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Old 18-06-2014, 07:57   #16
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

Dear Friend, i follow up from this old post, i finally have here my boat, it s7' draft and am going to cruis down from miami to key west and the dry tortugas this week,
am curently reading the Waterway guide, but i would be grateful if you could indicate me anchoring and marina options along the route. i have three young kinds and they need to to stretch their legs from time to time. many thanks
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Old 18-06-2014, 09:16   #17
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

With 7' draft you'll be more comfortable sailing on the Hawk's Channel side (Atlantic), but there are not many marinas or protected anchorages that accommodate your draft until you get down to Key Colony Beach and Boot Key Harbor (Marathon). If your family doesn't mind a little rocking at night, there are several anchorages where you're protected only by a small island (Rodriguez Key and Indian Key for example). The inside route of the first stretch isn't much better for Marinas that will work for you, but many more protected anchorages; however, you will be picking your way on high tides and may get stuck...7 feet is really over the reasonable limit for the inside route, in my opinion (others might differ).

After Boot Key Harbor, best to do the Hawk's Channel. The other route has no facilities and no real placed for you to duck in. The Hawk's Channel has some very nice anchorages (Bahia Honda State Park & Niles Channel) with some exposure, but generally much calmer than the northern part. Then Key West is just a short hop, with many marinas and anchorage space. See our Waterway Planner online for more specifics: Waterway Guide | waterwayguide.com. Happy cruising!
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Old 18-06-2014, 10:04   #18
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

My opinion is the same as Mike's in regard to the draft. 7' would be very tricky trying to take the inside channel. More exposed but a lot less stress to take Hawk Channel on the outside.

I have anchored behind Rodriguez and Indian Keys and in settled weather it was just fine. They were both fairly exposed anchorages so in windy conditions it could be rolly. But as he says, not too many options in that part of the keys.
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Old 18-06-2014, 10:23   #19
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

I had 6'6" draft. It was a bit dicey at times for sure. Personally I would avoid the Keys entirely. No need anyway if you are going to the Bahamas.
I would have preferred less draft in the Bahamas, but it wasnt too restricting, especially if you have a good fast stable dingy.
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Old 18-06-2014, 11:46   #20
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
You'll run aground from time to time if you are at all adventurous. When you do look toward the shore. Between you and the beach will be some guy with a 5' draft, aground. Between him and the beach will be a boat with 4' draft, aground. *grin*
----
And even further in will be a guy aground with a 3'6" draft -- and I'll wave at you lol.
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Old 18-06-2014, 19:43   #21
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

Dear Mike, many thanks for your advice, i am going to sail outside or the Hawk Channel, planning to leave from Key Biscayne early morning and stop at Rodriguez Key the first night, at Marathon the second (maybe stay there two nights) than Key West for two days. after that if weather permits the Dry Tortugas. unfortunately i must stay in US territory as i m waiting for the Green Card and can t leave the country. i had already bought the Waterway Guide for Bahamas, hope to use it for next occasion. Let's keep in touch.
alessandro
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Old 18-06-2014, 19:53   #22
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

Good advice above.

Careful on the ICW and note your charts. Also get advice regarding local moving shoals. ICW bridges are about 63 feet.
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Old 18-06-2014, 21:26   #23
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

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Originally Posted by Waterway Guide View Post
With 7' draft you'll be more comfortable sailing on the Hawk's Channel side (Atlantic), but there are not many marinas or protected anchorages that accommodate your draft until you get down to Key Colony Beach and Boot Key Harbor (Marathon). If your family doesn't mind a little rocking at night, there are several anchorages where you're protected only by a small island (Rodriguez Key and Indian Key for example). The inside route of the first stretch isn't much better for Marinas that will work for you, but many more protected anchorages; however, you will be picking your way on high tides and may get stuck...7 feet is really over the reasonable limit for the inside route, in my opinion (others might differ).

After Boot Key Harbor, best to do the Hawk's Channel. The other route has no facilities and no real placed for you to duck in. The Hawk's Channel has some very nice anchorages (Bahia Honda State Park & Niles Channel) with some exposure, but generally much calmer than the northern part. Then Key West is just a short hop, with many marinas and anchorage space. See our Waterway Planner online for more specifics: Waterway Guide | waterwayguide.com. Happy cruising!
I think a boat with a 5' draft would be doing well to make it on the inside of the Keys. 7' would not be doable.
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Old 19-06-2014, 04:16   #24
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

My pleasure. I hope you and your crew enjoy the trip, and stay safe.
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Old 19-06-2014, 04:52   #25
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

I'll be making an ICW trip in about 2 years time (nohting like planning ahead!). Mine is a 7 foot draft.

How bad is it going to be? I expect to take the ICW the whole way from north to south
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Old 19-06-2014, 05:10   #26
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

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I'll be making an ICW trip in about 2 years time (nohting like planning ahead!). Mine is a 7 foot draft.

How bad is it going to be? I expect to take the ICW the whole way from north to south

It'll be REALLY bad if your mast is over 65'. Otherwise, 7 foot draft is doable, but far from ideal. You will need to consult the tide tables, guidebooks and web updates to time certain sections. You would best to enjoy the trip by making it as leisurely as possible. We may get some help with badly needed dredging of some sections in the next 2 years...crossing our fingers!
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Old 19-06-2014, 05:27   #27
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

....oh, and get the towing insurance from TowBoatUS or SeaTow – You will probably go aground at least once where you'll need assistance, and as someone else mentioned above, one tow would cost you much more than the insurance. You can avoid most of these occurrences by traveling problem stretches on a mid tide rising – if you go aground, you can just wait a few minutes for the tide to rise...it's nearly all soft silt or sand. Other times you may need someone to tip you over and pull you back into deep water. These outfits are usually very quick on the scene and you're back on your way.
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Old 19-06-2014, 05:51   #28
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

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....oh, and get the towing insurance from TowBoatUS or SeaTow You will probably go aground at least once where you'll need assistance, and as someone else mentioned above, one tow would cost you much more than the insurance. You can avoid most of these occurrences by traveling problem stretches on a mid tide rising if you go aground, you can just wait a few minutes for the tide to rise...it's nearly all soft silt or sand. Other times you may need someone to tip you over and pull you back into deep water. These outfits are usually very quick on the scene and you're back on your way.
LOL you better believe I'm planning on getting tow insurance.

My mast height should be ok - it is 18 meters (counting the VHF antenna - 19 meters above the water - that's 60 feet for you non-metric types
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Old 19-06-2014, 06:05   #29
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....oh, and get the towing insurance from TowBoatUS or SeaTow – You will probably go aground at least once where you'll need assistance, and as someone else mentioned above, one tow would cost you much more than the insurance. You can avoid most of these occurrences by traveling problem stretches on a mid tide rising – if you go aground, you can just wait a few minutes for the tide to rise...it's nearly all soft silt or sand. Other times you may need someone to tip you over and pull you back into deep water. These outfits are usually very quick on the scene and you're back on your way.
My experience has been Seatow amd Tow boat us hate and try to not unground sailboats for fear of damage. When we had a mono we were denied twice by seatow and told to wait it out. And that was a soft grounding both times. Still good ins in case of mechanical breakdowns
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Old 19-06-2014, 06:33   #30
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Re: Max Draft in South Florida/Bahamas

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My experience has been Seatow amd Tow boat us hate and try to not unground sailboats for fear of damage. When we had a mono we were denied twice by seatow and told to wait it out. And that was a soft grounding both times. Still good ins in case of mechanical breakdowns
I have not had this happen with TowboatUS but have known Seatow to do this. I think it may have to something to do with how the franchisees are compensated.
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