Cruising Southwest Florida

Save On Buying These Two Popular Southwest Florida Cruising Guides

Best Southwest Florida anchorages are featured in a new SWF cruising guideSouthwest Florida beaches are famous throughout the world, but this region is also well known for it’s exceptional cruising and boating opportunities. Cruising Southwest Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) offers a wide variety of experiences from overnighting in secluded anchorages, visiting quaint coastal comm unities, beachcombing on pristine Gulf of Mexico shores, fine dining, unique shopping, unmatched fishing and outstanding Florida resort marinas.

Southwest Florida Is Ideally Suited To A Sailing Vacation

This is an area which is ideally suited for a sailing vacations either aboard your own boat or a Southwest Florida sailboat charter with several area companies offering bareboat for lease. The many anchorages found along this Florida coast is a major attraction for cruising boaters. Along the SWFL waterways you are seldom more than 10 miles away from discovering a new and exciting anchorage where you can drop the hook.

More than 50 of the best Southwest Florida anchorages are featured in a newly released cruising guide covering the region from Tarpon Springs and the Anclote River to the Ten Thousand Islands and Everglades City.

Anchor Off Useppa Island And Visit Cabbage Key 

An example from The Best Southwest Florida Anchorages is a widely visited spot between Cabbage Key and Useppa Island. This is a convenient anchorage just off the ICW and a short distance from Boca Grande Pass. Navigation into this anchorage poses no problems and it is handy even if you are underway in the night hours and decide to drop the hook for a few hours of shuteye. It’s a good stepping off point if you plan on venturing offshore into

Cruising Southwest Florida offers many Intracoastal Waterway anchorages

Click on the Cabbage Key and Useppa Island anchorage page for a preview of this new cruising guide.

Gulf of Mexico waters accessible through Boca Grande Pass. Simply set an easterly course just north of ICW #60 (FLR) and head towards the western shore of Useppa Island. Depths are several feet hare and able to accommodate deeper draft craft with fair holding. Useppa Island is private, but famed Cabbage Key with a lively lounge and excellent dining is a short dinghy ride away. The anchorage is exposed from the north, but still offers fair protection in most weather conditions.

Dozens of Southwest Florida anchorages are highlighted in this new cruising guide which is a sister boating book to Southwest Florida Ports Of Call, the only publication devoted exclusively to this region. Click on the image to the left for a preview of this page and featured anchorage.

Special offer on two book purchase of Southwest Florida boating books


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Cruise into Boot Key Harbor — A favorite Florida Keys anchorage and port of call

Florida Keys cruising is likely to include a stop at Boot Key Harbor


Boot Key Harbor In Marathon Is Among The Florida Keys Most Popular Cruising Destinations

Boot Key Harbor in the heart of Marathon has long been one of the most visited and populated harbors in the Florida Keys. It is well protected and does accommodate a great number of cruising and live aboard boats, especially during the winter months. However, along with the harbor’s popularity steps by the state and local officials were required to manage this Keys resource and to protect it has arisen some controversy. An anchorage area has been established and a mooring field now accommodate 200 plus vessels.

Navigating Boot Key Harbor Waters

The harbor can be entered through two channels, one at Sister Creek on the oceanside and the other near the beginning of the Seven Mile Bridge at Marathon. The channels are well-marked, but take some unexpected turns, and if you are visiting for the first time, consult your charts. Once inside the harbor, you will discover some shoal areas and efforts to rebuild seagrass beds. There is a designated anchorage area and in the harbor proper you must secure to a mooring ball. You are certain to have a great deal of company and reservations are strongly advised for a mooring. Likewise for any transient marina slips.

Going Ashore In Boot Key Harbor

Boot Key Harbor features several excellent marinas with a wide variety of amenities. Marathon boatyards can handle any repair or required maintenance. There are also sailmakers, canvas shops and ship stores all located within a short distance from marinas. Inside the harbor you will find the Boot Key Harbor City Marina, which also offers a limited number of slips, moorings, pumpouts and dinghy dockage.

Throughout Marathon are a wide spectrum of restaurants, enough to satisfy any dining desires. Marine supplies and repair services are readily available.

A newly released Florida cruising guide covering Florida Keys Ports Of Call

Purchase this Florida Keys Ports of Call & Anchorages guide as a gift or a memento of a Keys vacation. Florida Keys Ports Of Call


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Destination Bahia Honda Florida State Park In The Florida Keys


Florida Keys nautical charts will help guide you through Bahia Honda Channel and the anchorage at this state park

Discover Keys Beaches And Camping At Bahia Honda Florida State Park

Bahia Honda Florida State Park is one of the finest facilities of its kind that you will find in the Keys, or for that matter the mainland. It occupies around 500 acres and was once part of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway project that began in 1905. A newer bridge now serves travelers on U.S. 1, but at the park a portion of the Old Bahia Honda Bridge has been preserved and offers visitors a dramatic viewing post overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Florida Bay.

Keys fishing, diving, camping and a marina are part of Bahia Honda Florida State ParkWith miles of some of the best Atlantic Keys beaches, the park offers outstanding swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing. Additionally overnight lodging is available, Keys camping sites, bicycling, fishing, picnicking, kayaking and there is a marina. It is a widely utilized Florida State Park among Keys vacation visitors and residents alike.


