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    • Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach

      Captain Wally Moran, author of the “open letter” below, sent to the mayor of Miami Beach, is a reporter and writer for “Sail” magazine. Thanks to Captain Moran for sharing this very interesting, if a bit lengthy, note with the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net.
      After reading Wally’s missive below, you may want to refer to my earlier anchoring editorial, “Whence Come the Anchorage Regulations” (/florida-anchoring-editorial-1-whence-come-the-anchorage-regulations). In particular, check out my “#2” reason behind such regulations.

      An open letter to Miami Beach Mayor Bower:
      I know that running for office can be expensive, and that politicians often seek financing from those with the money to contribute, but at what price to the politician? And just what is the price to the people represented by that politician?
      The balance of this letter, Mayor Bower, is intended to put the onus on you to stop the abuse of rights in Miami Beach that wealthy political contributors think they have purchased when they finance a politician’s campaign, not only in the specific circumstances outlined in my letter.
      My sailing students and I had only just anchored at Sunset Lake in Miami Beach, behind the house at 2344 N. Bay Road, when the police boat came up to us. The officers aboard politely requested that we move the boat a couple of hundred yards south. They very carefully explained that we didn’t have to do this, that they had no right in law to make the request, but that they would appreciate our doing so.
      The reason for their request? We had anchored in front of the home of a man with considerable political clout, apparently purchased with substantial donations to various politicians, although the police didn’t give specifics. The man had phoned the police, probably before our anchor had finished sinking to the bottom. The officers had been ordered to respond, and did so in less than ten minutes. I’m quite certain that there are victims of crime in Miami Beach who would be astonished by the speed of this response, but as we were discovering, wealth does have its advantages.
      We and the officers had an entertaining fifteen minutes discussing the merits – or lack thereof – of the situation we found ourselves in. The officers were clearly disgusted at having to do the bidding of the man who had complained, but since they were acting on a superior’s orders, they really had no choice.
      After the officers left us, we sat for a half hour and enjoyed watching the instigator of this situation surreptitiously watching us as he pretended to clean his boat. We left after a half hour at anchor, not because of this man but out of respect for the officers, who were only doing their job – no, belay that, they were doing what they had been told to do – which was most decidedly not their job.
      My question here is this: are the politicians of Miami Beach, and the senior police officers giving the orders and who appear to leap at the politicians beck and call, so craven, so spineless, so hungry for political largesse that they will order their front line officers to break the law? Because that is exactly what happened here – with their request, these officers were violating our rights. They knew it, and clearly didn’t like being ordered to do it.
      It’s not like these officers didn’t have more important things to do, it was a busy weekend on the water. No, they were ordered to break the law, to go after us, to get us to move on, all because one man has money and the politicians of Miami Beach (who are in his pocket) don’t have the backbone or integrity to tell him that his money doesn’t buy him that privilege. Quite frankly, if I were a voter in Miami Beach, I’d be asking some very difficult questions of the mayor and the Chief of Police.
      For those who would like to ask those questions, Mayor Bower’s email is The Chief’s email apparently isn’t publicly available.
      There is something else that we can do about this as free citizens. I’d like to invite all Miami Beach and area boaters to an ‘˜Anchor Fest’, to be held on July 4th, starting at 2 p.m. The Anchor Fest will be a celebration of American freedom, particularly the freedom Americans have to see all legal rights respected by our politicians.
      I’d like to see several hundred boats anchor in view of this man’s home, to help bring home to him the fact that, while he may be able to buy politicians, the Miami Beach Police do not answer to him through them, they do not violate the rights of others because he is displeased.
      I’d also like to see the politicians of Miami Beach get the message that someone with money doesn’t have the right to force police officers to break the law through political patronage. I’d like Miami Beach’s politicians to remember and understand that they answer to the voters of the city – all of them, not just ones with lots of money and attitude.
      I’d like to thank the officers for their courtesy and for the job they do for us. I know you’ll be with us at Anchor Fest in spirit.
      I’d like to see everyone have a great time at this man’s expense, for him to see that his money doesn’t buy him the right to abuse the rights of others.
      And I have a suggestion for this man: if you don’t like boats anchored where you can see them, buy a home inland. I’d suggest New Mexico or Arizona.
      I hope to see everyone at Anchor Fest. You can get more details on Facebook, just search for Anchor Fest or Anchor Fest Miami Beach.
      W. J. Moran

      I just sent off the following email to the Mayor and encourage others to do the same’¦.
      `Mayor Bower, Would you be so kind as to respond to the reports that a wealthy land owner and political contributor is using the Miami Beach Police Department for personal use to harass boaters that anchor near his home in Sunset Lake. This is a complete abuse of power, since the order either comes from the Chief of Police or his superior. And we all know who his superior is. With tight budget constraints in almost every city today, how do you justify the cost to the citizens of Miami Beach for the Officers time and use of a boat to coddle to this one individual and ask your police officer to harass innocent boaters in clear violation of Florida State law. It is the hopes of all of the boating public that an investigation by higher authorities will provide answers if you will not. But I did feel it necessary to voice my opinion in this matter and give you the chance to respond. I await your answers.
      Sincerely, ‘

      Ah, the man often referred to in blogs and discussions of anyone who has anchored in or near Sunset Lake. The man who also abuses his (land) neighbors rights by blasting loud, obnoxious music to try to drive cruisers away, and shines spotlights on the boats as well.
      This man has to be the single biggest waste of time for the Miami Beach Marine Unit’s officers. Anchor Fest should be a weekly event.
      Lynn Kaak

      I wish I could be at your anchor fest. Thank you for speaking out. I suggest you put the notice out on utube or twitter. That will get a lot of young ones involved. They need to be aware of their future. Once again boaters are being a target. The politicians should have their benefits and salaries cut like many of the locals are having major cuts in their every day common life. Maybe they would not be able to afford the extras in life. Like a police force.

      Thank you for doing this Wally Moran! I have experienced this citizen first hand and know that he can be nasty when he wants to be! We will be further north for the 4th of July but we will be there in spirit!! Please post photos, we would love love love to the see them!!
      This is the email I sent today to the mayor of Miami Beach as well as the Miami Herald. I changed the citizen’s name in this posting to not put Cruiser’s Net in an awkward position of posting his name but I did not call him Citizen X in my letter to the mayor. I encourage ALL boaters who care about anchoring rights to email the mayor and to other cruisers who have first hand experience with this citizen, SPEAK UP!
      Dear Mayor Bower,
      As a cruising sailor that has enjoyed Miami Beach on several occasions on my sailboat over the past few years, I have to ask do you not understand what visiting boaters contribute to your community? By allowing your city’s police officers to essentially politely harass visiting boats anchored legally in Sunset Lake in Miami Beach you are discouraging boaters from visiting your city. Do you not realize in a recession how important tourist dollars are to your town? Do you think just because a visiting boat does not stay in a marina, we do not have money to spend? Boating is not a cheap lifestyle. Miami Beach is a great city full of interesting things to do, great places to eat, and wonderful places to shop. Trust me, when one visits Miami Beach, one spends money!
      Citizen X has repeatedly called the police about boats anchored LEGALLY in the PUBLIC waters behind his house and he should be considered a nuisance to the city’s police force. He is trying to harass private citizens (tourists mind you!) engaging in LEGAL activities and the Miami Beach PD is doing his bidding!
      I know from personal experience on two separate occasions how citizen x can be. A year ago we were anchored in front of his house as we were transiting the ICW south and he came up to our boat in his power boat and politely asked us if we would consider anchoring in front of the vacant lot instead of in front of his house. It really made no difference to us and he was polite so we moved.
      This past winter he called the police on our friends and when the police boat came out they were extremely apologetic and specifically told our friends that they had a legal right to be there and the Police visit was pretty much for show to appease `a certain neighbor’.
      That is an utterly appalling waste of police resources!! As the mayor you’d think that you would be concerned about that, not condoning it! It would be an entirely different story if these boats were doing something illegal or something to bother Mr. Karlton but boats using public waters legally is really none of citizen x’s concern is it? You would think after the first couple of phone calls the police would tell him they are not going to respond to it anymore but I am guessing someone higher up the political food chain is putting a little pressure on the police force’¦
      If you Google Anchor Fest Miami Beach, bully on the waterway in Miami Beach, or `citizen x’s name you will see the negative attention this story is getting on the major cruising boards across the internet. Trust me, people will stop visiting Miami Beach on a matter of principle, anchoring boaters as well as the boaters who utilize the dock space in Miami Beach, because us cruisers, we stick together.
      Hope `citizen X’s’ political contributions were worth it for you.
      Nicole Chambers

