Your route is great. 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. R12-R10 visual center 9′ I’VE STARTED CRUISING AND I’M FRUSTRATED AND OVERWHELMED, living on a boat • cooking & food • gear Bahamas Customs / Immigration Hi, Enjoyed the article. We will never sell your email or send spam. It is worth noting that “conventional wisdom” is often unwise. R10 visual center 14′ The sea state is the condition of the free surface of the water and the result of wind and swell . Boats 30 feet or longer in length must pay an annual fee of $27.50 for a border crossing decal (also called a “user fee decal” by … • Tips from Carolyn R14 100′ off 6.5′ If we arrived early, we would wait till the sun started to show in the east before attempting the entry. It was supposed to be in reply to the one about trying to cross from Lake Worth to West End. . [More] Boatcards and Memories. 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. However- the formula remains the same. If heading south first isn’t practical, my personal preference is the second option, making any necessary southing on the Bahamas side of the Gulf Stream. Dear Carolyn, Also, I agree in general with your GS crossing info. The Gulf Stream has considerably warmer water than the ocean around it, and that means that thunderstorms are more likely as you cross it. You dont want to try to enter the harbor in Bimini in the dark! I really wanted to keep this discussion to simply routing and how you have to plan for the offset to the north. Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and is a very busy port. January 23, 2021 By Carolyn Shearlock/Rick Marcarelli, Looking for a simple, affordable, and comfortable cruising boat? With a 3 kt stream it makes my 56 NM direct distance approx 62 NM sailed. The 2020 Virtual Boat Show. Enjoy the comfort of the marinas, and then hop off the boat to explore the beauty of the islands! thank you ….. Would love information crossing from lake Worth to the West End ~. In the ‘winter’ you only have about 10 hours of daylight and as the author explained a 9 hour trip is normal. . Fighting the Gulf Stream is, to put it bluntly, a sucker bet. That might not work . [More] Making a Boat Fridge Efficient, Packing up the house to sell unearthed a lot of memories from our first cruise. 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. With the Gulf Stream, your heading and course will never be the same. 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. For quickly crossing the Gulf Stream, then, you must leave from a point south of your intended destination. We had a great motor sail down to Nassau arriving early afternoon. Bahamas Boating Regulations . Weather is a different component. 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. Destination was Bimini, but they ran aground in the dark between the islands). US citizens must present a passport Required Cruising /Fishing Permit Fees are $150 for boats up to 35 feet , and $300.00 for over 35 feet. . Admittedly, we would have traveled fewer miles had we just fought the stream. When first researching, it may seem like a crazy dream to take a trailer boat to The Divide the east-west distance by your average speed to figure out how long it will take you to make the east-west distance. Because weather in the Gulf Stream is potentially squally, we opted to get across the stream as quickly as possible. Luckily, a friend who has made many, many crossings took pity on me and explained it in a way that I did understand. For us, the preparation for the Bahamas trip begins 6 months to a year before the crossing. Then figure the steering course for this route. Our options were to either fight the current or get across and then make our southing inside Hawk Channel. Either option is going to add hours to your trip. Figuring where you should leave from, how long the trip will take, what course to steer and other details can seem overwhelming. 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. PICK YOUR DAYS! Once you get to The Bahamas, marinas are the safest spots to spend your nights (click here to read about a few of our favorites), and many marinas have restaurants and grocery stores on site so you don't need to provision as extensively for the crossing. Don’t fight mother nature. Be aware, however, that your speed over ground is likely to be at least a knot less than you typically average and plan accordingly. Filed Under: Cruising & Chartering Tagged With: Bahamas, Cruising the Bahamas, International Cruising, Underway. When we arrived there were five cruise ships and boats everywhere. The exact location and speed does vary slightly from day to day. 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. Sorry for the confusion there. not long after dark… sail all night and plan on arriving in Bimini as the sun rose in the east. • New articles & podcasts it's been my experience that the seas are slightly higher in the stream. If you start from further south, you’ll have a much faster and hence safer crossing. Learn everything you need to know with Get Ready to Cruise the Bahamas. I remember that well from planning our crossing in 2016 — I was so confused by what all I read. Returning to the United States also requires contacting US Customs and Border Patrol The master of the vessel must report their arrival at the nearest CBP facility I'm Carolyn Shearlock. Leaving from that far north, you will be fighting the Gulf Stream the whole way, as I discussed. Choose which side you plan to pass on and turn toward that direction. This article was originally written on January 18, 2018. Their favorite destinations have been the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Florida Keys and the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. For U.S. boaters making their first crossing to the Bahamas, Bimini is the destination of choice for many reasons. Your course over ground will always be north of your heading. The next step was to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, so we towed Little Cruiser down to Miami. 