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Old 09-08-2021, 05:48   #1
BGJ
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First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

We have a 28 foot bowrider with a single 350 Merc. So far we've made it successfully from Sarasota to Stuart through the lock system. We're planning to cruise to the Bahamas for the first time leaving West Palm mid December 2021. Anyone also going at that time? Sure don't want to cross the Atlantic alone for the first time!
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Old 09-08-2021, 06:47   #2
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

EPIRB, radios, alt, backup navigation and GPS, good kicker, dewatering capability. AIS? Very good anchor and spare. Passport, float plan with the CG.

Also, COVID whatever the Bahamas requires this week. Vax cards.

Watch the weather. Consider a rout planner such as Chris Parker if you are unsure.

Don’t forget the fishing rods and snorkel/dive stuff.

Check with a few local YCs for others making the trip.
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Old 11-08-2021, 05:51   #3
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

Thanks Brother, lots of great tips we never considered! We have 2 new anchors but only about 200' of rode on each, too short? Better to leave Fl in the morning, yes? BGJ
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Old 11-08-2021, 06:03   #4
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

Easterly winds and cold fronts in December may prevent you from following your schedule. Why not run over in October, tropical storm season is nearing the end and the ocean is almost always calm. Check out these Palm Beach County webcams over the next few weeks and look at the perfect summer conditions for a crossing.

https://www.thepalmbeaches.com/beachcamwebcams every day for the next few weeks
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Old 11-08-2021, 16:22   #5
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

Bahamas is shallow. 200 feet should be OK assuming some chain.
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Old 13-08-2021, 08:47   #6
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

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Better to leave Fl in the morning, yes? BGJ

What kind of speed do you figure you can make? When I'm sailing, I usually leave before daybreak to give myself plenty of time to make into whatever port of entry I'm aiming for in daylight, though you probably don't need to worry about that quite as much...


With a single engine boat, I'd definitely get TowBoat US coverage if you don't already have it. I believe their membership covers towing back to West Palm from a couple of the near Bahamas island (plus maybe some international fees?), though I've never had to avail myself of their services, so I'll defer to other forum members on the specifics.
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Old 13-08-2021, 09:02   #7
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

Single engine...spares. Make sure you have spares. And a good set of tools.
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Old 13-08-2021, 09:17   #8
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

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Thanks Brother, lots of great tips we never considered! We have 2 new anchors but only about 200' of rode on each, too short? Better to leave Fl in the morning, yes? BGJ
That's plenty for the Bahamas. You will commonly anchor in 12-15 feet of water... or less!

Many follow weather windows in the winter. Every week or two the wind clocks South, then West before returning to the usual NE wind. When it starts South or West GO! (Otherwise The NE wind blows against the Gulf Stream and it can get very rough.)

However, you have the luxury of crossing quickly. So... 50 miles is what.... 2 hours for you? If it looks good I'd say GO!

Have a kicker motor as you only have one engine.
You are an open bow so take care avoiding a rough Gulf Stream.
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Old 22-08-2021, 18:31   #9
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

BGJ, we have been crossing to the Bahamas pretty much every year since 2002. More so the Exumas and Far Bahamas since we retired five years ago. Visit with us at AtAnchor.com for some info including the paperwork required - though this needs updating since they introduced Click2Clear. https://www.bahamascustoms.gov.bs/im...t-click2clear/
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Old 08-02-2022, 08:45   #10
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

We spent December in Islamorada, great trip! Now we're ready to make our FIRST trip to the Bahamas in our 27' Single 350 Monterey Bow Rider. A bit nervous and would prefer to not do it alone. Anyone planning a journey from the Florida west coast anytime this spring 2022?
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Old 08-02-2022, 08:52   #11
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

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We spent December in Islamorada, great trip! Now we're ready to make our FIRST trip to the Bahamas in our 27' Single 350 Monterey Bow Rider. A bit nervous and would prefer to not do it alone. Anyone planning a journey from the Florida west coast anytime this spring 2022?
From my previous experience I see some but also limited benefits to traveling with another boat.

Considering your speed I would just sign up with the TowBoatUS gold plan, make sure your VHF and a handheld backup are working, pick a calm day and go.

It's only 2-3 hours and if you start early with a good weather window then in case of problems, a tow can easily reach you and get you back to port before dark.

Have made the trip several times including one breakdown and I'm still here.
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Old 08-02-2022, 09:11   #12
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

Lots of generally helpful info on youtube, but this one in particular is VERY good:



Bob
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Old 08-02-2022, 09:19   #13
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

Skipmac and Bobby Lex,
You guys are awesome, our confidence level just went from a 2 to a 10! We're going and thanks so much for responding quickly and with super valuable info, James and Connie
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Old 08-02-2022, 14:11   #14
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

Good information here, but a float plan needs to be given to a family member or friend before/at departure who would report to the Coast Guard only should you not contact that person within a reasonable time after your expected arrival time. The Coast Guard would take over then.

But be sure to contact your friend when you arrive!
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Old 09-02-2022, 06:03   #15
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Re: First Trip from West Palm to the Bahamas

One final question, is there a best month to make the crossing? We're flexible and would prefer to plan to avoid unnecessary fronts and or hurricanes. Thanks again for all your wisdom! J&C
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