      This is one incident that is becoming the norm here in Florida and will become law by way of ordinances if we don’t get busy and let our voices be heard.
      What we’re talking about here are CRUISERS. Cruisers (called `non-liveaboards’ even though cruisers may indeed live aboard) and includes the recreational boater who navigates the waters cannot by regulated with regard to anchoring, according to FL Statute 327(60). The People of Florida demanded that Statute stay intact. IT DID.
      But a 13th hour FWC Pilot Program goes around that and is exempt from adhering to the Statute. As FWC posted on their site `Due to pressures from homeowners and some others’¦.’ [they added the Pilot Program and submitted it along with what the PUBLIC agreed would be revisions to the Statutes]. This was AFTER it was submitted to the Legislature: done without Public input or knowledge’¦a back door loophole for those who have political pull to continue to try to override the majority of what Floridians wanted. THIS is what is so scandalous about the Pilot Program.
      Five sites were to be named yet Sarasota immediately jumped the gun and put up a 72-hour anchoring limit. It was challenged and they dropped it, but everyone who knew anything knew that Sarasota would definitely be one of the five sites to participate in the Pilot Program. It is a self-serving program for a few to get what they want despite what the people have used due process to show as their choice: NO ORDINANCES ON ANCHORING for Florida cruisers! When they named the five sites, it was incredulous that one site is ALL OF MONROE COUNTY! This is what happens when people are confused and don’t know what is going on. The Pilot Program is nothing more than a way to ignore the majority and quell the whining of a few powerful minority to take away the freedom of boats in navigation, and use our tax dollars to do it! Misuse of government resources is blatant here.
      The Pilot Program is not focused on derelict boats or hulks as those vessels are already subject to regulation and have been since 2006. Cruisers and recreational boaters are the ONLY ones outside of being regulated, based on our right to navigation as per Maritime Law. We need choices and options ‘” not anchoring ordinances! By confusing people and making them think the Pilot Program was needed to help rid harbors of derelicts and sewage is exactly what they want you to think. They can already do that! I fought from day one the Pilot Program and saw it for exactly what it was’¦but so many others could not see that there are people this powerful and this brazenly arrogant that they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. `How can they do that?’ Well, this Miami Beach incident is a perfect example and they are and will do it unless we stand up and expose it. The Pilot Program will eventually make it legal for them to do it by way of ordinances.
      The FWC will be holding more workshops on the issue of anchoring rights for NON-LIVEABOARD VESSELS (that is all cruisers and recreational boaters whether you liveabord or not). See how confusing this is?! It is meant to be. This is so important, my good people. Get involved or lose your freedom.
      There is a Workshop at the Government Center in Marathon, FL on June 8th at 6 pm. If you cannot attend, let your voice be heard by writing. We cannot let this happen. Public trust is being manipulated and we can help our local authorities fight back against those misusing that trust with our voices saying or pens writing that we won’t stand for our rights and wants being ignored.
      Our authorities are essentially being forced to represent a few rather than the majority and the actual LAW. Just imagine what will happen if ordinances are allowed and cruisers and other recreational boaters are subject to anchoring restrictions by law. No thanks!
      One ordinance outside of mooring fields will lead to another ordinance outside of beaches, then another, etc. There is no end to anchoring ordinances for cruisers and recreational boaters if we allow them to BEGIN.
      The People of Florida said NO to them the first time and kept the Statute intact that protects our rights to anchor. This back door called the Pilot Program has got to be exposed for what it really is and SLAMMED SHUT. It is not about derelict vessels, or liveaboard hulks, it’s about YOU the boater, the cruiser, the person who navigates the waters of Florida, and enjoys dropping the hook without a visit from authorities telling you how long you can stay.
      Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd

      Well written, Capt. CSL. Yes, the Pilot Program seems to be a carte blanche for 5 sites to screw with regs between now and July 2014. After that the Legislature supposedly writes into FL law whatever has been effective. OR dumps the kitnkaboodle.
      Continued appreciation to Claiborne Y who traveled to StAugustine to specifically address StAugustine’s Pilot proposed ordinance ideas. Claiborne got his three minutes in, and then in typical small town `we’d rather hear ourselves talk’ the mike got passed on. Not to be forgotten: a few years back we put MLKing behind bars. We’re more suave now, but City still gets to do things as City sees fit.
      Captain Jay Bliss
      St. Augustine Port Commissioner

      I wrote the mayor with my protests, and if we were not many miles north, we would most certainly participate in the Anchor Fest.
      Beverly Fieges

      I am a 66 year old cruiser, now in the Chesapeake for the summer and early fall, and a retired attorney having practiced privately in Miami for almost 25 years. Before that I was a trial atorney with the US Dept of Justice in Washington, DC. During the winter my wife and I often go out for overnighters and weekends and I’ll be damned if I will obey the illegal order of any officer, no matter how courteous, concerning moving from a legal anchorage. While anchored, we cause no disturbance or neuisance whatsoever. If I am arrested I will make sure that the source of the illegal order, presumably the mayor, will be prosecuted. The same is true for any homeowner causing the arrest.
      Seth Stopek

      As a long time member of the USpower Squadron , Key west aand now North Carolina, I feel its my duty to inform the resident at 2344 N Bay Rorad, Miami Beach, Sunset Lake Area that I will make a point at our next regular meeting to encourage all our members to locate and utilize that location when in the area as a palce to anchor and party. If you are at all familar with the Key west Squadron that can be a very noisy group of sailors.
      Billy Ray

      This string is getting so lengthy, that I ‘m placing a link below for the continuing input received from 6/11/11, onward. If you are interested in this topic, don’t fail to follow this link, as you will read some very interesting correspondence between Captain Wally and the Miami Beach Chief of Police:
      Click Here To Read Input Received Concerning the “Anchoring Incident in Miami Beach” after 6/11/11

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    • Reports on AICW/Jekyll Creek Problem Stretch (Statute Mile 683)

      The AICW/Jekyll Creek Problem Stretch has had shoaling for some time now with reports of depths below 5ft at low tide. Mid to high tide passage is recommended.

      I followed my usual path thru Jekyll but found less water than on previous trips with as little as 5′ mlw in spots. Either I messed up on that run or shoaling got worst over winter. I’ll keep playing the tides’¦
      Captain Pascal

      We traveled this stretch on 4/27/11 at 1 hr.before low tide mid channel and saw no less then 7′. Follow the range markers listed as RW on the charts around the curve past Jekyl Wharf Marina.
      Capts.Steve & Di Koch

      May 2011: came thru northbound and 7′ MLW was the lowest reading i found mostly near G19 and along the range. I passed about 150′ off G19 then turned right on the range. Stayed on the range till past R16 (passed about 75′ away).
      No depth issue between the bridge and the wharf. You just have to take it slow and found the best water as the `channel’ is very shallow. On a previous run in April, I did find some 5′ spots around G19 not far from where i passed on this trip.
      Pascal aboard MY Charmer, 70′ 6+ draft

      May 28, 2011. Northbound on a 50′ trawler with 5 foot draft. Passed marker 20A at 4:56 pm. Passed marker 10 at 5:19 pm
      20A depth 14.1 feet
      20 depth 13.3
      19 depth 13.4
      17 depth 13.7
      16 depth 14.1
      13 depth 14.5
      11 depth 17.6
      10 depth 22.3
      I hope this is useful.
      Darrel Peters Aboard `Present Moment’

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For Jekyll Creek

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

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    • Important – Definitive Info on Little Mud River, Georgia AICW Problem Stretch (near Statute Mile 655)

      It is almost universally acknowledged that the Little Mud River section of the AICW, some 21 statute miles north of Brunswick, Georgia, is the single worst stretch of the “ditch” between Norfolk, VA and Miami, Florida. Well, Captains Chuck and Susan’s observations below certainly tend to bear out that theory.
      As you may recall from other recent postings here on the Net, Captain Chuck Baier and Captain Susan Landry are the former general manager and editor, respectively, of Waterway Guide. They are now cruising south on the AICW on their way to a new home in Fort Myers, Florida. Chuck and Susan are being kind enough to forward very detailed reports to the Cruisers’ Net about concerns they encounter, particularly AICW Problem Stretches.
      With this dynamic duo’s vast cruising experience, we can take their observations below as gospel. And, as you will see, just give up on the idea of traversing Little Mud River at anything but high tide.

