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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

      Be the first to comment!

    • 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.

      Be the first to comment!

    • 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 (2)

      1. David Burnham -  May 16, 2020 - 7:01 am

        With a million registered watercraft in the state of Florida, I doubt that ending your cruise in Georgia and not cruising Florida waters with your vessel will have ANY impact on the waterfront businesses in Florida. But one less wake on the waterways may be a blessing for the boaters.

        Reply to David
      2. 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

      Be the first to comment!

    • Question about Depths in New River, off the AICW Statute Mile 246, Sneads Ferry, NC

      New River Channel - Click for Chartview

      The Waterway at New River Inlet was dredged in late 2012 and is currently shoal-free, but Capt. Ledoux is referring to the New River channel from New River Inlet/AICW intersection westward to Stones Bay near Sneads Ferry. If you’ve checked depths through this area recently, let us hear from you.

      Has anyone recently made the run on the New River between day marks 13 through 18 on the New River? It was dredged a couple of years ago, but was shoaling in. I have not been up there since this past fall. Shrimpers were having trouble getting up to the fish houses in Sneads Ferry. Also between 28 and 29 tend to be shallow. Would be interested to know if anyone has been through these areas and how the current depths are.
      Lance Ledoux

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

      Be the first to comment!

    • Map Depicts Two Small Anchoring Areas on Manatee Pocked (near Statute Mile 988)

      As part of the controversial Stuart/Martin County anchorage regulations, associated with this community/county’s participation in the Florida Pilot Mooring Field Program, anchorage is now prohibited in popular Manatee Pocket (off the St. Lucie River between the AICW intersection and downtown Stuart, FL), except in two small areas.
      We sincerely thank Captain Jessica Meinardi, as well as Captains Fred and Elaine DeFoor for sending us the map below which shows where the two patches in the Pocket where anchoring is still possible.

      Claiborne, this is the anchoring areas (or non-anchoring areas) in Stuart, Fl and Manatee Pocket. Thanks for asking and including this in your site. We have always enjoyed reading your Guides and articles.
      Fred and Elaine DeFoor

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

      Be the first to comment!

    • GREAT Advice About Cruising Western Florida’s Big Bend Region

      I have lost count of the number of times I’ve said this, but it bears repeating. If you get a dozen veteran cruisers together, you will get at least twenty different opinions about how best to cross Western Florida’s waterwayless “Big Bend” region. For those who have never cruised these waters, the Western Florida’s ICW’s northern terminus is at Anclote Key, while the Northern Gulf ICW does not begin its east to west trek until one reaches Dog Island and the charming village of Carrabelle.
      In between is better than a hundred miles of coastline, with a LARGE shelf of shallow water jutting for miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. These shallows are pierced at fairly regular intervals by man-made channels, leading to the Big Bend rivers such as the Crystal, the Withlacoochee, the Suwanee and the Steinhatchee. Some of these entrance passages are fairly reliable, while others are not.
      So, rather than follow the Big Bend coastline, staying several miles offshore, some mariners choose to cut the corner, and head (northbound) directly for Dog Island or Panama City.
      Whichever route you choose, there ARE challanges. Some day I must relate the story of the most disastrous yacht deliver in which I ever participated, all of which took place in the Big Bend region. But that’s another story for another day.
      For now, let’s all give a good listen to the excellent advice offered by veteran cruiser Captain Bob Duthie below. His words are well worth your time!

      I enjoyed reading this post as it sounded similar to our experience crossing the gulf. The unforecasted winds in the gulf on our trip blew up at night unlike what we were used to everywhere else where the winds tend to die down at night. On our crossing the night winds came from the north-east. There are a few things that might make a more comfortable crossing compared to the course that Muddy Waters took. We did the crossing in a 36 Grand Banks with no stabilizers. We had 4 adults aboard and changed the watch after dark every hour. The autopilot did all the steering and we planned a straight line course without any deviations.
      1. Leave from Carrabelle and go staight to Tarpon Springs which is 168 miles vs 180 miles for Appalcahcola to Clearwater. This means less time on the gulf.
      2. Stay 50 miles from shore in deep water to avoid all the crab pots that are found 20 miles from shore. Don’t follow the Big Bend.
      3. With north-east or north-west winds you will be rolling uncomfortably. Since you are 50 miles out, you can turn to the east so the winds are now on the bow/stern or one quarter. This reduces or eliminates the rolling.
      Slow down from 8 mph to 5 mph since you don’t want to get too close to shore at night and the slower speed makes it easier to take the waves. The up and down motion is much easier for people and all the stuff inside than rolling. The autopilot also can maintain a straight course.
      4. I estimated the highest wave at 8 ft when the bow platform was buried once into a wave with green water coming over and along the decks.
      5. At 5:00AM the sun came up and the wind died down. At about 10 miles off Cedar Key we changed course and headed for Tarpon Springs. The strings of crab pots were now easy to see.
      6. Overall it took us 24 hours vs a planned 18 hours and we went 25 miles further due to the change in course.

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    • Florida Waterfront Homeowner Speaks Out

      Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net has received hundreds of complaints about derelict/abandoned boats in all the states along the Intracoastal Waterway and especially in Florida. While we firmly stand by Florida anchoring rights, there is also a real problem with abandoned vessels and “live aboard hulks” (i. e. “boats” people are living on, but which will never move again, unless it’s straight down to the bottom) in the Sunshine State, not only for responsible cruisers, but for coastal homeowners as well.

