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Old 09-03-2012
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Cross Florida Canal

We are planning a trip to Florida this winter (Tartan 37) and one option is to go around the keys and up the Gulf side. On the return trip, we are considering the Cross Florida Canal to avoid the long trip back around the Keys.

Has anyone taken this recently? My concerns: water depth, (we draw 5 feet); bridge clearance (we have 55 feet); and powerlines and other obstructions.

Also, how much time did it save?

We would appreciate any information. Thank you.

Al & Diane Dashevsky
s/v Always Sumthing
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Cross Florida Canal

I took a 60' sports fisherman across this June that drew 5' and had no problems. BILL
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Cross Florida Canal

The "Cross Florida Canal" aka Cross Florida Barge Canal never got completed.
You can transit across Florida via the Okeechobee waterway but the max air draft is 49' I believe. There was a fellow near that bridge who could heel your vessel over using water ballast but I'm not sure how much he could lower your rig.
The US Corps of Engineers will have current info about depth, lock closures, etc.
You can Google search all kinds of info on the route.
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Cross Florida Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
The "Cross Florida Canal" aka Cross Florida Barge Canal never got completed.
You can transit across Florida via the Okeechobee waterway but the max air draft is 49' I believe. There was a fellow near that bridge who could heel your vessel over using water ballast but I'm not sure how much he could lower your rig.
The US Corps of Engineers will have current info about depth, lock closures, etc.
You can Google search all kinds of info on the route.
As I recall the maximum air draft for barreling is 56 feet.
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Cross Florida Canal

Info on the Okeechobee Waterway:

Okeechobee Waterway Guide - Navigation, Bridges, Locks, & Water Levels

Not sure if you can make it... there was a guy at the rail bridge that restricts mast height clearance that would help you get under by heeling the boat over. I'm not sure if he is still there or what mast height limits he might need to impose to do this safely.
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Cross Florida Canal

Quote:
Originally Posted by sd1953 View Post
Info on the Okeechobee Waterway:

Okeechobee Waterway Guide - Navigation, Bridges, Locks, & Water Levels

Not sure if you can make it... there was a guy at the rail bridge that restricts mast height clearance that would help you get under by heeling the boat over. I'm not sure if he is still there or what mast height limits he might need to impose to do this safely.
The folks at Indiantown Marina (772-597-2455) might be able to help you get in touch with the Barrel Man. He was working out of there when we went through with our old boat although its been quite a while since then. The one thing I can tell you about that trip was it was boring as heck--save in the Locks--and very buggy (mid-October). Also, be sure to check bridge clearances in Ft. Myers as you might have difficulty there as well. I seem to recall one lower bridge.

FWIW...
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Last edited by svHyLyte; 09-06-2012 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Correct Typo
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Old 09-04-2012
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Re: Cross Florida Canal

So, to summarize...

1) It is called the Okeechobee Waterway. Search on that for information, not on Cross Florida Canal.

2) 5 feet of draft is usually not a problem, and with all the rain this year is definitely not right now, but check with the Army Corps of Engineers for most current details...
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers®*— Jacksonville District

3) 55 feet of airdraft is an issue. You will have to heel it over almost 30 degrees from vertical in order to clear.

Personally, if I had a boat with 55 feet of airdraft (does that include things like antenna, wind indicator, etc?) I would schedule for a time when I could take a leisurely trip through the Keys and enjoy the journey.
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