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Archive For: Content Okeechobee

  • LNM: Okeechobee Lock Procedures in Hurricane Conditions

    Let’s hope we never need this information, but it should definitely be included in your Hurricane Procedures folder.

    OKEECHOBEE AND CANAVERAL LOCK OPERATIONS DURING TROPICAL STORMS AND HURRICANES: EFFECTIVE:08/26/2018 00:00 thru 12/31/2018 24:00 EST (REFERENCES: a. 33 CFR Navigation and Navigable Waters
    Notice to Navigation – 72 hours prior to a Tropical Storm or Hurricane making local landfall locks will be open 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM supporting vessel safe harbor passage. Lock operations will stop 8 hours prior to land fall as Rail Road and Drawbridges will be lowered or rotated and locked into a secure position. It’s important that all vessels are at their intended destination before bridges are secured as passage across the waterway suspended.
    For Lock Operator safety the locks will: READ MORE!

    1. Stop locking vessels or working outdoors if lightning is observed within five miles of the lock and operations will not resume until lightning has not been seen in the area for 30 minutes.
    2. Stop locking vessels when winds exceed 35 MPH.
    After a storm it could be days or weeks before the waterway is reopen depending on damage to structures and how quickly debris creating navigation hazards can be removed.
    For up to date Lock information contact the shift operator 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM at;
    Canaveral Lock 321-783-5421
    St Lucie Lock & Dam 772-287-2665
    Port Mayaca Lock & Dam 561-924-2858
    Moore Haven Lock & Dam 863-946-0414
    Ortona Lock & Dam 863-675-0616 WP
    Franklin Lock & Dam 239-694-5451
    Chart 11428 11478 LNM 35/18
  • LNM: Cofferdam Installation to Begin August 24, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 55


    This cofferdam installation is in Pelican Bay on the Rim Route south of Pahokee.

    FLORIDA – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY ROUTE 2 – HERBERT HOOVER DIKE REHABILITATION PROJECT: COFFERDAM INSTALLATION
    Ebsary Foundation will begin the installation of a steel pile cofferdam located at Culvert 2A (Lake Okeechobee) in Pahokee, Florida. READ MORE!

    On scene will be a 48’ x 120’ deck barge (Name: EB 120) and a 25’ x 14’ tug boat (Name: Mack) working in the waterway adjacent to the Herbert Hoover Dike from August 24 thru November 30, 2018. The GPS Coordinates of the work area are adjacent to 26°46’36N / 80°41’41”W. The barges and tug boat will be located inside the construction area and will monitor VHF Channel 16. Recreational and commercial boaters are advised to use extra caution when navigating through this section of the waterway. For further information contact Brent Huffman at Ebsary (305) 325-0530 ext #113. See enclosure section for project location. Chart 11428
     

  • Toxic Fish Kills on Lake Okeechobee

    Our thanks to experienced cruiser, Sonny Reeves, for sending in this report on Lake Okeechobee from weather.com.

    Lake O and our fish kills/toxic beaches

    This is not a new problem. Video and story of who is making money off this is from 2016

    https://weather.com/news/news/florida-toxic-lake-okeechobee

    Sad to mad……

    Sonny Reeves
    Be Salt and Light, wash feet!
    on the ICW see blog for where http://ontheofficewautoteacher.blogspot.com/

  • BoatUS News: TowBoatUS Comes to Lake Okeechobee, Clewiston, FL


    These two TowBoat US vessels will be stationed at Roland Martins Marina found on a small canal in Clewiston, Florida.

    TowBoatUS Comes to Lake Okeechobee

    Bringing around-the-clock assistance to boaters in need on Florida’s Inland Sea

    CLEWISTON, Fl., July 23, 2018 – More than 15 years ago, Captain Michael Ammons’ professional career on the water began when he became the owner of three TowBoatUS locations, which offer 24-hour on-water towing and assistance for recreational boaters. After selling the businesses 10 years ago, he’s found his way back to the company, opening TowBoatUS Lake Okeechobee earlier this year. READ MORE!

    “TowBoatUS has always been a cut above the rest, and the boats are easily recognized on the water,” said Ammons. “When I came back to Lake Okeechobee after working a few years abroad, I knew there wasn’t anyone out here with the company, so I applied and got back into the business.”

