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Salty Southeast
Cruisers' Net
Cruisers Helping Cruisers

Marathon Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field And Anchor Light Discussion

There has been an interesting and wide ranging discussion underway on the MTOA List Serve, an organization that EVERYONE associated with the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net highly endorses, about picking up a mooring on Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor. Note that part of this discussion centers around the necessity of showing anchor lights. We’ve linked an article written on this very subject by our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, at the end of this posting.

We are planning on leaving Morehead City going south for the winter. We have been looking for a place in the Keys to spend a good portion of thewinter. This is our first trip south and we would appreicate some recommendations for good anchorages, moorings and less expensive marinas. We have been looking on line at the Marathon Mooring Field, but we are concerned that only 15 of their 216 moorings are big enough for our Defever 49 Cockpit Motor Yacht. We are afraid that we will get there and not have a mooring and not find suitable anchorage since they do not take reservations.
Do any of you have experience with the mooring field? How quickly do it fill up? How quickly does it empty? Do you have any other recommendations?
As always thank you for help.
Shay and Elizabeth Glass
49′ Defever CPMY

You really take your chances with the Marathon mooring field. We were there in Feb 2011 and they were full and wouldn’t put us on a waiting list. The wind was from the north and we had to anchor outside of Boot Key and it was horrible. Other people have been there in May and they had openings.
Mary Dixon

And remember, you are on the border where the “International Rules” apply. In the mooring field or at anchor, turn on your anchor light.

Shay and Elizabeth,
The Marathon Mooring field begins to fill early in November and can stay full all season with only a few boats coming and going. You just don’t know what size boats will be departing. You can get
marina reservations at several of the marinas and a few have transient slips but they fill up also.

I spent many winter months on the Marathon town moorings and I don’t ever recall anyone leaving an anchor light on. Is this something new?
Phil “TrawlerPhil” & Aven Rosch

This has been the rule since the before mooring field was instituted. Sometimes FWC will come through and remind you and sometimes they will write citations. Sometimes you don’t see them at all depending on how busy they are elsewhere. Boot Key Harbor is not a designated anchorage by definition so an anchor light is required.

You are not on the border so to speak. Marathon is outside of the colregs so technically international waters even though it is part of the National Marine Sanctuary. But more importantly, no matter where it is located, unless it is an official designated anchorage, which Boot Key Harbor is NOT, an anchor light is required.

Okay I agree . but for those anchoring in other locations in the Keys, it’s important to know.

How can anyone sleep on a boat at a mooring field or an anchorage without at least an anchor lite??
See you on the waterways!
Capt. Sterling

Click Here To View The Article Authored by Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, “Where Anchor Lights Are Required in The Florida Keys – It May Surprise You”

Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Florida Keys Anchorage Directory Listing For The Boot Key Harbor Mooring Field

Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Marathon and Book Key Harbor

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