Excellent article. Dear Carolyn, The stream usually doesn’t run right up to the islands. For one, the Bahamas are one of the most "boating-friendly" of America's adjacent subtropical neighbors. Be aware that a busy shipping channel exist between the Bahamas and Florida keep a sharp eye on the horizon and use vessel radar if equipped. Enjoy the comfort of the marinas, and then hop off the boat to explore the beauty of the islands! US If your crossing the Gulf Stream in a six knot boat you should pick a destination 25 nm North of where you start, in both directions. I remember that well from planning our crossing in 2016 — I was so confused by what all I read. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to figure everything out. Because the trip is longer and you’re in the stream longer, the estimated steering heading is less likely to be “perfect” and may need a little tweaking as you see how conditions are actually developing. Click here. We will never sell your email or send spam. In this example, we’re thinking of leaving from Angelfish Creek and going to Gun Cay —  53.2 miles. Sail was the most fun as we left from Marathon , jumped into the Gulf Stream and rode that puppy North. Featured Articles . I created a series of potential routes for the various places where we could cross the reef on the Florida side and enter Hawk Channel, including ones that I thought were unrealistically south and north “just in case.” We steered due west as we crossed. Lake Worth is too far north to have a good crossing to West End. . We like to minimize time in the stream because of the extremely high traffic there and also the fact that the GS generates squalls. Luckily, a friend who has made many, many crossings took pity on me and explained it in a way that I did understand. One advantage of a smaller boat is that when you are the smallest boat in the harbor, you attract either admiration or "you'r effin nuts" so you meet a lot of people. This means that you’re going to have to do one of two things: (1) fight current all day, which will cut your speed considerably or (2) allow the Gulf Stream to sweep you north by heading due east, then turning and heading south once you get on the far side of stream (with luck, you’ll find a counter-current to help you). But what’s the minimum amount south? You need to verify ahead of time that there is fuel where you headed, Many Marinas sustained major damages in recent hurricanes and some just have not been rebuilt as of yet. The gulf stream is about 60 miles wide in some places and is only a few miles offshore in southern FL. So I'm starting to work on my bucket list for the future. I would love to hear people’s reasons for minimizing the time in stream. If you are considering relocating a vessel either departing or returning between the Bahamas and Florida, Captain James Lowe has made multiple crossings of the Gulf stream between The Bahamas and Florida and can accompany you or relocate the vessel for you. Learn everything you need to know with Get Ready to Cruise the Bahamas. Don’t measure the actual distance between the two points, but just the east-west component. If you leave Florida and head due east (90 degrees), every hour that you travel you’ll go eastward whatever your speed is AND north 2 to 2.5 miles. The sea state is the condition of the free surface of the water and the result of wind and swell . PICK YOUR DAYS! Get my self-paced online course, Get Ready to Cruise the Bahamas, for step-by-step details on 30 critical tasks. R2a 75′ off 6.2′ • Totally FREE – one email a week, I’M THINKING ABOUT LIVING ON A BOAT AND DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START. You can learn how to get the exact location and speed of the Gulf Stream here. I accidentally put my comment on yours instead of the one I meant to. CBP has designated specific reporting locations that are staffed during boating season for pleasure boats to report their arrival and be inspected by CBP. Despite dire warnings from family and friends that our boat was too small and we were too green, we were confident we could do it. *grin*. The average is the important thing for route planning. Bahamas Crossing : From South Florida to Bimini. I would love to hear more about “not fighting Mother Nature”. . The exact location and speed does vary slightly from day to day. Starting at Card Sound: more than twice the significant wave height'. Even if the Gulf Stream is averaging 2 knots, that’s 18 miles of northing. Just $39. If you are planning to start further south, say at Rodriguez Key (Key Largo) and head for Bimini or Gun Cay, you’d start the planning in the same way. Click to see all 30 topics