    Much like an auto club for boaters, BoatUS offers on-water Unlimited Towing Memberships for boaters and anglers for just $149 per year. Boaters without BoatUS towing services face costs that average $750 per towing incident, with some paying into the thousands out of pocket.

    From his years of experience boating in Florida waters, Ammons knows the types of problems boaters can face, which is why his company offers an extended service area. Not only does the company service Lake Okeechobee in its entirety, but it also provides service to transient boaters passing through the Okeechobee Waterway on their way to fish the east or west coasts of the Sunshine State.

    With the lake attracting bass fishermen, saltwater sport fishermen passing through to the coasts and other area boaters, Ammons is confident he’ll stay busy year-round helping boaters get home safely, no matter what boating activity they’re partaking in. “It’s a difficult area, and there are tons of locks and restrictions around the lake,” he explained. “It’s a really chopped up waterway, and it creates a lot of issues for boaters, including hazardous water fluctuations, rocky areas, and more.”

    TowBoatUS Lake Okeechobee operates a 22-foot Lund Alaskan, a sturdy shallow-water vessel, and a 22-foot Angler deep-v center-console for salvage jobs. Both response vessels are kept at Roland Martin Marina. Ammons’ boats are easily recognizable by their red hulls and TowBoatUS logos emblazoned in bright white letters on their sides, and they’re rigged and ready for towing, jump starts, fuel delivery and soft ungroundings.

    Boaters can reach TowBoatUS Lake Okeechobee by hailing on VHF channel 16, by calling the company directly at (239) 600-0140, by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at (800) 391-4869, or via smartphone using the new BoatUS App. More information can be found at BoatUS.com/Towing, or call (800) 888-4869.

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Clewiston and Roland Martins Marina

  • NAV ALERT: LNM: Low Cable Restricting Air Space at Torry Island Bridge, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 60


    This hazard was first posted on Cruisers’ Net in December of 2017, https://cruisersnet.net/168847, and, obviously, no progress is being made to raise the cable from 35ft to its charted height of 52ft.

    FLORIDA – ST. LUCIE INLET TO FORT MYERS AND LAKE OKEECHOBEE – OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY – LAKE OKEECHOBEE (ROUTE
    2): Hazard to Navigation
    READ MORE!

    The US Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has identified a low hanging fiber optic cable at the Torrey Island Bridge in RT-2 of the Okeechobee Waterway. The fiber optic cable is estimated to be 35 feet above the water; high mast vessels are encouraged to use RT-1 until the cable is raised to 52 feet. Recreational and commercial boaters are to use caution when navigating through these sections of waterway. Once the cable is raised to the required 52 feet normal traffic will be restored. USACOE POC is Gary Hipkins at 863-983-8101.
    Chart 11428 LNM 21/18

    Click Here To View the Okeechobee Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Torry Island Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Torry Island Bridge

  • WARNING – ARREST- Bimini Basin Anchorage, Cape Coral , FL, OWW Statute Mile 145


    The entrance to Cape Coral Bimini Basin is on the north shore of the Caloosahatchee River from Waterway marker 86 off Piney Point. These arrest allegations are unconfirmed at this time. See Bimini Basin Anchorage by Claiborne Young from a kinder, gentler time. 

    Bimini Basin in Cape Coral is a sheltered, convenient anchorage on the Caloosahatchee River (Florida Cross Waterway-Okeechobee waterway). The news has reported that the city fathers have decided that ANYONE THAT DINGHIES ASHORE WILL BE ARRESTED!
    August Trometer

    Bad behavior  has been an issue in Bimini Basin for some time:

    Cape residents want more regulations on boaters in Bimini Basin from NBC Channel 2 

    Cape considering ordinance after boats left unattended in Basin form NBC Channel

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For the Bimini Basin Anchorage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Bimini Basin Anchorage

  • River District May 2018 Connections, Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 135

    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.

    The river is Caloosahatchee and the CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS are Legacy Harbour Marina and Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club. Legacy Harbor Marina entrance is located on the Okeechobee Waterway East of Marker #49 and Gulf Harbour Yacht and Country Club is on the south side of the Caloosahatchee River opposite Cape Coral.

    CLICK HERE FOR MAY CONNECTIONS CALENDAR OF EVENTS!

