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Cruising the Keys

Some Keys links

The Key Noter, on line Keys NewsPaper
Key West maps
Lower Keys Forecast
Key West Radar
satellite loop (java)
Weather from Kew West Int. Airport (EYW)
click on the florida data buoys (great info)
Grassy Keys Dolphin Research Center
Learn about our fragile Coral Reefs and the good work of Reef Relief !
New on-line, The MENUs of Key West (not all but a start !!)
Cruising Medical Kit Suggestions, Thanks to Doctor Mark
More Florida Boating links from!
Key West/Florida Keys NO DISCHARGE ZONE- where to pump !
Savoring the Florida Keys on a shoestring (cruising World 1980)
So You Want to Go To Cuba...
So You Want to Go To Cuba (part 2)

Welcome to The Cruising the Florida Keys page.

Hopefully you will find information and links to information that will be helpful for cruising the south Florida and Florida Keys Region.

Read my favorite poem on key west Beloved Key West

How about a Local Joke :-)

Don't get the local joke ? read this

This is a work in progress.

Note: My Angelfire pages /Cruisingkeywest/ are not commercially oriented--NO one PAYS to advertise here - but _some_ links do go to commercial sites where advertisers have paid to be listed at those sites, WITH THAT SAID, There is ONE marina in the Keys that I feel deserves both a special recognition here and your business That Marina is ....

Some up-to-date info as of 1-4-98. The free dinghy dock in the downtown area (Duval Street) is at the north end of Simonton Street called Simonton Beach.


theres pirates about! like your dinghy motor?


like your dinghy?

LOCK IT TOO !! Please don't feed the pirates. Don't have a dinghy call: Key West Water Taxi

The City of Key West has taken over the area known as Key West Bight. No longer is there free dinghy dockage at the Waterfront Market. There are two fuel docks visible when rounding the breakwater. The Texaco dock (24 33 47n:081 48 02w) is known as Conch Harbor. (294-2933). Two piers over the Chevron Dock is the Key West Bight Dockmasters Office (296-3838). Dinghy dockage rates for up to 10' max: $3 a day;$15 week; $45 month. The dinghy dock is an extension off Chevrons fuel dock. The Chevron Fuel dock is located at the extreme N end of Margaret Street. The Waterfront Market (296-0778) at 201 William Street has recently moved it's front door to face Caroline St. and is a great place to provision.

The Two Best Marine Equipment and Marine Hardware Stores on the island of KW are just a stones throw from the KW Bight. Just across the parking lot from the entrance of the Waterfront Market you will find the well stocked Key West Marine Hardware (294-3425) and a half a block west at the corner of William and Caroline you will find West Marine (295-0999)

Where to anchor?

I would not anchor in the vicinity of Wisteria Island. The only time I anchor near Wisteria is to join the spectator fleet during the World Championship Powerboat Races Held in mid-November. When I have anchored on the South side of Wisteria I do not recall problems setting anchor, the reason I would NOT anchor there is because of all the traffic. The Charterboats passing through the channel in the morning can generate some miserable "good" morning wakes. Cruisers I met in the Bahamas came to visit and anchored there and after only one day they were ready to leave-- disgusted with the anchorage :-( Once I directed them up the channel off Fleming Key they were :-) and spent a week. Two anchors are the norm -- set for opposing tides. If you know a cold front is coming it is a good idea to stay with your boat even if you are confident in your anchors as it is not uncommon for an unattended boat to break loose and take a tour of the harbor.. The tide can run strongly in Key West Harbor and you will rather motor than row. Working East around Fleming key and back down to the north coast of Key West you can find The New City Run Mooring Field at Fleming Key Basin Is being administered By the Garrison Bight Municipal Marina (305) 292-8167

There may also be a few slips available at the Garrison Bight Municipal Marina. Call the Dockmasters office at (305) 292-8167 latlon/ 24 33 39n; 081 47 13w.

Sailboats are assigned slips outside of fixed bridge,for powerboats that can make it under the bridge there are slips in the inner bight. Sailors should check the clearance for powerlines overhead before entering the outer bight. Under the fixed bridge to Garrison Bight to stbd seek Garrison Bight Marinas dinghy dock w/ fresh water spigot and garbage disposal. Dinghy dock at 24 33 40n: 081 47 18w. Harbor Lights restaurant at end of that dock overlooking bight (Closed as of 5-99 )

Farther east along the North shore is the Overseas Market Shopping Center. also found here TGI Fridays, Eckerd Drugs, eateries and clothes stores across the street is Walgreens and Walgreens Liquors next to Scottys Lumber and Hardware.

Check your chart; the sidewalk in front of the WinnDixie is 24 33 50n, 081 46 15w .

Bicycles and mopeds can be rented at several spots around Key West. Do be careful bicycling around town and keep in mind that (for its population) Key West is one of the most dangerous cities in America to ride a bike !

Another good way to get an introduction to the Island will be to take the BUS. Just find a city bus stop- Does not matter which one; they both do laps around the island, one clockwise, one counter clock wise and either will eventually return to the spot where you were picked up.

Phone Numbers Of Key West Area Marinas

The city mooring field is now active, UPDATED July 4,2001

All About Key Wests New Mooring field
More news on Key Wests Mooring field, Oct 11, 2000

Key West has been declared a NO DISCHARGE ZONE-

Where to pumpout !

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to become No Discharge Zone June 19 2002

How to find pumpouts in florida and elsewhere:

Dial 1 800 ASK FISH

Whats going on at Boot key Harbor Marathon ???

