The potential problem with Miami's Government Cut is that during the days that the cruise ships arrive/depart (usually around 5-6PM) they take up close to the whole channel which is only 500 ft wide. Since you are required to come no closer than 100 yards to a "Large Passenger Vessel" that pretty much means you have to orbit outside or linger west of Fisher
Island before you can use the main portion of Government Cut.
- - All the other times of the day when the big cruise ships (or container ships) are not using the Government Cut Channel you can proceed normally.
- - Biscayne Channel is 6.6 nm south and should you arrive off Miami during the mass exodus of Cruise ships you can just proceed on southwest and use Biscayne Channel.
- - No big deal, just an option to consider as normally leaving Ft Lauderdale in the morning will get you to Miami in the evening. However, I would not do the Biscayne Channel at night unless you are really familiar with it.
- - If you do not have experience with entering and navigating Miami's channels, IMHO spend some time memorizing the charts
. The turns at the "Turning Basin" to go north or south of Dodge Island can be confusing what with all the lights on land and the container terminals.
- - Additionally, the infamous Green "57" marker/buoy at the junction of the ICW and Miami River had bitten more than a few boaters who turn too early and run aground.
- - For mono-hulls with deep draft
the ICW from the Miami River to Rickenbacker Causeway bridge can be tricky when you have a herd of powerboats heading north and south around you. I wouldn't recommend doing that leg at night either unless you are experienced there.
- - I would suggest planning your Ft Lauderdale departure to arrive an hour or two before sunset off Miami. It takes about an hour to transit from the entrance of Miami's Government Cut to either the Venetian Causeway anchorage - or - to enter Biscayne Bay via the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge (ICW).