     

    May Connections 2018 Calendar

    Melissa Moore
    Web/Graphics Technician
    Anniversary Logo-03
    1631 Hendry Street
    Fort Myers, Florida 33901
    T: 239.337.1071 – F: 239-337.1076
    mmoore@cella.ccwww.cella.cc 

     

     

    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

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Gulf Harbour

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Gulf Harbour Yacht Club

     

  • Request for Information on Okeechobee Rim Route


    Larry and Kathryn Byrd request recent information on the Okeechobee Rim Route, so let us hear from you! The Indiantown Bridge restrictions, ending June 12, are the most recent issue Cruisers’ Net has posted.

    Has any cruiser run the OWW rim route lately. Any advice is appreciated.
    Larry & Kathryn Byrd – Aboard SLO M’OCEAN

    Click Here To View the Okeechobee Waterway Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For the Indiantown Railway Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of RR bridge

  • LNM: Low Cable Restricting Air Space at Torry Island Bridge, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 60


    Our thanks to Specialist Erica Skolta for this notice for high-masted vessels.

    Notice to Navigation Interests: NTN 2017-14 Okeechobee Waterway Route 2 – Low Cable at Torrey Island Bridge restricting navigation; high-masted vessels encouraged to use Route 1:
    http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Portals/44/docs/Navigation/Notices/NTN2017/NTN2017-014Lake%20OkeechobeeRT-2LowCable.pdf

    Notice is given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified a low hanging fiber optic cable at the Torrey Island Bridge in Route 2 of the Okeechobee Waterway. READ MORE!

    The fiber optic cable is estimated to be 35′ above the water, high masted vessels are encouraged to use RT-1 until the cable is raised to 52′. Recreational and commercial boaters are asked to use caution when navigating through these sections of waterway. Once the cable is raised to the required 52′ normal traffic will be restored. Point of contact is Gary Hipkins at 863-983-8101.

    Sign up to receive updates on Notices to Navigation at:
    http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/Navigation/NoticestoNavigation.aspx

    Thanks for getting the word out!

    Best wishes for a happy holiday season and a Happy Healthy New Year!
    Erica

    Erica Skolte
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Corporate Communications Office
    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
    Palm Beach Gardens
    NOTE: NEW OFFICE PHONE 561-340-1527
    Cell: 561-801-5734
    erica.a.skolte@usace.army.mil
    Twitter @JaxStrong
    Jacksonville District Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict
    Jacksonville District: A team of professionals making tomorrow better

    Click Here To View the Okeechobee Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Torry Island Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Torry Island Bridge

  • Healy Report: Okeechobee Waterway and Caloosahatchee River, East to West


    Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, continue to generously share their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter. Thank you Jim and Peg! See http://cruisersnet.net/168195 for their Okeechobee report east of Clewiston.

    Sanctuary and crew transited from Clewiston, FL to St. James City, FL, today, 11/9/2017. Fog early, then bright sunshine, light and variable winds and calm seas. READ MORE!

    The Clewiston Lock is a wonder to behold. Very small; less than 100 ft. Primary customer set are bass fishermen. Run by a private contractor, not the USACE. Hours of operation are posted as 05h30 to 22h00. Local knowledge indicates 06h00 is more reliable.

    At about MM 72, there is a hazard marker in Active Captain that describes a submerged obstruction. That obstruction must be there, because there are TWO Red, floating markers there, R”6″ and R”8.” They are positioned together laterally across the channel; a very strange pattern, but they are there. Appear new. They force traffic way to the south side of the channel, and water depths are 4 ft less than in the visual center of that channel.

    The control depth on the south rim is 8.5 ft, two miles east of Moore Haven.

    Water levels in the Ortona Pool are very high. The USACE is dumping water, and there are strong westerly running currents. Stand off the locks while waiting for them to open, as the current will carry the boat toward the lock and dam. Care is appropriate at the locks, where boats get swept sideways. Especially so at the railroad pass at Moore Haven, which is very narrow and has obviously been dinged several times already. There was a significant whirlpool inside the Ortona Lock chamber which created some excitement for another boat there. Currents were very swift emerging downstream of Ortona Lock, too.

    There are no depth issues on the South Rim, Caloosahatchee Canal or Caloosahatchee River at this time.

