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Old 04-07-2018, 08:28 AM   #1
Dave R
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Default Looking for advice from snowbirds... OT

I know there are a few folks here that boat on Winnipesaukee and in FL. Wife and I are contemplating a visit to the Florida Keys with our 25 foot cuddy next Winter. The plan is to trailer it down, launch it and leave the truck and trailer parked, then do a 5 night cruise with a mixture of transient slips and quiet anchorages for the overnights. The boat draws 39" of water. I have never been to the area and would love to hear some recommendations of must-see places and must-do activities. Marina and boat ramp recommendations would be great too. We would like to keep our daily distance traveled by boat to under 75 statute miles, but can handle more if there's a good reason for it. We prefer to have shore power while in a slip, but it is not necessary, so we would consider any transient dockage that can handle our draft, the cheaper the better; showers are a must though...
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Old 04-08-2018, 08:17 PM   #2
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Just beware that many if the bays down here in SWFL are very shallow. Estero Bay for example is pretty much a “puddle” in my opinion with the majority of the bay anywhere from 1-1/2 to 4ft deep. You are pretty much restricted to dredged out channels where the water may be up to 12ft. The coastal water off Ft Myers range from 12-18 ft for quite a ways out. More than enough depth to “move around”. Tides generally only change about 1-1/2 to 2 feet or so. I’ve got a 25ft cuddy that draws about 30” with the drive fully down so water depth here is something I look at very closely. It is definitely a different world when it comes to boating down here. Lots of shallow bottom, outboards instead of I/Os, and deeper draft boats restricted to channels and rivers. Can you tell I miss Winnie?


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Old 04-08-2018, 09:42 PM   #3
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The good news is the bottom is almost all soft sand so when you do touch it will usually just put a shine on your prop and skeg.

One of the other surprises I had when I first boated in Florida was that it is not nearly as rough as the New England coastal waters. On most days the waves run in the 1 foot range and a lot of times it is nearly flat. There are a lot of sandy beaches to pull up on.

And when you see a fin go by in the water (and you will) no worries, it is a most likely a dolphin, not a shark.
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:19 AM   #4
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Just beware that many if the bays down here in SWFL are very shallow. Estero Bay for example is pretty much a “puddle” in my opinion with the majority of the bay anywhere from 1-1/2 to 4ft deep. You are pretty much restricted to dredged out channels where the water may be up to 12ft. The coastal water off Ft Myers range from 12-18 ft for quite a ways out. More than enough depth to “move around”. Tides generally only change about 1-1/2 to 2 feet or so. I’ve got a 25ft cuddy that draws about 30” with the drive fully down so water depth here is something I look at very closely. It is definitely a different world when it comes to boating down here. Lots of shallow bottom, outboards instead of I/Os, and deeper draft boats restricted to channels and rivers. Can you tell I miss Winnie?

Thanks. I've been studying the charts and it's astounding how shallow it is. Reminds me of upper Chesapeake Bay. I might be adjusting my trip a bit further north between Tarpon Springs and Fort Meyers. I hear the experience on the water is similar, but the expenses are dramatically reduced and since I have no experience boating in FL, it's all good...
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Old 04-09-2018, 04:20 PM   #5
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And one other thing: There is no "safe passage" law in Florida. You will be amazed at how close boats on plane will come to your boat without giving it a thought. You just have to get used to it and accept it. I am sure other "snowbirds" from New Hampshire have experienced the same thing.

On Saturday I was in Naples going about 20 MPH and a boat came up on the left abreast of me and about 40 feet away. Just as I was thinking "that guy is really close" a boat going about 35 in the same direction passed between us and his wake threw my boat sideways. It got my attention!

It happens all the time in Florida. I have wanted to ask (certainly in a very nice way) Did you give any thought to your wake and the spray your boat throws up as you pass by? Did you consider that I might have changed course by a little just as you passed and there would have been a pretty good collision?

There is no point in asking. They wouldn't even know what you were talking about. It is just the way it is and that is "normal" here..
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:59 PM   #6
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And one other thing: There is no "safe passage" law in Florida. You will be amazed at how close boats on plane will come to your boat without giving it a thought. You just have to get used to it and accept it. I am sure other "snowbirds" from New Hampshire have experienced the same thing.

On Saturday I was in Naples going about 20 MPH and a boat came up on the left abreast of me and about 40 feet away. Just as I was thinking "that guy is really close" a boat going about 35 in the same direction passed between us and his wake threw my boat sideways. It got my attention!

