation markers from the pass through Collier bay on the chart plotter do not match what is actually there. The marked channel runs out at “12” with three possible directions. Take the residential channel directly ahead and after going around a bend you will see smokehouse bay and “13”.

    SV Latitude Adjustment

  2. Lee Oldershaw -  May 1, 2014 - 1:20 pm

    Smokehouse Bay has a fairly narrow 3′ mlw bar running north south in the center of the north half of the bay. Depths outside this bar around the edges of the bay are typically 12′ in soft, smelly mud. There’s plenty of room to anchor away from the bar in the eastern half of the bay away from the entry channel that heads south to the marina. The shallowest spot is in entrance route in the eastern corner of Collier Bay at 25 57.955N, 81 43.900W. Keep away from the marker R2 and hug the seawalls as you make the turn to starboard but watch for outbound vessels that don’t know why you’re doing that. A 6′ draft can be carried to the bay.
    The bar in Smokehouse Bay can be faintly seen in the aerial view of the Collier County Property Appraisers GIS web site at when you zoom in. The cloudy water on the west side of the bay is not shallow.
    Lee Oldershaw

  3. Ken & Alta -  March 14, 2014 - 3:33 am

    Dear Cruisers, I’ve been reading your posts re: Smokehouse Bay in Marco Is.. Unfortunately, nobody has mentioned (or I haven’t noticed) the boat types involved. Our vessel is a 43′ Beneteau with a 5’7″ draft; would any of you be able to confirm to me the suitability of Smokehouse for our vessel? We appreciate your time and wish all fair winds. Ken & Alta (SV Alta Gracia)

  4. Lee Oldershaw -  August 5, 2013 - 9:06 am

    After being advised by the Marco Is. city attorney, that the Esplanade Marina was in violation of PUD agreements by restricting public docking at the Marina in Smokehouse Bay, The management entity of the Esplanade complex has advised the marina staff to cease enforcing the restriction that public dock users can only use the dock while patronizing Esplanade businesses. The signs should be removed shortly and the city of Marco should be accessible from the Esplanade dock. The “Dumas Gang” of the successful Marco anchoring challenge participated in this effort by researching documents and bringing them to the city’s notice. The City of Marco Island was on the boaters side this time.
    Lee Oldershaw

    August 7, 2013
    With the dawn of a new day, the Esplanade Marina Association has not yet complied with the request by Commercial Realty Corporation ( CRC ), the commercial owner of the 8 public slips to remove the restrictive docking signage. I don’t know how much longer this will be in limbo. There is some indication they may be intransigent about the issue. The City of Marco Island and CRC seem to be in agreement that the current docking restrictions do not conform to the Land Use Summary of the 1998 Development Agreement. We’ll keep you informed.
    Lee Oldershaw

  5. Lee Oldershaw -  May 20, 2013 - 1:21 pm

    This is one of the best small town harbors in Florida. When entering Smokehouse Bay from the north, keep on the west side of the bay. There is a narrow, north-south 3′ MLW mud shoal in the center of the north half of the bay. The shoal can be circumnavigated on the edges of the bay. Depths are mostly 9-12′ in slimy mud; be prepared to hose down when retrieving your ground tackle. Allow your anchor to set a while before setting as the mud is soft and deep. There is a dinghy dock at the south end and you are within walking distance of anything you desire; West Marine, hardware store, Winn-Dixie ( dinghy dock ), rental car, many restaurants, propane, etc. On island taxi’s are about $7. We’ve lived here 34 years and if we didn’t live here, this would be our premier cruising destination now that anchoring is unrestricted.
    Lee Oldershaw

  6. Marty & Jerry Richardson -  November 15, 2011 - 10:50 am

    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

  7. Herman -  February 24, 2011 - 3:30 pm

    I read your listing of Smokehouse Bay. And I was happy to see it. This is the best anchorage on the west coast of Florida. The chart you have bears no resemblance to reality. I don’t know if there is a more recent one, I am going to have to look around, if you are interested. There are all new markers which were put in when the marina was built. The channel is very well marked. Coming in from the Marco River it typically 8+ feet. The only shallow spot is by the first turn to starboard which is 5+ or so feet at dead low tide. The water is the deepest hugging the pilings and seawall. After that spot there is 8+ feet by following the markers into Smokehouse Bay. Smokehouse Bay is deep 10+ feet. There is only one shallow spot which is behind the first green marker on the way into the bay. Even with that there is deep water between the marker and the seawall. The problem is just that relatively small spot of about 4+ feet. The bottom is mud, so make sure your anchor is caught.

    I e-mailed Captain Herman back, and asked if the “small spot of 4+ foot water” was part of the entrance channel, and, if so, where it would be encountered. As you will see, this one shallow spot is NOT part of the entry cut, and is easily avoided!

    The area in question is not in a channel but rather a small area in the west end of the anchorage and can be easily avoided.

  8. Nicole -  January 11, 2011 - 11:41 am

    Chris, the dockmaster at Esplanade, is fantastic. Give him the courtesy of checking in with him (we walked over from the dinghy dock at Winn Dixie) and he will treat you like gold. Fantastic guy.
    It was mentioned to us that other cruising boats have “snuck” onto the dock early in the morning to take on water and leave their trash. The marina considers this trespassing, just a word to the wise. (besides if you ask the dockmaster he will probably let you do both of these things, just ask!)
    One warning: We were warned by a helpful person on the dock that if you anchor here for more than 4 consecutive nights the shoreside neighbors will call the Coast Guard and tell them you have been there for a long time and must be pumping out in the water. Apparently the CG will then send one of their small boats to visit you and I assume, do a safety and head check. Not a big deal (kind of a waste of the CGs time I think) but good to know in the event in happens to you.
    Esplanade will pump you out for free if you give them a call on VHF 16.

  9. Jerry Richardson -  December 15, 2010 - 11:57 am

    Have to agree with the postings on Smokehouse Bay. We use this as our primary anchoring spot when at Marco Island. Restaurants at the Esplanade are great, along with being easy walking distances to supermarkets, West Marine and a load of restaurants. One nice thing is that you can dinghy under the bridge and then bear to the left and use the dinghy dock located at the Winn-Dixie to do your shopping. Easier than shopping by car !!!!
    Jerry Richardson

  10. S/V Two If By Sea -  December 15, 2010 - 11:57 am

    We visited Smokehouse Bay in April. When entering after the Pass, you do need to hug the condo side of the channel and then follow the markers. Plenty of water and good holding. The marina is boater/dinghy friendly, which is a nice change from Marco River Marina and Factory Bay. I would recommend you do a courtesy checking with the dockmaster at Esplanade. They prefer the dinghies to be docked at certain spots. Smokehouse Bay is only about 10 minutes further in than Factory Bay and is well worth it.
    S/V Two If By Sea


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