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    • Welcome Dredging in Problem Stretch: AICW/Bogue Inlet Intersection, Statute Mile 227, Swansboro, NC

      AICW Bogue Inlet Intersection – Click for Chartview

      The Bogue Inlet/AICW intersection has long been an “AICW Problem Stretch” and the dredging detailed below is welcome news. Not only is perennial shoaling a problem for AICW cruisers at this intersection, but the inland-most marker (#20) on the Bogue Inlet channel is often mistaken for an AICW aid to navigation. This mis-identification often leads to groundings.

      The Dredge WILKO will be conducting dredging operations in the AICW at the following locations/dates:
      White Oak River Crossing-26 January until 31 January, 2013.
      Floating rubber and submerged polyethylene pipelines will transport dredge spoil to the Upland Disposal Area 64 from the White Oak site. The dredge and assisting vessels MISS LEANNE and PROUD MARY will monitor VHF-fm CHANNELS 13, 16 and 78. Mariners are cautioned to stay clear of dredge, booster, floating (pontoon) and submerged pipelines, barges, derricks and operating wires associated with dredging and marine construction operations. Operators of vessels of all types should be aware that dredges and floating pipelines are held in place by cables, attached to anchors some distance away from the equipment. Buoys are attached to the anchors so that the anchors may be moved as the dredge advances and the location of the submerged pipelines are marked by buoys on each side of the channel. Mariners are cautioned to strictly comply with the Inland Rules of the Road when approaching, passing and leaving the area of operations, and remain a safe distance away from the dredge, booster, buoys, cables, pipeline, barges, derricks, wires and related equipment. Owners and lessees of fishnets, crabpots and other structures that may be in the vicinity and that may hinder the free navigation of attending vessels and equipment must be remove these from the area where tugs, tenderboats and other attendant equipment will be navigating. Dredging projects are usually conducted twenty-four (24) hours a day seven (7) days a week, all fishnets, crabpots and structures in the general area must be removed prior to commencement of any work. A NO WAKE transit is requested of all vessels passing the dredge and if necessary to clarify a SAFE PASSAGE contact the dredge on the appropriate VHF-FM channels. Chart: 11541.

      We passed through Swansboro 1/27/13. The dredge Wilco was working in the ICW near Dudley’s Marina.
      Bill Murdock

      Earlier Reports:

      We passed through this area [on the AICW] at 1012 on 11/15/2012 (2 hours after high tide) and found no problems. The key to this is to stay close to the docks on the north [mainland – editor] or (southbound) starboard hand. Doing this we found 15-20′ most of the way.
      Richard B. Emerson

      We passed thru bogue sound inlet [AICW intersection] on 12/06/12 in a 6 foot draft power boat & found a minimum of 14 & mostly 15 to 16 feet of water between markers 45 & 46. Red marker 20 a floating nun buoy could be confusing, but as previously noted it is part of the channel & not an ICW marker. Also of note is there is a green 45, 45A & 45B. Marker 45B is south of red 46. We transited the area two hours prior to high tide.
      Tim Carter

      Bogue Sound Inlet Crossing. No problewm. Favor the main land side.
      Raymond W. Smith

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For the AICW/Bogue Inlet Channel Intersection

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch

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    • Navigating From Marco Island/Goodland and Coon Key Pass to Everglades City (Southwestern Florida Coastline)

       As southwestern Florida cruising veterans will tell you, there is an UNOFFICIAL waterway which runs behind Marco Island, and eventually, all the way north to Gordon Pass and Naples. The “unofficial” part means that this passage is NOT part of the Western Florida ICW and is therefore not maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
      The shallowest spot on this unofficial Waterway lies near its southern terminus, hard by the southern tip of Marco Island, which is occupied by the fast developing (but still interesting) village of Goodland. Here, you can easily encounter 4 1/2 foot soundings right in the middle of the channel at low water.
      Also, a bit farther to the north, where the channel passes under the (northern) Marco Island Bridge, there is an UNBELIEVABLE “L” turn in the channel, just southeast of the span. You MUST pass marker #26 to its eastern and southern sides, or your vessel’s keel WILL find the bottom!!!!!
      The southernmost point of this “unofficial Waterway” is known as Coon Key Pass. Cruising craft must traverse the “shallow spot” near Goodland, and then cruise through Coon Key Pass, if they are southbound to Everglades City, Little Shark River or the Florida Keys via this “unofficial waterway route.” Of course, you can avoid all of this by staying offshore, being sure to stay well clear the vast Cape Romano Shoals, and then continuing south.
      The messages below pertain to cruising south from Marco Island/Goodland, via Coon Key Pass.

