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    • What Cruisers Truly Bring to Tourism – An Editorial by Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd

      I have been saying for years and years that the state of Florida is playing with FIRE, when it comes to anchorage regulations, MSD boardings and midnight safety inspections. Let’s all remember that the marine industry is the second largest in the Sunshine State, second only to tourism (and the success of Florida’s “Tourist Industry,” it can be argued, is somewhat tied to the success of the “cruising industry” as well).
      Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd, our very special Florida Keys Correspondent, shares her thoughts below on this very issue!

      November 4th, 2011

      What Cruisers Truly Bring to Tourism
      by Charmaine Smith Ladd
      It just dawned on me that I’ve never seen a glossy magazine cover showing a mooring field. It’s the magazine cover that piques the interest of a potential consumer, it is there to draw them in to buy it. With that said, there is no vicarious romance with mooring fields. LOL
      Boaters and cruisers are always shown having a wonderful time. Or if only a vessel or vessels are shown, the depiction is usually that of in an idyllic, exotic locale that makes the landlocked wannabes’ mouths water. That is the romance of cruising.
      All cruisers have friends and family who live vicariously through them. My website has more landlubbers who profess to me their envy at we who lead such rich and rewarding lives. It’s not a monetary stash of riches, but riches that money cannot buy: freedom, or the semblance of freedom. This is why during the winters, cruisers have no shortage of friends and family (and often just mere acquaintances) who wish to visit them. And visit they do!
      Most cruisers have blogs or websites that narrate a lot of their travels. We introduce others to places they had not thought about visiting. With us there first, we open the door for others to visit these places as well. This is an overlooked fact that landlubbers who think cruisers are just, well, cruisers sitting in their waters, do not realize. We bring more tourism to their areas each time we visit. Others love destinations to explore, especially when relatives and friends are already there and tout the friendliness, warmth, and beauty of a new-to-them community.
      Our guests fly or drive to meet up with us. They stay aboard with us a day or two, if that, and the remainder of the time are guests at local hotels and motels. We entertain them and they entertain us. We frequent local establishments and enjoy the sights. We are cruisers and tourists, yet the tourism from cruisers brings in more tourists to the area.
      Areas in Florida are contemplating placing regulations on cruisers. This truly should been seen in the bigger picture as we actually do more for these areas than is commonly perceived. In all of the continental U.S. there is no place quite like Florida in the winter. Our northern friends and relatives relish the thought of we cruisers sitting down here where it is warm and flock to us. They come where we go.
      Sitting in a mooring field is not the romance depicted on the magazine covers, and with good reason. There is a place for mooring fields as they serve a very useful purpose. However, there’s nothing quite like swinging from the hook and enjoying cocktails at sunset with those who have never experienced it. It is a romantic impression they do not forget. So much so, that many come back on their own to the areas where they first climbed aboard our vessels. We may have cruised on to another destination, but they will fly in and stay at your hotels and remember “when.”
      May those making regulatory decisions about the future of anchoring in Florida’s waters also remember “when.”
      Charmaine Smith Ladd
      SSECN Special Correspondent, Florida Keys
      “Bringing you the low down from down low!”

      Well said Charmaine! Over the course of many years of visiting Florida we have often had guests fly in to visit us aboard, while often staying at hotels ashore for part of their trips too. In fact, we too have stayed in hotels, rented cars, eaten at restaurants, gone to amusement parks, visited museums and zoos, purchased things in stores, and spent money on all sorts of `normal’ tourist attractions while being based on our boat in Florida. However, we prefer to anchor out and we don’t go to places we can’t anchor. It is not just the mooring field that will not get our money if they force us away.
      John Kettlewell

      Well said, Charmaine. Keep it up.
      Steve and Sheila Kamp,
      S/V Carolina, Southbound

      Well said and true. I am lucky enough to own a home on a canal in Key Largo. I purchased this home so that I could sail whenever I wanted.
      As a resident, taxpayer and boater I think we are lucky to have such a vibrant live aboard community.
      I frequently stay at different anchorages and 99% of boaters are respectful and kind. They are outgoing and would give you the shirt off their back.
      Let’s never treat them (me) as second class citizens in any way, shape or form.
      Jason McPeak, S/V TwoCan, Key Largo, FL

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    • Why Anchorage Restrictions and Random Boat Searches Are Hurting the Florida Marine Industry

      We have been asked, and will do so, to protect the author of the article below as a “confidential source.” All I will say is that the author is a fellow journalist, and her/his remarks deserve the most serious attention of both the cruising community and Florida governmental authorities.
      It’s sentiments like these that are driving people, particularly cruisers, away from the Sunshine State. All of us at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ continue to be concerned about the reputation that Florida is garnering in the cruising community and beyond. I guess all that any of us can do is to keep fighting the good fight!