Bahia Honda Channel is one of the deepest natural passages in the Keys and it is a good choice for moving between the Atlantic waters and Florida Bay, unless you are a sailboat or other vessel that requires more than 20 feet of clearance. The newly constructed bridge is fixed at this vertical clearance, however, the good news is a portion of the old bridge has been cut away to allow boats into an anchorage between the spans with access to the park. This anchorage can be a bit rough in some weather conditions, and it is worth noting that the current can be extremely swift. Another anchorage on the bayside may be more protected, depending upon wind direction and strength.


The park is ideally suited for just relaxing along the beach shores under the shade of a palm tree or sunbathing in the sand. Because of the shallow waters surrounding much of the park, it is perfect for snorkeling and swimming from the shore. The flats found along the shoreline are great for the wading fly fisherman. Keys bonefish and flats fishing is extremely popular. To learn the best angling techniques, charter one of the many Keys fishing guides specializing in this sport.

The park Keys marina does provide dockage for transient boats in a well-protected harbor with 30 amp electricity, waste pump out and water. A concession building is a short walk and here you will find bait and tackle, a limited supply of groceries, gifts, a snack bar and ice. A tour boat offers daily snorkeling trips to Looe Key reef which is one of the most visited Keys snorkeling sites. Another marina accepting transients is Sunshine Key, immediately to the northeast.

A newly released Florida cruising guide covering Florida Keys Ports Of CallThis Florida Keys cruising and vacation destination is among many featured in the new Florida Keys Ports Of Call.

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Cruising Southwest Florida Must Include Visiting Boating Friendly Sarasota

Sarasota is synonymous with the circus since one of the city’s most famous early residents was John Ringling. Ringling had amassed a huge fortune for the era and was an important cultural contributor to Sarasota. His legacy today includes the Ringling Art Museum on the grounds of his estate and a fabulous mansion, Ca’d’Zan, all open to the public.

This is just one of the attractions which makes Sarasota a desirable port of call for your Southwest Florida cruising outing or a vacation. Others sights worthy of a visit in this city just off the Intracoastal Waterway — ICW –include the Bellm

Cars and Music Museum of Yesterday where you can view a unique and priceless collection of antique cars, music boxes and calliopes. The Sarasota Jungle Gardens should be on your list for visiting, and if shopping is a priority, nearby St. Armands Key is your destination. Here you will find dozens of up scale shops and restaurants circled in a park-like setting.

Incredible Gulf Of Mexico Beaches 

Incredible Gulf beaches are another leading draw to the Sarasota area. There are several public beaches which are extremely popular among both the vacationer and residents.Sarasota is additionally a very boater friendly city. A large anchorage area is located just off downtown. Waters are fair in depth and the holding for anchoring is also acceptable for most vessels. Dinghy docks are provided in the adjacent park, as well as a outdoor restaurant. Walking into town takes just minutes, and there you will discover a wealth of restaurants, shops and varied businesses.

The Downtown Sarasota Marina  

As an alternative, Marina Jack’s offers slips with amenities including fuel, showers, water, cable television and electric. On the marina grounds is one of Sarasota’s landmark restaurants, Marina Jack’s. This restaurant, which also offers regular entertainment, alone is worth a trip to this Southwest Florida city.

Sarasota is among the many destinations featured in the only cruising guide devoted exclusively to Southwest Florida boating. The newly released guide Southwest Florida Ports Of Call features anchorages, marinas, resorts and attractions throughout this area. It is the perfect companion while you are cruising Southwest Florida and invaluable for navigation of SWF inlets and the ICW


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Favorite Florida Keys Snorkeling And Diving Sites — GPS Locations

Fowey Rocks light is the northernmost of the Keys light towers stretching from Key Biscayne to the Dry Tortugas.

The Fowey Rocks light tower is located offshore of Key Biscayne and Cape Florida.

Florida Keys Light Towers Are Beacons For Great Diving And Snorkeling — Locations And GPS Coordinates

Diving and snorkeling over the reefs marked by the unmanned light towers stretching from Miami to the Dry Tortugas is a popular topic and the story below generated many requests for more information.

These reef light towers are immensely popular among Keys scuba divers and snorkelers for a number of reasons. Foremost is the diving sites are easily reached by any seaworthy recreational boat in fair weather conditions. These lights mark Key’s reefs and shoals which are ideally suited for the beginning snorkeling swimmer yet still providing challenges for seasoned Key’s scuba divers. Coral formations can be spectacular and the tropical fish life residing on the reefs usually abounds. Anchoring usually presents few problems and it’s likely you’ll also be in the company of other reef divers and snorkelers. Mooring balls are widely available and should be used whenever possible.

Alligator light is a favorite Florida Keys snorkeling and diving site.Following are Florida Key’s reef GPS coordinates and information about the major light towers and diving sites from Key Biscayne to Key West — north to south. These Keys light GPS coordinates are additionally useful for navigation if you are cruising the Florida Keys in Atlantic Ocean waters.


GPS Coordinates — Lat 25º38.2 / Lon 80º13.0’ — Fl 10s 110ft — 10M

Located approximately seven miles southeast of Cape Florida on Key Biscayne, this light was completed in 1878 and automated in 1975. A visit to this reef area is likely to be a disappointment to many, however, it is an example of a coral reef which is nearly dead for any number of environmental reasons. It is littered with dead coral and fish life is sparse in comparison to reefs found further south. You can expect a barracuda population around the girders of the tower.


GPS Coordinates — Lat 25ª15.1’ / Lon 80º19.5’ — Fl (3) R SEC 100 ft — 13M

This light, first lit in 1852, is named for the HMS Carysfort, a Royal Navy ship that ran aground on this reef in 1770. The tower is located just about six nautical miles east of Key Largo and is widely visited by recreational boaters and commercial dive operators. As part of the National Park system, these waters teem with fish life and coral formations.