      We transited the Little Mud River on Tuesday 5/17/2011 and we thought your readers would be interested in what we found. I hope they also appreciate us transiting all of the problem areas on the ICW at or near low tide so we could get accurate depth readings. We transited the Little Mud at 2 hours before low tide. Based on this the following depths would be at low tide. At Red “192” depth of 5 feet. At Crooked Creek, depth of 4 1/2 feet. Approaching Green “193” 4 feet, then 3 feet very near “193”. Just past Green “193” 3 1/2 feet. At Red “194” 3 1/2 feet and just past Red “194” 3 feet. From Red “194” to the turn onto the Altamaha is all about 4 feet. Fortunately there were no other fools except us transiting at this low of a tide. We hope this will help others STAY AWAY at anything less than 2 to 3 extra feet of tides. We will send more as we find it.
      Chuck and Susan

      We have transited this area with our Tayana 37, `Dream Seeker’, twice and had no problems. Of course it was at 1/2 tide rising through 1/2 tide falling. With the tidal range in GA you can carry 6′ but you have to know your onions as they say.
      Kevin McPadden

      We transited the Little Mud River on May 4, 2011 about 1/2 hour before low, northbound. The mud banks extending into the river were visible on both sides. While we didn’t risk going aground to sound each marker, we stayed in the middle between the visable mud sides. We draw four feet and were obviously dragging through the mud a couple of times based on how the steering responded. Otherwise we saw no less than 4.5 feet and generally 5 feet plus on the sounder.
      Again, this was in mid-visible water, not necessasarily mid channel, although our course always honored the daymarks. The depths reported by the sounder might not have been accurate because of the soupy mud bottom.
      Bob McLeran and Judy Young

      I really appreciate all the info on the ICW. I will be making the trip to Tampa next week from Washington DC. Thanks again.
      Safe Seas,
      Captain Lisa Alexander

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For Little Mud River

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

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    • Channel Key Pass (Fl. Keys ICW through Channel Key Banks) – Navigational Conundrum Resolved

      Captain Charmaine’s article below is a follow-up to her earlier story here on the Cruisers’ Net, entitled, “Channel Key Pass ‘“ Navigational Conundrum (Florida Keys Inside Route, Statute Mile 1179.5).” If you have not yet red this article, please do so by following this link ( BEFORE delving into Charmaine’s story below. This account will be far more meaningful once the background has passed before your eyes.

      May 18, 2011

      Channel Key Pass (ICW through Channel Key Banks) – Navigational Conundrum Resolved
      N 24 48.768 W 80 54.708 (Green #5 & #7 and Red #8)
      by Charmaine Smith Ladd

      The navigational conundrum posed in my article of May 11th has been resolved. Love when that happens! LOL

      To quickly refresh your memory, see the illustration below. This is in the waters of Florida Bay, which average 7-9 feet. While traversing the Bay between Channel Five and the Seven Mile Bridge, we aboard September Sea came across what seemed to be an unusual navigational aid configuration along the ICW at Channel Key Pass:

      Channel Key Pass (ICW through Channel Key Banks) N 24 48.768 W 80 54.708 (Green markers #5 & #7 and Red marker #8)

      It seemed as per the chart, going outside Red marker #8 would keep my 5’8 draft in consistently deeper water and away from the shoals. I wondered why the marked channel was so narrow, seemed to come so very close to the southern shoal of Channel Key Bank, and was in a slight “S” configuration. That’s a lot more to think about than merely opting to go outside Red Marker #8 and be in what the chart shows as 7 ft. waters. Then I thought about the possibility of navigating this area at night or in foul weather! I had to know more about this area before either of those scenarios ever became a reality. Therefore, being daytime, I decided to follow the marked channel. With good daylight it was easier to see the shoals. Yet still, when passing through the marked channel, my keel was in only inches of water. That’s when I began to doubt whether I had made the correct decision.

      Since that time, I have researched to view satellite images of the area (seen side-by-side below). The images show distinctly lighter colored areas outside Red marker #8. This is an obvious indication of inconsistent depths. The black and white image on the left reflects a yellow ring I have drawn around the questionable depth area. The Google Earth image on the right, being in color, does not show that contrast as clearly. The yellow pins I’ve drawn flank the northern and southern boundaries of Channel Key Pass per NOAA charts. It is apparent the yellow ringed area lies within those boundaries.

      Satellite Image Comparisons of Channel Key Pass

      In the future, I will take the marked channel through Channel Key Banks. It is my belief that while navigating the “S” curve, I allowed the stern to swing a bit off the centerline. This would explain why my depth sounder went off and showed only inches of water. I was a bit too close to the shoal of Green Marker #7. When navigating this Pass, be sure to stay in the center of the passage. It is quite narrow and confusing, but it is totally accurate. The chart does show that a bit of shoal overlaps the Pass. Stay a bit more north when passing Green Marker #7 and you’ll be just fine.

      Most boats in Florida Bay do not have the worries about depth as we who draw 5’8 or more. The other sailboat observed that day which decided to pass to the North of the marked Channel (outside of Red Marker #8) was more than likely as confused as we were. His choice was probably decided as per the chart showing enough depth within that course. His thinking was to not risk any dealings to the shoal off Green Marker #7. But now that I have seen the satellite images, it is clear that is not the safest course to take. The satellite images also reveal the logic behind the configuration of the Channel Key Pass markers.

      My next trip there will include going out in the dinghy and taking some depth soundings of the yellow ringed area with a handheld sonar. Even though the satellite images indicate some shoaling there (enough at this point to avoid the area with my 5’8 draft); this writer’s curious nature would love to know what truly lies beneath!

      The NOAA satellite image used here was obtained from a fellow cruiser who has a program on his chartplotter which allows him to overlay such images. Google Earth images were easily obtained by downloading the resources directly from Google Earth. However, the side-by-side comparison shows that the contrast images on Google Earth are not always clear enough to be used for detecting navigational hazards at sea. It is evident that in this case, the NOAA satellite image most clearly reveals the answer to what once was the Channel Key Pass navigational conundrum.

      Cruisers helping Cruisers = Conundrum Resolved!

      Charmaine Smith Ladd
      SSECN Special Correspondent, Florida Keys
      “Bringing you the low down from down low!”

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    • Important – Boat/US Releases Revised Summary of Florida Anchoring Rights!!!!

      Our good friends at Boat/US have asked the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net to help get the word out that they have just released an updated statement of Florida Anchoring Right, which are specifically designed for the use of cruisers, while they are underway. Boat/US has rendered the Cruising Community a GREAT service by formulating this document. May we humbly suggest that one and all make as much use of it as possible!

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    • Incorrect Charted Height at Broadway Bridge, Daytona Beach, Statute Mile 830.5, 5/13/11

      Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory has this bridge listed as 62ft and care needs to be taken at high tide as Almost Heaven relates below. The Broadway Bridge (E International Speedway Blvd) crosses the ICW at Statute Mile 830.5, south-southeast of unlighted daybeacons #33 and #34.

      This Bridge is 62′! on a high tide we would not clear this bridge.(63.5 + Antennas) The Markers on the bridge clearly showed 63′ with the tide down 1 foot. Please consider the tide range when passing under the Broadway Bridge. The chart is INCORRECT as it shows 65′.
      Almost Heaven

      This bridge needs a proper clearance board. ie: measurement. I crept under this spring with the board reading 63. My antenna usually hits at a 64 reading. Antenna did not hit.
      Skipper Paul Eckenroth

      Our mast height is also 63.5′ + antennas, we passed under this bridge @ 8pm Sunday May 13th, 2012. The Bridge clearance guage showed 62′ but as we had previously cleared this bridge in the fall we gave it a very slow go weaving between the nav light. As far as we could tell not even our antenna touched (unlinke many other bridges on the AICW) which means there is at least 66+’ in the middle of the span.