      For several decades we have worked with the goal of retiring back to our native state of Florida. We have purchased a home in the Sarsota area with plans to move our boat there from the Chesapeake. We have read with some dismay about the mooring fields issue that seems to be pervading the state. But we were shocked to read about the “Lights Out” boarding by a cadre of federal,, state and local law enforcement officials invading the privacy of boaters in the Sarasota area, apparently under the pretense of “Homeland Security.”
      What gives them the right to invade someone’s home just because that home floats? Doesn’t the U.S. Constitution forbid entering someone’s private residence without a search warrant? Doesn’t a boat qualify as a private residence? After all, you sleep and eat there.
      Didn’t our founding fathers stake their lives and thousands of American military personnel die to fight against such government abuses?
      A police officer cannot stop a vehicle at random just because he or she feels like it.
      It seems that Florida politicans, and law enforcement agencies, are declaring a defacto war on people who cruise that state’s waterways. Perhaps this needs national attention to let Americans decide what’s really happening to the freedoms boaters once enjoyed.
      Name Withheld by Request

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    • “Why Live in Doubt”

      Well, I picked up this little item from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mailing list. CAPTAIN BADHAM’S WORDS SPEAK TO ME LATE IN THE AFTERNOON!!!

      I don’t know about you—- but after a few cosmopolitans I start to have serious doubts regarding the ice machine’s ability to keep up. Stand up, and take few steps, and peek in the ice maker you say? Not necessary any more– The Ft. Lauderdale Boat show has a better solution—I saw a large digital display that indicating in real time the amount of ice in the ice maker and alarmed at the 1/4 level. Now I wonder how I ever lived with out such a device.
      Why live with doubt any longer?
      Edmond Badham
      Wilmington, NC

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    • Watch for the No-Wake Zones at Pungo Ferry! AICW Statute Mile 28

      Fair warning and a word to the wise! Pungo Ferry lies along the North Landing River, just north of the VA – NC state line.

      Cruising News:
      A word of warning…yesterday traveling from Norfolk to Coinjock at Pungo Ferry we were stopped by skiff manned by three VA police officers. Our offense? Violation of a no wake zone. We are running a 55 ft. Fleming weighing 70,000 lbs. We had just done a slow pass of a small sailboat. The no-wake sign was buried in a marsh. Our wake was probably 6 inches. We were stopped and detained for about 45 minutes, while they also stopped other boats, mostly sailboats. They were “guilty” of doing about 6 knots…imagine that!! What huge wakes!
      Bob Scalia

      Came through today (11/2) no one in site. Could this have been a holiday prank?
      Ken Christian

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

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    • Cruisers Voyaging Through Beaufort, NC – Don’t Miss the Latest Artifacts from Blackbeard the Pirate’s Ship (St. M. 201)

      Be sure to follow the link below and read the article which appeared in the “Jacksonville Daily News.” This will clue one and all into why this is an exciting prospect, and how to view the artifacts!

      For those of you heading south still – stop in Beaufort, NC and see the artifacts from Blackbeards ship – salvage underway!!! Check out:

      Frank Erwin

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

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    • Great Pizza at Port St. Joe Marina (St. Joseph Bay, Florida)

      The Port St. Joe Marina is at the heart of Florida's Forgotten Coast, on the eastern shore of pristine St. Joseph Bay on Florida's northern Gulf Coast. Located between Panama City and Apalachicola, FlThe “Gulf County Canal,” which intersects the Northern Gulf ICW, lies between Apalachicola and Panama City, leads fortunate cruisers to the waters of St. Joseph Bay, where they will discover SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Port St. Joe Marina. Sounds like GOOD pizza is available nearby!

      We stayed in Port St. Joe last year by boat and we are here with our motorcoach again this year. IF you love pizza, you must go to “Joe Mama’s” and have their wood=fired pizza… is amazing! AND please save room for the “Joe’s Pot of Chocolate” dessert….!! Being a TRUE chocoholic it is a MUST! There are other good places to eat, but if you are craving great pizza, this is the place!
      Safe travels to you all!
      Dorene/Jeff DeVine
      “30 Below”

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    • Visiting the Dry Tortugas – Captain Charmaine Reports

      Below you will find a SUPER article authored by our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd. This story concerns some recent changes you will need to be aware of if you plan to visit the Dry Tortugas from Key West!