GPS Coordinates — Lat 24º54.0’ / Lon 81ª44.1’ — Fl (4) 60s 136 ft 13M

As with many of the Florida Keys light towers, this one has a name which has historical roots. The schooner USS Alligator was patrolling the waters for pirates in 1822 when the ship foundered and ultimately ended up on the reef bearing its name. The light (first lit in 1873) is located about four nautical miles off Indian Key and the Matecumbe Keys. Popular with sport divers and snorkelers the light and surrounding reef boasts large populations of colorful reef fish.


GPS Coordinates — Lat 24º42.4’ Lon 81º13.4’ — Fl (5) 60s 142ft 12M

Sombrero Key is sometimes awash and at one point in the past was actually an island. This key offers exceptional snorkeling opportunities for the beginner snorkeler and for the scuba diver there are depths between coral lined caverns which prove interesting. Fish life abounds. Located just offshore of Marathon, this Keys diving site is extremely popular. Navigation is easy to this site and the red tower stands out from miles away.


GPS Coordinates — Lat 24º34.2’ / Lon 81º38.2’ — FL (5) 3 R s 12M

Located near one the famed Keys dive and snorkeling sites Looe Key (GPS Coordinates Lat 24ª35.4’ Long 81ª31.1’), American Shoals Light at 109 feet is just offshore of Sugarloaf Key. Completed in 1880 the coral reef system surrounding the light supports great schools of varying species of fish. This reef area is noted for impressive staghorn coral formations often reaching to near the ocean surface. Looe Key is perhaps one of the most famous Keys snorkeling and diving sites. A number of area dive operations frequent this reef daily during good weather. It is also easily reached aboard your own boat.


GPS Coordinates — Lat 24º30.1’ Lon 81º59.5’ — FL (2) 15 SEC 11M

Situated just six nautical miles southwest of Key West, the Sand Key Light is an important navigation aide and the surrounding reef is much visited by Key West dive operators. Standing at 109 feet it was first lit in 1853. The Key West dive site may be best known for snorkeling, but scuba opportunities are available in the deeper waters where there are ledges to explore in depths below 50 feet.

Florida Keys lighthouses and towers are featured in the newly released cruising guide Florida Keys Ports Of Call. This book features color aerial photography of Florida Keys islands, vacation destinations, communities, channels and inlets, dive and snorkeling sites. The photography is useful for navigation when cruising the Florida Keys, or for planning your Keys cruise. Information about Keys marinas, resorts, attractions and dining is also featured. The Florida Keys Ports of Call cruising guide is available in a printed version and also from as an E-book. 

Preview the Florida Keys Ports of Call cruising guide featuring Keys marinas, anchorages, diving and snorkeling, fishing and Keys navigation E-book at Florida Keys cruising guide.

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A Southwest Florida Cruising Destination

Cruising Southwest Florida should include a visit to historic Johns Pass.

Johns Pass has a fascinating history dating back to the days of the pirates in the 1800’s and one particular pirate John Lavique. He had reportedly buried a chest of gold on the West Coast of Florida and sometime later when he sailed to the same spot to recover it, the shoreline had changed dramatically. A great hurricane had carved a pass through the barrier island where he had buried his treasure and thus this inlet became known as Johns Pass.

Today’s The Gold Is Tourism
In present days the “gold” is in tourism and recreational pursuits. A boardwalk with numerous shops and many

Cruising Southwest Florida is likely to include Gulf of Mexico passages from the Intracoastal Waterway.

An aerial view of Johns Pass with the bridge open which separates Madera Beach and Treasure Island. The passage is widely used by both commercial and recreational boaters. Because of the boat traffic and strong tidal currents, use caution when using Johns Pass.

restaurants and bars has been developed on the north shore of the pass. The Johns Pass Village and Boardwalk has been recreated as a historic fishing village and is popular with residents and tourist alike.

Separating Madeira Beach and Treasure Island, Johns Pass is unquestionably one of Florida’s busiest waterways. Passage to or from the Gulf of Mexico can be hazardous and even humanly dangerous. Tidal currents can run extremely strong through this Gulf cut. Even though this is one of Florida’s few bridges which still open on demand, don’t underestimate risks when you approach this bridge. This is especially true for vessels lacking the power to fight a possible strong current. There is also almost always a great deal of other boat traffic which can compound the situation. Use the utmost care and common sense.

A Florida cruising adventure may include a visit to the shores of historic Johns Pass.

There are numerous dining options on both shores of Johns Pass.

Dining, Shopping And Entertainment
Dockage is in short supply in the pass area, but you can try the Johns Pass Marina that also welcomes transient boaters. Gators Cafe and Saloon, with reportedly the world’s longest waterfront bar, may also offer temporary dockage for patrons.

The opportunities for dining and shopping along the 1,100-foot boardwalk of Johns Pass Village will keep any visitor or Florida vacationer busy for hours.

Johns Pass is one of the many cruising Florida destinations featured in the recently released cruising guide Southwest Florida Ports of Call now available in a digital e-Book guide and in a print edition. A digital sample of the book can be previewed at The new cruising guide joins others in the series including Florida Keys Ports of Call, East Coast Of Florida Ports of Call, A Bahamas Cruising Guide – Abaco Ports of Call and A Chesapeake Bay Cruising Guide – Chesapeake Bay Ports of Call.

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Florida Cruising Destination St. Petersburg

The St. Petersburg Municipal Marina is one of the largest Florida marinas on the west coast.