      What is the water depth? It looks very shallow. We are heading to Marco on Wednesday and could go to Goodland on our way to Everglades City…IF there is water!
      One September

      We’ve been thru Marco to Goodland several times in our boat which drafts 4 ft and haven’t had a problem. The most challenging spots were just after leaving the Marco Bridge (toward Goodland) and when exiting from Goodland back to the Gulf at Coon Key. Pay attention to the tides and charts and it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s our preferred route to avoid Cape Romano Shoals.
      Steve and Gina Smith
      M/V Island Time

      We draw 42″. Go at high tide, or close to it. It’s a soft bottom.
      Swing Set

      The moon is full, now. Even though the tidal amplitude isn’t much we discovered that inches count!. After poking around south of Cape Romano we decided that the charts were not accurate enough to go into some of the places that warn of 4 feet or less at MLW. Consequently, we headed directly to Marathon because we were in the area at full moon tide and the tide cycle was wrong for us to make a daylight entry into some of the places south of Goodland. We went into Goodland in a friend’s outboard runabout below half tide. At one point the channel was narrow and too shallow to get Sequel in and out, safely. We opted for the Little Marco River and Capri Pass and, at that, there is an uncharted bar on the right of the pass entering the Little Marco where an island blew away in the last hurricane.
      Joe aboard M/V Sequel

      Two great anchorages on the way to Marathon are Russel Pass outside of Everglades City and Little Shark River. We found them to be one of the nicest anchorages to be at for an overnight stop.
      Michael Rizzo

      Have made the run from marco to everglades city outside many times, in both bad and good weather. if you trust your gps and the depth sounder you can pick your way through the shoals with no problem, once you have done it its a piece a cake. I draw 5.5 feet.
      Nick Chavasse

      Don’t forget about the 55′ bridge from Marco to Goodland.

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Goodland and Coon Key Pass

      Comments from Cruisers (3)

      1. Gaz Haring -  August 4, 2017 - 12:56 pm

        Has anyone been through the Cook Key Light / Gullivan Bay channel lately?
        Been a few years since last transited. Always a little dicey with tight places around and south of Coon Key Light. Wondering if still 4′ at MLW according to Coastal Pilot / charts and my personal observations. Aug 2017

        Reply to Gaz
      2. Stephan Mariani -  December 3, 2014 - 12:14 pm

        When navigation the southern side of Marco Island through Caxambas Pass, Caxambas Bay, and Sunset Pass, pay strict attention to the channel depth between markers R16 and G17. Hug the G17 and G15 markers to avoid possible grounding near R16. Avoid this passage at ANY tide less than HIGH. Sounds of 3.0′ to 2.8′ have been encountered here at HIGH tide.

        Reply to Stephan
      3. Stephan Mariani -  December 3, 2014 - 12:05 pm

        When cruising south from the Marco River, passing Goodland on your STBD side, hug marker R2 on your PORT side and choose the channel on the east side of Coon Key heading directly towards Coon Key Light. The western channel at this point is too narrow and shoaled for safe passage at any tide.

        Reply to Stephan
    • Turtle Cove Marina (Tarpon Springs, FL on the Anclote River)

       Anclote Key, Anclote River and the charming community of Tarpon Springs lies astride the northern terminus of the Western Florida ICW. So, this is either the jumping off point when headed north across the waterwayless Big Bend region of Western Florida, or the first possible stop when cruising south from Carrabelle, Dog Island or Apalachicola.
      Turtle Cove is one of the newest marinas in Tarpon Springs. We had occasion to visit here in February of 2012, and were favorably impressed. Most of the dockage for transient craft is located on an artificial island jutting out into the creek, and connected to the mainland by a narrow, but auto accessible neck. Neat concept!
      I might also add that all the downtown Tarpon Springs attractions, including the MANY superb Greek style restaurants are within easy walking distance, and there is a fresh seafood market literally next door to Turtle Cove. Yummmmmm!

      Sea Biscuit here for several nights. We draw 4.6 feet, and in our case, we can only come and go at, or near, high tide. We almost sit on the bottom in our slip, but not quite. A very nice marina, we like it, just that the water depth at low tide is probably about 3 to 3.5 feet total depth at lower tides during the approach, 5 to 6 at higher tides. Easily doable, but requires a slow and careful approach, which is necessary anyway due to busy traffic, close quarters, and some narrow channels. Enjoy, as the hospitality is tops! Perfect location and excellent security.
      Sea Biscuit, Defever 44

      Visited the first week of Feb. Nice marina w/ floating docks. Looong walk to laundry and showers. New showers planned near docks. Problem being water depth. I draw 57’³. At MLLW I had 32’³ under boat (by lead line). Probably the shallowest dock in the marina. Poor choice by dockmaster. Great location to visit sponge dock area with restaurants and shops (two blocks) and also the downtown with cathedral, upscale antique shops and historical buildings. Approach channel had 6′ spots near high tide. Timing is important for deeper draft craft.
      Has Royer