It happens all the time in Florida. I have wanted to ask (certainly in a very nice way) Did you give any thought to your wake and the spray your boat throws up as you pass by? Did you consider that I might have changed course by a little just as you passed and there would have been a pretty good collision?

There is no point in asking. They wouldn't even know what you were talking about. It is just the way it is and that is "normal" here..
Thanks for that, and the dolphin pictures. I've done a lot of boating outside NH and I am used to not having the Safe Passage law. Frankly, I prefer not to have it.

150+ feet away is great for:
swimmers
shore
human powered boats
boats at rest
boats that are substantially smaller than the one you're operating
water skiers
etc.

However, 150 feet is way too much space for two similarly-sized boats underway. For instance, I think two PWCs should be able to cruise side by side 10 feet apart, and if two 20 foot bowriders want to pass each other on plane 50 feet apart in the Graveyard, the law should allow for that.

That said, I would not try to change it here in NH, it makes boating here (especially on Winnipesaukee where there's a massive MP presence) incredibly relaxing and easy compared to most other places. I can live with the occasional inconvenience of it.
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:08 PM   #7
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I do my Florida boating in the southern most area of Saint Petersburg.

In Google Maps you can get a nice satellite view by searching for”Fort De Soto Park”.

There you will have access to:
The Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
Tampa Bay
Shell Island Preserve
Egmont Key
New Island

Unless it is really windy you will always have a place to go.

For longer trips you can cruise north to Clearwater Harbor or south to Anna Maria Island.

I am sure there are better (and worse) places in Florida but for the last sixteen years it has been great for us.

Tierra Verde Marina probably can slip or rack your boat.
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:34 AM   #8
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I do my Florida boating in the southern most area of Saint Petersburg.

In Google Maps you can get a nice satellite view by searching for”Fort De Soto Park”.

There you will have access to:
The Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
Tampa Bay
Shell Island Preserve
Egmont Key
New Island

Unless it is really windy you will always have a place to go.

For longer trips you can cruise north to Clearwater Harbor or south to Anna Maria Island.

I am sure there are better (and worse) places in Florida but for the last sixteen years it has been great for us.

Tierra Verde Marina probably can slip or rack your boat.
Coincidentally, I have been re-thinking my plans and may cruise the Tampa to Fort Meyers are instead of the Keys. It's apparently substantially cheaper and just as interesting.

I use Active Captain which has Satellite views and NOAA chart views with marina, restaurant, hazard, launch ramp, anchorage, bridge, lock, and other useful data as clickable links with crowd-sourced updates and reviews. It's an awesome website. There are even entries for Winnipesaukee on there.
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiltonBB View Post
And one other thing: There is no "safe passage" law in Florida. You will be amazed at how close boats on plane will come to your boat without giving it a thought. You just have to get used to it and accept it. I am sure other "snowbirds" from New Hampshire have experienced the same thing.

On Saturday I was in Naples going about 20 MPH and a boat came up on the left abreast of me and about 40 feet away. Just as I was thinking "that guy is really close" a boat going about 35 in the same direction passed between us and his wake threw my boat sideways. It got my attention!

It happens all the time in Florida. I have wanted to ask (certainly in a very nice way) Did you give any thought to your wake and the spray your boat throws up as you pass by? Did you consider that I might have changed course by a little just as you passed and there would have been a pretty good collision?

There is no point in asking. They wouldn't even know what you were talking about. It is just the way it is and that is "normal" here..
So are there more collisions and accidents in general because of the lack of safe passage laws? Insurance must be expensive down there??!
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:19 AM   #10
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I just brought my boat down from NH two weeks ago. Used uShip to have it hauled down on its own trailer. Was very satisfied with the service and the price for the 1500 mile haul. I chose to rack my boat up on the Colasahottche River about 12 miles up river from San Carlos Bay Ft Myers. Sweetwater Landing is a brand new facility and when complete will have a huge “boatel”, restaurant and shower facilities. Rates are very reasonable. The river is part of the intracoastal waterway and it is possible to travel from the east coast to the west coast of Florida by going through a series if locks run the the Army Corps of Engineers. I am new to boating here in SWFL and at least for right now prefer the relative security of the river until I get my “sea legs” by going out on the Gulf with more experienced boaters.


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Old 04-10-2018, 06:44 PM   #11
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The Cross Florida Barge Canal was never finished. That won’t get you across.

I fish in a reservoir that was built to raise the water level for vessel passage. I have been through a lock there.

