Either way, you’ll be looking at a fast, easily-managed boat that will cruise in style. Fighting the Gulf Stream is, to put it bluntly, a sucker bet. . The gulf stream is about 60 miles wide in some places and is only a few miles offshore in southern FL. PICK YOUR DAYS! Our club frequently held overnight races to Bimini or to West End. I remember that well from planning our crossing in 2016 — I was so confused by what all I read. As I said, in goid weather you won’t get lost as you can see the glow of Bimini from about half way there. Between G1 and R2 center channel 6.0′ No obstruction found The Gulf Stream, located along the east coast of the United States, it is a fast current As we got swept north of that rhumb line, I pulled up the next route to the north. Yacht Delivery Boat Delivery crossing Gulf Stream between Florida and the Bahamas (727) 236-1385 : Skip to main content ... Bahamas Crossings . Unless you are familiar with Hillsboro, go down to Ft. Lauderdale. 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 NOTE* 'Individual waves may be Check out all the special deals from our podcast sponsors! I really wanted to keep this discussion to simply routing and how you have to plan for the offset to the north. Come up behind the vessel in front of you, leaving a substantial distance. Three Things to Know for Route Planning 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). Along the way, we sold pretty much everything we owned (twice! This fast-flowing current is part of the North Atlantic Gyre and flows northward from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. 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. Mindy and David have a passion for small sailboats called micro-cruisers, and they have been cruising in their tiny boats for 30 years. In the form of boat cards. 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. 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. Click here. (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.) Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and is a very busy port. 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). 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. . Featured Articles . Thanks Carolyn! (Note that Angelfish Creek is suitable for shallow draft vessels only — we draw just 3 feet.). If you've not been there before, you're in for a splendorous treat. I’VE STARTED CRUISING AND I’M FRUSTRATED AND OVERWHELMED, living on a boat • cooking & food • gear Since January 2019, 155 people who crossed the English Channel in small boats have been returned to Europe. 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 Crossing the Gulf Stream as quickly as possible will decrease the danger from both of these. When we arrived there were five cruise ships and boats everywhere. and waiting for a window that is more favorable than another. Weather is a different component. Go to Hillsboro or Fort Lauderdale. But if you can travel at 8 knots or more, then there may be better tactics, especially if you are not trying to stop in Bimini or West End and are wiling to go overnight to Chub, Great Harbour Cay or New Providence. I sounded a route with my dinghy, then confirmed it the next day with the big boat at low tide. In the ‘winter’ you only have about 10 hours of daylight and as the author explained a 9 hour trip is normal. 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. DTOPS for Private Vessel (30+ ft.) or Report Arrival By Phone, For more information please see my Rates/Fees And Weather Your route is great. Bahamas Customs / Immigration In my 6kt boat this is a 4.5 hour trip added on to my approx. The 45 gallons of fuel is a bit light but will get you to the Bahamas without needing to tank up. 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. Where do these migrants come from? The 2020 Virtual Boat Show. Divide the east-west distance by your average speed to figure out how long it will take you to make the east-west distance. There really aren’t nearby alternate “starting points” on the Florida side, so I look on the Bahamas side . 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. With a 3 kt stream it makes my 56 NM direct distance approx 62 NM sailed. Our options were to either fight the current or get across and then make our southing inside Hawk Channel. In addition to the print publication, BoatUS Magazine sends email newsletters with exclusive curated content specific to your boating interests. Crossing the Gulf Stream as quickly as possible will decrease the danger from both of these. • New articles & podcasts For U.S. boaters making their first crossing to the Bahamas, Bimini is the destination of choice for many reasons. The Boat Galley can be overwhelming with over 1,200 articles. However- the formula remains the same. 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. 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. G3a to G3 center channel 5.7′ By Kimberly Smith April 19, 2017. or past. Admittedly, we would have traveled fewer miles had we just fought the stream. Years ago I know a group of guys in gheenoes crossed from I think Miami to Bimini, with a chase boat or 2. 9 hour crossing for a total time of 13.5 hours. ... How to take a jet ski or small boat to the Bahamas : Part 1 - … As a passionate retired science teacher, the Gulf Stream is one of the natural wonders of the world. Fuel Mouth of creek, visual center 8′ A cruising permit is required for all foreign private, non-commercial, pleasure boats (and occupants) to sail in Bahamian waters. R12-R10 visual center 9′ It is worth noting that “conventional wisdom” is often unwise. So I'm starting to work on my bucket list for the future. Have some alternate destinations in mind. With the Gulf Stream, your heading and course will never be the same. Bahamas Crossing : From South Florida to Bimini. We offer 16 unique destinations filled with exciting experiences below and above water. The only down side was leaving on Sunday, lots of. The stream usually doesn’t run right up to the islands. it's been my experience that the seas are slightly higher in the stream. Click to see all 30 topics covered! FAQ's. If i choose to just sail a more southerly heading it lengthens the mileage sailed and lowers my speed over ground. Leaving from that far north, you will be fighting the Gulf Stream the whole way, as I discussed. Because weather in the Gulf Stream is potentially squally, we opted to get across the stream as quickly as possible. Our active and passionate readers enjoy powerboating, sailing, cruising, fishing, and water sports on boats both big and small. The Bahamas tops the list of Things to Do in the Caribbean. 