I'd be really interested to know what experiences other boaters have had along the Intracoastal Waterway as far as holding, and places to wait out a blow, places to avoid.
My boat is an extremely heavily constructed fiberglass schooner of 33' on deck, 12' beam, 5' draft, with 8600 lbs of internal lead ballast. Displacement is 24,000 lbs and the fiberglass hull is 1 1/2" thick at the keel, 1 1/4" at the waterline, and 3/4" at the sheer. It is solid and sound, and you can see how hard it would be to raise if I'm dumb enough to let it get sunk. Like any other boat, if you fill it with water, it sinks. It's just a little harder to fill than most.
I plan to head away from the Tampa area this year and go through the Okeechobee and work my way north to the Chesapeake. If I get a good weather window, I might sail around the Keys instead, but if there's no wind, I'll motor through the shortcut.
Waccamaw River SC
Section of ICW south of Myrtle Beach SC which is just south of NC border. The river is in a thick forest while there is always the chance of tree falls, the shelter if really increadable and beautiful too. Bucksport is nice 'little' village to stop at on that section.
i recently, just last month, sailed my boat from ft. lauderdale to tampa bay. the ideal conditions we hoped for did not materialize. the wind and tide clocked aroud with us as we rounded the state and, essentially, we had to fight a 20-25 kt headwind and 2-4kt current during each leg of the trip. fortunately, i had taken two weeks off work and used every bit of it to get my boat home. i am very thankful that when we really needed good weather, 50 miles offshore - sailing from key west to sanibel, we had it. so, if you go the long route here are some of the anchorages we used to duck and cover. each has good protection from all or most directions and good holding.
tampa bay - egmont key - probably the least comfortable and least protected of the group
venice - we rented a slip in venice at the crows nest, but i did make note of an anchorage just a little north of venice on the icw. i think it is in the area called "stump pass". if you are interested i could email you the numbers.
boca grande - there is an anchorage right across the channel from the cabbage key resort sign- umatilla key or idylewild key or something like that. good protection and good holding. only problem was the wake from passing big boats in the morning.
ft. myers beach - there is a mooring field in mantazas pass for $12/nite but if you go just beyond the mooring field there is an anchorage area with good holding and great protection from all sides.
*for groceries/laundry/liquor- if you dingy up the 4th(and last)channel from the bridge(heading west) there is a grocery store, liquor store, and laundry mat.
key west - rented a slip in kw
marathon - boot key harbor is well protected and well known.
islamorada - behind long key is jewfish hole. this one was recommended by a cruising buddy of mine. good protection from the east and good holding. it is labeled on the charts. i really liked this spot.
key largo - we anchored as far to the southeast in blackwater sound as we could. very close to the channel that leads to largo sound. there is a dingy dock behind the mexican restaurant that you can use. good protection and holding.
elliott key - this was my favorite anchorage of the whole trip. we anchored on the inside of elliott key on the way from miami to key largo. no development, lights, cars, cell phone service, etc..felt a million miles away from civilization.
miami - we anchored on the inside of south beach. good hold and protection but hard to find a place to dingy ashore to party on south beach.
ft. laudredale - lake sylvia - the locals tell you it is to shallow or that the marine patrol will run you off if yuo anchor there, but, we did not find this to be the case. it is a great anchorage and can be found on the charts. it is a great alternative to the $30/nt. mooring balls at the las olas bridge. thsi is probably why the locals don't like to talk about it.
i also have a link to this great website for anchorages on the entire icw.
Thanks to Salty_dog_68
The link to the list of anchorages is GREAT/WONDERFUL !!!!
"Anchoring in Ft. Lauderdale: First and foremost, there is a 24 hour anchoring limit, which means that you can only anchor for 24 hours within city limits. There are two known anchorages in Ft. Lauderdale. The "free" anchorage is at Lake Sylvia, which can be accessed from the ICW (consult for exact location and approach). Lake Sylvia is a large circular basin surrounded by large waterfront homes. No dinghy facilities or places to come ashore are nearby. The nearest places to bring a dinghy or tender to are a few waterfront restaurants near the mouth of the entrance to Lake Sylvia, but they are not free and will expect you to eat or drink there and you can't leave your dinghy there. Lake Sylvia is well protected though, so if the weather is nasty you can drop an anchor there and rest for a while. There is a sandbar in the middle of the entrance to the lake, so you must hug the eastern side of the channel to stay in deep water. Once inside the lake there is more depth.
The city mooring field is on the south end of the Las Olas Bridge and features 10 mooring balls at $20 a night. You can hail the Las Olas Marina on the VHF Channel 16, or call them at 954-828-7200. The moorings are available on a first come, first served basis. If you take a mooring you must dinghy over to the marina to fill out the paperwork. There is a dinghy dock there, as well as comfort facilities. If there is no mooring available when you arrive, you may anchor on the outside of the mooring field overnight but you must pull anchor by noon the next day. The dinghy dock is only available during the business hours of the Las Olas Marina, which are 8 am to 4:45 pm.
If you arrive during bad weather and have to choose between the city mooring field and Lake Sylvia, the latter is much more protected from the elements and traffic from other boats. "
So it looks like that sandbar (charted at 1' at the east end) is part of the reason someone called it shallow, but it certainly sounds legal enough if you don't mind being captive [sic] on the boat. Might be worth the twenty to use the mooring field and be in the middle of everything, unless that 24-hour period is all you need.
The later Travis McGee books mourned the overdevelopment of "Fort Liquoirdale" and I'm afraid old Travis would be rolling in his grave by now, most of the invaders don't even know his name.
These tips are fantastic and I'm adding them to my trip notes and will mark them on my charts. I think the one anchorage you mentioned new Cabbage Key Resort is at Useppa Island.
Two years ago I finally put my boat in at Naples and made my way north to get treatment at the Bay Pines VA. My boat wasn't finished at all, and I was in squalls and 20-25 knot headwinds and big current on the nose. My bilge pump wasn't wired in and my cockpit floor was only a plan, so all water coming over the bow ended in the bilge, requiring that I occasionally put the gearbox in neutral and dive below to hold the wires on the battery terminals and pump out the bilge. I pretty much decided I should sell the boat, if I survived, and get a small camp in the mountains somewhere, and a gun to ward off visitors. Hurricane Charlie was churning it's way straight for me and the current outside Sanibel finally forced me to turn around and head into the ICW.
I stopped overnight at the Useppa anchorage, then motored to one just inside the Venice channel for the next night, then stopped in the Manatee River at Regatta Point Marina. I am now at the Seafood Shack Marina on the ICW at Cortez.
The sooner I can get out of here and head south, then around and toward the South Carolina ICW, the better.
hello sailor - update - the ft. lauderdale mooring balls are now $30/night
hawk - yes, i checked my log and it was useppa island where we anchored one night. it is a great anchorage. i will be back sooner thatn later.
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