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Old 04-05-2011, 03:45   #1
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Hawk Channel

To our Florida friends - Can I transit Hawk Channel from the Caribbean to the Gulf with a 6 foot draft?
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Old 04-05-2011, 04:50   #2
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Re: Hawk Channel

We brought Sam McGee through Hawk Channel and she draws 6 ft. without any issues in April of 08.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:08   #3
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Re: Hawk Channel

Yes, BUT your navigation will need to be spot-on, as the markers are far apart, and there are corals just out of the channel
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:30   #4
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Re: Hawk Channel

Yes, you must be on your toes. We did it night without benefit of a working depth guage. Talk about pucker factor.
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:08   #5
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Re: Hawk Channel

I'm not sure I understand your question. You say from the Caribbean to the Gulf. In Florida you are not in the Caribbean. Are you asking if you can travel the length of Hawks Channel along the Keys? Or are you asking if you can transit from the Atlantic side to the Gulf Side? Hawks Channel is plenty deep for a 6 foot draft, we did it many times. There are only a couple of places a sailboat can cross from the Atlantic side to the Gulf. Chuck
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:14   #6
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Re: Hawk Channel

Thanks
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Old 04-05-2011, 07:19   #7
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Re: Hawk Channel

It depends on where you choose to cross to the Gulf side. North of Marathon and the 7 mile bridge I would say you would have problems. The gulf side is very shallow. I've seen less than 2 feet under my keel on the ICW on the gulf side and I draw 4 feet. Six feet would not have made it. Hawk channel is a lot deeper, but I second the caution about careful navigation There are coral heads within a foot or two of the surface only a few hunded yards outside of the channel in a couple of places. Great places to stop for a snorkel by the way. Do you plan to continue north into the Gulf or do you plan further travel along the keys when you transit to the Gulf side? I would not recommend travel on the Gulf side along the keys of the keys with a 6 foot draft. If you are planning on heading north some careful navigation will allow you to get north to deeper water at Channel 5 or 7 mile bridge. Seven mile bridge being somewhat easier in my opinion. I'ld definitely recommend the channel 5 route be done at high tide.
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Old 04-05-2011, 20:06   #8
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Re: Hawk Channel

Captain Bill, my plan is to sail to Galveston from Ft Lauderdale, but I need to stop off at Tampa too, so, as you say, I'll need to be careful about when I make a North turn. I'm in China right now, and without charts, so this query was just based on me looking at Google Earth to see what distance I would need to sail, and to estimate timings. To actually do the trip I'll make a detailed passage plan. Great input from you and the rest of the forum, thanks... I'll definitely take a little time off to snorkel on my way through.
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Old 04-05-2011, 20:12   #9
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Re: Hawk Channel

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Originally Posted by pillum View Post
Captain Bill, my plan is to sail to Galveston from Ft Lauderdale, but I need to stop off at Tampa too, so, as you say, I'll need to be careful about when I make a North turn. I'm in China right now, and without charts, so this query was just based on me looking at Google Earth to see what distance I would need to sail, and to estimate timings. To actually do the trip I'll make a detailed passage plan. Great input from you and the rest of the forum, thanks... I'll definitely take a little time off to snorkel on my way through.

Given the fact you are without charts may I suggest you visit the NOAA web site and download their free raster charts. They also have a chartviewer that you can download for free. You can also download Opencpn for free here and use the Noaa Charts. It would at least allow you to do some planning. NOAA's Office of Coast Survey
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Old 04-05-2011, 20:57   #10
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Re: Hawk Channel

Just downloaded Opencpn, downloading FL charts now. Thanks Cptn Bill.
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Old 24-09-2014, 21:17   #11
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Re: Hawk Channel

Wanted to restart this thread a little. We are starting to explore our options in the keys with a draft of 5'7" to 5'8" fully burdened... so not exactly 6 feet but close. Still looking to see if there is a chance to cruise on the gulf side through the hawk channel in the north, eventually working our way to Key West.

Is this possible with the latest surveys and by watching the tides? I see tides can run 1 to 2 feet for a few hours with most charts showing 5 at low tide with reports of 4.5 at low. What is our best opportunity to make it from the Atlantic to the Gulf side in the northern area? I was looking at snake creek but it looks like you can follow the hawk channel all the way from Barnes sound.
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Old 24-09-2014, 22:02   #12
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Re: Hawk Channel

First consideration about Hawks Channel is the time of year. In lobster/crab season the traps are very thick and for lots of folks a real hazard to navigation. You need to be aware that the rope connecting the float to the trap can easily tangle up on things below the waterline. Another consideration is what you consider cruising. There are not a lot of places to anchor in the Keys. Depending on boat speed it is probably two or three day sails (and I mean day sail defined as sailing in the day light). Once you leave Biscayne Bay and get in Hawk Channel you should easily be able to get to Key Largo and maybe anchor in the lee of one of the small keys close by. Next stop is the good anchorage at Boot Key, maybe the best anchorage in the Keys and a good place to spend a while and get local knowledge. Most boats can get to Key West and find some type of anchorage there. There are a few places in between but not that much. Once you start going West of Key West there are lots of nice anchorages with plenty of water.

You can cross to the Gulf at Marathon but it may be a little skinny for a while. Going to Key West to cross to the Gulf you should have no problems and lots of folks leave from Key West to Southwest Florida.
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Old 24-09-2014, 22:53   #13
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Re: Hawk Channel

You will have no problems in hawk chanel with 6ft. Anchorage in key largo limited to Rodriguez Key. Holding is good protection is fair if wind is north. Boot Key is our next stop very good then on to Key West. Key west holding can be a chalenge if you find a great looking spot and no one is close to you that's a good tell that you will have problems if it blows. We are heading that way next week from Tampa to Miami, then back to KW. yes the crab pots are numerous we always snag a couple. Leaving KW heading north to Tampa be sure to stop at Caya Costa great anchorage in pelican bay. A good overnight sale from KW.

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Old 24-09-2014, 22:56   #14
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Re: Hawk Channel

Sorry about poor grammar and spelling damn little keys on this phone

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Old 25-09-2014, 06:12   #15
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Re: Hawk Channel

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Wanted to restart this thread a little. We are starting to explore our options in the keys with a draft of 5'7" to 5'8" fully burdened... so not exactly 6 feet but close. Still looking to see if there is a chance to cruise on the gulf side through the hawk channel in the north, eventually working our way to Key West.

Is this possible with the latest surveys and by watching the tides? I see tides can run 1 to 2 feet for a few hours with most charts showing 5 at low tide with reports of 4.5 at low. What is our best opportunity to make it from the Atlantic to the Gulf side in the northern area? I was looking at snake creek but it looks like you can follow the hawk channel all the way from Barnes sound.
Not sure I follow you but the route 5 channel runs from key largo to key west on the gulf side. Snake creek is doable but with your draft you need high high tide as we usually see about 4.5-5 feet at the end of the creek near the markers, and have seen more than 1 boyscout boat , 41 morgan stuck there waiting and they draw 4' plus many parts of route 5 channel are under or at 5 ft at high tide. You could push thru but may have to wait for several high tides in multiple places it could be frustrating. Or go to long key or 7 mile bridge and cross there

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