I have spent considerable time in Ft. Myers, FMB, Cape Coral
, and just got back in January from Charlote Harbor and the surrounding area abaord a Tayana Vancouver 42 which drew 6ish.
First, as I have owned a house just off the ICW
in Cape Coral
, you might be able to get a slip behind a house... but most of the canals are going to restrict you. For example, there is a 55 power line across one of the main canals leading into the cape - about 5 canals up from the river. That likely shuts off most of the cape for you. In addition, the water depth
will be a problem for much of it... if you can even get to the canals friom the river. We hung up all the time at 5'4 coming in off the river. The neighbor across the street from us had 6 and could only leave at high. The house I bought was a few canals in from the river and just off the ICW
... which is much, much, much better than 99% of the rest of the cape.
You can grab a mooring ball at Fort Myers
Beach. We did that for a bit. I too do not know the monthly rates, but I think we paid $16/day in January. That includes pumpouts and laundry
facilities. Mantanzass Pass Inn runs the field and not Salty Sams now, unless that has changed since January. You should be able to get in there, but will not have much water
under your keel
at low. MANY of the moorings will NOT work for you as they are well less than 7. Also, has been mentioned, you have a solid 45 minutes to PC from FMB or the Cape (and maybe much more). That assumes no wrecks and everyone drives nice.
You can anchor
out in Port Charolte. We did for a bit - right outside Fisherman's Village. It is a fun little place and lots of LA's there. You might squeeze in there at 7, but may need a high. I know we hung up at 6 on the Tayana just outside of the village. Fisherman's village is nice and I think that is where you would be the most happy. I do not know the rates, but I can almost guarantee it isn't $250/month. 45 foot boat will be almost 4 times that I would guess.
Outside of that, you start running out of options. Anchoring
out long term in Port Charlotte would not be wise as you will have to anchor WAY away from shore and you will be very exposed to storms. You cannot go up the river (ICW) because all bridges are 55 starting at the Cape. The cheapest place to get a LA slip is probably Fort Myers
Marina (run by the city), but there is a 2-3 year waiting list and 55 bridge... not to mention water. Salty Sams will do Liveabaords as will SNook Bight in FMB, but you are again back up to close to $1,000 and probably a waiting list.
I do not mean to sound like I am giving bad news... but I am giving reality. I lived aboard there for quite some time and know the area well. 7 foot draft
around there is almost the kiss of death. I hung up consistently at 5'4 on my 380... often in the middle of the ICW!!! If you have to keep your outgo "close" to $250/month, I reccomend the mooring field at Fort Myers Beach as the closest option. It you can quadruple the money
for slip, go to Fisherman's Village - you will be happiest there all around.
PS I cannot imagine the drive down from Bradenton or Sarasota being any better than coming in from Fort Myers Beach. It seems they have a wreck on that highway every minute of every day. When they do... you cannot hardly even bail except to 41 and that is already a parkinglot.