      October 29th, 2011

      Dry Tortugas – Mooring Balls at RNA & Park Permits Required
      by Charmaine Smith Ladd

      The Dry Tortugas is so named due to the combination that none of its islands have fresh water, and that there are many differing species of sea turtles found in its gorgeously turquoise waters (including loggerhead, leatherback, green, and hawksbill). Only 70 miles west of Key West, it’s a fabulous passage whether under sail or power. However, just be sure to have an optimal weather window during the time of your trip. Of course, the faster the vessel, the less time needed for this ever prudent caution. If you’d rather not invest the time or travel to sail there on your own, one can always opt to use one of the Dry Tortugas’ Official transportation services out of Key West:

      Yankee Freedom II

      Sailboat Charter

      Key West Seaplane Adventures

      The Dry Tortugas National Park has changed its rules since the last time I visited. Currently:

      All vessels (except those in transit merely passing through without stopping) visiting the Dry Tortugas National Park must now have a free-of-charge permit (including kayaks and dinghies). Once there, permits can be obtained a number of ways. 1) Hailing a Park Ranger on VHF channel 16, or 2) appearing in person at the Garden Key Visitor Center [Fort Jefferson] or 3) appearing in person at the Park’s Headquarters Office. Park Rangers will patrol and monitor vessels for permits. If you do not have one, there is no penalty–instead, the Ranger will fill one out for you on the spot. Nice!

      Six mooring balls have been installed for use at the Dry Tortugas’ Research Natural Area (RNA). Anchoring is no longer allowed in the RNA area. Those who wish to anchor within the National Park can do so only in sandy bottoms (sea grass is protected) located within one nautical mile of Garden Key Harbor Light.

      I have written about the Dry Tortugas for SSECN in the past, but our server didn’t carry many items over when things were recently updated. I’ll be sure to resubmit that article so you can familiarize yourself again with the beauty and tranquility of the Dry Tortugas and its many unique attractions. In the meantime, here are some photos from my last visit there:

      Charmaine Smith Ladd (SSECN Special Correspondent for the Florida Keys)
      “Bringing you the low down from down low!” or

      Where is the dry toryugas’ research natural area?

      Below are two follow-up notes from Captain Charmaine:

      GPS Coordinates for Moorings at Dry Tortugas:

      RNAMB1 (Windjammer) N24°37.413 W082°56.548
      RNAMB2 (The Maze) N24°36.600 W082°56.914
      RNAB3 (Davis Rock) N24°41.209 W082°54.440
      RNAB4 (Texas Rock) N24°40.082 W082°53.125
      RNAB5 (Off Ramp) N24°40.156 W082°54.506
      LMBSE (Loggerhead SE) N24°37.833 W082°55.187
      LMBSW (Loggerhead SW) N24°37.8031 W082°55.546

      I believe the Windjammer was the original one and may be reserved for private use. The six that follow are those put in for public use.
      Hugs, Charmaine

      Remember, this is a National Park. Even though much of it is comprised of being part of the RNA, that simply means it is a no-fishing zone and no-take zone of its natural wildlife and flora. But it IS a `People-Zone’ for others to enjoy it!
      Please reference:’s%20a%20RNA%20-%20edit%205.pdf
      The Research Natural Area is a 46-square-mile area in the northwest portion of the park. It is the area enclosed by connecting with straight lines the coordinates of 82:51:00 W and 24:36:00 N with 82:58:00 W and 24:36:00 N, and with 82:51:00 W and 24:43:32 N. Not included in the RNA is an area one nautical mile in diameter around the Garden Key Light, and the developed areas of Loggerhead Key. Before boating in the park, please key these points into your GPS system.

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. 24thesea -  December 7, 2014 - 4:21 pm

        GPS N24°37.413 W082°56.548 is directly on top of a wreck and the rest of the points are in shallow or near shallow water… Copy and paste to Google maps and take a look.

        Reply to 24thesea
    • Titusville Municipal Marina Announces the Opening Of New Mooring Field (St. M. 879)

      451 Marina Rd., Titusville, FL 32796, Phone: 321-383-5600, Fax: 321-383-5602, Contact: Joe Stone General Manager, Hours: 8:00 am - 1:00 am, Groceries within walking distance , Restaurants nearby , 5 minutes from Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge , 10 minutes from Canaveral National Seashore , 20 minutes from Kennedy Space Center , 1 hour from Orlando Attractions , Titusville City Marina is a very valued SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR. This facility has been working on a new mooring field for sometime now. An earlier article here on the Cruisers’ Net reported the field was nearing completion, but now, IT’S OPEN! This welcome addition will make it even more convenient to visit this charming port of call.
      Please note that the Titusville Mooring Field is NOT part of the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program, so there is no rankling about anchorage regulations on adjacent waters!

      Cruising News:
      The Titusville Municipal Marina is excited to announce our new MOORING FIELD is
      now OPEN.
      The mooring field consist of 50 moorings accommodating vessels up to a maximum
      of sixty feet. Wet slips, fuel and water are also available.
      Daily rate is $15.00 plus 6% sales tax. Rates include: trash removal, use of restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, holding tank pump out, vehicle parking
      and dinghy dockage. Please click the link below for additional information.
      Moorings will be assigned on a first come first served basis. Boaters wishing
      a mooring are asked to contact the Titusville Marina on VHF channel 16 or phone

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

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

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