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Old 10-04-2012, 08:52   #1
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Marina options near orange beach

Every year my family rents one of the beach houses at Perdido key/Orange beach. This year we'd like to take our boat over there and visit but we've never sailed out that way.

Took a look at ActiveCaptain and a lot of the marinas over there appear to be big sport fisher aligned. Can anyone give us some suggestions that are closest to the beaches and can handle 5.5ft draft?

Also, I see the notes about the Perdido Beach Bridge shoaling. Says "warning for deep draft and sailboats". I seem to recall watching some sail boats exit through there but was wondering if anyone with recent local knowledge can chime in.

We're trying to decide if we'll venture out into the gulf or not (weather permitting).

Thanks,
Tate
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:34   #2
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Re: Marina options near orange beach

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Originally Posted by Target9000 View Post
Every year my family rents one of the beach houses at Perdido key/Orange beach. This year we'd like to take our boat over there and visit but we've never sailed out that way.

Took a look at ActiveCaptain and a lot of the marinas over there appear to be big sport fisher aligned. Can anyone give us some suggestions that are closest to the beaches and can handle 5.5ft draft?

Also, I see the notes about the Perdido Beach Bridge shoaling. Says "warning for deep draft and sailboats". I seem to recall watching some sail boats exit through there but was wondering if anyone with recent local knowledge can chime in.

We're trying to decide if we'll venture out into the gulf or not (weather permitting).

Thanks,
Tate
I'm replying as I was looking at this in detail last night, mostly to look at the accessiblity from the Gulf up to Bear Point Marina up on Perdido/Arnica Bay.

The fixed bridge over the Perdido Pass channel has four piles mid-channel which you'll need to look out for. If you follow the channel markers in and then make sure you keep to the right-hand channel to avoid going up into Terry Cover or Johnson Cove, then you'll find yourself in a channel of 9ft depth.

On the way out: The whole Bayou St John shoals to around 7'8" if you follow the markers well. The bridge itself has a vertical clearance of 40.7ft and shoals to around 6'5".. Directly in the middle of the channel as seen coming through the bridge there's an area which shoals to 5'9" - which is why it's better to keep to the Gulfward side of the channel. Once under the bridge and through the piles i mentioned head straight for the middle of the two channel markers "7" to startboard and "6" to port you'll pass through 8' of water between the bridge and the markers - from there you can head due south in 11'8" of water to the final markers "1" and "2", making sure to keep away from the port side of the mouth as it shoals rapidly to 2'.

A good quality sensibly scaled chart (which is up to date) should tell you what you need to know.

Hope this helps,

Phil

P.S. I haven't been there myself yet, so take what I have to say with a pinch of salt!
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:40   #3
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Re: Marina options near orange beach

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The fixed bridge over the Perdido Pass channel has four piles mid-channel which you'll need to look out for. If you follow the channel markers in and then make sure you keep to the right-hand channel to avoid going up into Terry Cover or Johnson Cove, then you'll find yourself in a channel of 9ft depth.

On the way out: The whole Bayou St John shoals to around 7'8" if you follow the markers well. The bridge itself has a vertical clearance of 40.7ft and shoals to around 6'5".. Directly in the middle of the channel as seen coming through the bridge there's an area which shoals to 5'9" - which is why it's better to keep to the Gulfward side of the channel. Once under the bridge and through the piles i mentioned head straight for the middle of the two channel markers "7" to startboard and "6" to port you'll pass through 8' of water between the bridge and the markers - from there you can head due south in 11'8" of water to the final markers "1" and "2", making sure to keep away from the port side of the mouth as it shoals rapidly to 2'.

A good quality sensibly scaled chart (which is up to date) should tell you what you need to know.

Hope this helps,

Phil

P.S. I haven't been there myself yet, so take what I have to say with a pinch of salt!
Thanks Phil! Question though. You said the bridge has a vertical clearance of 40.7ft? Which bridge? I'm assuming the Perdido beach bridge? On my chart it shows 55ft. I'm about 45ft air draft so at 40.7ft that is right out for us.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:50   #4
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Re: Marina options near orange beach

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Thanks Phil! Question though. You said the bridge has a vertical clearance of 40.7ft? Which bridge? I'm assuming the Perdido beach bridge? On my chart it shows 55ft. I'm about 45ft air draft so at 40.7ft that is right out for us.
Hmm.. you're right there's Perdido stuff everywhere:

There's a bridge over Perdido Bay (near Lulu marina) which is a twn fixed bridge with 72.8' clearance - this is on the ICW

There's another further to the east along the ICW at portage creek, it has a vertical clearance of 73'. The ICW then opens out into Wolf Bay with Orange Beach to the south.

From Orange Beach, the quickest way to the open Gulf is following the channel markers east into Bay La Launch, then Arnica Bay then arcing around with the markers south and then west again to bring you into Bayou St John. From there you'll come across the Perdido Pass Bridge, which runs between Alabama Point and Florida Point. Center of this bridge is: 30deg16.64'N 87deg33.18'W

Phil
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:53   #5
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Re: Marina options near orange beach

Take a look at Barber marina on Wolf Bay.

Barber Marina - Dry and Wet Docks in Orange Beach, AL
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:59   #6
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Re: Marina options near orange beach

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Hmm.. you're right there's Perdido stuff everywhere:

There's a bridge over Perdido Bay (near Lulu marina) which is a twn fixed bridge with 72.8' clearance - this is on the ICW

There's another further to the east along the ICW at portage creek, it has a vertical clearance of 73'. The ICW then opens out into Wolf Bay with Orange Beach to the south.

From Orange Beach, the quickest way to the open Gulf is following the channel markers east into Bay La Launch, then Arnica Bay then arcing around with the markers south and then west again to bring you into Bayou St John. From there you'll come across the Perdido Pass Bridge, which runs between Alabama Point and Florida Point. Center of this bridge is: 30deg16.64'N 87deg33.18'W

Phil
The first 2 bridges Phil is referring to are on the ICW. The bridge over Perdido Pass (access to the Gulf) has a clearance of 54'.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:06   #7
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Re: Marina options near orange beach

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The first 2 bridges Phil is referring to are on the ICW. The bridge over Perdido Pass (access to the Gulf) has a clearance of 54'.

Good point, and to clarify - i'm quoting Vertical clearances at highest astronomical tide - so the 40.7' number really is a worst case and is taken off the chart: just be sure not to lose your windex!
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