St. Petersburg Welcomes Florida Cruising Boaters

Today’s Saint Petersburg is a far cry from years past where it was known largely as a retiree destination, green park benches and shuffleboard. Now the roar of Formula racing cars thunder through city streets, art and craft festivals flourish and the sweet aromas of smoking ribs and other foods float through downtown parks during cooking events.

An Exciting City To Visit

Today this is a Florida city exciting to live in or visit, and it is also a showpiece for spotlighting its waterfront and recreational boating assets. Hundreds of slips are found in the downtown area and waiting lists may be long for a permanent slip. Cruising boaters are likely to find transient dockage during off periods, but anyone hoping for a short term stay during weekends and holidays should reserve well in advance. And just about any given weekend there is something going on in St. Petersburg. Surrounded by 137 appealing parks, “St. Pete” boasts fine art museums, numerous other attractions, a wide range of restaurants and lively nightlife.

Several Marina Choices

There are several choices in marinas among them are the Saint Petersburg Municipal Marina, the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel or the Harborage Marina. There additionally are a number of excellent anchorages with dinghy docks nearby.The city marina also offers day dockage for short term day visits and all the immediate marinas offer fuel.

Among the sights to take in when cruising or visiting are The Pier, the Museum of Fine arts, an event at the Mahaffey Theatre, the Salvador Dali Museum, Sunken Gardens, or enjoy a pro ball game at Tropicana Field. St. Petersburg is one of dozens of Florida cruising destinations featured in the new Southwest Florida Ports of Call cruising guide. This is the only current boating guide exclusively devoted to Southwest Florida.

Cruising Southwest Florida is likely to include a visit to St. Petersburg

The Pier is a St. Petersburg landmark and popular attraction.

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Florida Keys Diving And Snorkeling

Florida Keys diving and snorkeling over fragile coral reefs

Reef Etiquette Is Essential To Protecting The Florida Keys Reefs

Florida coral reefs are a fragile natural resource which can be permanently damaged or destroyed through thoughtless actions when diving and snorkeling. The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is a steward for these reefs and offers the following advise on proper reef etiquette.

Florida Keys snorkeling and diving should include practicing reef etiquetteIf you are in the Florida Keys to dive or snorkel, you are not alone. Every year more than 700,000 divers and snorkelers take to the water to discover the wonder and beauty that the area’s coral reefs have to offer. But did you know that all of these visitors can take a toll on the reef and the critters that call the reef home?

The good news is that, when in the water diving or snorkeling, there are things you can do to minimize your impact on the reef while continuing to enjoy its beauty. Check out the tips highlighted below and keep them in mind when you are in the water.

Avoid Contact With The Reef

Avoid contact with the reef. Even a minor brush with hands or fins can damage delicate coral animals and can even hurt you, as some corals can sting or cut. Stray fins can also stir up sand that can smother coral animals.

Never Stand Or Rest On The Coral

Never stand or rest on corals. If you need to rest or adjust equipment, lie on your back or float in a seated position. If you need to stand to adjust equipment, return to the boat.

Maintain Proper Buoyancy

Maintain proper buoyancy through practice and proper weight. Use proper dive posture, with feet remaining slightly elevated above the head. Novice snorkelers can use a snorkel vest to stay afloat.

Make Sure That All Equipment Is Secure

Make sure that all equipment is secure and does not come into contact with the reef. Avoid using gloves or kneepads in coral environments.

Maintain A Comfortable Distance From The Reef

Maintain a comfortable distance from the reef and avoid shallow areas. Carefully select entry and exit points to avoid reef areas.

Do Not Touch, Handle, Feed, Or Ride Marine Life

Do not touch, handle, feed, or ride marine life. Interaction with animals can stress them, disrupting feeding and mating or provoking aggressive behavior. Remember that you are visiting the animals’ home – treat them and their home with respect.

Don’t Collect Souvenirs From The Reef

Don’t collect “souvenirs” from the reef. Everything has its place—from plants and animals to even dead coral and rocks. Removing items could disrupt the balance of the reef.

Also read about Florida Keys Diving and Snorkeling Sites with GPS coordinates on this site,.

Find out more about the Keys coral reefs and this important marine sanctuary at Diving, snorkeling, Florida Keys fishing, Keys marinas and anchorages are all also featured in the Florida cruising guide – Florida Keys Ports Of Call. The book is also available in a digital edition – Cruising The Florida Keys. Both are available at

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Cruise into Florida history with Amelia Island And Fernandina Beach As Your Next Port Of Call

Amelia Island is covered in the new East Coast Of Florida cruising guide

Fernandina Beach — The only piece of land in the U.S. to have been under eight flags of domination, Amelia Island offers a wide variety of attractions to its many visitors.

Today, Centre Street is the main artery at the heart of Amelia Island’s historic district, Fernandina. The pulse of this Civil-War era main street  is relaxing and refreshing, and is lined with Victorian homes, century-old brick buildings, palmetto trees and a recently restored colonial post office building. Stroll a bit further and you’ll encounter quaint bed and breakfast inns, restaurants, and a collection of shops selling antiques, collectibles, books, food, and clothing. Centre Street ends at an Intracoastal Waterway marina, adjacent to a fishing pier overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Exploring Amelia Island And Fernandina Beach

Amelia Island offers her guests rich history, unspoiled beaches, titillating wildlife, soft adventure, unforgettable golf Florida history is one of the attractions for cruising Florida boatersand incredible dining. The island features all types of accommodations, from charming bed & breakfast inns to world-class resorts.