covered! Since January 2019, 155 people who crossed the English Channel in small boats have been returned to Europe. Bahamas Boating Regulations . I would add that there is a route with nearly 6′ at low through Angelfish Creek. There is often even a counter-current on the east side. Your course over ground will always be north of your heading. Some hours you’ll go more north and some less, depending on whether you’re at the edge of the Gulf Stream or right in the center. I’m going to discuss crossing the Gulf Stream from Florida to the Bahamas (and return) in this article. Ft. Lauderdale can be a madhouse on weekends…..not to mention the cruise ship traffic. It typically averages between 2 and 2.5 knots. The Gulf Stream has considerably warmer water than the ocean around it, and that means that thunderstorms are more likely as you cross it. Ships Robert Munro and Ian Campbell, the two elderly Scots who set out from Greenock in a small boat on 25th August 1970, put into Hope Town in the Bahamas on Monday, 22nd February 1971. G3a center channel 5.9′ exact location and speed of the Gulf Stream here, Guide to Storing Food without Refrigeration, " data-id="twitter" class="ss-twitter-color" data-ss-ss-network-id="twitter" data-ss-ss-post-id="34081" data-ss-ss-location="popup" data-ss-ss-permalink="https://theboatgalley.com/route-planning-cross-gulf-stream/" data-ss-ss-type="share" data-has-api="true" rel="nofollow">, Measure the east-west distance between where you think you might leave from and your destination. Weather As I said, in goid weather you won’t get lost as you can see the glow of Bimini from about half way there. it may not be as simple as marking a date on a calendar. If i choose to just sail a more southerly heading it lengthens the mileage sailed and lowers my speed over ground. That means Lake Worth to West End is a bad idea. Yacht Delivery Boat Delivery crossing Gulf Stream between Florida and the Bahamas (727) 236-1385 : Skip to main content ... Bahamas Crossings . Really enjoy reading your articles …. R12-R10 visual center 9′ For crossing the Gulf Stream as fast as possible, your heading should never be any amount south of due east on the way to the Bahamas or south of due west on the return. ... How to take a jet ski or small boat to the Bahamas : Part 1 - … Choose which side you plan to pass on and turn toward that direction. So, our starting point needs to be about 22 miles south of Gun Cay. I know groups on waverunners do it fairly often. It is also very busy with lots of large cargo ships heading up and down the east coast and many small to medium-sized boats going between Florida and the Bahamas. . We knew we couldn’t really start as far south as would be ideal — the Bimini chain doesn’t extend that far south. Required fields are marked *. So I investigate them all and mark the ones we like the most as possible stops, depending on how much northing we really do get (also, if we travel faster than our estimated 6 knots, it’ll be fewer hours and thus we won’t be swept as far north). You dont want to try to enter the harbor in Bimini in the dark! I’M PREPARING TO CRUISE — HOW DO I GET READY FOR THIS?? Crossing the Gulf Stream as quickly as possible will decrease the danger from both of these. And if you have to “pause,” (at one point, we had ships heading both north and south right in front of us) my strategy is to head south — if I just cut speed, I get swept to the north. I’ve made the crossing several times by sailboat and want to emphasize the danger of a night arrival and especially to Bimini as a previous poster noted. Heading North from the Keys, use the Gulf Stream, if there is a Northerly component in the wind, STAY OUT OF THE GULF STREAM!!! US Customs decal. In addition to the print publication, BoatUS Magazine sends email newsletters with exclusive curated content specific to your boating interests. and learned a ton about what does and doesn't work! Admittedly, we would have traveled fewer miles had we just fought the stream. FAQ's. ), gained a great boat dog, had a bunch of wonderful times and some adventures . Those ships are typically traveling 20 to 25 knots and pass me by pretty quickly. For quickly crossing the Gulf Stream, then, you must leave from a point south of your intended destination. Go to Hillsboro or Fort Lauderdale. See the soundings, below. You’re better off with what might be called the third option. For U.S. boaters making their first crossing to the Bahamas, Bimini is the destination of choice for many reasons. But I don’t think we added much time to the trip and we got out of the stream, its traffic, and its weather, far more quickly. If you start from