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Turtle Cove Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Turtle Cove Marina

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    • Best Spot to Watch Cape Canaveral Space Launches

       There is a lively discussion taking place on the AGLCA list, about the best spot to anchor, and pick up a slip to watch space shots from Cape Canaveral. For years, if the weather cooperated, we always anchored in the wide section of the Indian River, just south of Titusville. There’s TONS of swing room, and 5 1/2 to 6 foot depths, BUT absolutely NO shelter from fresh breezes or foul weather. To learn more about this possible vantage point, go to, /?p=4356 !

      We had a great view from the anchorage just south of the railroad bridge near mile 877. There’s a little silt bar right off the channel (6 ft., if I remember correctly), but then deep water almost to the shore to the east,
      with lots of manatees and jumping fish. Excellent protection from the N and E. Only one other boat came in to anchor for the launch, and then left right after.
      Micheal Ahart

      Mooring field at Titusville Muni Marina would be good.
      Darrell Grob

      The ICW does not close. Only the banana river and the mosquito lagoon have restrictions during launches. The best place to watch is between the Titusville bridge and Addison point bridge. Sorry we are at Trawlerfest and don’t have our charts in front of us. It is an amazing thing to watch a launch from just south of Titusville. We’ll Try to see it from Fort Lauderdale after we graduate the latest University class of Building Cruising Confidence As A Couple. Go NASA!!
      Chris and Alyse Caldwell
      Captain Chris Yacht Services

      We have watched about 3 launches from our slip at the Cocoa Village Marina. Had a party also during the launch a time or two. Check out Cocoa Village Marina, Cocoa, FL.Â
      Also you can go to Kennedy Space Center Launch Clock Website but it lags the launch a little so be on deck at 0830, but you can see on the launch clock if launch gets cancelled.
      Capt Bob Kovach

      Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Indian River Spaceport Anchorage

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Indian River Spaceport Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For the Titusville Mooring Field

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Titusville Mooring Field

      Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Cocoa Village Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Cocoa Village Marina

      Be the first to comment!

    • TowBoatUS Tampa Bay Earns “Tower Of The Year” Award

      This just in from our good friends at TowBoat/US. Looks like the Tampa Bay franchise of this very popular service is really up to snuff!
      Notice this franchise has satellite operations on the Western Florida coastline, from Tampa Bay north through the Big Bend region!

      CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla., January 29, 2013 — An on-the-water towboat company that helps Gulf Coast boaters get home safely was singled out for its professionalism at the BoatUS Towing Services Annual Conference recently held in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Tower of the Year honors went to TowBoatUS Tampa Bay, which is owned and operated by Capt. Larry Tieman and Capt. Clayton Tieman. The company has eight locations along the Gulf Coast from Tampa Bay to Cedar Key, including St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Hudson, Homosassa River, Crystal River and Yankeetown.

      The company also received two additional awards – the BoatUS Membership Achievement Award for selling the most BoatUS memberships in the entire fleet, and was honored with the BoatUS Dispatchers Choice Award, given by the dispatching staff at the BoatUS 24-hour call centers for providing members with fast response and utmost professionalism during the dispatch process.

      “We have grown our business to become the largest BoatUS towing service provider in the United States and we are very proud of our accomplishments,” said Capt. Larry Tieman. “With fourteen boats and sixteen captains, we handle over 2,500 requests a year for on-the-water assistance. If you’re broken down or run out of gas near shore, we’re very proud that we can get a bright red towboat with a professional captain to your location in usually an hour or less,” he added.

      “The Tieman’s operation is the standard bearer that many in our towing fleet look up to, showing others how to run a successful on-the-water towing business in one of the busiest regions of the country,” said BoatUS Vice President and Director of Towing Services Adam Wheeler. “And they do it professionally, with the great care that our members deserve, and always with a positive attitude.”

      BoatUS Towing Services offers an “unlimited” towing plan for Florida boaters for just $149 a year, which includes BoatUS membership. Without a towing plan, the national average out-of-pocket cost for a tow is about $600. For membership and towing information visit or call 800-888-4869.

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    • Praise for Calusa Island Marina (Marco Island, Western Florida Coastline)

       Calusa Island Marina is our FAVORITE facility on Marco Island. And, not the least reason for this good feeling is that Little Bar Restaurant (239-394-5663) and Stan’s Idle Hour (239-394-3041) are within easy walking distance. The food at Little Bar is superb, and a VERY good time is usually had by all at Stans, particularly on the weekend.
      You will also find the management at Calusa Island Marina very responsive to the needs to cruisers. Give them a try!!!

