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Old 10-09-2021, 07:59 AM   #1
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Cruising across Florida west to east

Newbie here (just wanted to get that out of the way). Planning to make the trip from Fort Myers to Stuart this month (Oct 2021) and looking for any tips or intel. If anyone else is planning the same trip would like to possibly go with others.
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:23 AM   #2
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It is a pretty straightforward trip, we completed it East to West at the end of May. Water levels should be pretty high, so you would have choice of routes on Lake O. Check the Local Notices for any alterations to bridge or lock schedules. We had to work around a closure of the Rzr bridge at Indiantown on our trip.

This link has tons of info

https://www.offshoreblue.com/cruise/okeechobee.php
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Old 10-09-2021, 09:42 AM   #3
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Just be really careful to stay in the channel, when you're crossing the lake. I know a couple of people who got bent props when they they day dreamed and drifted just a little ways out of the channel. Especially when there's minimal water.

We went across one time. It was interesting, but not interesting enough for us to ever do it again. I'm much more enjoy going around through the keys.
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Old 10-09-2021, 10:11 AM   #4
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A pleasant trip, and a chance to see / experience parts of Florida that are invisible to most visitors. Any month from October until April or May is a nice time to make the crossing, IMO. If you've never locked through a canal before, the OW is a good place to develop your practices. Most of the locks are relatively low energy and thus low-drama. As noted, stay in the channels and you should have zero difficulty. Enjoy, and welcome to the TF!
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Old 10-09-2021, 10:30 AM   #5
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Just be really careful to stay in the channel, when you're crossing the lake. I know a couple of people who got bent props when they they day dreamed and drifted just a little ways out of the channel. Especially when there's minimal water.

We went across one time. It was interesting, but not interesting enough for us to ever do it again. I'm much more enjoy going around through the keys.

Going around adds a lot of time, most likely 7 to 8 days. And the ride cutting across Florida Bay is boring, but the run thru the islands south of Marco is fun.
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Old 10-09-2021, 11:12 AM   #6
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I find the Eastern part of the trip through the St Lucie Canal boring, but I enjoy the Western part through "old Florida" and find the the South rim quite interesting.

Considering across the Lake is a 2 day trip at a reasonable pace, against through the Keys at 7-8 Days, if you're just going A to B its a no brainer.

If you want to go to the Keys, go to the Keys, not through them




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Going around adds a lot of time, most likely 7 to 8 days. And the ride cutting across Florida Bay is boring, but the run thru the islands south of Marco is fun.
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Old 10-09-2021, 12:33 PM   #7
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It's a pretty easy trip this time of year as the Lake level is up from summer rains. The shallower spots between Port Mayaca and Moore Haven locks probably have 9' of water now. Here is some information on the Locks and places to tie up over night.

https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...=Franklin+lock

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Old 10-09-2021, 02:10 PM   #8
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Thank you! I'm getting the motor checked out And then we will hopefully be good to go
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Old 10-18-2021, 02:57 PM   #9
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G'day. Total newbie (i.e. 1st post) here too. Also, currently boatless, recently retired, and frustrated as heck waiting and praying for a suitable live-aboard trawler (i.e. newer w/ no external wood in the 34-40' range, etc.) to come available.

Anyway, pertinent to this thread you might want to see https://cruisersnet.net/ and specifically the post on that webpage "NAV ALERT: USM: USACE: OWW: Jan 2 - Mar 31, 2022" stating that the St. Lucie lock will be closed during that 3 month time interval so crossing Florida during that specific time period will not even be an option.

Take care.
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Old 10-19-2021, 01:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Just be really careful to stay in the channel, when you're crossing the lake. I know a couple of people who got bent props when they they day dreamed and drifted just a little ways out of the channel. Especially when there's minimal water.



We went across one time. It was interesting, but not interesting enough for us to ever do it again. I'm much more enjoy going around through the keys.
The channel with which to be wary is the portion leaving the marina on the west side of the lake. Once clear of the marked channel you can relax a bit.
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Old 10-19-2021, 04:22 AM   #11
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G'day. Total newbie (i.e. 1st post) here too. Also, currently boatless, recently retired, and frustrated as heck waiting and praying for a suitable live-aboard trawler (i.e. newer w/ no external wood in the 34-40' range, etc.) to come available.

