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Author Topic:   Trips to the Bahamas from Florida
bbrunner posted 12-08-2003 03:19 PM ET (US)   Profile for bbrunner   Send Email to bbrunner  
Has anyone boated from Florida to the Bahamas? If so, do you need any special licenses, documentation, etc?

I was planning a trip to Florida this fall, but the plans have fell through. We are planning a summer trip to Port Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island. I think its only about 45-60 miles from Florida. We went last year via plane and wished we had a boat the whole time. Killed me to shell out $80 to ride arounda half day with some local yocal on a crappy boat. This time we want to take my boat.

Is the 23' Conquest big enough to make the trip? Its equipped with a GPS, Sonar and radio. Are there any other safety precautions to take?

WHALERBOY 14 posted 12-08-2003 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for WHALERBOY 14  Send Email to WHALERBOY 14     
My dad took me and my family to the bahamas in our 36 foot formula. If it is calm, you could make it. i suggest that you goe with another person because crossing by yourself is dangerous. We had to get a sticker from US Customs to enter the bahamas. If you go i would leave around 6:00 to 6:30 to have the majority of the ride be smooth.

Whalerboy 14

Tightlines & happy whalin'

TRAFFICLAWYER posted 12-08-2003 04:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
Go to the florida sportsman web site, lots of folks go over from se fla. You're 23 may be a bit iffy with a single motor. It's a long way over the stream. You can do a search in the tropical section and you'll find much great info.
Tom2697 posted 12-08-2003 05:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
Check out this thread. It gives a long list of suggested items that you should carry on your boat. If you plan on doing a deep-water offshore trip, pack as many safety items as you can and remember what Murphy said: "If anything can go wrong, it will and at the worst possible moment." Additionally, consider Hoyle's Law: "Murphy was an optimist."

Tom2697 posted 12-08-2003 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
One last thing, I've gone over 200 miles in an Outrage 18 (70 out, 70 back, and about 8 hours of trolling at 8-10 knots) with a single engine. The waves started picking up on the return trip too. If you trust your boat, your motor, and most importantly, your captain, you can do it safely.

I would recommend another boat go with you though. My trips are always around oil rigs or shrimp boats so I can get help if necessary.

Buckda posted 12-08-2003 05:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Great advice on the "go with company" front - especially if you're running a single engine.

I did the 100 mile each way trip from DeTour, Michigan to Little Current, Ontario in my 15 footer with an entourage that included 2 25's (Outrage and Revenge), a 22 Outrage, a 21 WA, and a 19 Outrage. The 2 25's, and the 22 had twins - the rest of us had singles. I believe I was the only one who *NEEDED* to take on fuel for the trip.

Granted, it was different water - but your Whaler can make it - just depends on the weather.

gimcrack225 posted 12-08-2003 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for gimcrack225    
The Bahamian government has recently raised the cost of a cruising permit. Much has been written in boating magazines about this topic. I think its now $150 for a boat under 35 feet. Check it out first so you're not surprised when you clear customs.
Some information on formalities:
Its a great place to visit. Love the Abacos.
bbrunner posted 12-08-2003 05:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for bbrunner  Send Email to bbrunner     
I definately planned on hooking up with some other boaters. I'll try to coordinate ahead, but figured that during the summer, we'd be able to find someone leaving south florida for the bahamas.

are there any legal things to be concerned about? I read on the bahamas site that you just need to fill out a form to enter into the country. I wasn't sure if you needed to tell the Coast Guard that you are leaving and to listen for you (kinda like backwoods hiking).

I have been adding to the safety/tool kit as time goes to make sure that we have all the necessities and practicing some routine maintenance.

RJM posted 12-08-2003 09:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for RJM  Send Email to RJM     
bbrunner, Sounds like a fun adventure! Do you need a crew? (just kidding) Please take a sea anchor with you. This inexpensive piece of equipment will allow you to keep the bow into the wind if you have engine trouble. Good Luck!
AQUANUT posted 12-08-2003 11:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for AQUANUT  Send Email to AQUANUT     
I have done it in smallcraft, and large....done it from sailfish marina in wpb to west end in three hours..I have also done it on a three person seadoo jet ski while my wife drove our sea ray 270 sundancer..I have seen this trip take 8 hours on a day that started out beautiful, ocean was glass
then when you hit the gulf was like being in a giant washing machine...10ft plus coming from all directions

11 of us in the searay club out of ft pierce left once, back in the loran days when you lost loran halfway there [53 miles wpb-west end]....on the return trip the two 42 cruisers were knockin the waves down for the rest of us..then a 35ftr then me in a 32'...the 35' lost its entire windsheild..the smallest vessel with us was a 20' they had it rough.

the key is watch in the company of exp boaters who have done this trip....leave early in the day @ the right time of year...extra fuel by at least 1/4 of what you normally carry....[fuel is exspensive in bahamas]
abacos even worse.

p.s. gps is great, better than loran ever was...cell phones are good too...2 motors are better than one...but if you miss west end/freeport/port have 1 shot @ walkers cay..then its hello great britain and the uk...
fair winds and following seas!!!!!!

dhlaw posted 12-09-2003 08:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for dhlaw  Send Email to dhlaw     
Here is a good article on the crossing. Every weekend there are paeople making the crossing so I would suggest joining a group of boats and going for it. Be advised though fall and winter are not the best time for the crossing since north winds are common and the northbound flow of the stream will really stack up the waves.

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