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Old 03-08-2010, 13:38   #1
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St. Pete to the East Coast

I am looking at purchasing a boat from the ST.Petersberg area and looking to plan a route to the east coast Delaware area. I have many years on the waters in the north east but not much in the south. I have a master license and looking at the option of cruising the boat up. Is there a web site out there to plan a trip on is just getting the maos out and laying it out the best way? Has anyone made the trip abd have some advise? Thanks Ray
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Old 03-08-2010, 13:59   #2
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Ray -
It's just a matter of getting out the charts and deciding which way you want to go:
Across Lake Okeechobee, through the middle keys, or around Key West.
Then: Up the ICW, offshore, or a combination (or Hawk Channel in the keys).
Have a good time!
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Old 03-08-2010, 14:05   #3
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Can you tell us a little more about the boat? Power or sail? Draft and Mast height? Cruise speed?

I bought My boat in Punta Gorda and brought it to NC. I've done the east coast from the keys to NC a couple of times. Draft and mast Height can both be issues in the ICW. For instance I can't go through the St. Lucie waterway because of my mast height so I had to go through the keys. You can save a few days off the trip if you can use the waterway. You can save a huge amount of time if you can go outside from south Florida to Beaufort NC. It also depends on the time of year you plan to go.
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Old 03-08-2010, 14:06   #4
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You did not say what the boat is. The Lake has a fixed 50 foot bridge to contend with. We cover the Florida West coast to Beaufort, SC on our Sea Trek site and Beaufort, SC to the Chesapeake on our Beach House site for doing the waterway. You can of course run inside or out along most of this passage. There are several good guide books out there to help you do some pre-trip planning. Chuck
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Old 03-08-2010, 15:20   #5
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Thanks it is a power boat 45 foot with a 4ft draft. how many days on average?
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Old 03-08-2010, 15:22   #6
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Old 03-08-2010, 15:24   #7
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23 knots on average
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Old 03-08-2010, 18:28   #8
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Most power boaters here make the trip from St. Pete to St. Lucie on the east coast of Florida via the Caloosahatchee River, Lake Ocheechobee and the St. Lucie Canal. Generally figure a short first day from St. Pete to Jewfish Key just south of Longboat Pass. The anchorage there is good and there are a couple of nice restaurants, one of which you can spend the night at if you arrive relatively late and have dinner. Depart Longboat Pass on the flood or a high water slack and zoom south, about 80 miles to Boca Grande. Adjust your speed to arrive there at either high water slack or on the start of a flood. Beware that entrance and don't even think about the swash channel on the north side by the Lighthouse which does require local knowledge. We have seen several 40-80 ft powerboats rolled down to their beam ends in that channel when taken at the wrong time. Spend the night in Boca Grande and then shoot down to the Ft. Myers Muni Marina which is up the Caloosahatchee River a few miles. You'll need to pace yourself in Pine Island Sound to hit the Miserable Mile at slack tide if possible. Once you get to the east side and turn northeast into the River, the marks change to Inland Rules (inbound leave red to port or you will pile up on the sand-bars). The next AM, leave Ft. Myers and time your runs to hit the Locks on their schedule and arrive at Clewiston in the late afternoon. Your speed will have to be moderated in the River but you should have no difficulty so long as you keep a sharp eye and do not over-run the No Wake Zones or the Water Cops will get you. From Clewiston to St. Lucie is a pretty boring trip. You have the Cl;ewiston Locks and the St. Lucie Locks on the east side of the Lake but from there on its just mosying along the lazy River to St. Lucie. From there hang a left and follow the ICW. You may be able to shoot outside from St. Lucie to Cape Canaveral and from there harbor hope north but the ICW is always available.

For the status of the Locks on the Caloosahatchie, the Lake and St. Lucie canal, google the Corps. of Engineers web site. For more on the ICW check out Cruiser's Net

FWIW...
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Old 04-08-2010, 07:31   #9
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Thanks for the great replies. How long does it take to run around the bottom compared to cutting across? and after leaving st. Luciewhat is the next best place to stop from the ocean side?
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:19   #10
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Captain Ray... In the boat you are talking about - 4' / 25 knots, unless you really want to take the extra time to visit the keys, I highly suggest taking the waterway. HyLyte has some good advice, but it mostly pertains to S/Vs. In your case, you could easily make it from St. Pete to City of Ft. Myers Yacht Basin in a day. You could even make it up the waterway a bit depending on how early you left, and how long you travelled. And in two days, be on the other side headed N.

In your boat, don't worry about BG Pass. Yes, it gets strong current, but you have the power to deal with it no problem. As mentioned, don't try the swash channel unless you know it. And the miserable mile - IMO go through it whenever you want. Just be sure to look behind you and make sure you're not getting set. The cross currents in there are strong, but just be attentive and you will be fine.

The waterway allows for a much faster passage - saving on average a day and a half to two days in a boat like yours. More if you're sailing. It also gets you around going through the mess that is Lauderdale etc... and all the traffic/no wake zones etc. if the weather hits and you have to stay inside. Coming out at Stuart gets you N. of most of that stuff.

I tend to always think in terms of efficiency / speed as I'm always delivering rather than cruising, so my apologies if that isn't your goal. But your trip can be done much faster by going through the lake. Just wanted to throw that out there.

P.S. if you do the lake, always tie a fender just a little bit forward, just around the curve of the bow a bit, when transiting the locks. When the current hits you, and kicks your stern out (because the lines in the locks are straight down, and not long enough to reach to the outboard cleat... argghh , you and your new boat will be glad you did.

Have fun.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:28   #11
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Oh, and to answer your last question, next spot N. for a boat like you would probably be Ponce Inlet about 140nm N. (Approximate)
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Old 04-08-2010, 14:46   #12
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Thanks Again. I am looking for speed not sight seeing. It sounds like we will be hitting the lake. I will get the maos out and do some home work. You all are very helpful Thanks. If you think of any other helpful hints please post I will use them all.
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