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position at Broadway Bridge

      Comments from Cruisers (1)

      1. Dave Bell -  October 13, 2013 - 9:08 am

        The clearance boards indicate MINIMUM height. Run down the middle of the span and you add at least 1 1/2 feet. We confirmed this on October 11, 2013. After waiting seven hours to pass under using the range board, going under the center our ant. did not even touch.

        Reply to Dave
    • Channel Key Pass – Navigational Conundrum (Florida Keys Inside Route, Statute Mile 1179.5)

      Another GREAT article by our very special Florida Keys correspondent, Captain Charmaine Smith Ladd. And, in this missive, Captain Charmaine is asking for input from fellow Florida Keys Cruisers. Please read on, and if you have any knowledge of the channel across Channel Key Pass, please click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.

      May 11, 2011
      Channel Key Pass (ICW through Channel Key Banks) – Navigational Conundrum
      N 24 48.768 W 80 54.708 (Green #5 & #7 and Red #8)
      by Charmaine Smith Ladd

      The weather in the Keys has been in the high 80s. Not a bad thing when there is wind to blow off the waters and keep one comfortable while aboard. A few weeks ago, looking at the extended forecast it became apparent the wind would be saying goodbye for a while. That’s the time when flags which otherwise fly proudly become as limp as last week’s wilted flowers. Hardly a breath of wind to lift anything. Marinas and Harbors can get quite stifling during such times, unless one has the option and decides to run air conditioning.

      September Sea has that option. But instead of closing the boat up and turning on the central air, we find it much more adventurous to leave the confines of marinas and Harbors and head offshore in search of cooler days and nights. Most probably wouldn’t think it…but it’s a great time to take off for adventure even when the seas are calm and the breeze is gone.

      ---- Calm Seas and No Breeze (just outside Boot Key Harbor in Atlantic)

      Florida Bay was our choice this time, as it would be calmer waters for anchoring in the event any weather happened to surface. Gorgeous waters say hello to coolness! There seems to always be air out here in the Bay, even if it means going five to ten or more miles offshore. It is worth it. Not only for cooling off, but how one can cool off is what is so wonderful about getting away: the farther one goes the more one gains with total privacy, solitude, and no irritations. LOL

      We’ve been out and about for over three weeks and loving it. When we departed Boot Key Harbor (Marathon), we took the Atlantic side and sailed on the last day of wind before the calm…and it was a glorious sail. There’s nothing quite like the sound of movement along the water and not spending a dime on fuel. It’s as Green as it gets! At Channel Five we crossed over into Florida Bay. Glorious backwater areas!

      We recently had to pick up some supplies so we headed back towards Marathon. We normally don’t take the Bayside route as we draw 5’8. The waters of Florida Bay average 7-9 feet, mostly 7-8 this far inshore, whereas traversing the Atlantic one doesn’t have to constantly watch the depth sounder. But we decided to do it, as it was new territory for us between Channel Five and Seven Mile Bridge, via the Bay. When charting our course, we came across an unusual navigational aid configuration along the ICW at Channel Key Pass:

      Channel Key Pass (ICW through Channel Key Banks) N 24 48.768 W 80 54.708 (Green markers #5 & #7 and Red marker #8)

      Look at the included chartlet as if your boat draws 5’8. All depths on the chart are optimal, as the tide does not fluctuate feet but only inches in Florida Bay. How would you have plotted your course in this scenario? I’d like to get some of your comments as this is an ICW Route and many of you have probably been here. I’m sure there are other areas along the ICW that are just as confusing. But this one really makes little sense to me.

      What do you make of it and how would you have handled it? You can see my track (in black) through the Pass (channel markers) but after doing so and finding my keel within a very few inches of touching bottom; in hindsight perhaps I should have gone with my first inclination: going outside the red marker and navigating the 7 ft. waters to its starboard. But then again, imagine making this choice at night. That would be scary to come up to two lit channel markers and decide to go around them instead of between them!

      This just goes to show how one must be alert at all times. Even after plotting my course, I had no idea what those markers would actually look like when approached. The view from the water actually looked more confusing than the chart… as the chart is correct and the markers are exactly where indicated. The markers are not directly across from each other but create more of an “S” curve as you pass through. Navigating the “S” curve brought September Sea precariously close to the shoal on port (Green #7). Perhaps I should have gone outside Red #8, as the chart shows the water consistently deeper there. I did watch a sailboat do just that about an hour later, long after we had passed through.

      There must be some history of these channel markers. Perhaps it was for fishing boats to easily navigate between the two shoals. But if that were the case, then why such a narrow opening and “S” curve rather than moving the red marker closer to the northernmost shoal and creating a much wider and easier to navigate passage? Anyone out there have an idea of why this is set up in such a confusing manner? This writer would love to read what you think.

      In the meantime, we aboard September Sea will be cool and comfy offshore. Of course I had to time this article while in internet range, so at this moment we are much much closer to shore than we prefer (well, I did need to get those supplies too, so it’s all good). It is so different near shore…very, very warm day! As soon as I click “Send” we’ll weigh anchor and be underway offshore again. Coolness, here we come!

      Charmaine Smith Ladd
      SSECN Special Correspondent, Florida Keys
      “Bringing you the low down from down low!”

      We have been through Channel Key Pass a number of times, most recently about a week ago. I agree that the position of the marks looks pretty strange, but we always follow them, and we have not seen anything less than about 6.5 feet.
      Unless I have specific knowledge I always follow the marks rather than the chart or the purple line. The soundings were taken many years ago and rarely get updated. The marks may have been moved since the chart was created.
      Our boat needs somewhere between 5.2 and 5.4 feet to avoid fraternizing with the bottom, depending on how much water, fuel, and beer are on board. We made it from Marathon to Miami and back within the last few weeks. Channel Key Pass was one of the easy places for us. The skinniest water was found in two places. The worst was near Isla Morada, between marks 80 and 86. We could not find anything more than about 5.6 feet, even though the tide was up and the wind was light. The other place was at mark 50, just north of Grouper Creek. We were not much more than a boat length from the red mark when the alarm suddenly went off. A quick jog even closer to the mark quickly restored about 9 feet of water. We have been through there before without incident. I don’t know if there is shoaling or if we were simply a few feet closer to the existing shallows.
      Gene Fuller
      Punta Gorda
      Yorkshire Rose, Catalina 42

      Comments from Cruisers (3)

      1. George -  April 2, 2016 - 12:18 pm

        I came through there in August 1992, 2 days after Andrew had swept through Everglade City and pounded me on Marco Island. That leg of my journey, I traveled from Marco Island headed for “someplace” in the keys. As I approached this challenging bit of navigation on the chart, I decided to lower my sails and approach it under power for greater control. Our big difference is that my 25′ Capri only had a 4 foot draft. I must admit, I was so intent upon avoiding the reef (with concern about possible unexpected current shifts), I don’t recall ever checking the depth. After I emerged and approached the Channel 5 Bridge, a coin toss decided whether to head to Key Largo or to Key West. Key West won, but I actually lived at Faro Blanco in Marathon for one year. Considering the damage a reef can do to your boat and vice versus, I would always recommend taking it slow and staying within the markers as close to the middle as possible.

        Reply to George
    • Anchoring Hassles in Edgewater Lake, off Peace River in Charlotte Harbor, Port Charlotte, FL

      First of all, let’s locate the anchorage where the series of events described below is centered. Edgewater Lake is accessed via a canal which cuts off the northern shores of upper Charlotte Harbor/lower Peace River, just across the way from the Punta Gorda waterfront. These waters are indeed recommended as an anchorage in both my “Cruising Guide to Western Florida” and here on the Cruisers’ Net.
      Secondly, if we believe Captain Ritchie’s assertion below that they “sail and/or maintain multiple times per week” their vessel, clearly this craft is NOT a derelict or a “live aboard hulk.”
      So, this is pretty clearly a case where the adjacent land owners simply do not want to see anchored vessels when they go out into their back yards. IN MY OPINION, THIS IS PRECISELY THE SORT OF INSTANCE THE 2009 FLORIDA STATE ANCHORING LAW WAS MEANT TO ADDRESS. According to this law, as most of you already know, LOCAL MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY AUTHORITIES HAVE NO RIGHT TO DENY ANCHORAGE ON THESE OR ANY OTHER WATERS TO ANY CRAFT (unless it is abandoned or a “live aboard hulk,” which, to be repetitive, this vessel is not).
      It’s just this sort of instance which paints all of Florida in a bad light, and why when I talk to cruising groups in the Carolinas, Georgia or the non-Floridian Gulf coast, generally the second or third query in my question and answer sessions goes something like, “Should we take our boats to Florida?”
      But, all of Florida is NOT like this. Places like Fort Myers Beach could not be more welcoming to the cruising community, and really this positive attitude towards cruisers is the rule, not the exception. However, let an incident like the Volusia County Sheriff’s office boardings of last fall happen, or what is described below, and mariners begin to have very real, very legitimate questions about whether they should avoid Floridian waters entirely.
      Well, that’s today’s unsolicited editorial. Read on and discover what prompted this stream of consciousness.