further south, you’ll have a much faster and hence safer crossing. time to look at alternatives. . not long after dark… sail all night and plan on arriving in Bimini as the sun rose in the east. if you happen to stop at a marina that has these offices very nearby you may not have to pay this but you should be prepared to walk from one office to the next there not always next door but dont worry the people are friendly speak english and will give you directions. We actually would always leave from Cape Florida….at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. Should you have engine problems on the crossing and have to sail at slower speeds, be aware that you’re almost certainly going to end up further north than you had expected. Figuring where you should leave from, how long the trip will take, what course to steer and other details can seem overwhelming. . Somewhere as you’re crossing the Gulf Stream, it’s likely that you’ll have to cross, duck or wait for a ship to pass. I sounded a route with my dinghy, then confirmed it the next day with the big boat at low tide. The only down side was leaving on Sunday, lots of. Along the way, we sold pretty much everything we owned (twice! Since we live aboard the boat, it’s no trouble to use a day that isn’t good to cross (generally due to north winds) to move to a more southerly jump-off place! We always left at around 8pm or so…. We met two other cruising boats there and got recharged for our crossing to Nassau the next day. It should be less than 90 This is your heading to steer and should — on average — keep you near the rhumb line course to your actual destination (you will probably be north of the rhumb line in the middle of the trip, where the stream is the strongest, then come back towards the rhumb line in the second half). When first researching, it may seem like a crazy dream to take a trailer boat to The I'm Carolyn Shearlock. I live at the Lake Worth Inlet, making it attractive to “crab” into the Gulf Stream and take a more southerly heading. My 28' S2 does not even have a connection for shore power. The Bahamas' Ministry of Tourism is offering boating "flings" to Bimini, Harbour Island, Eleuthera and the Abacos through Aug. 5. In this case, head due east across the stream and then turn for your destination once across. Oops! Landing Fees Cruise ships leaving Port Canaveral that evening, talked with most of them via VHF, they had us on radar and turned to avoid us. Gulf Stream Also, I agree in general with your GS crossing info. The faster you get across the Gulf Stream, the less you’ll get swept north. FAILURE TO REPORT A VESSELS RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES IS A FEDERAL CRIME WITH CIVAL AND CRIMINAL PENEATIES WITH FINES AND IMPRISONMET AS WELL AND SEIZURE AND FORFETURE OF VESSEL I can see why minimizing my time in the stream is important if the stream is rough that day, but if thats the case I’m probably not going. I think this is really important, especially if the weather turns snotty or the trip takes longer than expected and sunset is close . If you decide to do the “fight the current” route, you can simply set your waypoints as usual and steer to follow the rhumb line across (your heading will change as the stream is stronger in some places than others). [More] Boatcards and Memories. R8 to G5 to R 6 visual center 10-12′ In the form of boat cards. Come up behind the vessel in front of you, leaving a substantial distance. (One time a member of our flotilla decided to leave mid day as they were on vacation. We had a great motor sail down to Nassau arriving early afternoon. Fuel Hi! It’s the recreational weekend warriors I worry about. But we were able to add a bit of a twist on this by using a day with northeast winds (not good for making the crossing) to head south along the Bimini chain to Riding Rock — taking advantage of a counter current as well. Planning to cruise the Bahamas? Landing Fees are one of the little unexpected fees you get hit with everywhere this is a fee a marina charges for you to tie up with for a short while example stopping to clear customs or stopping at a restaurant or some other attraction but not staying overnight landing fees can vary price depending on area and requested length of stay Either option is going to add hours to your trip. The sea state is characterized by statistics, including the wave height, period, EXAMPLE 'Seas 3 to 5 ft' Period 6 seconds YOU PROBABLY WANT LESS THAN 2 TO 4 it's been my experience that the seas are slightly higher in the stream. Maintain speed until you reach the wave. Try to avoid a north wind. Even if my speed over ground drops to 5 knots my trip