Fort Clinch State Park is a scenic and educational adventure, offering a memorable excursion for history enthusiasts and nature-lovers. Fishing, hiking, and camping sites are scattered throughout the 1,121 acres.

The city of Fernandina Beach began as a haven for smugglers — President Monroe called it ‘a festering fleshpot’ — but it became Florida’s first resort in the mid-19th century. The railroads soon lured tourists farther south, though, and the charm of the island was preserved in time.

Take A Walking Tour Of Centre Street

Bring your walking shoes, because you’ll also find a National Register historic district that covers over 50 blocks. Enjoy a stroll down Fernandina’s Centre Street, the main boulevard lined with a collection of antique shops, boutiques, fine restaurants, historic homes and late Victorian inns.

Another Centre Street favorite is Florida’s oldest tavern, The Palace Saloon, once the haunt of the Vanderbilts, DuPonts and Carnegies. The Florida House Inn, the oldest continuously operating hotel in the state, has hosted everyone from U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant to Cuban revolutionary José Martí.

For Florida cruising boaters, on the waterfront you will find dockage and fuel at either the newly reconstructed Fernandina Harbor Marina, or at Florida Petroleum Company which caters largely to commercial vessels, but does have a limited number of slips for transients.

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Cruising Southwest Florida’s Charlotte Harbor

cruising southwest Florida

A poker run at Fishermen's Village in Southwest Florida on Charlotte Harbor shores.

Charlotte Harbor is a bay that is ideally suited to the widest range of boating activities including cruising, sailing and fishing.

A fairly large body of water with good depths and reasonably protected, it is also home to several excellent boating facilities including the Yacht Basin at Fishermen’s Village.

A Popular Southwest Florida Attraction

This marina adjoins a huge complex which includes vacation villas, restaurants and many shops. It is a destination appealing to everyone’s interest and is a very popular attraction among Southwest Florida visitors. Here you can browse through numerous shops offering a wide variety of items ranging from jewelry to cookware. The indoor mall is flanked on both sides by the shops and offers hours of browsing.

Florida Seafood Is On The Menus

Scattered among these are several restaurants, some with outside patio dining overlooking the waters of the harbor. A good deal of emphasis is on seafood, but whatever your preference are you can be sure to find it featured on a menu. Village lounges additionally provide entertainment.Charlotte Harbor is easily reached when cruising Southwest Florida

The Yacht Basin, named as a “Clean Marina” by the state of Florida, comprises 111 slips, many of which are available to transient boaters or those visiting Fishermen’s Village by water. The marina has been recently rebuilt and its waters dredged.

The marina features many amenities including a pool, picnic area, tennis courts, laundry, showers, security and a dinghy dock. It plays host to numerous special events throughout the year. Boating groups are welcomed.

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Don’t miss cruising Abaco in the Bahamas

Hope Town Harbour is widely visited by everyone who cruises Abaco in the Bahamas

Hope Town on Elbow Cay is a favorite destination for boaters on an Abaco, Bahamas sailing vacation. The distinctive Hope Town Harbour Lighthouse is said to be the most photographed landmark in the Bahamas.

These Bahma islands are popular for summer cruising on Abaco sailing vacations

Of all of the island chains in the Bahamas, Abaco is generally regarded as the least challenging and easiest to navigate of all the island cruising destinations. Situated approximately 130 miles from any Southeastern Florida port of call, Abaco can easily be reached by most any seaworthy boat, either sail or power. Faster craft can reach Abaco destinations in a single day, while aboard a sailboat or trawler is likely to involve a couple of days or more in good weather for unhurried cruising.

Remember, unless you are unlikely be going to cross the Atlantic from the east, a voyage by boat is going to involve two Gulfstream crossings. While there are the rare crossings you can make where a waterskier could be towed behind, those are few and far between. The Gulfstream deserves much respect and volumes could be written on the subject.

Safe Gulfstream Crossings
The to key factors to safe Gulfstream crossings are watching the weather closely, traveling in the company of other boats and reliable communications and navigational electronics. Preferably with backups to radios and GPS units.

A Bahamas boating guide for Abaco sailing charters, vacations or cruising

Abaco is readily accessible to most seaworthy boats capable of safely making a Gulfstream crossing. Lying just more than 100 miles off Florida’s East Coast, these Bahamas islands are popular with Abaco family cruising and Abaco bareboat charter sailors.

Abaco Anchorages

The many outstanding Abaco anchorages, marinas, harbours and settlements are featured in this Bahamas cruising guide, Abaco Ports of Call. The book is available in print or as a cruising guide Ebook which can be viewed from mobile devices or your home computer. Use this Bahamas cruising guide at the helm of your boat as a visual Abaco navigation reference.

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Elliott Key Is Perfect For The Weekend Overnight Keys Cruise


Ideal as a Keys anchorage, Elliott Key is a favorite destination for cruising boaters.

Elliott Key Is The Northernmost Island In The Chain Of Florida Keys And Is Widely Popular With South Florida Boaters

In the southern waters of Biscayne Bay lies one of the largest keys in the park system which encompasses this large and vastly popular bay for boating. Elliott Key and surrounding islands, including Boca Chita Key, Soldier Key, the Ragged Keys and Old Rhodes Key are all part of the Biscayne National Park which is managed by the National Park Service.

Just a short day sail from Miami marinas, or a quick powerboat ride away, the waters of these keys are usually crowded with weekend boaters. During the week you will likely have your pick of secluded anchorages or slips in the two park marinas located on the keys. There are numerous outstanding anchorages throughout the park and they are excellent spots for overnighting while en route to southern destinations.

