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AndreasNYC 09-23-2012 06:29 PM

Bahama Shoals?
So a boat salesmen was telling me today that a full keel boat (7 ft draft) would not be good to sail to the Bahamas because they tend to be shallow.

any truth to this?

Is there any generally accepted draft limit for sailing in the Caribean and esp Bahamas?



Capt.aaron 09-23-2012 06:48 PM

Re: Bahama Shoals?
Thats true. you can do it, but you will be limited. I've heard of people crossing the banks with that draft but I would'nt want to. I was on a research vessel in the Bahamas That drew 8 and we were very attentive and limited. Get a cruising guide and look at the depths in the harbours and channels that you want to visit. 6 feet is the general max people cruise the bahamas with and even they are often weary,

ebs001 09-23-2012 09:06 PM

Re: Bahama Shoals?
7 feet is not suitable for the Bahamas. The Caribbean is another story with lots of deep water.

capta 09-23-2012 09:14 PM

Re: Bahama Shoals?
I ran an 80 footer with 9.5 foot draft around the Bahamas without problems, but I ate a lot of Rolaids.
The Caribbean, on the other hand is not an area where a 7 foot draft is a problem.

frogvalley 09-24-2012 09:16 AM

Re: Bahama Shoals?
Bahama derives from a spanish word meaning shallow water. Or so I am told. Shoal draft boats are better for the area.

RichH 09-24-2012 09:27 AM

Re: Bahama Shoals?
Definitely 6 ft. is the maximum that you want on the Bahamian banks. There are many places there that you scratch over at low tide with a 6ft. depth. Many passes between islands and harbor entrances are at 6ft. ... and that means a few tenths of inches clearance with a 6 ft. draft.
Even with 6 ft draft youre going to be somewhat limited.

7ft probably would exclude you from most 'neat' places.

Vasco 09-24-2012 10:41 AM

Re: Bahama Shoals?
Have seen many boats with a seven foot draft in the Bahamas. Know one with 7'06". No problem on the Bank with seven feet. You might not get as close to shore with seven feet when anchoring as others but that's not a problem. If you can get a look at some Explorer Charts check them out. Their depths are fairly accurate. In the Bahamas a four foot draft gets you a lot of places that most cruisers don't get to. Once you're in the 5 1/2 to 7 foot range there's little difference in the care and routes you must take.

bvander66 09-25-2012 04:20 PM

Re: Bahama Shoals?
we have cruised the bahamas for two years now with a 6' draft and while it does limit us a bit and force us to play the tides never had any problems on the x the bank routes outlined in Explorer charts, and believe a 7' draft would be doable. the major difficulty are the channels and routes between the various cays, especially in the Abacos and Exhumas.

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