Anyway, pertinent to this thread you might want to see https://cruisersnet.net/ and specifically the post on that webpage "NAV ALERT: USM: USACE: OWW: Jan 2 - Mar 31, 2022" stating that the St. Lucie lock will be closed during that 3 month time interval so crossing Florida during that specific time period will not even be an option.

Take care.
Welcome aboard.
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Old 10-19-2021, 05:55 AM   #12
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Plan a stop in LA Belle FL.

Free tie up , free water, free small electric and free WI FI from library a few feet away.

Local eateries are marginal at best.3 day stay maximum is seldom observed.
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Old 10-19-2021, 09:25 AM   #13
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Plan a stop in LA Belle FL.

Free tie up , free water, free small electric and free WI FI from library a few feet away.

Local eateries are marginal at best.3 day stay maximum is seldom observed.
Yes, all true except the berths are not very suitable for larger boats. No finger piers. Stern-in tie-up is a must. We anchored across the river from the piers after watching a sailboat struggle mightily getting secured. We were 50 feet from the shoreline in 20 feet of water. The current kept us oriented parallel to the shoreline.
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Old 10-19-2021, 07:40 PM   #14
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Not sure how you all feel this is a 7-8 day trip to go around. We are in a 58LRC and it's one day from Punta Gorda to Marker 5 bridge (we run overnight) and one day up to FLL area from the keys (again, running overnight). No locks, no bent props.

There aren't any great places on the Okee-waterway to stop or for food except for possible a fun stop at Rowan Martin's Tiki Bar.

Anyway, mileage to go around is a bit more - but much easier trip as far as I'm concerned. Autopilot, with a decent watch schedule and everyone arrives relaxed.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 10-21-2021, 02:29 PM   #15
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We did the trip last April, in a Prairie 29 (3.5ft draft), and had a wonderful trip. We did the shore line trip instead of the straight across, enjoyed seeing the little towns and stayed at a small city marina one night with nice docks. Have fun
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:44 PM   #16
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Weíve done this trip a number of times. You can stop at Moore Havenís public docks (first-come, first-served); however, we prefer to get through the Moore Haven lock (before 4:30) and push on to Roland Martinís at Clewiston. Decent food, easy stop, nice people. That way, youíre ahead by one lock and primed for a lake crossing first thing in the morning. The other advice youíve received is good, as well.

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Old 10-22-2021, 01:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilPB View Post
Newbie here (just wanted to get that out of the way). Planning to make the trip from Fort Myers to Stuart this month (Oct 2021) and looking for any tips or intel. If anyone else is planning the same trip would like to possibly go with others.
Be careful about the "no wake" zones at the bridges especially. In 2018, I had a friend at the helm and he did not slow down enough at a bridge and police actually chased us on the road to the next bridge which was down and waited there to serve me a ticket. It was a speed trap.
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Old 10-22-2021, 01:08 PM   #18
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Newbie here (just wanted to get that out of the way). Planning to make the trip from Fort Myers to Stuart this month (Oct 2021) and looking for any tips or intel. If anyone else is planning the same trip would like to possibly go with others.
It's an easy trip - have done it both ways. Be careful particularly in the lake - the wind can move you sideways out of the channel - no different than in any other areas with rather narrow channels and a cross-wind.
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Old 10-22-2021, 01:21 PM   #19
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Always a good idea to give us your boat type, draft and cruising speed for these sorts of questions. As others have said, this is a straight forward trip as long as the levels in the lake are reasonable and you stay in the channel. The rim route is obviously longer & there is less depth but it's more interesting. Straight across the lake is the shortest route but not much to see. There's room for one or maybe two boats to anchor on the east side of the Port Mayaca lock and if you do you'll see tons of gators at night. Shine a spot light on the water and you'll see lots of bright red eyes! There is a railroad lift bridge east of Port Mayaca with a max height of 49' - generally not a problem for trawlers. Locks are straight forward, rise/fall is typically only a few feet. The locks are somewhat unique in that to let water in or out they simply open the lock gates a foot or so (vs having inflow pipes in the lock bottom). Current in the locks is minimal, just tie up to the side and standby to ease lines if necessary. Enjoy the trip!
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Old 10-22-2021, 01:53 PM   #20
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I have always enjoyed poking along through the lake route more than the boring trudge around the peninsula, IF getting from one coast to the other is the objective. When that was NOT the goal, we enjoyed going through the Goodland pass and into everglades City, etc, etc. So it sort of depends on whether its the journey or the destination you are after.
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