      On Tuesday, May 10, 2011, I wrote this letter to a Florida attorney who is interested in violations of Florida’s anchoring laws by local municipalities, in this case, Charlotte County.
      May 10, 2011
      Ahoy! My name is Rick Ritchie. I am a Michigan Resident staying at my mother’s house in Port Charlotte, Florida. My family and I have a 37 Irwin sailboat (registered in FL) which we sail and/or maintain multiple times per week. We anchor in Edgewater Lake, a small cove just off of North Charlotte Harbor, which is listed as an anchorage in Claiborne Young’s Cruisers’ Guide and on (an online cruising guide), also designated as an anchorage on Florida’s FWC nautical chart (the one that is published for FWC for boaters). It is designated anchorage number 7 on FWC chart SGEB-61. Even the two unhappy local lake-shore landowners concede that it is an anchorage. Of course, as you know, even if it were not designated, as such, anchoring there would still be legal because it is a navigable part of Charlotte Harbor, Florida. The “anchorage” designation by FWC is just a redundancy.
      We (my family and I) have been “talked to” by the Charlotte County sheriff’s office, twice, and told to move our boat. They have told us that this navigable lake is not an anchorage. In both instances I was able to demonstrate to the officer that my boat was (and is) legally anchored. I did this by showing them the aforementioned FWC nautical chart and the reference in the cruiser’s guide. The last deputy sheriff’s parting words were that he is NOT telling us we have to move it (even though that is exactly what he told us to do at the beginning of the dialog), but that there is a time limit on the anchoring of boats in Charlotte county. My wife asked him. “what is the time limit?” and he said that he didn’t know. Then he left.
      Also, we were asked to attend a meeting of the neighborhood association (actually, just two homeowner couples showed up) to discuss my boat. The short version of the meeting is that they don’t like to look at boats anchored in “their water.” It was, actually, a gripe session where my wife and I politely listened and responded to their questions and managed to avoid rising to their baited and barbed comments and insults. One of them even offhandedly threatened us. Of course his wife said that he was not serious. (our anchor line has been cut twice while anchored there, quite probably by someone who lives nearby. We now have all chain.)
      Before you jump to the wrong conclusion, we have friendly relationships with many of the homeowners around the lake, even getting invited to use a homeowners dock for our dinghy, and another homeowner is smitten with our children and invites us into their home for beverages. So only two homeowners, it seems, are calling the sheriff and complaining. Unfortunately, the Sheriff’s office seems to dance to their tune.
      One more thing (promise): According to one of our several friends who lives on that anchorage’s shore, the sheriff’s boat has been visiting our boat on a regular basis (lately, almost daily). Today, it seems, they even tied onto it. I don’t know if they boarded it, or not. We were at my mother’s house a few miles away, at the time. That’s where we usually are if we aren’t on the water.
      This is all for your information. If you have any advise or questions please feel free to email me.
      Rick Ritchie

      More on this Charlotte Harbor Anchoring Hassle:
      May 15, 2011
      First, let me emphasize this: Deputy Katsarelas was polite during the entire phone conversation– even when I told him that he was wrong about the anchoring law. If he was unhappy about it, I couldn’t tell. He continued to be polite and professional.
      Second, I understand that this letter may find its way to the Sheriff’s office. For that reason I have been careful to be accurate in this testimony and faithful in my recreation of the events and
      quotations. Other than my speculations, which I have identified as such, this is as accurate as I can make it.
      Read on:
      My boat was just tagged as an “At-Risk of becoming derelict” vessel by Deputy Sheriff Katsarelas of the Charlotte County Sheriff Department. When I spoke with him on the phone, today, he said that the citation was based on another complaint by an Edgewater Lake homeowner. He also stated that he (Katsarelas) has never seen anybody aboard my vessel. I explained that I have been on-board my boat weekly, usually more than once per week. I also informed him that some friendly homeowners on the lake could verify this.
      [Maybe he hasn’t seen me aboard my boat because, until last week, he only patrols Edgewater Lake for a few minutes out of every month… just a guess]
      Specifically, the tag that he left on my boat states that my vessel has been identified as being “at risk of becoming a derelict vessel.” The reason stated on the tag is that my vessel is “neglected, improperly maintained, or is not able to be used for navigation.”
      This is untrue. As I stated in the letter to ATTY Dickerson, which you posted on Cruisersnet, my wife and I visit my boat multiple times per week to maintain and/or sail her.
      We don’t always get to sail her, but we ALWAYS are able to get out there and take care of her, start the engine, air it out, install a redundant bilge-pump, add another battery, replace
      hoses, replace anchor line with chain, etc..
      Deputy Katsarelas suggested that I moor my boat at my house instead of anchoring on the lake.
      After I explained to the Deputy that I was within my rights to anchor there, and cited the Florida statute, he informed me that the County has more strict anchoring regulations.
      And I quote from Deputy Katsarelas of the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Department: during today’s phone conversation:
      “The County has more binding regulations than the State.”
      “The county has the right to add to the State regulations.”
      “[County regulations] …are in-addition to State regulations”
      When I informed him that he was in error, I gave him the specific statute (327.60) which specifically states that local municipalities are prohibited from enacting , continuing in effect, or enforcing any ordinance or regulation regulating the anchoring of vessels other than live-aboards. Deputy Katsarelas then stated that he was not current on the new anchoring laws.
      Again, a quote from Deputy Katsarelas:
      “I’m not up on the new anchoring laws.”
      So I offered to give him a copy of the new regulations and a copy of Boat US’s summary of the new law. He said that I could do that if I wanted to.
      So now my boat is listed in the new State-wide database of Derilict vessels. I wonder if this might be a prelude to an accusation of vessel abandonment? Swell!!!
      I guess I will send him a copy of the statute and a copy of Boat U.S.’s summary of the anchoring laws. I suspect that it won’t help, though. Maybe it’s just because a few of them make numerous complaints, but the unhappy Edgewater Lake homeowners seem to have some sort of special influence over the sheriff’s office. I speculate that I will now be hounded by the sheriff’s office.
      It would be cool if a more official type person would send the statute and a legal opinion of it to Deputy Katsarelas and the Sheriff’s Department of Charlotte County — perhaps a member of
      the BAR.
      I wonder what the sheriff dept. has in store for me? Boardings? Safety Inspections? Home visitations? Towing my vessel?
      I wonder what the unhappy homeowners have in store for me: More anchor rode cuttings (I now have chain so it’ll have to be with bolt cutters, this time)?
      Anyway, Edgewater Lake, designated as an anchorage in the cruisers guides and FWC charts (not that it needs to be), is a little less than friendly.
      P.S. In the interest of fairness and completeness, the tag that was left on my boat also stated thatthe registration numbers are not in contrast with the hull color. To that, I have to admit that Deputy
      Katsarelas may have a point. I informed him that I will the numbers from black to white and he said that would be acceptable.
      Again, this is for your information. I hope that someone out there can make good use of it.
      Rick Ritchie

      This situation is truly unfortunate and also an opportunity. Although, I’™m not a lawyer I believe it is illegal for even the police to board your boat without your invitation. I would speak to your shore side friends about setting up a video surveillance(VS). Post the boat with a sign, and file charges after the violation. At the very least, you might make it known that there is VS on your boat. Harassment of this type is unacceptable and the police should be investigating who cut you rode.
      Marc Sexton

      Now, here is a well-thought note that demands some serious consideration. Read Captain Kewley’s comments first, and then peruse my editorial remarks afterward:

      Mr Ritchie,
      I would like to offer some thought to clarify a couple of points that you make in your post.I believe that the sea floor in Edgewater Lake is owned by Charlotte County since the lake like the waterways are not natural bodies of water, indicating why the County Sheriff would be involved in policing anchored boats there. This also brings into question whether the rules on anchoring in Florida State waters apply.
      I think the crux of the issue lies with the point at which an untended boat becomes a hazard or derelict. I do not believe that the residents around Edgewater Lake object to overnight or short-term anchoring since I visit the location fairly frequently. However you use the anchorage as a long-term storage facility for your Irwin while staying with relatives miles away and apparently have done so periodically for a couple of years. Barnacles growing up your anchor rode in the past have indicated infrequent movement of your boat.
      As the 2011 Hurricane season approaches and I wonder if the residents surrounding Edgewater Lake should feel reassured that your liability coverage will be adequate to compensate them should your boat’™s chain anchor rode not withstand storm conditions.I think that it is a matter of reasonable consideration for others, and storing your boat for free, anchored near someone’™s backyard for months at a time certainly is inconsiderate at best.
      Clifford Kewley

      Captain Kewley raises at least three interesting questions in his note above. First, there is matter of whether Florida anchoring law applies to bottomland that is the result of man-made action, e. g. dredging. I have heard some say yes and some say no. However, I do clearly recall in my political science classes, that “Federal law supercedes state law, and state law supercedes local and county statutes.” Given that truism, one must conclude that there is at least a distinct possibility that the 2009 Florida state anchoring law applies even to bottom lands that are the result of dredging. For a more definitive answer, we must defer to the lawyers among us. If anyone practicing the legal profession would like to weigh in, and please do so, then click the “Comment on This Posting/Marina/Anchorage/Bridge” link below, and share your information.

      Secondly, there is the matter of how long should a well maintained, non-abandoned vessel that is in compliance with all safely and MSD regulations, be allowed to anchor in one place. In my 2010 editorial entitled, “Whence Come the Anchorage Regulations,” (/florida-anchoring-editorial-1-whence-come-the-anchorage-regulations), I wondered out loud:

      “Finally, that leaves the case of what I will call `responsible liveaboards,’ boat owners who religiously come to the dock (or use a `honey boat’) to have their holding tanks pumped, don’™t throw trash overboard, don’™t make loud noise, don’™t’™ trespass, and keep their vessels attractive and well secured. How long should a mariner of this ilk be allowed to anchor his or her vessel in the same spot?”

      I don’t have an answer for this instance to this day. Anyone else????

      And, finally, there is the question of damage caused by anchored vessels during a violent storm or a hurricane. A legitimate concern to be sure, but in the case of Captain Ritchie, since he is clearly in close contact with his vessel, there should be ample time for him to move his craft before a hurricane hits. Thus, I tend to think this question is a non-issue!

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s Western Florida Anchorage Directory Listing For Edgewater Lake

      Some may question whether or not someone `should’ anchor a boat for long term storage like this, but it is crystal clear that it is perfectly legal to do so according to Florida and Federal statute. The issues about a potential for hurricane damage and being `untended’ are bogus’“if this was the standard throughout Florida nobody could anchor or tie up anyplace for more than a few days. The sheriff is just hunting for something, anything to allow him to make this boater move along.
      John Kettlewell

      Dear Captain Young
      Thanks for stimulating a very interesting discussion and spotlighting the issue of anchoring rights. Kinda brings to mind the Paul Simon lyric in discussing apartment living,”one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor”.
      Your essay/editorial “whence come the Anchorage Regulations” and your message discusses responsible live-aboards. In the case of Mr Ritchie, substitute the term responsible long-term storage behind someone else’s home.
      I do not know the legalities of whether ownership of the sea floor determines the applicable regulation of anchoring and, hopefully some “sea lawyers will opine on the issue.
      Clif Kewley

      Dear Clifford Kewley,
      With all due respect, you seem to be confusing my boat with another one that was, in fact, abandoned on the lake and was finally removed a few months ago (by whom, I have no idea). It was a boat called the `Wild Hare’ and it did, indeed, have a barnacle-ball the size of a basketball on the anchor rode. It also had a missing companionway hatch so it was completely exposed to the elements. Its hull had a barnacle-covering that made it resemple an oyster farm. The `Wild Hare’ was there when I first discovered Edgewater Lake a year ago. My friends on the lake have told me that `Wild Hare’ had been there for 2 years. This, however, is NOT my boat. My anchor rode has NEVER had a barnacle ball. Secondly, I have owned my boat for only 12 months, four of which I kept her at a dock on the Ackerman waterway (e.g. from November 2010 to February 2011), and several other weeks I kept her on the harbor, next to another anchored cruiser (Jim). So your assertion that I have been storing it on Edgewater Lake for `years’ is mistaken. I maintain my boat, regularly, including the achor rigging, which I have had to replace’¦ thrice’¦ in the last year. More importantly, I SAIL MY BOAT! True, it is on the lake much more often than it is under sail, still I get to sail her reasonably often.
      So, I am now keeping a log of my visits to my boat. I don’™t suppose it will make any difference to the disgruntled landowners, but I am recording what I do during each visit. And thanks to the local police, I will now have their official verification that I was on my boat to find the tag that they left, and was there on another occasion to replace the reg. numbers with more contrasting colored ones. So between the police and the friendly landowners I should easily be able to substantiate my claim of twice per week.
      So, my question to you is (this is a serious question, I have no ill-will loaded up here because I believe it was an honest mistake): How long should I stay away from Edgewater lake between anchorings; And, how long should I be able to anchor my boat there, each time?
      Please accept my apology for anything in this letter that seems less than polite. I find that the brevity of email sometimes impersonates rudeness. I do not mean to sound harsh or rude, especially to a fellow sailor.
      Yours sincerely,
      Rick Ritchie

      Mr. Ritchie,
      I am not sure of your legal right to anchor/wet store your vessel in Edgewater Lake for long periods of time. So to move the discussion along and avoid the on-line `huffing and puffing’ about anchoring rights in Florida, lets change the scenario.
      Lets say that you worked long hours for many years and sacrificed to save money to enable you and your family to enjoy your favorite locale and lifestyle. A beautiful mountain community where you paid extra for a building lot to build your home with an unimpeeded view of the mountains. Nice!
      Now lets assume that a local mountain view lover from the next town decided to situate and store his motorhome on the right of way just left of your center view of the mountains, obstructing, oh maybe 10% of your view, and he WAS legally able to do so.
      Now my thought on this is that the lot owner, you, would probably not mind or be too upset if the visitor stayed for a weekend, or maybe a week but’¦.
      If it is only about what is legal then we are in big trouble as a society.
      Clif Kewley

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

      Comments from Cruisers (4)

      1. Rick Ritchie -  May 10, 2019 - 4:55 pm

        So whatever became of Captain Ritchie's Irwin 37 on Edgewater Lake? We were never forced to leave Edgewater Lake, although we had to defend our rights many times while we remained. My family got tired of the hassles, vandalism, police visits, and neighborhood meetings, so we sold our boat. Making a point, is one thing, but sticking around to "count coup" is quite another, and decidedly impolite. Since the draft of our Irwin 37 was 4 feet, she was too deep for the canal behind our house. So we parted ways with her…. and got smaller. Sure, we had to sacrifice the second head and second shower. But who really needs two showers, two heads and two sinks on a sailboat? We purchased an Irwin 10/4, which has the interior of a 30 footer, but is only 26 feet with a swing-keel draft of 2.75 feet. She has just the one head/shower, but still has two sinks. More importantly, we no-longer hear from those two constant complainers on Edgewater Lake. Our boat is right behind our house at our own dock. So, stay on Edgewater Lake in a storm, but there is no shore access and a couple of the locals will soon tire of your existence. [Please note: As I have mentioned before, most of the local homeowners around the lake were very friendly, and even helpful. A few of them should be given an award for their generous courtesy .]