Navigating Biscayne Bay And The Biscayne National Park
The waters within this park have numerous banks and shoals, so deeper draft craft do need to exercise some caution. The Featherbed Bank is a large area of shoaling that runs east and west across a good portion of this area. Marked channels lead boaters through both East and West Featherbed Banks. Consult your charts for details and for water depths at planned anchorages. It is worthy to note that the western shores of these islands are exposed and anchorages can become uncomfortable during any heavy weather.

Cruising Elliott Key And What’s Ashore
The park service operates marinas on Boca Chita Key and Elliott

Offices and educational center Biscayne National Park

Elliott Key has an educational center, showers and other facilities maintained by the National Park Service.

Key where you can overnight for modest fees that are paid to ATM-like machines. You will have to do without water or electric hookups, although at Elliott Key there are showers and drinking water is available. The marina here is limited to boats with drafts of three feet or less and larger vessels must anchor offshore and dinghy into the harbor.

Elliott Key has been maintained largely in a natural state, while other islands to the north were once privately owned. Boca Chita has a distinctive lighthouse structure at the entrance to the harbor. Besides picnicking, swimming off the beach, and snorkeling, visitors can also camp on these islands in designated areas. Fish life abounds in the cuts separating the islands and there are excellent fishing spots.

Read more about Elliott Key and cruising the Florida Keys in a newly released boating guide Florida Keys Ports Of Call

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Cruise To The Marquesas Keys

A Cruise To The Marquesas Keys Is An Adventure

For cruisers with an adventurous streak and those who are seeking the solitude and beauty of almost untouched islands, a visit to the Boca Grande and Marquesas Keys is especially worthwhile. This group of keys are also a logical stopover for anyone cruising to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson since this destination is about 70 miles from Key West. But this is not all without sacrifice because you will be leaving the comfort of docks and electricity, grocery stores and restaurants, fuel and ice all behind in Key West. These keys are much like they would have been found hundreds of years ago and they are largely unspoiled.

A visit here requires a good deal of prior planning, and careful consideration as weather conditions must be heeded because there are few places safely providing shelter during frequent blows which sweep these islands.


As is evident from the two accompanying satellite images, these keys are surrounded by shoals, reef formations, coral heads and meandering channels that often dead end. Anchorages at Boca Grande Key and the Marquesas Keys can either be reached from Hawk Channel heading west along the chain of islands on the ocean side, or via the northern route along the Northwest Channel. Weather at the time will dictate which route is the best for your voyage. Detailed charts and the advice offered by other Keys guides are essential for navigating these waters. Good light is also helpful for spotting channel markers, heads and shoals.

The anchorage for Boca Grande Key is located in the channel at the northwestern reaches of the island. Mooney Harbor in the Marquesas Keys offers other anchoring options. Use a good deal of care when entering either of these anchorages by keeping a sharp lookout and studying charts. As mentioned, neither of these destinations are safely navigated or suitable for anchoring in any heavy weather or poor visibility.


This group of keys are noted for its excellent flats fishing including permit, bonefish and tarpon. There is also excellent snorkeling and exploration aboard your dinghy. The anchorages can also be “buggy”, so be prepared.

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No Bull — This Is A Dangerous Florida Shark

Florida fatal shark attacks may be blamed on the bull shark.

The bull shark is a massive creature responsible for Florida fatal shark attacks in both salt and fresh waters. It is sought after as a gamefish.

The bull shark is known for a nasty temper and raw brute strength –It’s the shark world’s Bad Boy

The bull shark is a massive creature responsible for a number of Florida fatal shark attacks in both salt and fresh waters.

Most sport scuba divers and fishermen report the bull shark is a species with a “bad attitude” and a nasty temperament. They are also extremely unpredictable when provoked, threatened or agitated sometimes attacking boats and anything else within their reach.

There are other factors which make this specie especially dangerous and responsible for many documented shark attacks. These territorial sharks can grow to incredibly awesome proportions and exhibit bone crushing strength. What makes them even more dangerous is they are commonly found in shallow waters only a few feet in depth. Add the fact the bull shark commonly ventures into freshwater, such as rivers, and you have a deadly equation.

Just a mere 15 feet offshore on a Pensacola, FL beach a youngster was playing in the water in 2002 when a bull shark grabbed his arm. In this remarkable story the child’s uncle wrestled the shark ashore after the boy had lost his arm to the shark. The 200-pound bull shark was killed and the boy’s arm removed from its jaws. The arm was immediately iced down and then at a hospital after a 12-hour operation, the arm was reattached. The boy did recover, at least physically, after this gruesome ordeal.

Bull sharks are one Florida shark specie blamed on shark attacks

The bull shark has a nasty temper and is found in Florida inshore waters and sometime even in freshwater rivers.

Florida, with it’s many estuaries and waterways, is a favorite haunt for the bull shark, although it is responsible for attacks worldwide. These sharks move freely through shallow and murky waters and seek out these depths to spawn.

In the Florida Keys bull sharks are a great source of sport for anglers who tackle bull sharks exceeding 200 pounds in waters less than chin deep. The sharks provide a fishing challenge on light tackle and even fly rods. The sharks are “chummed up” behind an anchored fishing boat utilizing a stringer of sliced up barracuda. Apparently, the scent and blood of a barracuda is irresistible to the bull shark. Then the fisherman coaxes the shark to take a lure and an exciting battle ensues.