Is there another way across from east coast to west?
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:26 PM   #12
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The Cross Florida Barge Canal was never finished. That won’t get you across.
I fish in a reservoir that was built to raise the water level for vessel passage. I have been through a lock there.
Is there another way across from east coast to west?
The Okeechobee Waterway (OWW) is an inside protected passage across Florida from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. The eastern entrance to the OWW is located in Stuart, FL approximately 80 NM south of Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast. The western entrance is located just off of Punta Rassa, FL (near Cape Coral and Fort Myers) about 77 NM south of the entrance to Tampa Bay on Florida’s west coast.

http://www.offshoreblue.com/cruising/okeechobee.php
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:24 PM   #13
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The Okeechobee Waterway (OWW) is an inside protected passage across Florida from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. The eastern entrance to the OWW is located in Stuart, FL approximately 80 NM south of Cape Canaveral on Florida’s east coast. The western entrance is located just off of Punta Rassa, FL (near Cape Coral and Fort Myers) about 77 NM south of the entrance to Tampa Bay on Florida’s west coast.

http://www.offshoreblue.com/cruising/okeechobee.php
Thanks for posting that! It looks very interesting.

I spent a few hours in the Okeechobee Rim Canal in a very light 14’ boat.

A rather large cabin cruiser passed by and its wake deposited us up onto the rocky rip rap of the shore. We also caught zero fish!

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Old 04-13-2018, 12:44 PM   #14
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We are just finishing up our first winter in SWFL. We are on a canal in Port Charlotte with pretty quick access to the Myakka River/Charlotte Harbor. I trailered our 17' Whaler down and will be towing it back up again in a few weeks. Been exploring the Intracoastal in the Englewood/Placida area and it's been a blast. Had a few dolphins swimming with us for a while one day. One of the first weekends we took it out i think we did 75-80 miles. Even took it into the Gulf around Boca Grande. It's crazy how shallow is it down here, 5' to 6' is normal, but the bottom is mostly sand. A lot more forgiving than Winni, for sure.
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:12 PM   #15
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The Myakka River State Park has some mighty big gators to see from the safety of a bridge!
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Old 04-14-2018, 08:33 AM   #16
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Default Cruising the intercoastal from Boston to Keys

I have traveled a couple of time with Peter Makris from Boston to South Florida in the NASWA yacht. Combination of Lorange and GPS plus good maps does the trick! It was fun!

Be aware transient slips are expensive in the Northern states and appears to get cheaper traveling South. This was done 'off season' so transient slips are available.

Yes there are shallow areas, nothing a good depth gauge can handle, just be alert.

Be on the lookout at all times, there are lots of boneheads out there!

Just be aware of hurricane season!

The Tampa to Key West trip is a lot of fun as well. Not as crowded as the East coast. Plenty of fishing!
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Old 04-14-2018, 10:51 AM   #17
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I have traveled a couple of time with Peter Makris from Boston to South Florida in the NASWA yacht. Combination of Lorange and GPS plus good maps does the trick! It was fun!
Maybe you meant LORAN or LORAN-C?

I used to work for about the ONE company that designed and made these for the US Coast Guard.

I did some control work and software for the remote controllers that allowed them to to control and adjust the transmitters from a remote location.

It was interesting work, and an interesting technology. I have heard talk of bringing it back, as a backup to GPS, in case someone shoots down some of the GPS satellites.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:13 PM   #18
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Lots of boater familiar with the bay, canals and rivers seem to do okay dealing with the shallow waters. Like anything else, once you get the lay of things, it’s no big deal. Just takes a little different mind set. When I first asked about depths, I was told I needed to be more concerned with the signage and markers more than water depth! Another thing here I don’t see alot of is rafting, in the Ft Myers area lots of boaters pull up their boats onto the sandy beaches around Lovers’ Key in the Big San Carlos Pass inlet, but very little mingling around in the water. There are lots of critters in the water down here. I half jokingly call the area Jurasic Park!


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Old 04-16-2018, 07:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoBarb11 View Post
I just brought my boat down from NH two weeks ago. Used uShip to have it hauled down on its own trailer. Was very satisfied with the service and the price for the 1500 mile haul. I chose to rack my boat up on the Colasahottche River about 12 miles up river from San Carlos Bay Ft Myers. Sweetwater Landing is a brand new facility and when complete will have a huge “boatel”, restaurant and shower facilities. Rates are very reasonable. The river is part of the intracoastal waterway and it is possible to travel from the east coast to the west coast of Florida by going through a series if locks run the the Army Corps of Engineers. I am new to boating here in SWFL and at least for right now prefer the relative security of the river until I get my “sea legs” by going out on the Gulf with more experienced boaters.


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Sent you PM GeoBarb............Wanting some info on uShip
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:47 AM   #20
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Check PMs. Replied to you yesterday and again today in case it did not go through


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