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Old 12-09-2016, 20:20   #1
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St Johns to Tampa

Hey Everyone, I have a 37' Watkins with a shoal keel that drafts 3.5' of water that is currently in Lake Monroe on the St johns river. I can't go south. Has anyone gone north from near there and down around Okeechobee to Tampa bay? I'm trying to see what the time/cost would be vs hauling it with a tow company. thanks
Vincent
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Old 13-09-2016, 19:13   #2
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Re: St Johns to Tampa

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Originally Posted by vinnieSail27 View Post
Hey Everyone, I have a 37' Watkins with a shoal keel that drafts 3.5' of water that is currently in Lake Monroe on the St johns river. I can't go south. Has anyone gone north from near there and down around Okeechobee to Tampa bay? I'm trying to see what the time/cost would be vs hauling it with a tow company. thanks
Vincent
To go from Lake Monroe to Lake Okeechobee will require going down the St. Johns to the ICW then through the lake and up to Tampa.
Should be doable with your boat if you have a less than 49' air draft, and there's enough water in the lake and the locks are working.
Check with the Army Corps of Engineers in Jacksonville for that info.
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Old 13-09-2016, 19:40   #3
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Re: St Johns to Tampa

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Originally Posted by vinnieSail27 View Post
Hey Everyone, I have a 37' Watkins with a shoal keel that drafts 3.5' of water that is currently in Lake Monroe on the St johns river. I can't go south. Has anyone gone north from near there and down around Okeechobee to Tampa bay? I'm trying to see what the time/cost would be vs hauling it with a tow company. thanks
Vincent
===

I can think of no reason to truck it as long as you can get to the ICW from where you are now. If your mast height is less than 49 feet you can go straight across the Okeechobee Waterway from Port St Lucie to the Gulf Coast ICW or Gulf of Mexico. If your mast is over 49 ft, just keep on going south to the Keys, turn north at the Channel 5 bridge and continue north via the so called yacht channel. No problems at all with your draft.
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Old 13-09-2016, 19:53   #4
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Re: St Johns to Tampa

The trip across Okeechobee can be a a lot of fun. I believe 6 days would be a nice easy trip if you don't get crappy weather. There is a rr bridge at indiantown with a 49 ft height restriction. If you are over that, check into having some barrels hung on your side to heel you. I think Indiantown Marina handles this. It's an easy trip, best to have an extra hand for the locks, lots of DEET. Also check the schedule for the lock on the ft Myers side, they were doing repairs.
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Old 14-09-2016, 09:14   #5
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Re: St Johns to Tampa

I eventually got tipped at the bridge, but the guy was very hard to get hold of. I left messages for several days and was about to give up when I bumped into someone who was meeting him there to go through. Indiantown Marina has his number, but he's not affiliated with them. I believe the number is in Skipper Bobs book or you can call the Marina. I would be sure to line that up ahead of time.
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Old 14-09-2016, 09:18   #6
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Re: St Johns to Tampa

How was it done? what was the cost? Next year I'm going around Fl and just as soon go through the canal as opposed to around.
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Old 14-09-2016, 09:35   #7
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Re: St Johns to Tampa

Hey Everyone,
Thank you for the tips and advice. I am looking through the maps and see the southern route is too shallow in several areas. I'll do some more research and see what the locals are saying. Getting to the ICW seems difficult for a boat like mine that drafts almost 4 feet and going up to Jacksonville will add a lot of time to the trip. Six days from coast to coast once I get to the canal that runs through Okeechobee?

Thanks Again,
Vincent
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Old 14-09-2016, 09:38   #8
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Re: St Johns to Tampa

If you're coming up the river, don't forget that the Shands Bridge at Green Cove Springs is listed at 45'.
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Old 14-09-2016, 09:50   #9
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Re: St Johns to Tampa

Nettles Island to Ft. Myers is an easy three day run at 6.5 to 7 knots. As mentioned above check the lock situation and water level. Stay within the markers crossing the lake.
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Old 14-09-2016, 10:22   #10
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pirate Re: St Johns to Tampa

I took Easy Goin' our Morgan 383 through Lake Okeechobee waterway from Tampa to Stuart in 2013. Her mast height is 53 ft. We limboed under the Port Mayaca railroad bridge (49 ft vertical clearance) with the help of Captain Billy Olson. Cost us $200 to Limbo the boat. 8-45 gallon drums of water on the starboard rail. I priced unstepping the mast in Tampa and re-stepping in Indiantown and it would have cost over $1000. I have misplaced Billy Olsons number but you can get it from Indiantown Marina.
An adventure to say the least but the waterway transit was fun and easy. Lock masters were very accommodating. The guide books say that you need to have lines available but every lock had permanent lines attached. It is suggested that you have line handlers aboard so we transited with 4 on board but in retrospect we could have easily managed with just 2.
If you are under 49 ft vertical then there is no issue. Just check the lake level before you head out as it fluctuates a lot based on rainfall. No issue for us with 5 ft draft.
Have fun.

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Old 14-09-2016, 14:53   #11
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Re: St Johns to Tampa

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Originally Posted by vinnieSail27 View Post
......... Getting to the ICW seems difficult for a boat like mine that drafts almost 4 feet and going up to Jacksonville will add a lot of time to the trip.
A four foot draft is no problem at all getting from Sanford to the ICW but your mast height might be a problem at the Shands Bridge in Green Cove Springs.

Remember though, someone got it there so it can be brought back.

Yes, getting to Jacksonville will take a few days. If you are in a big rush, put it on a truck and ship it. If you want a nice cruise, drive it there.
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