In another Florida incident, a mother and her 15-year-old daughter were paddling in ocean waters aboard their surfboards when a shark pulled the teen off her board and under the waves twice. The younger woman was saved by her mother and the attack was labeled as likely being a bull shark.

“There’s no way this thing is going to kill my daughter,” the mother exclaimed to reporters after rescuing her child. “I grabbed her shoulders and I pulled her up and I threw her on the nose of my board.”

Surfing enthusiasts are often the target of shark attacks. Since erratic motions, such as paddling and moving arms and legs, are an attraction to sharks, surfing can be one of the surest means of a shark encounter. A black wet suit adds to a surfer’s desirability as a meal since the possible prey may resemble a seal in disguise.

Average adult female approximately 8 feet and may approach 300 pounds or more in weight.
Largest Taken On Rod & Reel:
697 pounds in Kenya – 2001
Temperate coastal and offshore waters including freshwater lakes and rivers
Fish including other sharks, turtles, seabirds, dolphin and mammals

Florida shark attacks and elsewhere are reported on in this shark e-bookFlorida shark attacks and elsewhere in the world are included in this new e-Book Deadly Dozen Sharks. For further information or ordering, visit Amazon.


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The Ponce de Leon lighthouse is a beacon for cruising boaters and Florida vacationers

Ponce Inlet is a favorite stopover for Florida cruising boaters

Ponce Inlet is a small Florida Atlantic coast community with a laidback character all in a postcard picture setting. The famed lighthouse marking the Ponce de Leon Inlet is visited by thousands of Florida vacationers each year. It is a popular stopover for cruising boaters traveling along the nearby Intracoastal Waterway or Atlantic Ocean cruisers.

Cruising Florida may include visiting the Ponce de Leon LighthousePONCE INLET — This small and sleepy Florida coastal community seems out of place when compared with the hustle and bustle of nearby Daytona Beach. The atmosphere is laidback and this town has a unique character often disappearing in the Sunshine State.

Florida Intracoastal Cruising Stopover

Originally settled as a fishing village, Ponce Inlet with a population of only about 3,000, is popular among Florida vacationers visiting the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Florida. The area is also a favorite stopover for Florida cruising boaters traveling the nearby Intracoastal Waterway. For such a small community, besides a visit to the signature lighthouse, there is a good deal to take in if your tastes lean towards the beach and Atlantic Ocean fishing or boating.

Take A Florida Fishing Trip

Ponce Inlet is surrounded by parks including the Lighthouse Point ark and the Ponce Preserve. They include picnic sites, beaches, nature trails and walkways along the ocean and the Halifax River. The Ponce Inlet Jetty offers a paved walkway where visitors can sample Florida fishing. If a fishing trip is in your plans, there are also party type fishing boats at the marinas and charter boats for offshore and inshore angling adventures.

There are a number of local marinas accommodating visiting cruising boaters and they include Inlet Harbor Marina, Lighthouse Boatyard & Marina and Sea Love Marina. Inlet Harbor is just off the Intracoastal Waterway near the inlet and features dining and live entertainment as well as a gift shop.

Navigating Ponce de Leon Inlet

Typical of most Atlantic inlets shoaling is likewise a problem here for navigation. The inlet can also be treacherous in times of unsettled and blustery weather. Use caution when deciding on venturing into Atlantic waters through this inlet. While sandbars are often a navigational hazard, the Ponce Inlet has shoaling along the southern shore which provides an outstanding day anchorage as shown in the photo below.

Atlantic cruising boaters enjoy this Florida anchorage at Ponce de Leon Inlet

An Atlantic coast anchorage on a shoaling sandbar at Ponce de Leon Inlet.

Other Florida inlets and lighthouses are featured in a new cruising guide East Coast Of Florida Ports Of Call.

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High And Dry Cruising The Florida Keys

When Florida Keys cruising, most channels and Keys waterway are well marked.

The Key’s channels and waterways for the most part are well-marked. However, any time you wander out of marked waters, you are putting yourself and your boat at risk for a grounding.

Running Aground While Cruising The Florida Keys

“I was down below and she ran the boat aground.” said the skipper pointing to his wife. It seems like a believable excuse which was simply a mistake and hopefully without major consequences.

Running your boat aground in most cases is likely to just represent embarrassment and coming up with a story which is unlikely to be taken as truth by anyone. Groundings are part of cruising and boating just like the weather. Anyone who states “I’ve never ran aground” is likely to have a good case for thinking you believing in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.


The owner and captain of a 40-foot plus Hatteras departs from Miami for the Florida Keys in the early morning hours and with several guests aboard. The cruise is uneventful through nighttime. However, because of poor navigational advice from a crew member, the skipper strays from Hawk Channel in the Atlantic Ocean and ends up on a middle Keys reef.

Hard aground the owner attempted to back off the reef. It was to no avail and everyone spent several hours aboard until the boat was freed with the assistance of a tow. Meanwhile, there was a visit from the marine patrol and federal park officials who promised thousands of dollars in fines for destroying coral reef while issuing citations. An airplane pilot had also photographed efforts to free the boat from the reef.

It was just the beginning of a bad day. After limping into a local boatyard, the yacht was pulled and damaged was assessed. Both props and shafts were severely damaged. Repairs would tally more than $10,000. Add this to potential fines, yard bills, car rentals and many hours of time, this represented very expensive cruising.

While at the boatyard, the Hatteras owner sold his diamond ring of several carats for cash to a rich boater who was also was in the yard.

It covered the bills, but he sure does miss that ring.

