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Old 27-01-2023, 09:18   #1
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Navigation offshore Cape Canaveral

Have a 44 ft monohull that draws little less than 7 ft. When cruising offshore towards south FL I typically give the Cape a wide berth and I am usually about 20 miles offshore, but still well within the west wall of the GS. I have traditionally done this because of the shoals and other obstructions shown on the nautical charts (“unexplored ordnance”, etc). I could shave a few nm off my passage if I passed 10 miles offshore or whatever. Just passing through.

I am looking for a little bit of local knowledge. What are the obstructions to be most concerned with this region? Are the there any shoals or obs 10-15 miles offshore that pose a problem for a 7 ft draft. Depths look fine that far out fro what I can tell. I see some unlabeled obstructions. I have really studied the area in depth in a while.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 27-01-2023, 09:59   #2
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Re: Navigation offshore Cape Canaveral

I came past Cape Canaveral in 2020 with 6.5 draft. We were no more than 5 miles out at any point along the Florida coast and most of the time much closer. Follow the charts and you should be fine.
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Old 27-01-2023, 10:19   #3
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Re: Navigation offshore Cape Canaveral

If you are clear of Red buoy #8 off of the Ohio Shoal you are clear of anything to worry about. That's about 10 miles offshore. You certainly won't run aground in closer, but there are shoals as shallow as 12 feet of so. If there is ANY kind of swell running, 12 feet can result in a surprise breaking wave.

How far you transit this area offshore depends on a couple things. Which way are you going? If southbound, hug the coast to find the least unfavorable current. Alternatively, get WAY offshore outside the current. If northbound, find the center of the Gulf Stream and ride if for a free 3.5 or 4 knot boost.

Be careful of this region when there are launches from the spaceport. They are a lot more common than they used to be! There is a large safety zone offshore, and you NEED to be clear of that. You need to monitor CH16 as you transit this region, listen to the bulletins, and be prepared to get out of the way, or get very far offshore if a launch is scheduled. Your charts will have the safety zone marked.

They will scrub a launch if there is a boat in the safety zone, and you do NOT want to be the guy who caused a $50 million dollar rocket launch to be scrubbed.

P.S., Unless you are bottom trawling, you can just ignore the "unexploded ordinance" notifications offshore.
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Old 27-01-2023, 11:01   #4
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Re: Navigation offshore Cape Canaveral

[QUOTE=SailingHarmonie;3735514]If you are clear of Red buoy #8 off of the Ohio Shoal you are clear of anything to worry about. That's about 10 miles offshore. You certainly won't run aground in closer, but there are shoals as shallow as 12 feet of so. If there is ANY kind of swell running, 12 feet can result in a surprise breaking wave.

How far you transit this area offshore depends on a couple things. Which way are you going? If southbound, hug the coast to find the least unfavorable current. Alternatively, get WAY offshore outside the current. If northbound, find the center of the Gulf Stream and ride if for a free 3.5 or 4 knot boost.

Be careful of this region when there are launches from the spaceport. They are a lot more common than they used to be! There is a large safety zone offshore, and you NEED to be clear of that. You need to monitor CH16 as you transit this region, listen to the bulletins, and be prepared to get out of the way, or get very far offshore if a launch is scheduled. Your charts will have the safety zone marked.

They will scrub a launch if there is a boat in the safety zone, and you do NOT want to be the guy who caused a $50 million dollar rocket launch to be scrubbed.

P.S., Unless you are bottom trawling, you can just ignore the "unexploded ordinance" notifications offshore.[

This is what I’m looking for thanks.
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Old 27-01-2023, 11:58   #5
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Re: Navigation offshore Cape Canaveral

My experience is limited to Port Canaveral south, so out of the restricted launch zones which are only north of the port and change between three options depending on the rocket direction. The regulated nautical area is discussed in some detail in the weekly District 7 Notice to Mariners: https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/local-no...&subdistrict=n Instructions in the first few pages of each weekly NoTM, but search on "Launch". Upcoming launches are posted on the Patrick SFB front page: https://www.patrick.spaceforce.mil/

This is a very commercial area with a half-dozen cruise ships, bulk carriers, fishing, and SpaceX running around all over the place. The charts are well maintained, so if it says you have depth, you are probably fine. There are dozens of vessels with much more draft than you have plying those waters daily. Unexploded stuff and dredging spoils do not suddenly shoot up off the bottom to attack small vessels. Unless you are planning to anchor in 30 feet of water mid-ocean, you are just fine sailing above stuff. That said, keep a radio watch for both the launches and commercial traffic, and a sharp lookout for commercial fishers - because they may not be keeping a lookout for you.

BTW: Pt. Canaveral is an easy port to make, but very commercial so no anchoring without going through the Banana river locks. Dockage is also pretty full in the winter months, so plan ahead.
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