      Just want to put in a good word for the folks at Calusa Island Marina, Goodland, FL. It is sunny and warm among the mangrove islands just at the edge of the 10,000 Islands. Cheryl, Andrew, Larry and dockmaster, Don, are
      friendly, welcoming and very helpful. So if you are still on your way south (or coming north) a stop here is well worth it.
      Judith and Paul

      We’ve been by Calusa many times; we love the area! But, it is shallow, and particularly in the mornings with the prevailing diurnal tides of the SW Coast. From the Coon Key Channel, what’s your “local knowledge” advice on
      getting onto the marina? And also, did you “partake” at Stan’s?
      Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary

      It is a really neat run up the back door to there from Marco. Marina is neat. Shallow water is true, but with our 4′ draft, we made it just fine. It is a nice, short run from there to Everglades City, but take the east side of the last island when you leave and not the channel. Locals will tell you how.
      John & Sue Winter

      Click Here To View the Eastern Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For

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

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    • Question about Okeechobee Rim Route near Clewiston, FL

      Capt. Power asks for first-hand knowledge of conditions in the Rim Route canal near Clewiston. If you have recently navigated that area, let us hear from you. The latest construction notice we have posted for this area is from September of 2012 (see link below) which does not mention a submerged cable as part of the construction. To date, Cruisers’ Net cannot find any spokesperson or officer who is aware of a submerged cable, but we will continue to trace the location of said cable. Also, from the comments of the lock tender below, it appears that the rim canal between Moore Haven and Clewiston at least, is passable.

      Related to this alert is the notice from the Corps posted last fall to the effect that there is now a `cable’ that crosses the rim canal between Moore Haven and Clewiston. It first states to take caution for the cable, debris and markers. It then states the rim canal is not passable. I talked with the Corps last fall and was informed that it was passable. I have not seen any recent comments on this issue. Has anyone passed through this area?
      David S. Power
      Two If By Sea

      Update: the Moore Haven Lock just informed me that the `blockage’ that the notice is referring to is in a different location and not in the canal between Moore Haven and Clewiston. He told me that he has been locking several sailboats through the lock today. I hope to talk with a boater coming back from the east cost in a few days and will see what he reports.
      David S. Power
      Two If By Sea

      We have a 39′ trawler and transited the rim route in December, heading westbound and have just today transited eastbound from Moore Haven lock to South Bay, passing Clewiston enroute. We had no issues going either direction and encountered no navigational obstructions.
      T Shelton
      Pelican Rose

      Click Here To View a Navigation Alert posted for the Okeechobee.

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    • Making a Dinghy Legal in Florida

      A very interesting discussion has been taking place this week on the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association ( about the requirements for legally operating a dinghy in the Sunshine State. This is useful reading for all who cruise in Floridian waters.
      Incidentally, the entire Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net bunch continues to highly recommend membership in the American Great Loop Cruisers’ Association. What a GREAT bunch of fellow cruisers!

      Our boat the “Ariverderci” she made it to Fort Myers beach from MN in Dec of 2012.
      We will be getting back to her in Feb to continue on out Great loop Adventure.
      We are having dinghy and davits attached to our swim deck while we are away. We did not really need one on the way down beacuse tieds were not a problem. We simply beached the boat and have done this for years.
      Well that has changed. A dinghy should be a lot of fun put we sure do not want to break any laws while using it.
      Can any one tell us if we need navigation lights on a motorized dinghy under 9′ long. I can’t find anything that say I do, but I want to be safe.
      Also under Florida boating regs we found a web site that said boats under 16′ needed 3 Visual distress signals approved for night time use. Can some-one name 3 for me? Hand held VHF radio? Flash light? I don’t know if they qualify and that’s only two.
      We will be looking for your ideas and suggestions on lights and visual distress signals for boats under 16′

      Under 16′ – For lighting, you only need one all-around light when operating sunset to sunrise, or in restricted visibility. For distress signals, nothing is required unless you are on coastal (not inland) waters
      See this link:
      Don’t forget to register your dinghy with proper state, probably the same state as your primary boat.
      Ron & Jan Matuska

      Do not confuse the requirements for a NON-POWERED vessel with those of a vessel that is powered. Powered vessels REQUIRE navigation lights after dark. Non-powered vessels DO NOT (except for a lantern, flashlight, etc). A dinghy is a vessel!! Get out your navigation rules, dust them off and look throught them. Don’t stop reading when you find the answer you want, read the whole section, the rule may change when applied to your situation. Remember, Federal Laws can trump local laws.
      Distress signals are described in the Navigation Rule book. Specifically, rule 37. Additionally look at annex IV to the Nav rules, you will find 15 or more. For lights, look at rule 23 and 25 and make sure you follow either international or inland rules as appropriate.
      Larry Kreissler

