Others have already provided several helpful hints - here are a few points that may come in handy (I used to liveaboard
@ Cape Marina, Port Canaveral)
- During your approach from the North, do not cross west of R2 - This is the outer reef mark roughly 8 miles east of the Canaveral channel. If you check your charts, you can pretty much draw a line from R2 to R4 and then to Canaveral channel marker # 10... Do not go north of this line. Between R2 and R4 (Southeast shoal) kicks up extremely steep waves when the N/NE swells cross the shoal - has the potential to be very dangerous. Also, (see the chart) just north of R2 is very shallow. Easiest is to aim at R2 and set a course for just south of R4, then Canaveral #10.
- Once you arrive at Port Canaveral, if it is past the 401 bridge and the Canaveral lock operating hours, you have to go to one of the marinas
- the anchorage that used to exist many years ago in the west basin is no more - the marinas
have extended their docks to claim that area for themselves. Port Canaveral Yacht club (used to be Cocoa Beach YC) has a T-head for guests as well as Cape marina - both have a $ cost associated with it.
- If you arrive at daytime, you can (westward) transit 401 bridge and Canaveral lock - as soon as you exit the lock (you'll be in the barge canal) you have a couple of anchorage options: (1) immediately South of the entrance fenders of the lock, there is plenty of water and many people anchor
there. It is however, very close to Hwy 528/A1A (Beeline/Beachline) and can be noisy. (2) Upon exiting the lock, you'll see some heavy duty concrete pilings and a channel heading North - This is the channel to Kennedy Space Center where they return the SRBs to refurbish. You'll also see (crossing this KSC channel) power lines... You can go North and anchor
on the east side of this channel just south of the power lines.... I think it is marker #14 - this -if I remember correctly - is right by the second spoil island along the KSC channel. BTW, north of these power lines is an estuary and a no propeller
- Another tidbit about 'Port Canaveral' is the post 9/11 mode of operation w/ regard to security
... Frequent cruise ship
traffic as well as naval ships (subs, primarily) exist. The port security
announces on channel 16 security zones around these vessels that you must observe.
- Also, listen to channel 16 carefully well before your approach to the Cape (outside) - if there is a rocket launch, there is drop zone security borders - lat/lon type announced and it is dangerous to be in this zone. And, they get very mad at you
- At this time of year, the Gulf Stream is roughly 30 miles offshore. You can get the latest Stream info on your VHF marine
weather station (from Melbourne - whatever channel that is
- Last but not least, there is no tide factor in Port Canaveral.
Hope all this gives you a (local) idea of the Port. Fair winds!