    Jim

    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Rock Creek, Pasadena, MD
    http://gilwellbear.wordpress.com
    Monk 36 Hull #132
    MMSI #367042570
    AGLCA #3767
    MTOA #3436

    Click Here To View the Okeechobee Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Ortona Lock

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Ortona Lock

  • Healy Report: Okeechobee Waterway, East to West


    Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, have been generously sharing their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter. Thank you Jim and Peg!

    Sanctuary and crew transited from Stuart, FL, to Clewiston, FL, today, 11/7/2017. The weather was ideal; clear, light winds, flat seas on Lake O.
    READ MORE!

    The condition of the water is deplorable. In the anchorage at Stuart, the water is “Lake O chocolate milk.” The water throughout the system is an ugly, dark brown. Water levels are high, and there are no water level issues on the St. Lucie Canal or at Clewiston. The control depth on the Canal is at least 11.0 feet. The control depth at Clewiston is at least 9.0 feet. There is no evidence of storm damage on the canal.

    The USACE is dumping water from the lake. In the St. Lucie Canal, we faced a 2 knot ahead current.

    The downstream gate at the St. Lucie is misbehaving. It took several tries and at least 1/2 hour to get it closed. Delays at that lock are possible until that gets corrected. The lockmaster is not happy. “A work crew spent all day last Saturday working on the lock, and before they did their work, the gate was operating just fine,” was his line.

    We are a slow trawler. We can normally make it from St. Lucie Lock at 07h00 to Moore Haven Lock by 16h00, but not today. We bailed at Roland Martin Marina for burgers at the Tiki Hut!

    Jim

    Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Clewiston, FL
    http://gilwellbear.wordpress.com
    Monk 36 Hull #132
    MMSI #367042570
    AGLCA #3767
    MTOA #3436

    Click Here To View the Okeechobee Waterway Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For St. Lucie Lock

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of St. Lucie Lock

  • Okeechobee Crossing – post Irma

    Our thanks to AGLCA member, Gary Reed, for sharing his Forum report, which, by in large, is good news for cruisers needing to make the coast to coast run.

    We came across (west to east) this past Thursday and Friday (September 14th and 15th). No major issues at all. All locks operational as well as bridges. Some were still on generator with one only able to raise one span at a time. All operating on normal schedule. (Note, we drove from St. Lucie to Cape Coral on Wednesday, 13th, the amount of water in the area was astonishing as well as the significant downed power lines.)
    READ MORE!

    Debris in the water was mostly ‘soft’ (leaves, vegetation, etc.) … some rather large mats but easily avoidable. We only had to run through one large mat shore to shore. Surprisingly, we saw virtually no deadheads, remnants of docks or piers, etc. A couple of the locks had some debris either on the upper gate on the western side or in the lock itself. We limited thrusters in these locks for obvious reasons and sprung off the stern line.

    The runoff into the waterway on both sides of Lake O was significant at some of the inlet spillways (not lock spillways but drainage into the waterway). Several moved the boat around quite significantly and unexpectedly until we began looking for them.

    Gary Reed

  • Local Knowledge Sought on Owl Creek Boat Works, Caloosahatchee River, OWW Statute Mile 125


    Skipper Pestik is seeking local knowledge on the entrance channel into Owl Creek Boat Works and Storage which is located 10 miles east of downtown Ft. Myers on the Caloosahatchee River between markers 5 and 6. Can you help?

    What’s the chance of boat with 50′ mast and 6′ draft making it in there and out?
    George Pestik

    Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Owl Creek Boat Works and Storage

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Owl Creek Boat Works

  • Grounding Reported East of Clewiston, FL, Okeechobee Waterway


    From the description below, we assume that Hunky Dory was taking the direct Lake Route and not the Rim Route. Our thanks to Dan and Peggy for sharing their experience. See /165580 for advice given to Dan and Peggy by fellow Loopers.

    For those that asked about Lake Okeechobee crossing….. In the Clewiston Channel heading East…. We hit rocks about 1 mile out from the lock. READ MORE!

    Apparently, the locals know which side of the channel to favor when you head out. We were definitely between the markers and were trying to stay right in the middle. According to Bill with Lake Tow, who got us safely back to the lock, you have to favor the green marker. Fortunately, the Roland Martin Marina is right inside the lock. The lock is open 24 hours a day right now. It’s a small marina with services, fuel, a restaurant and to top it off, The Tiki Bar. The restaurant and bar have very good southern comfort food, so all was not lost on this part of our adventure.