      I am a Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Inspector and would refer you to a few web pages for your information.
      The first one is This website allows you to look at the different states and their laws. As there are surprising differences between states, you need to be aware of and comply
      with different state laws as you proceed around the loop. This company is the publisher of the various state law books that are distributed by the states. Printed copies of these books are available from your nearest Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadron who also conduct Vessel Safety Checks.
      I would strongly urge you to get a FREE Vessel Safety Check. Each examiner is qualified to perform the inspection and will issue you a decal if your vessel passes the exam. Some insurance companies might give you a discount on your insurance for passing the exam – check with them. To schedule a Vessel Safety Check with the Coast Guard Auxiliary, just go to and click on “Vessel Safety Check” in the left hand column. Here you will find a “virtual VSC” so you can make sure you have
      all the required equipment. Once you have done this, you can schedule a VSC with a local examiner through this website. For the US Power Squadron, go to and follow a similar procedure. While passing the exam and display of the decal is not a get out of jail free card, you may still be boarded by the Coast Guard or local law enforcement to conduct a safety check as this is their probable cause for stopping you. If they are doing random boardings and see the decal, they may decide to bypass you and move on to someone who is not displaying the decal.
      Different states will have their own web sites, so please also refer to those for hopefully, the most up to date information.
      Visual Distress Signal carriage requirements depend on the body of water you
      operate on and whether you operate only during daylight, or potentially could operate at night or in limited visibility conditions. Because of the wide variety of time of day, conditions, and locations where you may use
      your dingy, I would equip it to the highest standard – coastal and night operations. This is completely different than daylight only – inland. Personally, I carry the Orion Skyblazer handheld flares in a pocket on my life jacket while aboard my dingy. They meet day and night requirements, coastal and inland requirements, are relatively cheap, and are very compact.
      I have no pecuniary interest in making this recommendation – only one of a satisfied customer. Various localities may have additional requirements or restrictions. An example of this is the Corps of Engineers lakes in Georgia.
      They discourage the use of the pistol type pyrotechnic launchers (notice I did not say guns) as they launch a flare high enough and with enough range that it could come down on shore and potentially start a forest fire. I
      also have a B-1 fire extinguisher, a Danforth style anchor (made for PWC) and a screw type beach anchor along with 50 feet of anchor line, and a couple of dock lines.
      Navigation lighting requirements are Federal and will apply to you regardless of your location. Various states may have additional requirements. On my dingy, I have removable navigation lights with bases that are glued to the tube on the bow, and glued and bolted to the top of the engine at the stern. While the anchors and anchor line are not part of the legally required equipment, it certainly makes my dingy more useful and safer. It is not difficult or expensive to make your dingy compliant and legally usable in all locations under all conditions.
      Even if all of this was not required by various state and federal laws, you want to see and be seen, hear and be heard. This makes you safer on the water and greatly decreases the chances that you will have an accident.
      Thanks for asking the question as I am sure there are others who will read this and take appropriate action to make their Loop safer and to be legal wherever they go.
      Dave & Nan Ellen Fuller

      As Dave pointed out, powered vessels REQUIRE navigation lights after dark. And like Dave, I too have removable navigation lights with bases that are glued to the tube on the bow, and bolted to the top of the engine at the stern.
      Also, be sure to have on board a life jacket for each person on board. An inflatable vest in a pouch worn on the waist is a convenient choice. And a whistle or other audible device is needed too. And a daytime distress signal too. An anchor can save you from having a current sweep your dinghy into harms way, should your outboard conk out ‘” although it’s not required.
      USCG and water cops with time on their hands find dinghies easy prey for these violations. And in some places you’re more likely to be cited after sunset.
      Nighttime dingy transits in busy, confined areas like Key West can be rather dangerous if a dingy does not display the proper navigation lights. The on shore lights and other vessels hamper visibility, increasing the possibility that a dinghy can be run over by a larger vessel.

      The Fullers state that, `I have removable navigation lights with bases that are glued to the tube on the bow, and glued and bolted to the top of the engine at the stern.’ I see many all-round anchor/range lights on top of outboards which are clearly in violation of COLREGS. If that light cannot be seen all around, over the heads of passengers or the boat’s superstructure, it is illegal and unsafe.
      Capt. Jim Acheson

      As Dave pointed out, powered vessels REQUIRE navigation lights after dark. And like Dave, I too have removable navigation lights with bases that are glued to the tube on the bow, and bolted to the top of the engine at the stern.

