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Old 01-17-2016, 07:42 AM   #1
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Banana River

Anyone travel the Banana River in Florida from the barge canal down and beyond Patrick AFB?

I have done the portion south of the base and it is much better than the chart portrays....

How about the northern part for a 4 foot draft, protected prop vessel?

Thank you....
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:19 AM   #2
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Assuming you are talking about from PAFB to the Barge canal, if you stay in the marked channel, you should be fine. With that said, I don't think you could find a more ugly stretch of water in FL. Most the boats that do it are the fishers going up to the locks and they run it fast. Once you get under the 520 causeway on the north, there are speed zones and the water cops love making life miserable on weekends. Admittedly, I haven't done the run in almost 10 years but doubt if much has changed.

If you are talking north of the Barge Canal, forget it and it is an even uglier stretch of water.

Unless you have a compelling reason to make the trip, recommend you stick to the Indian.
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Old 01-17-2016, 09:29 AM   #3
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I would like to get to the AFB from the north to save 5 miles up and 5 miles back down from Dragon Point.

The southern portion looks like 5 foot depths in places on the chart similar to the northernmost stretch...but in reality I think I had at least 7 feet coming from the south.

Around those parts....not much silting in over a large area happens...but ya never know without local knowledge. 10 year old info is helpful...hopefully I can get a more current posting or the standby of calling a towing company or USCG.

Thank you.
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:12 AM   #4
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Unless there is good reason, stick with Indian River and the intercostal. Much better marked, wider and deeper. Still, Banana River should not be a problem as long as you are vigilant and on your toes. Stay in the middle, depth alarm set and take your time.
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:47 AM   #5
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I would like to get to the AFB from the north to save 5 miles up and 5 miles back down from Dragon Point.

Does Patrick have a marina, for those with privileges?


I looked at (inspected in person) the one at Jax NAS a few years ago; not bad, not great... but the dockmaster said they were due for updated docks the next coming year...

-Chris
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:49 AM   #6
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Kinda tough to get to Patrick, AFB if you stick to the ICW.


Have you been there lately or just reading a chart like me?
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Old 01-17-2016, 10:51 AM   #7
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Does Patrick have a marina, for those with privileges?


I looked at the one at Jax NAS a few years ago; not boad, not great... but the dockmaster said they were due for updated dock the next coming year...

-Chris
Yes...saw a great rocket launch from the bay just outside the marina.
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Old 01-17-2016, 02:55 PM   #8
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bump for input.....
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Old 01-17-2016, 04:43 PM   #9
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Been running an eco tour boat on the banana river for 15 years. if you stay in the marked channel and pay careful attention you are going to be fine. there is a marina at PAFB.

John
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Old 01-17-2016, 05:11 PM   #10
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Been running an eco tour boat on the banana river for 15 years. if you stay in the marked channel and pay careful attention you are going to be fine. there is a marina at PAFB.

John
So the north half is like the southern?

Chart is scarier than reality?

Is the minimum depth at least 6 feet?

Sorry to be particular but that is how I sort reliable info from generic postings that some prefer...

Thanks for replying and if you don't mind the couple specific questions.
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:38 PM   #11
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reality is the chart. biggest problem is shoaling north of PAFB. Also markers are sometimes off their marks. once you get past George island you are good. At least six feet in Channel. be sure you are in the center of the channel
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Old 01-18-2016, 06:20 AM   #12
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I have lived in Central Brevard County for most of my life and must have made the Barge Canal to Dragon Point run maybe 50 times but never looked at a chart of it. Today, I looked at the chart and it does look scary. The chart reminded me of a few things. The buoys are fairly far between and not always that easy to eyeball the color. It is easy to get out of the channel as it is not straight.

The Banana River gets a lot of breeze off the ocean and in the afternoons can have an obnoxious 2-3' or more chop in the open parts of the river (lagoon actually). It might not bother a boat your size at 6-8 knots.

It is best to do the Barge Canal during the week. Lots of boat traffic on the weekends and lots of small boats fishing in the canal. Also, be very cautious entering and exiting the canal. After the hurricanes of 2004, I encountered stilt on the Indian River entrance on the south side. The channel coming out on the Banana River side is very narrow. You can find yourself in a foot or two of water real easy.

My understanding is the chart readings are based on low tide. The tides in the river are only about 1 foot but as elsewhere on the ICW, high tide is your friend. Also, we have had a lot of rain this winter and the rivers are higher than I have ever seen them for this time of year.

You are a very experienced guy so you should not have any trouble with it but it isn't a recommended route for cruisers.
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Old 01-18-2016, 06:26 AM   #13
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Thank you for the input....
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Old 01-18-2016, 10:06 AM   #14
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The Banana River entrance at Dragon Point was always a favorite anchorage of mine when transiting the snowbird route. A couple of years ago we entered the river to anchor and was discouraged to find that the areas around the waterfront properties were filled with crab traps leaving no room for anchoring. I think the traps were fake and put there by the property owners to discourage anchoring. Does anyone know if they have been removed or if anchoring is now possibles?
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Old 01-18-2016, 01:56 PM   #15
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The Banana River entrance at Dragon Point was always a favorite anchorage of mine when transiting the snowbird route. A couple of years ago we entered the river to anchor and was discouraged to find that the areas around the waterfront properties were filled with crab traps leaving no room for anchoring. I think the traps were fake and put there by the property owners to discourage anchoring. Does anyone know if they have been removed or if anchoring is now possibles?
I believe Tim (Timjet) just anchored there a couple weeks ago.

He might pipe up or try PMing him and post his report as others may be interested.
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Old 01-18-2016, 03:31 PM   #16
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An update....

Spoke to a local Sea Tow captain... one of the first things he said and pretty much what I already knew....there no real tide just wind generated so I wouldn't trust any depth help from that prediction.

The other tidbits were it is possible for a 4 foot draft vessel to do it though cutting it close. He has towed plenty of sailboats through there without issue and nobody has been going aground through there.

Sooooo...my risk management made me take another look at distance saved over the approach from the south (Dragon Point).

The distance from the ICW through the Barge Canal to the Banana River is around 5 miles....the distance from the ICW at Dragon Point back up to Patrick is around 5 miles also. because the 2 routes form a triangle, the southerly approach becomes only a 5 mile longer route even though you are going past Patrick AFB by 5 miles and 5 back north...but the northerly approach requires a 5 mile detour off the ICW. So for slightly less than an hour extra, I can run a route I have already done and feel comfy with, probably at a higher speed cutting that hour down further...

Think I made up my mind.....sorry for those wanting an up date on the northerly approach....I'll wait till I run it in a smaller boat...or just maybe never worry about it.
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Old 01-18-2016, 05:07 PM   #17
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You get the honor of passing through the Mathers Swing Bridge....circa 1927 or so.

I really love the area between the two rivers.
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Old 01-19-2016, 06:26 AM   #18
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This will be the 3rd time....didn't seem too different of a swing for the first 2....

Is the bridge famous for anything other than being that old?


Just hoping ALL the bridges work as advertised....
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Old 01-19-2016, 06:51 AM   #19
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The old bridge is fine. It is just very low and even more slow. It has to open for almost anything with a cabin. It is open on demand but during the weekends and rush hour, they might wait for several boats to get in the queue. I can remember waiting 15-30 minutes to make it through but I wasn't on retirement hours at the time. Used to keep my old boat at Dragon Point.
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