    We’re not going to chance another try at the Lake. We are heading around through the Keys when we get all of the repairs completed. We were just the first to arrive at River Forest Yachting Center with damage from the Lake. Just as few hours later, a boat that was totally disabled arrived from hitting the bottom.

    Very helpful information on the Keys. We were trying to plan out our stops from Fort Myers to Miami and realized that we will have to take the Hawk Channel because of the shallow water on the inside. The lack of anchorages and many miles from Marathon to Key Biscayne had us wondering what to do. Now we know that Channel 5 can be a stop over if we need it.

    We are a 50′ Ocean Alexander with a 4.5′ draft, if this info will help anyone else.

    Thanks to everyone from Dan and Peggy Stricklin, aboard Hunky Dory.

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Clewiston Lock and Roland Martins Marina

  • Good News re Florida Anchoring

    Our thanks to Kim Russo for sharing this good news via AGLCA‘s Forum and also to Mike Bodin of MTOA. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that in the future this law will stand up to the pressure on legislators from wealthy landowners to restrict anchoring.

    Great news! I was just notified by our lobbyist that HB 7043 was approved by the Governor. It is law. As of now, no local municipality or county in the state of Florida may ban, restrict, or otherwise regulate an anchorage in Florida coastal waters. READ MORE!

    Loopers’ interest in this issue and financial contributions helped prevent the enactment of any setbacks that could have resulted in the elimination of any existing anchorages state wide.

    Congratulations to all Loopers, members of MTOA, SSCA, and others who supported this effort, stuck with it, and made your voices heard! You have made a difference to the boating community. Special thanks goes out to Jerry Paul of Capitol Access for his diligent efforts on our behalf. His guidance and hard work made all the difference.

    Kim Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
    krusso@greatloop.org 

    And this from Mike Bodin, MTOA Public Affairs:

    Thank you AGLCA, SSCA, MTOA and DeFever, for
    your continued support. Florida’s anchoring Bill now
    is law.
    Florida’s new Mooring & Anchoring bill has become law. The Governor just approved HB 7043.
    It is law. As of now, the new law explicitly states no local municipality or county in the state of
    Florida may ban, restrict, or otherwise regulate an anchorage in Florida coastal waters. This
    plainly worded section of the new law eliminates each community from setting its own
    regulations. If this section was not plainly worded it would have resulted in many lost
    anchorages over time with boaters challenging cities for the right to anchor. Instead, we got
    the pre-emotion provision … preventing any local government from banning an anchorage.
    It was important for us to ensure there were no unreasonable setbacks in this bill. But, as I have
    said in the past, the single most valuable piece of this bill is the preemption provision. This seals
    off local governments. The only way that a new anchorage can be banned is by an Act of the
    entire Legislature and Governor. We can almost always kill such a bill. Moreover, we can likely
    kill any future effort to overturn the preemption or add new band and ranges in state statute.
    With the state level preemption and no local control, we are now in a position of strength. It is
    a home-field advantage for our side. Without preemption, however, the entire issue is a home
    game for all the anti-cruisers in EACH of their local communities… an infinite number battles
    that we would not be able to fight piecemeal.
    Moreover, SSCA, AGLCA, MTOA and DeFever prevented the enactment of any setbacks that
    could have resulted in the elimination of any existing anchorages state wide.
    Finally, you did a lot to rehabilitate some of the negative imagery about anchoring cruisers that
    had made its way to the Capitol.
    Congratulations to each of you, this team, and all the members of MTOA, SSCA, AGLCA,
    DeFever who supported your effort, stuck with you, and made your voices heard… to protect
    the freedoms of cruisers.
    The above is from our Tallahassee “Boaters Rights” Lobbyists Jerry Paul of Capitol Access who
    skillfully guided this legislation through six committee hearings with unanimous approval.
    Of major importance was the fact this was the accumulation of Florida’s 9-year, multi-million
    dollar, anchoring study resulting in a 256 page report. It was thought Florida’s new law may be
    a precedent for other states along the waterway. This was a primary cause to eliminate as
    much as possible harmful to boater’s language which would be in the new law. Counties, cities,
    waterside home owners and condominium groups were for local control to establish nonanchoring
    zones. Local control was totally defeated. Today the new law requires very high
    standards for counties to satisfy to even approach the state to establish new non-anchoring
    zones.
    Another major accomplishment, within the original FWC report, waterside residents were
    insistent for non-anchoring setbacks of 150’ up to 300’ along the waterway. This would have
    eliminated many now popular anchorages. The new law eliminated these setbacks for boaters.
    During this same time, we were instrumental with Florida’s new Derelict Vessel law, the
    previous bill was defeated because we felt it was too harsh for the boat owner, fines to high
    and did not give adequate time for owner removal. The new Derelict Vessel Law corrects these
    items.
    Mike Bodin
    MTOA Public Advocate