      Also, be sure to have on board a life jacket for each person on board. An inflatable vest in a pouch worn on the waist is a convenient choice. And a whistle or other audible device is needed too. And a daytime distress signal too. An anchor can save you from having a current sweep your dinghy into harms way, should your outboard conk out ‘” although it’s not required.

      USCG and water cops with time on their hands find dinghies easy prey for these violations. And in some places you’re more likely to be cited after sunset.

      Nighttime dingy transits in busy, confined areas like Key West can be rather dangerous if a dingy does not display the proper navigation lights. The on shore lights and other vessels hamper visibility, increasing the possibility that a dinghy can be run over by a larger vessel.

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. USGC Jim -  April 9, 2017 - 5:06 pm

        Navigating a small dinghy at night requires ONLY a white all around light if the vessel is navigated at a speed of less than 7 knots and is less than 7 meters (22′) long-clearly in the rules-and don’t let some clammer cop tell you otherwise. I’ve always found that legit boarding officers in the USCG know the rules. Local cops are another story.

        Reply to USGC
    • Important – Florida Boat Registration Questions Answered

      Recently, we published an article about the issue of whether Federally Documented vessels entering Florida need/must also be state registered in Florida, or some other state (see /?p=105475). In a follow-up reference to this article, as part of our SSECN Alert of 1/18/13, we posed two specific questions:

      1. Are Federally Documented vessels which are NOT ALSO state registered, in violation of Florida state law, if said vessels stays in Floridian waters LESS THAN 90 DAYS?

      2. Are owners of Federally Documented vessels, whose home port resides in a state that refuses to state register Federally Documented vessels, and, therefore, their vessels are not state registered, in violation of Florida state law.

      Well, thanks to my friend, fellow nautical/cruising guide author, and frequent SSECN contributor, Captain John Kettlewell, these questions have been answered, though FEW will like the answers.
      John took it upon himself to contact Captain Tom Shipp of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC). This is the principal state agency responsible for enforcing Florida boat registration regulations, so, if anyone should know the answers, it’s them. Here is what Captain Kettlewell discovered:

      Captain Tom Shipp of the Florida FWC has replied to my question about what reciprocity there is for a CG documented vessel from out of state that does not also have a state registration. As you know, quite a few states do not require CG documented vessels to also be registered with the state. Off hand, I believe this is the case in Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
      In short, the answer is that every boat entering Florida waters must have a state registration even if it is CG documented. Parts of his message follow:

      You are correct that the `grace period’ would not apply to those vessels. Although those other states may not require registration for documented vessels I would encourage each vessel owner to inquire of their individual home state if they could voluntarily register their vessel.
      A vessel, federally documented or not, that is not covered by a registration from another state or by the USCG in a state without a federally approved numbering system, is not provided that 90 day reciprocity time and would need to register with DHSMV.
      Captain Tom Shipp
      FWC / DLE / Boating and Waterways
      620 South Meridian Street
      Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
      Phone: (850) 617-9563
      Fax: (850) 488-9284

      John J. Kettlewell

      So, to interpret a bit, the answers are, Federally Documented vessels which are NOT ALSO state registered are in violation of Florida state law, the second they pass into Florida. There is NO 90 day grace period.
      And, even if your vessel’s home port is located in a state that refuses to state register Federally Documented vessels, you are still in violation of Florida state law as soon as you pass into Floridian waters. In this instance, you would probably have to pay to register your boat in Florida.
      As I said, few will like these answers, but this is the information that has come to light. The entire cruising community owes a huge debt of gratitude to Captain Kettlewell for digging out this info!
      MANY THANKS Captain John!

      The idea that Maine would register my boat for me in the absence of a state system just so I could take it into Florida legally would be the best laugh of the week if it did not highlight the pathetic situation in Florida.
      The lack of any common sense or hint of practical thinking on the part of boating policy makers in the state on nearly every issue affecting cruisers is beyond imagination. It makes me think there must be something in the water down there.
      In the highly unlikely event that I ever take my boat into Florida again, I will be sure I have enough drinking water to last until I leave. I wouldn’t want to risk ending up so stupid.
      Roger Long

      Well isn’t this just great! I would like to see the law that this is based upon and the Florida FWC’s written interpretation of that law. I can’t imagine that this doesn’t interfere with another state’s right or the US government’s right to regulate commerce. Any Constitutional lawyers out there who would like to weigh-in on this subject?
      Gregory Ward

      In California they do not even have a form (and they have forms for everything) for registering a federal documented boat. We are planning on doing the loop in 2014 and this is something that I need resolved or at least a path to keep me legal.
      Dave Dove

      Claiborne answers: Captain Dave, well the easiest thing to do is to register your boat with the state of Florida. You can do this by getting in touch with the Florida DMV. See the note below for a fee schedule to do this. Yes, I know it rankles, to say the least, but, as I say, this is the path of least resistance.
      Unfortunately, as I understand it, you must register your vessel initially in person, by going to a Florida county tax office. Here is a web site that pretty much covers the entire procedure:

      If you click on the “county tax collector’s office link,” you can find the nearest office to where you are located. You can also follow another link, print out a Florida boat registration form, and take the completed for with you.