        Reply to Rick
      2. James -  February 10, 2018 - 10:27 am

        There is a simple solution, just look for a canal front home without a boat at their dock and see if they will rent you the dock! Or look on craigslist, I believe there are several available right now

        Reply to James
      3. Rick Ritchie -  May 19, 2016 - 7:25 pm

        That is a good point, and only slightly misses the mark. You see, Edgewater Lake has been an anchorage… a Florida FWC designated anchorage, for a long. long time. So in light of this, here is a slightly better analogy. Suppose you spent your hard-earned retirement savings on a Florida home right next to a beautiful campground. One with an unpolluted, peaceful and rustic scenery that would inspire an artist to weep. Then suddenly, in April, some campers and motor homes start parking within your cherished and serene view. Some, of course, only park for a night or two. But others stay for the season. A few even leave their caravans behind and only visit on weekends. Of course this is all within the State legal limits of the camper owner, and the campground. Here is the question: Does the offended home-owner who lost his peaceful view have a legitimate and valid case against the camper owner?

        Reply to Rick
        • Richard Messier -  February 7, 2018 - 8:52 am

          This is a interesting article but with no conclusion. I just lost my docking spot on the next street over to edge water lake. So I thought it was a good time to plan on taking the 38 ft Irwin out of the water to paint the bottom but need to wait a week or two. Thought I might leave it anchored at edge water lake until then. Question is can I without being harassed? I am planning on purchasing a home in this area in the next two months but waiting for the sale of my currant home in Port Charlotte. Also what other options are there?

          Reply to Richard
    • Important Navigational News for AICW Problem Stretch at the Northern Mouth of Alligator River, AICW Statute Mile 80

      Due to a combination of shoaling and incorrect depiction of aids to navigation on some older editions of chart 11553, the intersection of the AICW and the northern mouth of Alligator River has gained the reputation of being currently the worst AICW problem stretch on the Tar Heel coastline. Fortunately, below Captains Chuck and George give good advice on how to successfully navigate these troubled waters, and the second posting below notes the replacement of destroyed marker #7, reported earlier here on the Cruisers’ Net, with a temporary, unlighted can buoy. The USCG has thankfully added a red nun buoy marker #8A and if you follow the advice below, you should have no problem, but cross your fingers and toes anyway.

      Beach House transited the mouth of the Alligator River yesterday and here is what we found. On the red side between R `6’³ and `8’³, even near the markers we had 9 feet. The green side is deeper with 12 feet holding about 75 feet off G `7’³ and going to G `9’³, again holding off about 75 feet. The marker for G `9’³ has been replaced and is in fine condition. The Coast Guard has placed a red nun, R `8A’ where everyone has cut through and run aground. So if the markers are followed correctly there is no reason for anyone to run aground. We will keep you posted on any further developments. From Norfolk to Adams Creek we have found nothing but good depths. We are heading south.

      Cruising News:
      Hi guys…was at the Alligator River Marina earlier this week and there is a new nun buoy 8a that has been placed in the ICW channel just south of daymarker #8. Heading north this should be left to port but there is good water right next to the marker in the channel. I expect it is there to keep people off the shoal to the west. You may want to follow up with the CG on this…but it was there on 5/15! All best…
      Capt. George Barr

      We passed northbound through this North Alligator River section discussed here this morning ‘“ May 1. It is important for cruisers to know that Flashing Green `7’³ has been destroyed and has been replaced by the CG with an unlighted small Green can. This `7’³ Green can is hard to see as you approach from the South, but is positioned exactly as the old light since about 2′ of the old pole is above the water next to it. All the advice here about getting near Green `9’³ and running to Green `7’³ and keeping well off of Red `8’³ is right on the money. We saw 11 feet or more at all times. We heard a motor cruiser who said he ran the Magenta Line report 3’ and a near grounding.

      Click Here To View An Earlier Posting about the AICW/Northern Alligator River Problem Stretch, That Also Gives Good Navigational Advice For These Waters

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For Northern Alligator River

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To This AICW Problem Stretch at the Northern Mouth of Alligator River

      Be the first to comment!

    • More Problems At AICW/Northern Mouth of Alligator River (near Statute Mile 81)

      Belhaven Waterway Marina is located on Pantego Creek in Belhaven Harbor at the 135 Mile marker on the Intracoastal Waterway We are in the center of downtown Belhaven just a short walk from the HardwarI have lost count of the number of postings we’ve had here on the Net about the Waterway’s run through the northern mouth of broad Alligator River, just as this stream meets up with Albemarle Sound. That’s why, some time ago, we designated these waters as an “AICW Problem Stretch.”
      If you will be traversing this stretch of the AICW anytime soon, be SURE to follow the link below to our listing of these waters in our AICW Problem Stretch section.
      Thanks to Captain Mason for his very kind words concerning the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net. Yes, indeed, as the spring 2011 spring migration goes forward, PLEASE help us get the word out to our fellow cruisers about the quantity and quality of info available here on the Net, and all at no charge, without the need for a users name or password!

      Hi Claiborne,
      Here is a try of your new address. I hope you are feeling much better. The following was told to me by a good friend, and it is about his friend.
      This person was coming up Alligator River, heading into Albemarle Sound. He was running twenty five knots in a 47 foot Eastbay. You guessed it, he was following the magenta line on his chart and chartplotter, and hit bottom at the curve just south of number 7 and 8. The impact tore his engines off their mounts and destroyed props, shafts and rudders. The damage estimate is above $50,000. He was fortunate not to be seriously injured.
      For the few minutes it takes to review your website before each day’s run, such hazards can hopefully be avoided. We now find many cruisers who have internet access on their vessels with aircards. This issue has been noted on your website for years now, including a post from me. This area is also well covered in various publications. I really wish we in the cruising community could get the information out better about your incredibly valuable website. It is hard for me to believe that there are still a few cruisers out there who do nothing but look at the charts and their chartplotter. Fortunately most we talk to review your website as much as I do. I wonder if a flag with a logo of your website could be made available. It might prompt questions from the few who do not know of it. I would be proud to pay for and fly such a flag.
      Recently, we were returning to Norfolk from our favorite marina, Belhaven Waterway Marina, after some work there, and were followed through this area by a 42 foot Krogen. This person had softly hit bottom here on the way south.
      I led him through, and told him about your website, which he was aware of, but had not reviewed. I think he will now.
      Again, I wish you all the best.
      With warm regards,
      Norman Mason
      Peggy Sue, Monk 36

      This just brings to mind something a tugboat captain once told me about the ICW. He said to drive the markers not the chart-keep the yellow squares (usually on the green side) to starboard and the yellow triangles (usually on the red side) to port. This would have prevented that damage to the Eastbay. We now have a very happy shipyard! This group on Facebook is providing some very useful intelligence on our migration once again. A great service to ICW users. Keep up the posting.
      The above is for heading North-the addendum was to keep the green markers between you and the ocean. Reverse this for heading south.
      To run aground on this point your going to have to pass to the WEST of the red marker on the tip of the point of land that sticks out from the west bank of the Alligator River-pretty dumb if you ask me…If you look at the markers not the chart you will be fine. Also if your not sure where your supposed to be then stop. Your supposed to pass between the red and green. It just makes a little turn here around the sand bar…..I see a boat in trouble here every trip.
      The hardest thing for a captain to do is slow down.
      Tedd Greenwald

      Transited this area in early April this year with an experienced crewmember. Like me he `refers’ to the chartplotter but `uses’ his eyes. We cleared this area with no trouble but unfortunately watched a boat behind us go aground!!!
      Capt. Larry Weiss