    And this from BoatUS

    NEWS From BoatUS

    Boat Owners Association of The United States
    880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria VA 22304
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com

    Florida Bill Strengthens Derelict Vessel Fight,

    Promotes Environmentally Sound Public Access

    BoatUS thanks governor and legislature

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 27, 2017 – The results of an eight-year pilot program are in, and Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have acted. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) congratulates the governor and legislators on Friday’s passage of HB 7043 that promotes environmentally sound public access and helps address the issue of improperly stored, abandoned or derelict vessels. “These are sound regulations supported by responsible boaters,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy.

    When the pilot program was enacted in 2009, a patchwork of local anchoring regulations sometimes made stopping difficult. Some boaters reported fearing a visit from law enforcement advising that they had “overstayed” their visit and needed to move on.

    Conducted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and five local governments including the City of St. Augustine, City of Stuart/Martin County, City of St. Petersburg, City of Sarasota and Monroe County/Marathon/Key West, the pilot tested a variety of methods of regulated anchoring, while still protecting the anchoring rights of the active cruising public. It also sought to reduce the growing population of derelict vessels in the state.

    BoatUS expressly thanks Gov. Scott, Reps. Matt Caldwell (Lee County) Holly Raschein (Monroe County), Sen. Lauren Book (Broward County) and the FWC for their work on the bill.

    Some of bill’s measures include:

    providing commonsense anchoring regulations in and around mooring fields and waterway infrastructure.
    broadening the definition of a “derelict vessel”; for boats in use, adding new penalties for those whose vessel registration is expired beyond six months; and making it illegal to affix a vessel to an unpermitted, unauthorized or otherwise “unlawful object,” affixed to the bottom of the waters of the state. This could include an unpermitted mooring or an old engine block.
    giving local governments the option to require proof of pumpout after vessels have been anchored for 10 days or longer in federally managed no-discharge-zones (portions of the Florida Keys and waters off Destin).

  • Okeechobee Update by Greg Allard

    Our thanks to regular contributor and experienced cruiser, Greg Allard, for this log and photos of his recent west to east crossing of Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway.

    Okeechobee Update – June 19, 2017

    The water levels in Lake Okeechobee and the Waterway have been very low this spring, prompting an earlier request by the Corp of Engineers to avoid using the waterway if possible.
    Recent rains have restored the water level to some extent, and boats are using the Okeechobee waterway. All of the locks are fully operational, with no reduced operating schedule.
    Here is a report based on our crossing of the lake on Sunday, June 18, 2017; we crossed from east to west. READ MORE!

    The latest Corp of Engineers report (on 6/17) showed the lake level for Route 1 was 5.93 feet. Route 1 is the deeper, more preferable route across. It runs from Clewiston (in the SW corner of the lake) to the Port Mayaca lock on the eastern shore.

    Here is a link to the Corp of Engineers site, which gives the daily report of lake levels:
    http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml

    This aid to navigation shows that the lake level is quite a bit lower than its “highest”, based on the markings on the steel beam. An osprey sits on the marker.

    Our boat has a 4’7” draft. With our carefully calibrated depth finders (3 of them), adjusted for their mounting positions in the hull, during our entire crossing the actual depth of the water from the western side of the Port Mayaca lock to Clewiston was never less than 6.6 feet. (Remember, the report for Route 1 indicated 5.93’) The shallowest section was, as expected, in the zig-zag channel which runs between Clewiston, and ends at green marker #7 – (which is at the north-eastern end of the zig-zag channel, out in the deeper portion of the lake.)