      And, another good web site for Florida Boating and Registration Information:

      These are the current fees from the Florida DMV for boat registration if you stay beyond the 90 day `free’ period or have no state registration from another state:
      Registration fees vary by the length of the vessel, as follows:

      Class A-1 (vessels less than 12′ and all motorized canoes): $12.25Class
      A-2 (12 feet to 15 feet): $23
      Class 1 (16 feet to 25 feet): $35.50
      Class 2 (26 feet to 39 feet): $85
      Class 3 (40 feet to 64 feet): $134.50
      Class 4 (65 feet to 109 feet): $159.50
      Class 5 (110 feet or longer): $196.50
      Please note that some counties may tack on additional fees.

      Some states, other than Florida, allow you to state register your boat even if it is documented’“in fact, some states, like Rhode Island, require it. It might be worth it for someone cruising to survey states on their route and determine which one might be easiest and cheapest to register in, but watch out for becoming liable for local property and excise taxes! Just for kicks, I looked up vessel registration information for North Carolina. If your boat is C.G. documented you can’t title it, and if you can’t title it you can’t register it with the state.
      John Kettlewell

      Well I will just keep my boat out of Fla. They don’t need the money I would have spent there this summer. I will stop short and spend the money in GA.
      Capt. Bill Shearon

      If I register in FL because I CAN’T in NC, do I have to pay sales tax to FL because NC did not charge any for used boat?
      DK Leisure

      This is another example of our elected officals at there best. What in the world are they thinking? Anchoring issues, no wake zones, manatee zones, long waits for bridges, high marina costs and now this.
      We have taken our boat to FL for the last five winters. With the price of fuel, marinas and the extra maintenance it is not an inexpensive trip. For what it costs for a round trip between NC and Fl we can fly or drive and stay in a motel for less.
      On the other hand, we have heat on the boat and can cruise from VA to GA in the colder months. During this time of year, the waters are not crowded, there are less crab trabs and marinas are cheap. Aside from the temperature, whats not to like?
      The more I think about it, the more reasons that I can find to skip FL. I believe that our boat has seen its last trip to FL.
      David Boxmeyer

      One item of consideration’¦.if the boat entering the state of Florida is 30 years old or older, and meets the requirements, that boat may be eligible for registration as an `antique vessel’’¦. the registration fees are so low that you would pay for two years’¦just for the fun of it. Otherwise, look into the sojourners permit’¦.which is less expensive.
      Rob Hobman

      This is a stubid law, If every state on the east coast required this, traveling from maine to florida would require registering in 14 states. lets get real.

      I very much hesitate to muddy the waters even more on this complex issue, as the premise of this posting is the message above from Captain Tom Shipp of the FWC. And, let’s remember that this is the principal agency empowered to enforce Florida boat registration laws. The infamous “Venice Water Nazi” was an FWC officer!
      However, some SSECN readers are finding information which seems to contradict Captain Shipp’s statement. So, in the interest of trying to air as many views as possible, we have published these sorts of messages below.
      At the suggestion of long-time contributor, Captain Jim Healy, the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net is going to seek a definitive answer on all these boat registration questions from the Florida Attorney General’s office. We will get a certified paper letter off to them very soon. Just don’t hold your breath for the speed of a reply!

      This is confusing. I went to the web site and exemptions are shown below:
      U.S. government-owned vessels.
      Vessels used strictly as lifeboats.
      Non-resident boats used on Florida’s waterways for 90 days or less.’
      It makes no mention of an out-of-state registration requirement. This appears to be different from the information provided by Capt. Tom Shipp.
      Richard Massey

      To add fuel to the fire, I paid $23 for the tax collectors legal advise via their web page.
      Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:52 PM
      To: Customer Support Internet E-Mail
      Cc: WebMail
      Subject: WEB: Property Taxes
      I have a federal documented boat and California do not issue registrations for federal boats. I am going to be moving thru Florida waters for less than 90 days. Florida requires that all boats be registered Any idea of how to proceed to insure that I am in compliance with Florida law

      Dear Mr. Dove,
      Since you will be in Florida waters for less than 90 days, you are not required to obtain a Florida registration.
      Karen Taylor
      Customer Support Department

      Gentlemen, some of you are complaining about NOTHING!!
      If you bring your boat to Florida’¦and are in FL waters for less than 90 days’¦then you do nothing. You are home free! In fact if you are constantly on the move’¦I doubt anyone would bother you.
      The State of Florida is sensitive about boat registrations because `there is absolutely no property tax on boats, just as there is no income tax’ in FL. But if you are here for over 90 days’¦by state law you are required to register the vessel’¦or you can get a `sojourners permit’’¦..

