The Western Florida ICW channel through Lemon Bay has always been notorious for shoaling along its edges. However, the shoaling discovered the hard way, described below, by Captain RB, calls for extra attention by ALL captains cruising this section of the Western florida ICW.
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We ran on the inside to Cape Haze Marina and for the first time in over 30 years of boating I had to get commercial help (Tow Boat US) to get pulled off a sand bar. The spot is between 11 and 13 in Lemon Bay very near Stump Pass. A shoal is encroaching in the channel on the red [East] side. So definitely slow down and favor the green [western] side. I draw 5 feet and ran aground about 2 hours before high tide but there had been that Northern wind that was blowing that day and the 2 days prior. The tow boat driver (very nice) said that the day before he towed a 55, 46, & 39 footer from that same spot. So I don’t think I made a major error. Fortunately I knew I was in trouble and had slowed down and was out of gear so no apparent damage. The tow was $972 (13/ft plus 160/hr). Did not wish to spend the money but I am glad they were there as I was not getting of by myself and it took him a solid hour of pulling to get us to about 150 feet to the channel. Any way let your readers know so they can be prepared for this problem area.
Came through this section on 1/31/11 at 13:30 with 0.8 ft tide. Stayed center channel and saw no less than 9 ft.