As of July 1 1997 The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (F.K.N.M.S.) designation was enacted and mariners should be advised that damaging sanctuary resources can result in fines. If your vessel grounds and you call for a tow, the towing operator is required to notify the FKNMS Damage Assessment Team, and the fines for damaging living coral can be extremely high, EXTREME DUE CARE navigating the Coral Reef Ecosystem of the FKNMS is suggested. Hurricane Georges scored pretty much a direct hit along the lower Keys and Key West in Late Sept 1998. Reported 80 Aids to Navigation damaged or missing (check USCG's District 7 Notice to Mariners for up to date nav aid info and corrections) , again use Extreme Due Care Navigating.

Anchoring in the Keys channels, most anchorages in the keys will be affected by tidal flow and setting two anchors, one for each tide is the norm here.

Mooring Buoys at the reefs. Please use the available Mooring Buoys when visiting our fragile coral reef ecosystem.

How to use a mooring buoy, a list of mooring buoy sites throughout the Keys

        REEF RELIEF  pioneered the mooring buoy program in  the 1980s These are now being maintained by the sanctuary.  There are approx 116 standard White and blue mooring buoys at many of the most popular reefs in the lower keys - key west area.  I  routinely (three times a day in the summer 7 days a week....) tied up to these buoys with a 57' heavy displacement beast of a sloop and I can honestly report with out hesitation that these moorings have EARNED my  respect.  The proper procedure to use this type of buoy is to grab the tag line with your boat hook (the tag line is the yellow poly prop line drifting from the bouy on the surface with an eye splice at the end) then run your line(20' for a 20' boat; 30' of line for a 30' boat etc,etc-- the longer the better) through the eye and back and secure to cleat. Do not put the tag lines eye over your cleat (!!!) as the object here is to increase the horizontal pull on the mooring and  decrease vertical loads.   

A great destination is the Dry Tortugas

  You should know :

- All keys waters are now part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

-The Sanctuary Preservation Areas  (SPA's) and Ecological Reserves  (ER's) are NO TAKE ZONES.  This means no taking or killing any lobster, fish, corals or other marine life in these zones! which makes these zones great places to go snorkelling

  The Special Use Areas  are NO ENTRY areas.   30"  Yellow  boundary buoys mark  the zones. Most of the Zones are fairly small and each of the zones corners are marked with yellow boundary buoys which create imaginary lines marking the zone boundary.  Larger zones have more buoys so that the lines are easy to understand.  Do Not tie your boats to the Yellow boundary buoys. Please use the standard white and blue mooring buoys or anchor carefully so your anchor does not touch living coral!

The NO TAKE Zones in the Lower Keys  at Sand Key,  Rock Key,  Eastern Dry Rocks, are all small well defined areas. 

The Ecological Reserve at the Western Sambos is the largest No Take zone in the Sanctuary (bit a larger one is being discussed off the Dry Tortugas) and the Boundary buoys Continue on either side of the reef at the Western Sambos and continue all the way to shore from the western end of the reef to the entrance of Boca Chica Channel  , the Eastern boundary being near day marker #30  near the east end of the western Sambos and continuing towards shore to a point just east of day marker # 56 off Boca Chica Key. The reef at Day marker # 28 Eastern Sambo's is The Research area and a NO ENTRY ZONE

  When inside of the No Take zones fishing Equipment should  be removed from deck and secured below.  (Not only are you not allowed to fish in the NO take zones you are encouraged to display to others that you are not fishing by storing you fishing rods out of sight.)

for more on Sanctuary Preservation Area's and other zoning see the FKNMS

Those Cruisers coming down from Floridas West coast should check out the anchorages and municipal regulations of several Florida West Coast communities and this site I found on cruising Floridas West Coast, The anchoring section is probably worth printing out as it describes the popular anchorages not only down the West Coast of Florida but it also includes the Keys.Three sections to this anchoring guide working north to south along west coast Florida, the ICW (keys) and Hawk Channel

It is not my intention to discourage anyone from visiting the Keys. its just that I have read posts from visiting cruisers who felt that they were picked on as a specific revenue source, -BECAUSE- they were cruisers/not from the Keys, and I feel that is completely unjustified perspective for a visiting cruiser who gets a ticket to entertain.. Locals are just as likely to be inspected or get a ticket. Spot inspections are a fact of life in the Keys....

If your vessel is 40 feet or greater you may be asked for your Garbage management report, here is an example of mine

IF it is true that the FMP here are stricter here than in other parts of Florida ( I don't know that it is ) I would believe it was because Monroe County and the Florida Keys Lead Florida In Boating Accidents and Boating Deaths. (Florida leads the country in boating accidents and boating deaths) You are Boating (in my opinion) NOT in the most dangerous navigatable area of the United States, Just the AREA WITH THE GREATEST LOSS OF LIFE ! I don't know this to be the policy but I would not be surprised to find out that because of the high accident and death rate in the Florida Keys that _ALL_ boaters (not just visitors) are held to a STRICTER standard of enforcement than other parts of the State in a effort to keep the accident and death rates from climbing EVEN HIGHER . . .

click here for Florida Boating Regulations

click here for Coast Guard requirements

When the fishing regs say (lobster ) greater than _ 3 inch carapice, They MEAN greater than a 3 inch carapice, NOT a 2 & 31/32 inch carapice; not _THREE_ inches!!!!! they mean GREATER than 3" Just before the season ended One of my neighbors got caught with a short lobster, just 1/8th of an inch short (or less) and got a citation for $250.00 ! GET a current copy of "know your limits" bring a fish identification guide, and an ACCURATE MEASURING DEVICE and follow the rules !

click here for Florida Keys Fishing Regulations
Trap molesting (stealing a fishermans catch from a trap) is illegal - you could go to JAIL click here and then on "Three get Jail Sentences for Molesting Traps"

Be WARNED, Fishing regulations change Faster than the web page is updated ! Call 1-800 - DIAL-FMP for current info/upcoming changes!