      I’m the Eastbay that made the mistake of relying upon the magenta line and thought I’d offer some reflections, in hopes of helping others. I sincerely wish I had known of this site [Cruisers’ Net] and will do a LOT more research in the future, including spending hours of bandwidth here. I am relatively new to cruising and unfortunately believed (ignorantly so) that I could rely on current charts. I guess my many years of flying taught me to religiously count on them, especially when they are current. Nuff said and believe me, it won’t happen again.
      My approach speed was closer to 18 kts right before entering the dog leg past the green 9. I slowed to about 15 entering the turn (NE) when the ground started coming up. There were no boats ahead of me to notice any other course.
      The depth finder said 5′ (below the hull) and then 3 so I immediately shut down the props to idle. There was a large hit, but not really a grounding. I heard a `metal on metal’ sound. We were completely stopped but floating (albeit just barely). I could feel the keel bouncing on a hard surface as the chop ran by.
      My starboard engine was all that was affected and appears to have taken the full hit; pulling the engine off it’s mount and slightly moving the strut. There is no damage, not even a scratch, to the hull. The starboard prop and shaft were moved 8-10’³ aft and the prop was impacting the rudder’¦ possibly the `metal on metal’ sound. The port engine, strut, prop and shaft were fine.
      A couple of boats came by, about 100 yds east of my location, both going from green 9 to green 7 and said they were in good water. I was facing due east at the time as the tide and chop continued to rotate me about a point. It was clear the starboard prop was hung up on something hard.
      Using the port engine and bow thruster, I was able to slowly continue to rotate (until facing due west) and back off whatever the starboard prop was sitting on, eventually getting to the line between the green 9 and green 7, which is the preferred course.
      We motored to the Alligator Marina (nice people who know quite well what the problem area is’¦ saying they see 2-3 every month) and the next morning was able to get it to a marina for repairs. At present, I have no estimate for repairs but am confident it’ll be a lot less than $50k, but in any event. it was clearly my fault for not researching the area more.
      I guess I just wanted to weigh in and admit my error and at the same time, correct the rumors which do seem to get a bit out of hand.
      Finally, it seems like even in this period of `no money Corps’ that the preferred course on charts and chartplotters could be simply adjusted for these kinds of areas when it’s apparently been known for a long time that a problem with a magenta line exists. I realize they don’t have funds to dredge, but it doesn’t seem like changing charts would be difficult since the cost is ours when we buy updates.
      Well, while I was a pilot, we used to say there were only two kinds, `those who have landed gear up; and those who have yet to..’ I guess the same goes for boating and I’m now in the former.
      Cheers, Jerry

      I can’t help myself ‘“ I just have to ask ‘“ why are people so obsessed with that magenta line? It seems to be a dangerous habit ‘“ as we’ve seen with the two prior postings ‘“ so why do people depend on something drawn by an unknown (who knows who drew it, or when, or what their capabilities were at the time, or just how outdated the information is)? Far better to use your eyes, your instruments and your charts to determine your own best course.

      Jerry replies:

      Capt Smith:
      I guess, to answer your question, `why are people are so obsessed with that magenta line’ it’s because that’s the ONLY true aid to navigation available when you’re unfamiliar with the area. The question seems to insinuate that someone is wearing blinders and not scanning the terrain. In my opinion, I find that insinuation (at least in this instance) to be an easy attack, a bit loose and off the mark.
      In the Alligator River instance, clearly the magenta line was drawn with a dogleg for a reason AND it continues to be the OFFICIAL recommended course (which clearly needs to be changed). The chart specifies that the magenta line is defined as `Channel, course, track recommended’. There is NO PHYSICAL evidence out there when cruising that magenta line that would cause you to question the recommended and charted course. Only having been there, talking to others or reading this site would allow you to know not to follow the course specifically. That’s called `prior knowledge’ and can’t be gained by looking around.
      I have also experienced a pretty bad grounding with another Captain who decided NOT to follow a doglegged magenta line (outside of Pensacola on the ICW), choosing instead to head directly from green to green. Just as in the Alligator River instance, there was NO PHYSICAL evidence available that suggested anything out of the ordinary. He used his `eyes’ and not the chart’¦ Was that wrong as well?
      I now know the Alligator River problem area pretty well. BUT, I would very much disagree that short of prior knowledge, nothing out there exists that would cause anyone to question the chart and proceed straight from green 9 to green 7, in DIRECT CONFLICT with the latest publication of a charted course.
      In my instance, I did exactly as you suggested,,, `used my eyes, instruments AND charts’. If there was anything out there that would have caused my eyes to question the instruments and finally the charts, I’d like to have it pointed out. It doesn’t exist. The ONLY reason not to follow that magenta line is to have prior knowledge, of which I claim sole personal and painful responsibility.
      Would we be having this same discussion if I posted the Pensacola grounding I spoke of? What about a time when a grounding occurs because you didn’t follow the magenta line?. I’ll wager an insurance company will be MUCH more difficult to deal with in getting the repairs accomplished in that instance. How can you explain a bad grounding when you’re OFF the magenta line? In my background, THAT would be called `Pilot Error’.
      Bottom line is, the magenta line is the best that we have, when lacking any other physical evidence. And in this instance at least, that line needs to be changed so that those of us who have never been there before can safely navigate the area without `prior knowledge’.

      I didn’t intend to point a finger at you [Jerry] in particular’¦. it was more of a generic comment. When I look at a chart, I guess you could say that I’m colorblind when it comes to that magenta line. It never enters into my line of sight ‘“ I don’t even see it. Never have, and never will.
      Capt. Mike Smith

      Claiborne, Beach House transited the mouth of the Alligator River yesterday and here is what we found. On the red side between R `6’³ and `8’³, even near the markers we had 9 feet. The green side is deeper with 12 feet holding about 75 feet off G `7’³ and going to G `9’³, again holding off about 75 feet. The marker for G `9’³ has been replaced and is in fine condition. The Coast Guard has placed a red nun, R `8A’ where everyone has cut through and run aground. So if the markers are followed correctly there is no reason for anyone to run aground. We will keep you posted on any further developments. From Norfolk to Adams Creek we have found nothing but good depths. We are heading south.
      Captain Chuck

      May 10, 2011
      Interesting discussion and i’m glad the incident with the East Bay wasn’t too serious.
      Couple of points i’d like to make, which apply not just to the Alligator River but to the entire ICW.
      1)- Watch the charts and look for the location of ATONs and how far off the channel they are located. How many time do we hear stories or read comments about someone running aground inside Green or Red XXX? being between the sticks isn’t enough’¦ there are many places where the marker is way off centerline and actually sits in pretty skinny water.
      Look for shoals near an ATON and if it comes close or extends into the `channel’, take this into account to give that spot a little extra clearance.
      Look for creeks, especially near inlets. This is often where shoaling will take place. A good example of this is the stretch just north of the Ben Sawyer Bridge in Charleston. Breach Inlet and its small creeks doens’t seem like much yet at every intersection you will find some shoaling (as much as 7′ MLW right now)
      2) the Magic-enta Line is a guideline, a suggestion. Usually this is where dredging will be done, and it’s also where most tugs are likely to run, making it the most likely places to find the deeper water. But, there is no guarantee and again look for signs of trouble like marker locations as mentioned previuosly, but also things like side creeks bringing silt into the channel, doglegs, etc’¦
      typically when approaching a known or possible trouble spot, I will first try the magic-enta line but will take it slow and watch my sounder, often poking on either side for best water if depth decrease on the line.
      3)- your depth sounder is your most critical instrument! more important that your radar and fancy GPS overlay, and maybe even more important than your plotter. Make sure you know where the transducer is and how much you have under the transducer. Props for a power vessel, keel for a sailboat. If you set an offset, make sure it’s accurate and make a note of it.
      Use the shallow depth alarm. Mine is set at 9′ (for a boat with a 6 1/4 draft). While the bottom can come up faster, it can alert you and save a prop!
      4)- In doubt, take it slow. again, watch your depths and the charts. If something doesn’t look right on the charts (see nr 1 above), slow down! Typically, when i get down to 10′, I slow down to fast idle. At 9′, I go to slow idle and if it really gets below 9′ I start coming in and out of gear. (again with a 6+ draft). At such low speed, I usually have enough time to throw the boat in reverse and back out of seriously shallowing water before hitting anything. The boat i run doens’t have the luxury of a keel and has 3′ props hanging off the bottom!
      5)- And above all, use the tides! usually, just 1 to 2 feet of tide is all you need to make transiting some of the worst stretches a less stressful experience. While sometimes schedule constraints may get in the way it’s often possible to get 6 to 8 hours of running with enough tide to enjoy the trip.
      Pascal aboard MY Charmer, 70’ 6+ draft

      Question from Jerry:
      Is the `Red 8A’ placed on the east side of the shoal area?
      Just curious graphically where they placed it. If so, it seems like they’ll HAVE to modify the magenta line on the charts as that would place it west of the channel and the new `Red 8A’. Thanks for the update.

      Red “8A” is about half way between G “7” and G “9” marking the starboard side of the channel going south or the port side heading north. Chuck

      And since the shoaling is from the west, we assume that Red Marker 8A has been placed east of the shoaling. There would be very little dogleg remaining.

      Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For Northern Alligator River

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

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