    Two days earlier, another boat, with a 4’8” draft, and a careful observer aboard, noted that the shallowest water along the same route was 6.25 feet; the Corp of Engineers report for that day was 5.78 for Route 1.

    You can used these reports, in combination with the latest Corp of Engineers report of lake depth, to
    help you evaluate whether you have sufficient water to cross. Remember, these reported depths are
    along the exact route which those boats took; if your position differs even a little, your depths readings may differ.

    There has been some discussion on this site about an obstruction in the marked entry/exit channel between the western end of the Port Mayaca lock and the lake. I questioned the lock master at Port Mayaca, and he advised that we should “keep close to the the green markers.” We stayed within 50-75 feet of the greens, and the shallowest water we observed was 7 feet.

    It is critical to stay within the marked channel, especially in the Clewiston channel, which is unforgiving.
    It is not mud, it is not sand, it is rock. It’s the same for the channel from the lake into the Port Mayaca lock… all rock.

    We have used the Okeechobee for many years, and this year the low lake levels revealed what is along side the channel. Those rocks are also on the bottom.

    Missing Marker

    Since we were traveling generally west-bound in the waterway, this was our view of “G7” which is the first marker for west-bound boats at the start of the Clewiston zig-zag channel. This marker is at the NE end of that cut, and normally there would be a green day board facing north-east. That marker is missing from the structure. This can make the west-bound approach deceptive, since there are other structures and aids to navigation in the area. The other green day board is in place (upper right corner of structure) and visible if you are coming towards this structure, generally eastbound from Clewiston.

    Finally, with the lake in such a shallow condition, it is more important than ever that you cross the lake when it is calm. Usually that means early in the morning, when you can depart from either Indiantown marina (if you are westbound) or, if you are eastbound, plan to depart from either Clewiston (Roland Martin marina) or from the docks at Moore Haven. It is surprising how rough it gets in Lake Okeechobee, even in relatively light winds. Here’s the problem: if the winds produce 2-3′ waves in the lake, that gives you 2-3’ less water under your keel. In shallow conditions you could easily bottom-out. If winds are coming from north through east, the problem develops in the SW corner of the lake….right in the Clewiston cut. If the winds are from the north through southwest or even the south, the shallow channel from the lake into Port Mayaca lock can become a problem.

  • FL Anchoring Legislation Summary

    Our thanks to Kim Russo of AGLCA for posting this summary on Forum.

    Here’s a very helpful summary prepared by our lobbyist, Jerry Paul, out-lining the action to date on the current bill and what it includes. [exoand title=”Read More!“]

    HB 7043 – “Vessels”

    2017 Florida Legislative Session

    _______________________________________________

    Pursuant to Florida Statutes adopted in 2009, Florida’s FWC (Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission) conducted an Anchoring & Mooring Pilot Program which concluded in 2017. The 2009 law also required the FWC to issue a report and required the Florida Legislature to act on recommendations from the pilot program. It is this mandate that HB 7043 addresses. The bill incorporates many of the findings and recommendations from the pilot program. As of May 1, 2017, the bill has been adopted by the Florida House of Representative and the Florida Senate. The bill has been “enrolled” and sent to the Florida Governor for consideration.

    Summary of the bill:

    Prohibits local governments (cities and counties) from adopting new laws that ban or restrict anchoring and mooring outside the boundaries of existing mooring fields.This regulatory authority is reserved to the State so that local governments cannot create a confusing patchwork that varies by location.

    Provides more flexibility for removal of derelict vessels. For example, a vessel is at risk of becoming derelict if the vessel does not have effective means of propulsion for safe navigation within 72 hours after the owner or operator of the vessel receives notice of such from a law enforcement officer and cannot provide proof of purchase of parts necessary for repair.

    The bill does not create any new anchoring restricted areas.The bill does not include the drastic anchoring “set-backs” had been proposed by some local governments and anti-anchoring activists.The bill does, however, include the following setbacks:

    Prohibits a vessel or floating structure from anchoring or mooring within 150 feet of a marina, boat ramp, boatyard, or other vessel launching or loading facility, within 300 feet of a superyacht repair facility.
    Prohibits anchoring within 100 feet outward from the marked boundary of a public mooring field. A local government may establish a distance less than this (but not more) upon notification to FWC.
    Provides exceptions to these restrictions in situations such as when weather requires temporary anchoring for safety.