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. Lake Worth is too far north to have a good crossing to West End. 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. Choose which side you plan to pass on and turn toward that direction. Support Lady K - http://www.patreon.com/ladyksailingOr http://www.ladyksailing.com/team-k 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. 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. 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. That means Lake Worth to West End is a bad idea. Required fields are marked *. I would love to hear people’s reasons for minimizing the time in stream. Be very, very cautious of trying to cross in front of another vessel — speeds are deceiving in the stream. 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). So, our starting point needs to be about 22 miles south of Gun Cay. Sail was the most fun as we left from Marathon , jumped into the Gulf Stream and rode that puppy North. Cruise ships leaving Port Canaveral that evening, talked with most of them via VHF, they had us on radar and turned to avoid us. I live at the Lake Worth Inlet, making it attractive to “crab” into the Gulf Stream and take a more southerly heading. Ft. Lauderdale can be a madhouse on weekends…..not to mention the cruise ship traffic. Get my self-paced online course, Get Ready to Cruise the Bahamas, for step-by-step details on 30 critical tasks. 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. 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! 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. When first researching, it may seem like a crazy dream to take a trailer boat to The You dont want to try to enter the harbor in Bimini in the dark! But what’s the minimum amount south? 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. Everyone must have proof of citizenship and fill out an immigration card. 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. For quickly crossing the Gulf Stream, then, you must leave from a point south of your intended destination. 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. https://www.facebook.com/fullperformancemarine/videos/132195365413578 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. 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. Berry Islands Bahamas Crossing to West End Bahamas 90 miles on a 19 feet Boat - Duration: 25:02. Your email address will not be published. Hmm, I discovered that Angelfish Creek is more like 15 miles south of Gun Cay. CBP has designated specific reporting locations that are staffed during boating season for pleasure boats to report their arrival and be inspected by CBP. 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. We always left at around 8pm or so…. I think this is really important, especially if the weather turns snotty or the trip takes longer than expected and sunset is close . The latest official data on the nationality of people crossing the Channel in small boats is also found in the Home Secretary’s letter of 2 September 2020. 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. I would love to hear more about “not fighting Mother Nature”. 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). 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. Crossing the Gulf Stream. We knew we couldn’t really start as far south as would be ideal — the Bimini chain doesn’t extend that far south. Oops! I haven’t done that crossing but 8d analyze it the same way. 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. Their favorite destinations have been the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Florida Keys and the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. The cruise ship traffic in Ft Lauderdale doesn’t worry me. 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. Planning to cruise the Bahamas? Try to avoid a north wind. I accidentally put my comment on yours instead of the one I meant to. Be aware, however, that your speed over ground is likely to be at least a knot less than you typically average and plan accordingly. 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 All this is really only gleaned from experience. Bahamas Customs and Immigration officials will come to your boat. You can learn how to get the exact location and speed of the Gulf Stream here. Figuring where you should leave from, how long the trip will take, what course to steer and other details can seem overwhelming. I’m not advocating for one method over the other. Slow down until your speed just slightly exceeds the speed of the wave, then cross. I’M PREPARING TO CRUISE — HOW DO I GET READY FOR THIS?? It has been tested a number of times since by friends. Very confused seas as the current fights the wind. One key to faster speed is making sure the bottom of your boat is clean. 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. I think we have crossed the stream about 10 times, and it is always different. That might not work . The exact location and speed does vary slightly from day to day. and result of the wind patterns acting on North Atlantic Ocean. 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. tips, reviews and how-to's for your liveaboard cruising, Published on March 8, 2020; last updated on June 12, 2020 by Carolyn Shearlock. G3a center channel 5.9′ 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. Either on a paper or electronic chart, mark a point this number of miles due south of your intended destination. The result? Luckily, a friend who has made many, many crossings took pity on me and explained it in a way that I did understand. Starting at Card Sound: The sea state is the condition of the free surface of the water and the result of wind and swell . If we arrived early, we would wait till the sun started to show in the east before attempting the entry. 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. There used to be a well known light there, called BUG LIGHT. 