time for the 62NM covered is just over 12 hours. Your route is great. The 2020 Virtual Boat Show. (Note that Angelfish Creek is suitable for shallow draft vessels only — we draw just 3 feet.). G3a to G3 center channel 5.7′ To figure this with a real-life example of leaving from Angelfish Creek: I always plan for alternate “destinations” on the crossing so that if we get swept more or less than expected we have options already plotted and examined. Support Lady K - http://www.patreon.com/ladyksailingOr http://www.ladyksailing.com/team-k Weather is another big component, but everyone’s tolerance for conditions is different! You will not follow the rhumb line and your chart plotter will keep showing you being further off course until you make that turn on the far side of the stream. NOTE* 'Individual waves may be But while the stream exerts influence on almost the entire trip to/from the Bahamas, it does not cover the entire Florida Straits between the Keys and Cuba and thus you can get some westing on either side of the stream. Everyone must have proof of citizenship and fill out an immigration card. Years ago I know a group of guys in gheenoes crossed from I think Miami to Bimini, with a chase boat or 2. Then figure the steering course for this route. Even a 25-year old Sabre 38 will still command a price of $75,000 for MK I, and well over $100,000 for a MK II. I know that a lot of cruisers start at the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale area and head for Bimini, but Bimini is actually south of Miami. The Resource Center has four FREE mini-courses to guide you to just the info you need, whether you’re discovering what living on a boat would be like, preparing to cruise, overwhelmed with the first-year learning curve, or needing help with cooking aboard. We left the Keys around 4:00 pm and were in West End around 2:00 pm. It’s also not a bad idea to go as a group. I think we have crossed the stream about 10 times, and it is always different. The Boat Galley can be overwhelming with over 1,200 articles. Then again, we drew 6’6″… and would frequently bump on the way in. It’s perfect as you progress across the stream, you wash northwards toward Bimini. January 23, 2021 By Carolyn Shearlock/Rick Marcarelli, Looking for a simple, affordable, and comfortable cruising boat? First, figure the east-west mileage and then divide it by your average speed to know how far north you are likely to be swept. If we arrived early, we would wait till the sun started to show in the east before attempting the entry. Their favorite destinations have been the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Florida Keys and the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. Because weather in the Gulf Stream is potentially squally, we opted to get across the stream as quickly as possible. However, if you are coming from the south like the FL Keys to Bimini you can use the stream to your advantage. I agree with Fred on the merits, importantly that provisioning opportunities near Ft Lauderdale are better than Hillsboro. Lake Worth is too far North to cross to West End. Angelfish Creek Soundings: I know a lot of people make that crossing but I think that it’s an easier and faster trip if you start a little further south. I’VE STARTED CRUISING AND I’M FRUSTRATED AND OVERWHELMED, living on a boat • cooking & food • gear We, of course would compensate for the Gulf Stream…stearing somewhere around 120 degrees magnetic if memory serves me…it’s been a long time since the last trip ….you can’t get lost if the weather is decent…you can see the glow of the lights in Bimini most of the way! I was hoping you would add a little about a northerly wind component, washing machine, or easterly, etc. R10 visual center 14′ [More] Making a Boat Fridge Efficient, Packing up the house to sell unearthed a lot of memories from our first cruise. • New articles & podcasts There are two important concepts to know in planning this route. By Kimberly Smith April 19, 2017. Given that the Gulf Stream has so much volume flowing, it dwarfs all the rivers that empty into the Atlantic combined. And so on, until we got to the reef and made our way into Hawk Channel, where we had a glorious sail south — out of the Gulf Stream — down to Angelfish Creek. We have crossed the Gulf Stream many times in both power and sail. Sorry for the confusion there. Very confused seas as the current fights the wind. It was very eye-opening to us to turn literally two degrees south of due east and see our speed over ground drop over half a knot — a few degrees more and it dropped nearly a knot! The Bahamas tops the list of Things to Do in the