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. All this is really only gleaned from experience. Support Lady K - http://www.patreon.com/ladyksailingOr http://www.ladyksailing.com/team-k The faster you get across the Gulf Stream, the less you’ll get swept north. it may not be as simple as marking a date on a calendar. My 28' S2 does not even have a connection for shore power. preparing to cruise • overcoming problems. 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). 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. The Bahamas tops the list of Things to Do in the Caribbean. Years ago I know a group of guys in gheenoes crossed from I think Miami to Bimini, with a chase boat or 2. You’re better off with what might be called the third option. . Here’s how to make it more efficient. CBP has designated specific reporting locations that are staffed during boating season for pleasure boats to report their arrival and be inspected by CBP. There used to be a well known light there, called BUG LIGHT. 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. (You are still technically required to have a permit for pets – such as cats – that won’t leave the boat and one will definitely be required if you should have to fly out for any reason, such as an emergency at home or medical issue that can’t be treated in the Bahamas.) Ships If you want to visit the Bahamas by boat and are leaving from Florida, Crossing the Gulf Stream is one of your most important things to consider. 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… 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. If i choose to just sail a more southerly heading it lengthens the mileage sailed and lowers my speed over ground. I’m going to discuss crossing the Gulf Stream from Florida to the Bahamas (and return) in this article. Second, your course (or course over ground) is the direction that the boat as a whole is actually moving and what is reflected on your chart plotter course. 9 hour crossing for a total time of 13.5 hours. Even if the Gulf Stream is averaging 2 knots, that’s 18 miles of northing. Cruise ships leaving Port Canaveral that evening, talked with most of them via VHF, they had us on radar and turned to avoid us. US Customs decal. 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 A late start in the morning and you’re ariving at night. 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. Carolyn — thanks thanks thank! Fixing stuff in the bahamas is often difficult but MArsh HArbor does have one of the best hardware stores I have ever seen. Yacht Delivery Boat Delivery crossing Gulf Stream between Florida and the Bahamas (727) 236-1385 : Skip to main content ... Bahamas Crossings . The same principles apply for Florida to Cuba and return. 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 like to minimize time in the stream because of the extremely high traffic there and also the fact that the GS generates squalls. If you can, avoid the weekend. Visiting boaters must clear Customs and Immigration at the nearest designated Port of Entry. If you're going between FT Lauderdale / Miami area to Bimini Island, it only about 60 miles. [More] 10 Small Catamarans for Cruisers, Don’t waste energy keeping your boat fridge cool. Crossing the Gulf Stream as quickly as possible will decrease the danger from both of these. The tidal flow between North Bimini and South Bimini is quite strong. 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 Route 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. Bahamas Crossing : From South Florida to Bimini. Lake Worth is too far north to have a good crossing to West End. We have crossed the Gulf Stream many times in both power and sail. It’s also not a bad idea to go as a group. 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. Lake Worth is too far North to cross to West End. So a large part of the crossing will be in the gulf stream However if you're going from FT Pierce to Freeport or further north west like Marsh harbor its about 160 miles keeping in mind you have a 2.5 knot current pushing you north at a rate of 2.5 nautical miles per hour therefore it is necessary to steer a more southern course to arrive at the preferred point. Crossing the Gulf Stream. So I'm starting to work on my bucket list for the future. 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. Basically it is like a giant river of warm water in the sea, averaging about 60 miles wide and 2500-4000 feet deep. I live at the Lake Worth Inlet, making it attractive to “crab” into the Gulf Stream and take a more southerly heading. As I said, in goid weather you won’t get lost as you can see the glow of Bimini from about half way there. • Popular articles you may have missed I would love to hear more about “not fighting Mother Nature”. Click here. Crossing the Gulf Stream - Bahamas Bound Episode 7 - YouTube This is supported by the fact that a rise in small boat crossings has coincided with a fall in the overall number of people seeking asylum. Those ships are typically traveling 20 to 25 knots and pass me by pretty quickly. You can look at my November 19 blog post, “Gulf Stream Crossing” at mvprivateer.com. . Unless you are familiar with Hillsboro, go down to Ft. Lauderdale. Crossing the Gulf Stream as quickly as possible will decrease the danger from both of these. If you want to know more about this do a google search on "Set and Drift". I was hoping you would add a little about a northerly wind component, washing machine, or easterly, etc. Our chart plotter will only show one route at a time, so I began the day with the southernmost route. R12 50′ off 9′ The master of the boat must report to CBP telephonically and be directed to the nearest Port of Entry to satisfy the face-to-face requirement, or report to the nearest designated reporting location along with the boat's passengers for inspection. The 45 gallons of fuel is a bit light but will get you to the Bahamas without needing to tank up. You can learn how to get the exact location and speed of the Gulf Stream here. Our club frequently held overnight races to Bimini or to West End. It’s what your ship’s compass will show or your autopilot heading. 