Visual navigation and special navigational skills, such as being able to “read the water” are important to Florida Keys cruising and avoiding running aground.  The Florida Keys cruising guide, Florida Keys Ports Of Call, features color aerial photography which can greatly assist in navigation during your Keys sailing vacation.

Narrow channels are part of Florida Keys cruising.

Narrow and shallow channels, often with dead ends are common while cruising the Florida Keys.


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Cruising Southwest Florida

What makes crusiing Southwest Florida an adventure?

Discover The Appeal And Adventure Of Cruising Southwest Florida Here!


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Cruising Southwest Florida — Destination Everglades City

Cruising Southwest Florida could include a visit to the 10,000 Islands

Explore The Wilderness Of The 10,000 Islands

Steeped in history as old as Florida itself, Everglades City is considered to be the “Gateway to the 10,000 Islands.” These thousands of islands, a great majority of which are only a collection of mangroves and lack no solid ground, are a vast wilderness ideally suited for exploration and backcountry sportfishing.

 Bordering on The Everglades National Park

Chokoloskee Island and Everglades City are nearby neighbor communities which share being on the border of the Everglades National Park. In years past this was a sort of “no man’s” land where residents met out their own form of justice and tales of killers, lynchings and robbery have been related in several books.

The region remains remote and wild lacking the civilized trademarks of cities found along the coast to the north. You will discover a rarely seen beauty in exploration of these islands, and it is exactly why they are popular among canoeists and kayakers, bird watchers and sportsmen.

 A Cruising Stopover

Cruisers traveling south to the Florida Keys will commonly stopover in these islands either anchoring up in the Shark River or motoring up the Barron River for a stay at the Rod & Gun Club in Everglades City. There are numerous anchorages throughout these islands, but choose wisely and pick the best weather windows. Also if you choose to anchor, don’t forget plenty of insect repellent and screens for all your ports.

The Rod & Gun Club was a private home until 1925 when it then became an oasis for hunters and fishermen, including guests like President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ernest Hemingway. The club marina can handle most vessels and welcomes transients. It is worth the visit.

Everglades City and the 10,000 Islands are among the cruising destinations featured in the print book Southwest Florida Ports of Call and the e-Book Best Southwest Florida Anchorages.

The Everglades City marina at the famed Rod And Gun Club

The Rod And Gun Club marina docks can handle nearly allk cruising boats and is a favorite destination for boaters cruising Southwest Florida and those en route to a Florida Keys cruise.



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Cruising The 10,000 Islands

The Little Shark River offers a Southwest Florida anchorage in the 10,000 Islands.

Little Shark River Offers Anchorage Options For Southwest Florida Cruising Boaters And Those En Route To The Florida Keys

LAT 25º19.4’N / LON 81º08.5’W

The 10,000 islands offer cruising boaters a unique experience while traveling the Everglades National Park waters. Make no mistake, this is a wilderness area with countless mangrove islands and winding waterways with abundant bird populations and wildlife. The interior sections are best left to exploration aboard your dinghy or from a skiff. For cruisers heading to or from the Keys, the Liittle Shark River offers anchoring options in fair weather protection and easily reached from the Gulf. At the marked mouth of the river you will find depths usually exceeding several feet. Navigate these waterways only during daylight hours.

The Barron River

As you would expect, during warmer seasons, the anchorages can be “buggy” and boat screens and insect repellent are essential in the evening. If you are seeking the comforts of a marina, visit the Rod And Gun Club resort by motoring up the Barron River just to the north. Note currents can be extremely strong.


A new digital e-Book cruising guide has been released Best Southwest Florida Anchorages

Best Southwest Florida Anchorages

The Little Shark River is among the dozens of anchorages featured in the new cruising guide Best Southwest Florida Anchorages. This new boating guide with sample marine charts, GPS coordinates and color photography is available both as a digital cruising guide e-Book or in a printed edition. To view a preview of the e-Book visit… Best Southwest Florida Anchorages and view this video. To order the print version visit Special Offers. This is the ideal companion cruising guide to Southwest Florida Ports Of Call.

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Southwest Florida Anchorages — Shell Key

The Shell Key anchorage is featured in a new Florida cruising guide Southwest Florida Ports Of Call

SHELL KEY • LAT 27º40.2’N / LON 82º44.0’W

Shell Key Is A Favorite Southwest Florida Anchorage On Gulf Of Mexico Shores

Shell Key ranks as one of the most popular and widely visited anchorages north of Tampa Bay. This small sand island will draw fleets of weekend day boaters from around the Tampa Bay area on almost any fair weather day.


Shell Key is one of many anchorages featured in new Southwest Florida cruising guides.

Shell Key offers great beaches on the Gulf of Mexico and is easily reached just to the south of Pass-A-Grille channel.

If you are looking for a secluded and quite anchorage on a weekend, don’t drop the hook here unless it’s on a week day — then you may have this spot to yourself. Part of what makes this anchorage so attractive is that most mid-sized powerboats can pull their bows up directly on the beach and still have plenty of depth at the aft section. Consequently it is a favorite spot for the “go fast” boating fraternity.

During less crowded times, the anchorage can easily accommodate sailing vessels in the 30-foot plus range. The anchorage is readily navigated other than possible boat traffic. It is convenient if you are cruising Gulf waters, but off the beaten path if en route along the ICW. The Pass-A-Grille inlet channel is immediately accessible.

The Shell Key anchorage is one of many covered in two new cruising guides, Southwest Florida Ports Of Call and The Best Southwest Florida Anchorages

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