      If you think Florida is bad’¦stay in GA or SC too long’¦and see what kind of tax bill you get from the state.
      I hate to say it’¦but for people who own pricey boats, y’all complain a lot about nothing’¦.
      Rob Homan

      Cruising News:
      I have a documented boat with a tax paid NY home port, I keep the boat in Maryland and are required to register the boat in MD With their DNC for a nominal fee. This registration does not issue the “bow numbers” but a 2 yr decal. Will this paid state registration make FL happy?
      Bruce Stewart

      Bruce Stewart, yes you are covered by that registration decal for up to 90 days in Florida.
      John Kettlewell

      Claiborne answers – Captain Stewart, I strongly believe that your Maryland registration, WILL satisfy the Florida requirements, even though you do not have a bow number. Now, you may certainly be stopped, and asked to prove your vessel is Maryland registered, but one the proper paperwork is produced, that should do it.

      There’s a jumble of misinformation in the last few comments. First the website is not an official Florida site. Reread what Captain Shipp of Florida’s FWC, the agency that enforces these laws, wrote: `A vessel, federally documented or not, that is not covered by a registration from another state or by the USCG in a state without a federally approved numbering system, is not provided that 90 day reciprocity time and would need to register with DHSMV.’
      I have no idea what tax collector gave you the wrong advice, but the information is incorrect.
      Documented vessels need to also be state registered in Florida. There is no 90-day grace period unless your boat is state registered some place.
      John Kettlewell

      A note on Florida’s exemption for documented vessels from a state without an approved numbering system ‘“ there are none! According to the USCG’s website, every state has an approved numbering system, so don’t bother trying to research if your state doesn’t have an approved numbering system. See Federal Register/Vol 77, No. 60/Wednesday, March 28, 2012/Rules and Regulations 18689, `Changes to Standard Numbering System, Vessel Identification System, and Boating Accident Report Database ‘“ IV. Background’.
      Also, be aware that to qualify for Florida’s `antique vessel’ status your boat must have an engine which is of the same manufacture and model as the original engine. This disqualifies many 30 year and older boats!
      Gregory Ward

      So, let me get this straight? Under this interpretation, wouldn’t every single commercial vessel that is documented under federal law (and not registered in a state) also have to comply with this supposed regulation?
      I’m betting that FWC is not boarding and writing up cruise ships, and tankers, that are porting in Florida to drop off or take on passengers that do not have their state registration.
      I’d like to see a FL Attorney General’s opinion on this. I’ve seen too many non-lawyers put out really bad information to be convinced this is the law just based on one person who works for FWC’s opinion.
      R. Holiman

      Bob Carter

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Jon Coats -  July 2, 2015 - 8:55 pm

        Hey Folks, Come on down to Guatemala, No hurricanes, No problems. Florida has gone crazy. How the hell do they expect to attract visitors in sail and power yachts? As Forrest Gump said “stupid is as stupid does” times ten if it is a politician.

        Reply to Jon
    • Sunset Marina – Key West/Stock Island

       Even though Sunset Marina is located on Stock Island, this facility lies within sight of the Fleming Key/Key West Mooring Field, and within a short automobile ride of downtown Key West. Thus, we usually think of Sunset Marina as being part of the Key West array of pleasure craft facilities, as opposed to the Stock Island marinas located a bit farther east, and on the ocean (Hawk Channel) side of the isle.

      We stayed at Sunset Marina on the bayside of stock island for one year and were quite happy there, very nice clean modern floating docks, bathrooms / showers OK, very quiet at night, very clean and reasonable rates. Draw back was that in our slow moving sailboat it took a long time to get to a reef on the ocean side, Had to go around Key West to the west to get to the ocean. Navigation entering the marina is tricky but once we did it a few times it was easy. Also don’t mind the Sheriffs headquarters/jail and juvi detention center next door. These are new modern county buildings and don’t bother the eye. There was a homeless shelter on the grounds of the Sheriff’s HQ which caused the homeless folks to gather up the road from the marina which there were complaints about but they never bothered us, but I believe that shelter has been closed down as of this time but have to confirm.
      Jules Robinson

      Click Here To View the Florida Keys Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Sunset Marina

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Sunset Marina

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