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). We will never sell your email or send spam. You can look at my November 19 blog post, “Gulf Stream Crossing” at mvprivateer.com. This article was originally written on January 18, 2018. We had a great motor sail down to Nassau arriving early afternoon. A further 166 are due to be returned, the home secretary said last month. 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). We met two other cruising boats there and got recharged for our crossing to Nassau the next day. Filed Under: Cruising & Chartering Tagged With: Bahamas, Cruising the Bahamas, International Cruising, Underway. For one, the Bahamas are one of the most "boating-friendly" of America's adjacent subtropical neighbors. Maintain speed until you reach the wave. 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. Visiting boaters must clear Customs and Immigration at the nearest designated Port of Entry. Hi! The Gulf Stream greeted us with some formidable waves that at times appeared as tall as our 14-foot mast. Then again, we drew 6’6″… and would frequently bump on the way in. So, 2-4 could produce an 8 foot wave 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 … Even if the Gulf Stream is averaging 2 knots, that’s 18 miles of northing. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to figure everything out. I loved this article, very helpful for first-timers! It’s what your ship’s compass will show or your autopilot heading. For the return trip from Bimini to Florida, the planning was similar to our eastbound crossing. I’m going to discuss crossing the Gulf Stream from Florida to the Bahamas (and return) in this article. 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! 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… . Every crossing I made was begun in the evening so that we would be arriving in the Bahamas in full daylight. Don’t fight mother nature. Upon entry into Bahamian waters it necessary to fly the yellow quarantine flag until the entire crew and passengers have cleared Customs /Immigration. My 28' S2 does not even have a connection for shore power. Really enjoy reading your articles …. 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). If you want to know more about this do a google search on "Set and Drift". ), gained a great boat dog, had a bunch of wonderful times and some adventures . 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. Either option is going to add hours to your trip. • Popular articles you may have missed 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. Such a simple, straightforward and USEFUL description of the planning process! I would add that there is a route with nearly 6′ at low through Angelfish Creek. Hi, Enjoyed the article. Learn everything you need to know with Get Ready to Cruise the Bahamas. However, if you are coming from the south like the FL Keys to Bimini you can use the stream to your advantage. 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…. Now, that north amount is an average. • Tips from Carolyn 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. There are two important concepts to know in planning this route. Enjoy the comfort of the marinas, and then hop off the boat to explore the beauty of the islands! Given that the Gulf Stream has so much volume flowing, it dwarfs all the rivers that empty into the Atlantic combined. R8 to G5 to R 6 visual center 10-12′ I agree with Fred on the merits, importantly that provisioning opportunities near Ft Lauderdale are better than Hillsboro. (One time a member of our flotilla decided to leave mid day as they were on vacation. 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). You’re better off with what might be called the third option. January 23, 2021 By Carolyn Shearlock/Rick Marcarelli, Looking for a simple, affordable, and comfortable cruising boat? R10 visual center 14′ Don’t measure the actual distance between the two points, but just the east-west component. 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. See the soundings, below. Weather is another big component, but everyone’s tolerance for conditions is different! 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. Destination was Bimini, but they ran aground in the dark between the islands). We actually would always leave from Cape Florida….at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. . An overview and comparison of 10 of the most popular small catamarans. Carolyn — thanks thanks thank! it may not be as simple as marking a date on a calendar. Angelfish Creek Soundings: Plan to cross the wake (which is traveling the same direction as you) at between a 45- and 90-degree angle. First, your heading is where you are pointing the boat. In this example, we’re thinking of leaving from Angelfish Creek and going to Gun Cay —  53.2 miles. For us, the preparation for the Bahamas trip begins 6 months to a year before the crossing. R2a 75′ off 6.2′ It’s also not a bad idea to go as a group. It was substantially updated and republished on January 4, 2019. 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. In this case, head due east across the stream and then turn for your destination once across. The Bahamas' Ministry of Tourism is offering boating "flings" to Bimini, Harbour Island, Eleuthera and the Abacos through Aug. 5. It typically averages between 2 and 2.5 knots. 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. Those ships are typically traveling 20 to 25 knots and pass me by pretty quickly. The last thing cruise ships want is to run into sailboats. 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. Read our privacy policy. Ships We have crossed the Gulf Stream many times in both power and sail. [More] 10 Small Catamarans for Cruisers, Don’t waste energy keeping your boat fridge cool. The next step was to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, so we towed Little Cruiser down to Miami. 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 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. 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! I'm Carolyn Shearlock. 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. Excellent article. Entering Policies . It was supposed to be in reply to the one about trying to cross from Lake Worth to West End. Just $39. Want more information about going to the Bahamas? The same principles apply for Florida to Cuba and return. [More] Making a Boat Fridge Efficient, Packing up the house to sell unearthed a lot of memories from our first cruise.