    Note: As stated above, the bill does not create any new anchoring restricted areas. Remember, however, that a bill was adopted during the 2016 legislative session that established anchoring restricted areas in the following locations: (a) The section of Middle River lying between Northeast 21st Court and the Intracoastal Waterway in Broward County; (b) Sunset Lake in Miami-Dade County; (c) The sections of Biscayne Bay in Miami-Dade County lying between: 1. Rivo Alto Island and Di Lido Island, 2. San Marino Island and San Marco Island, and 3. San Marco Island and Biscayne Island.

    Prohibits a vessel or floating structure from anchoring, mooring, tying, or otherwise affixing to an unpermitted or unauthorized object that is on or affixed to the bottom of waters of the state.

    Allows local governments to adopt the Monroe County/Florida Keys standard program for requiring proof of pump-outs within 10-14 days in certain locations such as no-discharge zones and mooring fields.

    Kim Russo
    Director
    America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association
    krusso@greatloop.org
    843.879.5030

    Wally Moran adds his thoughts on this legislation via his blog, LiveBloggin’ the ICW

    [/expand]
  • FOCUS ON Legacy Harbour Marina


    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.

    Legacy Harbour Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR,  is located at Statute Mile 135 on the Caloosahatchee River/Okeechobee Waterway, in the heart of downtown Fort Myers, Florida. Multiple dining and shopping opportunities are found within easy walking distance of this absolutely first-rate marina!


    THE SAFE HAVEN AT THE CENTER OF IT ALL

    Situated just east of Marker 49 on the Okeechobee Waterway is Legacy Harbour Marina. Its central location along the Caloosahatchee River makes it the ideal spot for stopovers or extended stays. Just a few blocks from the historic Edison & Ford Winter Estates and just a short walk from the diverse nightlife of downtown Fort Myers, Legacy Harbour Marina is both a safe haven and a safe bet for those looking to make the most of their visit.

    For starters, our marina is protected by one of the largest floating breakwaters on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Its 131 floating slips are easily accessible by your vessel regardless of tide conditions. While the tidal range is very small in this part of the world, wind-driven tides can be a factor, with winter bringing wind-driven (NE) low tides and summer wind-driven (SW) high tides. This makes our floating docks very desirable for easy boarding and docking. To see a layout of our docks click here.

    This 131-slip marina features state-of-the-art floating docks that accommodate boats up to 120 feet. Surrounded by one of the largest ‘floating breakwaters’ on the Gulf of Mexico, its open layout and large fairways make its slips easily accessible to almost any size craft.

     

     

    If you feel right at home on the water, you’ll feel right at home with us.
    From its many amenities to its convenient location, Legacy Harbour Marina is the ideal place to dock your boat. Whether your plans call to stay for just a few days, months or on an annual basis, you’ll find our facility—and our rates—to be as accommodating as any of Florida’s finest marinas.

     

     

    Once here, you’ll enjoy a full-featured facility with all the conveniences of home. Relax in our heated pool or work out in our fitness center. Enjoy spectacular views from The Boaters’ Lounge; perfect for everything from after-cruise cocktails to private parties.  Our beautifully-manicured grounds provide great riverfront strolling and excellent access to all of historic downtown Fort Myers.
    Other conveniences include cable TV, laundry, air-conditioned showers, metered-at-the-slip electric, wireless internet connections and in-slip pump-out station.

     

    In addition to its well-equipped dock area, Legacy Harbour Marina offers skippers and their guests the Boaters’ Lounge where the entire crew can relax and unwind after a day on the water to some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.
    Or, enjoy The Chickee Hut and relax by the refreshing pool. Hungry? Joe’s Crab Shack is located on the adjacent property just a short stroll down our beautiful walkway and the downtown River District is just a few blocks to the east.
    Need to provision your boat?  A grocery store is within walking distance as well as several restaurants, a liquor store, beauty and nail salons and retail shops. For your landlubber guests, the Legacy Harbour Hotel & Suites offers waterfront suites and hotel rooms. Just click on the link above for more information.

    WATCH YOU-TUBE VIDEO OF LEGACY HARBOUR MARINA

    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

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