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. We had a fast trip and made better than expected time, so we came in right at Gun Cay (a bit of counter-current on the Bahamas side helped, too). 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. 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). Slow down until your speed just slightly exceeds the speed of the wave, then cross. Excellent article. Bahamas Customs and Immigration officials will come to your boat. 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 actually would always leave from Cape Florida….at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. US I know groups on waverunners do it fairly often. It has been tested a number of times since by friends. 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 Entering Policies . Berry Islands Bahamas Crossing to West End Bahamas 90 miles on a 19 feet Boat - Duration: 25:02. Mindy and David have a passion for small sailboats called micro-cruisers, and they have been cruising in their tiny boats for 30 years. I sounded a route with my dinghy, then confirmed it the next day with the big boat at low tide. 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. 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! 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). Even if my speed over ground drops to 5 knots my trip time for the 62NM covered is just over 12 hours. . 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. 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. The stream usually doesn’t run right up to the islands. 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. Either way, you’ll be looking at a fast, easily-managed boat that will cruise in style. THE Gulf stream is northern current (meaning its pushing to the north) between Florida and Bahamas that flows at a rate of 2.5kt to 5.0 knots. Click here. Another is to motor or motor-sail at your max cruising speed. I agree with Fred on the merits, importantly that provisioning opportunities near Ft Lauderdale are better than Hillsboro. 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. Such a simple, straightforward and USEFUL description of the planning process! But what’s the minimum amount south? You also definitely want to pay attention to the weather forecast as a northernly component to the wind will turn the GS into a washing machine. Given that the Gulf Stream has so much volume flowing, it dwarfs all the rivers that empty into the Atlantic combined. We left the Keys around 4:00 pm and were in West End around 2:00 pm. Wind over current causes an uncomfortable chopCheck Offshore Weather, Sea State Every crossing I made was begun in the evening so that we would be arriving in the Bahamas in full daylight. Everyone must have proof of citizenship and fill out an immigration card. Only the captain can get off and check in, (Of course having said that I have met with the local official at the marina tiki bar with the boat crew). 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). Weather is another big component, but everyone’s tolerance for conditions is different! See the soundings, below. For the return trip from Bimini to Florida, the planning was similar to our eastbound crossing. A cruising permit is required for all foreign private, non-commercial, pleasure boats (and occupants) to sail in Bahamian waters. The average is the important thing for route planning. In addition to the print publication, BoatUS Magazine sends email newsletters with exclusive curated content specific to your boating interests. Heading North from the Keys, use the Gulf Stream, if there is a Northerly component in the wind, STAY OUT OF THE GULF STREAM!!! Our active and passionate readers enjoy powerboating, sailing, cruising, fishing, and water sports on boats both big and small. Using a 3 it gulfstream I need to travel south approximately 27 NM for my crossing if i want minimal time in the stream. The Boat Galley can be overwhelming with over 1,200 articles. There really aren’t nearby alternate “starting points” on the Florida side, so I look on the Bahamas side . Since January 2019, 155 people who crossed the English Channel in small boats have been returned to Europe. 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! This fast-flowing current is part of the North Atlantic Gyre and flows northward from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. and learned a ton about what does and doesn't work! ... How to take a jet ski or small boat to the Bahamas : Part 1 - … *grin*. I’M PREPARING TO CRUISE — HOW DO I GET READY FOR THIS?? 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…. I haven’t done that crossing but 8d analyze it the same way. The cruise ship traffic in Ft Lauderdale doesn’t worry me. As we got swept north of that rhumb line, I pulled up the next route to the north. Then again, we drew 6’6″… and would frequently bump on the way in. 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). Oops! Thanks Carolyn! Starting at Card Sound: Have some alternate destinations in mind. Very confused seas as the current fights the wind. Your email address will not be published. The Gulf Stream greeted us with some formidable waves that at times appeared as tall as our 14-foot mast. Don’t measure the actual distance between the two points, but just the east-west component. . Mouth of creek, visual center 8′ I would add that there is a route with nearly 6′ at low through Angelfish Creek. 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. Really enjoy reading your articles …. Weather We knew we couldn’t really start as far south as would be ideal — the Bimini chain doesn’t extend that far south. 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. Loved this article might be called the third option morning and you ’ re thinking of leaving from Creek. Gained a great motor sail down to Nassau arriving early afternoon southern FL general with GS! 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