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We just bought a 30' 1981 Hunter. We're looking for a place to moor her in south florida or the upper keys so that we have quick sailing access to Keys/Bahamas. Having a hard time finding free mooring. I've seen something about Upper Matecumbe Key but haven't been able to verify. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!!
 

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Capt Ron
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Many Cities in Florida now prohibit mooring or anchoring up your boat and instead are providing (paid for) mooring spaces.

There are numerous good spots in the Keys to anchor up, a shallow draft sailboat.

And Monroe county’s which includes all of Florida’ keys so far does not require you to have a paid for mooring. But you are required to have at least a 10 gallon black water holding tank, and the locals LEO’s and FWC are checking for it.
 

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Many Cities in Florida now prohibit mooring or anchoring up your boat and instead are providing (paid for) mooring spaces..................
I don't think there is a single city in Florida that totally disallows anchoring! Vero Beach, St. Augustine, Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach have mooring fields that greatly limit the opportunity to find anchoring space and some cities like Naples have little if any space available outside established channels. Many cities have available anchoring space, but few public dinghy landing opportunities. If you make this statement, "Many Cities in Florida now prohibit mooring or anchoring...", it would be helpful to cite the names of some of these cities. Thanks, Aythya crew
 

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As for free mooring balls, I don't know of any in the keys. However, at Marathon City Marina, the mooring balls are $300 a month, which is not really that expensive, about the same as some northern cities. There is one caveat, though. You cannot leave the boat unattended when on a mooring ball at the Marathon or Key West City Marinas - they are for live aboards only. But, you will also find lots of neat places where you can anchor at no cost, locations that are totally sheltered from winds in all directions. It's just a long day sail to the Bahamas from Marathon or any key north of there.

This may be of help All Florida Keys Anchorages | Cruisers' Net

Good luck,

Gary :cool:
 

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Dinner Key marina has reasonable mooring rates. Depending on your draft, you may fit in one of the small free anchorages outside the main mooring field. I was Dinner Key's first mooring customer ... and put my boat on the mooring that was closest to my old home-built mooring in the formerly free main anchorage. There are good people there, and some not so good. Mooring customers get access to a daytime hourly launch shuttle, a dinghy dock, the laundry and bathroom facilities, and a parking sticker.

Coconut Grove Sailing Club has a mooring field as well, which is actually open to the public. Their launch is on-demand, so more convenient than Dinner Key's.

If you just want to anchor in the Keys, consider Sunset Cove in Key Largo. There are a few boats moored there full-time. It's on the inside so there's protection from the east.

If you do stop in at Dinner Key or CGSC, make sure to make time for lunch at Scotty's Landing. You can get there by dinghy. The cracked conch salad and dolphin sandwich are great and the view can't be beat.
 
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