      We are homeowners (and boat owners) on the ICW who are frustrated by the derelict boats now moored (apparently permanently) in front of our homes. A good blow will push them into our docks, inflicting damage they obviously will not pay for. We are sure they are not in compliance with sanitation regulations. We fear that the inability of cities to regulate these vessels is an unintended consequence of the state law protecting responsible boaters’ rights while cruising. We feel trapped and unable to do much of anything to protect OUR rights. Would appreciate perspectives on how state laws might be modified so that local jurisdictions can deal with vagrant boats moored in their waterways.
      Cynthia McCague

      Cynthia, I do sympathize with you but there are already many laws currently to deal with these issues. The problem becomes, your local law enforcement won’t take the time to enforce those laws. Ask the homeowners at Key Biscayne. They forced the FWC and local Sheriff to inspect these boats for safety and sanitation compliance. The boaters are required to fix any problem in a short period of time or face fines. You will find that they quickly move on and no new ordinances or regulations are required and the conscientious boaters will not suffer. If the solution sounds too simple, it’s because it is. But you will need to make the effort to insist that your local agencies respond and do the job they are paid to do. It doesn’t mean harassing boaters, it means dealing with the direct cause of your issues. Use the current laws and regulation rather than looking for something new. I hope this helps,
      Chuck Baier

      Just to throw in an additional editorial comment, we could not possibly agree more with the thoughts expressed in Captain Baier’s note above. Check out my earlier editorial, “Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net Anchoring Rights Editorial Reprise” at /?p=4958.

      Cynthia, Chuck’s answer is correct. I would like to add that the answer is not to outlaw or prohibit anchoring, because that just chases away legitimate transient boaters, like myself, who prefer to anchor. I visit your towns, spend money, and move on. There are plenty of laws already on the books that regulate vessels and their operation. The answer is not to regulate or prohibit anchoring. As I frequently repeat, it would be like closing down a park because some homeless people sleep on the park benches. Public waterways must remain open for the responsible use and enjoyment of all.
      John Kettlewell

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    • More on Pelican Bay Anchorages (hard by Cayo Costa Island/State Park), Western Florida ICW Statute Mile 25

      Not only is Pelican Bay one of the best series of anchorages on the western coastline of the Sunshine State, but it is also one of the most discussed. Back on 11/12/12 (we published a whole series of messages about this overnight haven, and its adjacent Florida State Park – see /?p=102473).
      But, as I’ve often said, there’s no such thing as too much information when you are on the water, so there are two more observations concerning this anchorage copied from the AGLCA forum.

      Alan is absolutely correct about Pelican Bay; it’s one of the premier anchorages you will find anywhere. However, “local knowledge” is important getting in there. Neither the approach to the bay, nor its entrance channel, are marked. So, ass/u/ming you are southbound on the G-ICW, turn west at a point south of G “75,” and about 200′ north of R “74.” Note that just off the shoreline, there is a Florida Speed Sign visible. Head toward that sign. Just before you reach the sign, turn SW and follow the line of the beach on Cayo Costa Island there, holding your course parallel to the beach and holding the shore close by to stbd at 50′ – 75′. Yes, a boat length or slightly more off the beach line. That “channel” carries 9′ of water, but it shoals very rapidly to the south, to 3′ or less. Many, many unwary boats go aground there. When you have passed by the beach, you will
      see the Cayo Costa State Park docks at your 11 o’clock, at a distance of about 1/2 to 3/4 miles. Aim at those docks, and set a rhumb line to them until you are past the shallowest water. There are slips there, with no services, but cruising boats generally can’t use them. Only the very outermost slips carry sufficient water depth. The dock tee heads are reserved for tour boats, of which there are several that ply those waters. Plan to anchor. The bottom is sand, and the holding is excellent.
      The gulf coast of Florida has diurnal tides; that is, one high and one low per day. Water depths are lowest in the morning and moderate to high in the mid-to-late afternoon. The tidal range at Pelican Bay is only about 2′. The rhumb line from the beach to the State Park docks will get down to 5-1/2′ at MLLW. By the time you get to the docks, you’ll see 6-1/2′ or more. There is a deep pool correctly charted on the current charts that carries 9′, which is the deepest water in the bay. Some older charts that are still widely circulated do not show that 9′ pool correctly. If you do not see that deep pool, you do not have the current charts of the basin. The basin is actually a “pass” between Cayo Costa Island to the west and Punta Blanco Island to the east. To the south from Pelican Bay, the water appears visually to be open; but, it is shoal, and not navigable by cruising draft boats. The only access back to the G-ICW from Pelican Bay is the one to the north of Punta Blanco Island, described above.
      Armed with this “local knowledge,” you will find Pelican Bay to be a delightful, well protected anchorage with a lot to see and do.
      Hope this is useful.

      There are two really good anchorages near Boca Grande entrance to Charlotte Harbor. The second is Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa. This is one of our favorites. Many people avoid it because of the shoal at the entrance. Just hug the beach – stay 25-50 feet off the beach and you will be in 6-9 feet of water. We draw 4.5 feet and anchor here a lot. The beach and park at Cayo Costa are great and again the park is only accessible by boat.
      Marty & Jerry Richardson

      Pelican Bay is right in my backyard, and I have been there a number of times. The descriptions above are reasonable, although the details change often.
      However, the discussion about tides is not correct. The tides in this part of the world cycle from diurnal to semidiurnal twice each month. The diurnal tides are near full moon and new moon, while the semidiurnal tides are near the first and third quarters. There is also an important annual component. The lowest tides tend to be mid-day in the winter and mid-night in the summer.
      There are no simple rules that can be conveniently remembered. Even thought the average tidal range is only a couple of feet, tide tables are essential if depth is important to you.
      Gene Fuller
      Punta Gorda

      The nun has now been replaced with a post R74. We were just there 1/20/13.
      Frank Cushing

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Anchorage Directory Listing For Pelican Bay Outer Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Pelican Bay Park Service Dock Anchorage

      Click Here To View the Western Florida Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Pelican Bay – Punta Blanca Island Anchorage

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

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