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Miami to Okeechobee - route help

Old 02-09-2021, 03:04 PM
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Default Miami to Okeechobee - route help

Hi. I am looking for the best route to get my boat from the northern Miami ICW up to Lake Okeechobee. It’s a 22 foot bay boat, so draft is not an issue. Is there a more southern route than Stuart, Fl? What about the Hillsboro Canal? That route looks much better, but I can’t find anything that says if it’s navigable. I also have a T top, so there is heightened concern for any bridges across the canal’s.The end goal is to get to Fort Myers without having to go through Florida Bay. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I appreciate it.
Old 02-09-2021, 04:30 PM
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Highway 27 would be the shortest route but that would require a trailer. Otherwise Stuart to lake okeechobee via st lucie canal.
Old 02-09-2021, 08:11 PM
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Yes, that is the only way. All of the other drainage canals have not been navigable since probably the 1930's unless you want to portage a canoe. I won't go into detail, but be aware that the locks on the St. Lucie and the Caloosahatchee have "last lockage" times, and I believe there was a post on here about one of the locks being down for some type of repair, but I think that was limited and over. When you get to the lake, if you don't want to cross the lake to Clewiston (depends on the wind) you can run a short way south to , I believe, Pahokee where you can get into the Rim Ditch Canal. You have to take it from Clewiston to Moore Haven either way--if you are looking at maps, the same thinking that had you considering the Hillsboro Canal might lead you to think you can just cross from the St. Lucie to the Caloosahatchee, but you cannot. And I have seen several posts saying to be sure to follow the channel from wide open lake in to Clewiston if you go that way--you pick up the channel well off shore, and there be dragons outside of the channel.
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Old 02-10-2021, 01:31 AM
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Great, thank you for all the info.
Old 02-11-2021, 11:59 AM
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Just crossed last week in a 39' Bertram. Left Jupiter inlet at 6:00 AM and was at the first lock around 8:30. Made it across Lake O and to the last lock before Ft. Myers at 4:00 pm. Long day, but no problems and all the locks were open for business.
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Old 02-14-2021, 01:35 PM
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You probably saw this, but here is a detailed report on crossing the Okeechobee Waterway the other direction:

Lake Okeechobee Waterway Trip Report—February 12, 2021
Old 02-14-2021, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by 5tmorris View Post
Just crossed last week in a 39' Bertram. Left Jupiter inlet at 6:00 AM and was at the first lock around 8:30. Made it across Lake O and to the last lock before Ft. Myers at 4:00 pm. Long day, but no problems and all the locks were open for business.
Y'all really hauled ass to make it all in one day. Nice job. I opened the bridge at LaBelle at first possible (6am?), and made the last lock opening at St Lucie (4:45pm?) in my 42 Bert. Y'all were getting after it.
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Old 02-15-2021, 12:00 PM
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We only cruise at 20 to 22 knots, so it didn't feel like we were pushing it. Actually planned on a two day trip, but I guess we got lucky.
Old 02-16-2021, 05:27 AM
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any smart person should have a "plan b" for missing the last lock. we did it in the dorado and had a few hours to spare but one small issue and we would have been sleeping on the lake.
Old 02-16-2021, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by tcijoe View Post
any smart person should have a "plan b" for missing the last lock. we did it in the dorado and had a few hours to spare but one small issue and we would have been sleeping on the lake.
Worst case you either overnight at the marina in Pahokee, or you tie up at the Port Mayaca locks. But yes, these are the "Plan B" you mentioned.

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