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Old 25-12-2010, 08:17   #1
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St. Lucie Inlet - Local Knowledge

folks,

Looking for some local knowledge.... we're heading south and want to avoid some of the bridges on the way to lake worth. What can I expect if we go out st. lucie to lake worth? Is st. lucie a 'friendly' inlet?

thanks!
-dennis
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Old 25-12-2010, 10:19   #2
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Shoaling in the St. Lucie Inlet is problematic, particularly on the north side. For additional infomation you might want to have a look at Active Captain (you might need to register) and contact the local TowBoatUS station manager for "local information" before attempting a transit.

FWIW...
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Old 25-12-2010, 10:31   #3
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What svHyLyte said.
Shoaling at the St. Lucie Inlet can be a problem. The Corps of Engineers has a start date of March 11, 2011 for dredging, but no money has been appropriated to date.

More ➥
Ed Killer: St. Lucie Inlet's steadily shallowing status is making for dangerous seaward passage TCPalm.com

And ➥ http://www.martin.fl.us/web_docs/eng...on_Survey_.pdf
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Old 25-12-2010, 10:39   #4
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the bridges north of the lake worth area aren't too much of a hassle and, given the current weather, it might be best staying in the ditch. but from lake worth south the bridges are a real pita and you might consider going out at west palm if you're heading further south.
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Old 25-12-2010, 11:19   #5
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I've read several reports about increased shoaling, but with a catamaran, you will have a very shallow draft. I've been using it on and off over the past decade and find it easier than the guidebooks indicated, but I haven't used it since last January when I had no problem with a 4.5 draft. I don't know how extensively it has shoaled since then.

If there's a north wind or calm, I much prefer heading out there to the ditch south of there as bridges get more common. Fort Pierce to Lake Worth may be viable as well depending on boat speed and hours of light.
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Old 25-12-2010, 11:45   #6
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LOCAL KNOWLEDGE:
I live waterfront just inside the inlet (Manatee Pocket). I sail a 52' Kanter with a 6' draft. The inlet is very doable, it is shoaled but very well marked.

THE KEY: Follow the nuns and cans closely; they are moved as the shoals change. DO NOT follow the day markers (on posts); they are often up in the shoals.

If you stay in the channel you will have at least 10'.
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Old 25-12-2010, 11:48   #7
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St. Lucie Inlet News
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Old 26-12-2010, 06:49   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailnautilus View Post
LOCAL KNOWLEDGE:
I live waterfront just inside the inlet (Manatee Pocket). I sail a 52' Kanter with a 6' draft. The inlet is very doable, it is shoaled but very well marked.

THE KEY: Follow the nuns and cans closely; they are moved as the shoals change. DO NOT follow the day markers (on posts); they are often up in the shoals.

If you stay in the channel you will have at least 10'.
Regards,
Michele
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Michele, with 10 feet still available, what is the current issue regrading dredging and talk of closing the inlet all about? That's more depth than one often has in the ICW.
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Old 26-12-2010, 07:34   #9
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The dredging has occurred in Manatee Pocket, a harbor just inside the inlet. The St Lucie inlet (from the Atlantic into the St Lucie River and ICW) still needs to be dredged. I have traversed the inlet in all kinds of weather and find it very passable, rarely seeing depths below 10 feet. The inlet is bounded by low rock jetties, which were difficult to see in rough sea conditions or at night. Last year, lighted day markers on high posts were added on the jetties, which improve navigability in any rough water as you can now clearly see the entrance through the jetties. That being said, the inlet is at its worst any time the seas are coming out of the east and breaking at the entrance- I have found this true for many of the inlets up and down the east coast- I particularly remember a horrible entrance to Barnegat Bay after a gale in my previous 43' sloop.....

The bad reputation that this inlet has developed is largely due to sandy shoaling between the mouth of the inlet and the ICW. However, I have found the nuns and cans to be very reliable (and lit at night) marking the channel. One of the issues is "confusion corner" where the ICW meets the inlet and the St Lucie river; lots of shoaling and the markers are confusing; additionally, the entrance to Manatee pocket is right near there, further confounding the casual navigator.... The day markers, on poles, are not to be trusted as many are up on land or in shallows.

I doubt the inlet will ever be "closed" as there are so many marine interests using the inlet. There are currently actions to procure money to actually dredge the inlet, but no firm plans in place. I believe that would be a federal issue....

Hope these ramblings help... all in all a very nice stop for those travelling south. There is an excellent anchorage south of the inlet on the ICW (called "Pecks Lake") which abuts a nature preserve and has easy access to pristine beaches on the Atlantic. For more services, the Stuart city marina (now called "Sunset Bay") has easy access to downtown, shopping, eating etc. and is just up the St. Lucie River.

Michele
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Old 26-12-2010, 07:55   #10
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Thanks Michele, very helpful.

I ask because I used to keep my boat at Indiantown. I had always heard people say the St. Lucie inlet required local knowledge, but my experience has been exactly what you've stated: It shifts, but they are very good about moving the nuns and cans accordingly. For that reason, I've been a bit skeptical about recent reports that it shouldn't be used due to shoaling. In appropriate weather, I much prefer heading out the inlet to dealing with all the ICW bridges, so would hate not not use it if it's reasonable. (and may this winter coming back from the Bahamas)

Thanks again for your first hand, recent update.

- Dave
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Old 10-01-2011, 16:16   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Shoaling in the St. Lucie Inlet is problematic, particularly on the north side. For additional infomation you might want to have a look at Active Captain (you might need to register) and contact the local TowBoatUS station manager for "local information" before attempting a transit.

FWIW...
I typed that in the location search box and it said no items found.
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