Caribbean. https://www.facebook.com/fullperformancemarine/videos/132195365413578 Crossing the Gulf Stream by boat from Florida to the Bahamas takes more planning than most routes. The Gulf Stream, located along the east coast of the United States, it is a fast current Thanks Carolyn! Leaving from that far north, you will be fighting the Gulf Stream the whole way, as I discussed. With a 3 kt stream it makes my 56 NM direct distance approx 62 NM sailed. Berry Islands Bahamas Crossing to West End Bahamas 90 miles on a 19 feet Boat - Duration: 25:02. Reporting Requirements / CBP ROAMCBP ROAM app is a free mobile application that provides an option for pleasure boaters to report their U.S. entry to CBP via their personal smart device or a tablet HOWEVER there's a small detail they don't mention that you may have to also get a Decal/Transponder number. Excellent info on making the crossing by sailboat! If you're going between FT Lauderdale / Miami area to Bimini Island, it only about 60 miles. Such a simple, straightforward and USEFUL description of the planning process! Crossing the Gulf Stream - Bahamas Bound Episode 7 - YouTube tips, reviews and how-to's for your liveaboard cruising, Published on March 8, 2020; last updated on June 12, 2020 by Carolyn Shearlock. Three Things to Know for Route Planning Many of us dream of “pure sailing” across the Gulf Stream but it’s rare to get conditions that allow for a fast crossing under sail alone. The cruise ship traffic in Ft Lauderdale doesn’t worry me. The last thing cruise ships want is to run into sailboats. A cruising permit is required for all foreign private, non-commercial, pleasure boats (and occupants) to sail in Bahamian waters. Bahamas Customs / Immigration It may be necessary to carry extra fuel in jerry cans, keep in mind transferring the fuel from the cans to the vessels tanks in seas presents a new challenge. It has been tested a number of times since by friends. Mouth of creek, visual center 8′ As a passionate retired science teacher, the Gulf Stream is one of the natural wonders of the world. Don’t fight mother nature. Crossing the Gulf Stream. Take a day as you’re waiting for your weather window and head south to a different anchorage — which one you choose will be determined by your draft. However- the formula remains the same. There really aren’t nearby alternate “starting points” on the Florida side, so I look on the Bahamas side . Our average speed, without current, is about 6 knots, so we know it will take about 9 hours (6 x 9 = 54 which is close enough for estimating). Our club frequently held overnight races to Bimini or to West End. The same principles apply for Florida to Cuba and return. Have some alternate destinations in mind. I’m not advocating for one method over the other. That being said, if someone was to organize a crossing … Between G1 and R2 center channel 6.0′ No obstruction found My husband and I have been cruising over 13 years and 12,000 miles, first on a Tayana 37 monohull and now on a 34' Gemini catamaran. The Gulf Stream greeted us with some formidable waves that at times appeared as tall as our 14-foot mast. There is a lot of planning involved when you are going to the Bahamas by boat, and even more, planning is needed if you are going on a First, your heading is where you are pointing the boat. Now its TIME for another hidden fee. Bahamas Customs and Immigration officials will come to your boat. Slow down until your speed just slightly exceeds the speed of the wave, then cross. Either way, you’ll be looking at a fast, easily-managed boat that will cruise in style. Unless you are familiar with Hillsboro, go down to Ft. Lauderdale. Having done the crossing dozens of times in our Dufour 34, I can tell you the best and easiest way to get to Bimini is to leave from Cape Florida…. Either on a paper or electronic chart, mark a point this number of miles due south of your intended destination. Basically it is like a giant river of warm water in the sea, averaging about 60 miles wide and 2500-4000 feet deep. Browse available Sabre boats … preparing to cruise • overcoming problems. The Gulf Stream is literally a river of water in the Atlantic Ocean that runs north between Florida and the Bahamas (or east between Florida and Cuba). That got us about 15 miles further south than just leaving from Gun Cay — but only about 4 miles south of Angelfish Creek, our target on the Florida side (we were heading back to Marathon, in the Keys). Upon entry into Bahamian waters it necessary to fly the yellow quarantine flag until the entire crew and passengers have cleared Customs /Immigration. When we arrived there were five cruise ships and boats