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Old 15-03-2016, 05:57   #1
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Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

Hi everyone,

I'm looking for local knowledge on the east pass at Destin - I'm planning on taking a boat out into the Gulf at the beginning of next month. The charts make it look almost usable for me (I draw about 4'6") and the pass is marked with a caution warning. Any advice?


Thanks,

Thomas
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Old 15-03-2016, 11:38   #2
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

You shouldn't have any problems unless you are a sailboat with an air draft over 49 feet. This is a heavily used, well marked pass.

Like all passes it can be nasty with strong wind against the outgoing tide.
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Old 18-03-2016, 13:03   #3
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

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Originally Posted by ThomasWeiss View Post
Hi everyone,



I'm looking for local knowledge on the east pass at Destin - I'm planning on taking a boat out into the Gulf at the beginning of next month. The charts make it look almost usable for me (I draw about 4'6") and the pass is marked with a caution warning. Any advice?





Thanks,



Thomas

This pass can really be nasty, esp with wind against current. Would ask for local knowledge, e.g. Tow Boat, local fishermen. I haven't been out n years, but have had bad experience there in both sailboat and many years ago in small motor craft. Make certain that you are not tempeted to turn to the left or right too soon going out.


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Old 18-03-2016, 14:28   #4
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

There is definitely enough depth for your draft in the channel (on both sides of the bridge), and your air draft does need to be less than 49'. Don't be tempted to shortcut the marked channel on the inside.

On rough days (or late afternoon) the pass can be intimidating. As mentioned, you often have wind opposing current, so it can be a bit rough right as you leave the pass. Make sure you wait until you're in deep enough water before you turn along the coast, it's shallow for a ways out.

Traffic is heavier on the weekends and in the afternoon. Stay in the channel on both sides of the bridge, but the channel is plenty deep for your draft.
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Old 18-03-2016, 18:47   #5
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

I think I'm just going to go the GICW route instead of starting out the trip with an overnight sail. Thanks for the help though everyone!

-Thomas


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Old 18-03-2016, 23:02   #6
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

Follow the buoys and with a 4'6" draft you will have plenty of room. Do not go if the wind is high and opposing the tide. Just wait until slack tide. I was somewhat apprehensive going in there in my Hunter 356 two years ago, but it is a wider channel than it looks. I draw 5 feet and I don't remember what the depth was but it was plenty for my boat or I would have remembered if it had caused me concern. I was worried about it beforehand, but not going back out when I left. Go out to the sea buoys before you make your turn east or west.

I had some friends go out there in high winds, opposing tides and they were pretty scared and turned back around. Just use common sense. ,if you see big waves,me sit and go later.


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Old 18-03-2016, 23:30   #7
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

Here are some screen shots from Navionics of my actual track. The small scale shows both coming in and going out and the detail was coming in. I adjusted my waypoints to track my incoming course when I left so the two are very close.Click image for larger version

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Old 19-03-2016, 10:50   #8
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

Most of all, watch for lunatics on other boats. Destin charter businesses charter pontoon boats to anyone of age. Then you have the big charter boats who think they're going slow but really throwing a huge wake. Add another hundred smaller power vessels coming and going and it's chaotic.

This happened the other day.
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Old 19-03-2016, 11:42   #9
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

[QUOTE=ThomasWeiss;2075821]I think I'm just going to go the GICW route instead of starting out the trip with an overnight sail. Thanks for the help though everyone!

-Thomas


Good plan.
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Old 19-03-2016, 11:47   #10
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

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Most of all, watch for lunatics on other boats. Destin charter businesses charter pontoon boats to anyone of age. Then you have the big charter boats who think they're going slow but really throwing a huge wake. Add another hundred smaller power vessels coming and going and it's chaotic.

This happened the other day.

Of course that was at 5 a.m. the morning after St. Patty's Day, with no other boats around.
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Old 19-03-2016, 20:15   #11
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Re: Advice for Leaving via the East Pass at Destin Florida

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Of course that was at 5 a.m. the morning after St. Patty's Day, with no other boats around.
True. Makes you wonder...the boaters were probably not in the best condition to be out there.
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