Cruisers Forum

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 04-09-2015, 04:32   #1
Marine Service Provider
hogHunter's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Hypoluxo, FL
Boat: 2007 Beneteau 393 Cyclades
Posts: 276
Images: 4
Sailing in the Dry Tortugas

We are headed to the Dry Tortugas next weekend. I checked out the charts in that area and it looks like there is some amazing structure for snorkeling/diving.

Has anyone sailed there? Is it best to find a spot without coral and anchor or should we use the mooring buoys? Any specific places that you've overnighted that are nice? We're going to have some guests aboard that get a bit seasick so a calm anchorage would be nice.

hogHunter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2015, 05:32   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 244
Re: Sailing in the Dry Tortugas

There are lots of rules in the Tortugas.

Half the park is a protected area and no anchoring is allowed. There are 5 or 6 mooring balls installed in the more interesting places that you must use. Mooring balls are limited to 2 hours if someone is waiting.

The fort is in the protected half, but has a 1-mile exclusion zone around it. All overnight anchoring must be in sand within this 1-mile area around the fort. The harbor is pretty well protected, but you don't want to be there for anything "tropical".

There aren't many boats there this time of year. I was just there about a month ago, and never had more than 4 boats in the harbor. Most of the time it was just one other boat. So there probably isn't any need to worry about competition for the anchorage or the mooring balls. There is some traffic that zips over from Key West for day trips in calm weather.

The snorkeling and diving are fantastic. Easily the best in Florida in my opinion.

JayH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2015, 05:59   #3
Registered User
Dulcesuenos's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Florida Keys, Bahamas Bound
Boat: 38' French Cat
Posts: 2,650
Images: 4
Re: Sailing in the Dry Tortugas

Best anchoring right I. Front of the fort in the protected harbor. Room for 6 to 8 boats easy. We pulled up till in 6 ft of water on a sandy spots and put out 100 ft of chain backed down hard so the boat was in about 15 ft of water. Held great. There for 4 days it was awesome!!!! You can dinghy In. And have fun

Sent from my LG-LS980 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
Dulcesuenos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2015, 06:43   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Marathon, FL
Boat: CSY 37 Plan B
Posts: 125
Re: Sailing in the Dry Tortugas

Best anchoring I"ve found is off the SW of the fort, almost directly out from the beach and the western wall. Use your charts but there are some great sandy patches and good holding there. Held through several nights of 35+kts during our last trip while boats drug all over the inside "protected" anchorage.. You drag on the inside and it can get hairy, drag where I'm talking about and you've got miles till Loggerhead Key.

Loggerhead Key and it's surrounding dives are some of the highlights of the Tortugas. Little Africa is an amazing dive site, the Windjammer wreck and the entire area there are beautiful. You can beach the dinghy on the Eastern shore and walk checking out the lighthouse on the way, or bring the dinghy or even the big boat to the other side where there are mooring balls. This time of year you can probably stay as long as you want, however there is supposed to be a time limit on the balls. Don't be shocked to see huge goliath grouper hanging out under your boat, or if you are lucky enough to see the tiger shark that hangs out by the windjammer.

Some other great tips for the Tortugas..

You can get lunch everyday the ferry is there, it's a sandwich buffet with cold drinks. You can also use the freshwater showers to rinse off. During the ferries visit the bathrooms on shore are locked, you can use the air conditioned ones on the ferry as well during this time. Depending on the crew, you can sometimes get them to take trash for you as well. This varies.. If you find yourself needing a part or something critical, talk to the seaplane pilot, they have always been willing to (for a nominal fee) bring parts you need.

Talk with the rangers, ask any questions, they are more then willing to guide you in the right direction. "Tree" is my favorite guy out there, if he's still there. He can answer anything you want to know.

Other then that, have fun!
Our Blog
Thin Line is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2015, 16:13   #5
Registered User
timbenner's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Boat: Lagoon 380, 38', I Dream of Jeanne
Posts: 295
Images: 7
Re: Sailing in the Dry Tortugas

My advise is turn around and head to the Bahamas or turn south and go to Cuba. More freedom, less regulations, etc. We've been to the Dry Tortuga and I wouldn't go back. Too many rules and the cost is too high for breaking them. The biggest problem is how to know all of their rules? Typical USA Park Non-Service. I think that we as citizens, paying the bills own the USA Parks, but the Park Rangers don't feel that way. They think it's their Kingdom and we are their surfs.
timbenner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2015, 20:03   #6
Registered User
brownoarsman's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Round Bay, Severn River
Boat: Pearson 28-1
Posts: 954
Re: Sailing in the Dry Tortugas

Had a wonderful time in the tortugas. There is a sand hole in front of the fort that's a great place to anchor. I was in a more grassy area but still held in a 40 knot white squall.
Windjammer wreck was better snorkeling than I had in any part of the berries or abacos.
Park service was super helpful, even helping me get in touch with the volunteer docents on loggerhead when I was looking for a lost fin clip. They have nothing to do all day but help you, and are so happy to meet people they want to chat with you.

Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
brownoarsman is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2015, 20:08   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 2
Re: Sailing in the Dry Tortugas

Serfs perhaps?
ffiss is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2015, 20:37   #8
Registered User
the_alpine's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: st petersburg, fl
Boat: O'Day 302
Posts: 242
Re: Sailing in the Dry Tortugas

It does have its rules, but it's a really great place. You MUST snorkel little Africa and the windjammer. There are also other great spots that are pretty easy to find. The fishing is PHENOMENAL. If you're into spearfishing, the southern boundary of the park is only a couple miles south of the fort. Hint: the fish don't know they're no longer in the protected park there.

It is what you make it. Bring LOTS of water. You can get ice and showers from the ferry.

Tree is still there and is a great source of info.

Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
the_alpine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2015, 03:00   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 206
Re: Sailing in the Dry Tortugas

Spent two weeks there in July best snorkeling in Florida. When you arrive you are required to check in with the rangers office. They will give you a 10-15 min run down on the do's and don'ts. It changes year to year, and the rangers are just like most of us, some are better than others.

The best thing about this time of year is the water is wonderful clear, calm and warm. Not much wind unless stormy which means hot.

Don't forget to tarpon fish at sunset in the harbour, great fun to jump in dinghy and fight.

Sent from my SM-G900P using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app

Sailingcouple13 is offline   Reply With Quote

dry tortugas, sail, sailing

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sailing from key West to Dry Tortugas MartinBoyer General Sailing Forum 2 24-03-2014 17:47
First Time Sailing to the Dry Tortugas Bud McCall General Sailing Forum 7 07-01-2013 20:31
Suggest stops sailing to Dry Tortugas tomfl Atlantic & the Caribbean 6 23-10-2012 19:47
Small Craft Sailing to Dry Tortugas in December DoiNomazi General Sailing Forum 70 07-10-2012 12:39

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 21:11.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.