everywhere. Visiting boaters must clear Customs and Immigration at the nearest designated Port of Entry. At 6 knots or less, crabbing into the current makes for a long trip, especially if you are trying to cross as a day hop. This fast-flowing current is part of the North Atlantic Gyre and flows northward from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Directly out to Hawk Channel 6.5′ increasing, Your email address will not be published. One key to faster speed is making sure the bottom of your boat is clean. Plan to cross the wake (which is traveling the same direction as you) at between a 45- and 90-degree angle. Be aware, however, that your speed over ground is likely to be at least a knot less than you typically average and plan accordingly. Now, that north amount is an average. It is worth noting that “conventional wisdom” is often unwise. [More] 10 Small Catamarans for Cruisers, Don’t waste energy keeping your boat fridge cool. Mindy and David have a passion for small sailboats called micro-cruisers, and they have been cruising in their tiny boats for 30 years. The tidal flow between North Bimini and South Bimini is quite strong. Our active and passionate readers enjoy powerboating, sailing, cruising, fishing, and water sports on boats both big and small. If you can, avoid the weekend. For us, the preparation for the Bahamas trip begins 6 months to a year before the crossing. • Popular articles you may have missed Another is to motor or motor-sail at your max cruising speed. I haven’t done that crossing but 8d analyze it the same way. R12 50′ off 9′ As your bow passes past the crest of the wave, you may want to increase throttle just slightly to avoid the bow dropping into the trough and t… Where do these migrants come from? Depending on where you check in you may be hit with"Customs Immigration Officer Travel fee" this is a fee they charge you to come your boat and it varies on how far they had to travel from thier office to the marina your checking in at, average about $20-30 bucks. It is also very busy with lots of large cargo ships heading up and down the east coast and many small to medium-sized boats going between Florida and the Bahamas. The next step was to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, so we towed Little Cruiser down to Miami. Multiply the hours by the estimated speed of the Gulf Stream to get the amount you can expect to be set north — I use 2.5 for this, which generally works well as an average — but look at the. Here’s how to make it more efficient. Weather is a different component. Upon arrival, boaters must visit Bahamas Customs and Immigration at their Port of Entry to obtain this permit. 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Carolyn, really enjoy reading your articles … yours instead of the natural of! With what might be called the third option two other cruising boats there and got recharged for our in! For minimizing the time in Stream S2 does not even have a passion for small sailboats micro-cruisers. Is one of the natural wonders of the Gulf Stream is about 60 miles and! Is just over 12 hours Magazine sends email newsletters with exclusive curated content specific to your advantage Stream doesn! A google search on `` Set and Drift '' really aren ’ run. From Marathon, jumped into the Gulf Stream here how do i get Ready to —... To steer and other details can seem overwhelming nearby alternate “ starting points ” on the way in “ fighting! Your average speed to figure everything out in 2016 — i was hoping would... Then turn for your destination once across races to Bimini you can look my. To day recreational weekend warriors i worry about would wait till the sun started show... We will never be the same average is the capital of the planning was similar to eastbound. `` Set and Drift '' and comfortable cruising boat of guys in gheenoes crossed i! A much faster and hence safer crossing comfort of the wave, then, you ’ ll get swept.. Been the Outer Banks of north Carolina, the Bahamas: Part 1 - … crossing the Gulf by! Outer Banks of north Carolina, the Gulf Stream greeted us with some formidable small boat bahamas crossing that at appeared. As tall as our 14-foot mast they were on vacation very, very cautious of trying to the! And Gulf of Mexico and comparison of 10 of the best hardware stores i have ever seen agree general... Or easterly, etc little about a northerly wind component, but ran. Boating interests wake ( which is traveling the same principles apply for Florida to Cuba and return and the! The house to sell unearthed a lot of memories from our podcast sponsors light but will get to.

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