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Cedar Key by boat..... Don't do it!!!!!

First let me say thanks to those who helped me out in my other thread about running up to Cedar key. I got good advice, unfortunately someone forgot to tell the people in charge there. We ran up from crystal river friday morning around 10:30 with plans to eat some lunch and let my wife and her sister and husband check out the island for about an hour and then head back to catch bait for Saturdays fishing. Seas were nice and we made it to Cedar Key in about 40 minutes. I went over to where the docks were by the boat ramp and saw some signs that said 30 minute only docking. Motored around thinking i was in the wrong spot and saw an FWC fisheries person and asked her where we could dock for lunch. She didn't know and then some old man comes down saying I cant tie up unless I'm loading the boat up. I tried to plead my case saying we would be just one hour no more but it fell on deaf ears because it was "scallop season." OK whatever so Im obviously aggravated now and go around just to eyeball if i can make it under the bridge into the basin and saw it was a definite no go. I was about to head back when i saw some people on a dock that had no boat at it. We pulled over and I asked them, if we could tie up there for an hour to grab a bite and id be willing to pay them for the use. The guy said he didn't own the dock but said "it shouldn't be a problem at all, I'm just doing some construction up near the lot." It was him , his wife and their young son out there lounging and fishing off the dock, not a bunch of construction guys.

We hopped off the boat and hurried over to steamers to eat. Had a nice lunch and were done in 35 minutes. My brother in law and i headed over to the hardware store to grab some chum and the girls went to get our kids some t shirts from the gift shop. As we got into view of the boat i saw a guy on the dock and my brother in law said he would go back to the boat while i went to get bait. The old man at the hardware store was REALLY slow so it took about 5 minutes or so to get 2 packs of squid (they had no chum). As i walked across the main road there my wife is standing out there hurrying me up. She said the cops were down at the boat asking about the registration. I walked up and the chief of police asked if i was the captain and that he tried to pull up the FL numbers but nothing was coming up. I gave him the registration and asked him what the problem was. He said that the owner of the lot had called saying he had trespassers on his site and wanted to press charges. The family was still there on the dock and i explained that we had asked these people if we could use it and i understood they didn't own the dock but their words were it shouldn't be a problem. Well the a hole owner of the place after calling the cops decided to at that point put up no trespassing signs. Luckily for us the cop saw him putting up the signs as he drove up. The people that were there said that they never even talked to us and that we just pulled up, got off and said nothing to them.

The cop asked why we didn't use the docks by the outside ramp and we told him old man rivers said we couldnt dock there for an hour because of scallop season. He said he'd go talk to him and gave me a trespass warning. Needless to say I won't ever be back to that sh$%hole, should have just run to homosassa and gone to the freezer. So if you run to Cedar Key for lunch and have a boat that draws more than 10" or is taller than 8' be prepared to anchor up and swim to shore.
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Replies

  • Jim311Jim311 Posts: 4,961 Captain
    I've parked at the outside ramp to eat several times without issues. Sorry you got bad info from some goober at the docks. Wish you'd had a better experience.
  • hihater36hihater36 Posts: 137 Deckhand
    I know but they also had put up 30 minute docking only signs over there.
  • m9000m9000 Posts: 2,188 Captain
    The city of Cedar Key has never figured out that providing outside dock space for boaters that draw more than a foot would lead to more people in shops,hotels and restaurants. The bridge over the inner dock area will be raised about 3 feet, but it will take a few years for the DOT complete the reconstruction of Dock street.
  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady Posts: 5,282 Admiral
    Sorry you had such a bad experience! Dockage is a problem for larger boats. The floating outside docks have always been time limited to those who are either loading or unloading their boats. Many times mr gl has had to idle around while I backed down (or parked) the trailer because some took more than their '15 minutes' of tie up time. It's treacherous trying to get on or off the boat from that ramp without being able to tie up...and irritating to have the docks 'occupied' by 'sightseers'. Sorry. :)

    I've wondered why, when they built the new fishing pier they didn't include dockage for the larger boats - plenty of depth there. We've overnighted at the old dock right next to sailboats. You'd think one of the restaurants would put in some dockage but there is a huge tidal flow, maybe that's the issue. I didn't see your original post or I would have let you know about the lack of dockage.

    In truth, Cedar Key is a fun place to stay and walk around, a great starting point for fishing - but the restaurant fare on its own is not really worth the drive, or a long boat ride.
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • KeatonBchFisherKeatonBchFisher Posts: 297 Officer
    CK has no love for boaters/fishermen in general. I believe they would prefer to close the ramps and add more retail space and parking.
    Keaton Beach Rental https://www.vrbo.com/780025

    Yankeetown Rental https://www.vrbo.com/619425
  • CK1CK1 Posts: 36 Deckhand
    The reason the fishing pier does not allow boats is that they accepted federal money to build it. There are federal rules that do not allow it. Most of the locals were pissed off when they found out. There was local money lined up to fix the old pier then some people found out that fema would pay for a new one. While not doing the research to find out about any strings tied to the money.

    As for Cedar Key having no love for boaters I disagree with that completely. Is the ramp fee about five dollars too expensive, without a doubt. But due to them doing some work during the boom the city now relies on the boat ramp fee for a large portion of the city budget. They now have a parking lot attendant that greatly expedites the boat ramp situation. Lately on busy weekends I have even seen the local police hauling people back and forth to where they can park their trailers. Are they perfect, nope. But they are trying.

    I know people come over to CK and then complain about the lack of parking. Honestly what do you expect CK to be able to do about it. Eminent domain some houses to make parking lots? Fill in marsh to make new land? There have been the same amount of parking in CK for years. Get there early and you don't have to worry about it.

    In the past the city has tried to add in floating docks to allow more space for boat parking. Every time there was a big storm it would get torn up. I have never understood why one of the restaurants did not add docking.

    I live in Gville and have been going to CK my whole life. Fortunately my family now has a place there. I go normally at least twice a month. I think it is a great place with great people.
  • CK1CK1 Posts: 36 Deckhand
    The city would literally go bankrupt without the funds of the boat ramp. That would never happen.
  • CK1CK1 Posts: 36 Deckhand
  • DOCKSIDEDOCKSIDE Posts: 1,913 Captain
    Cedar Key is a dump. They will steal you blind at night. Don't give a **** about visitors. And don't deserve your money, period...
    somewhere south of disorder and on earth... mostly .
    ..............................................................................
    IBEW LU 433
  • CK1CK1 Posts: 36 Deckhand
    DOCKSIDE wrote: »
    Cedar Key is a dump. They will steal you blind at night. Don't give a **** about visitors. And don't deserve your money, period...

    One less person to clog up the boat ramp. Not too mention, I know of one person that has had anything stolen there. We leave stuff out at our place all the time.
  • RapscallionRapscallion Posts: 63 Deckhand
    CK1 wrote: »
    One less person to clog up the boat ramp. Not too mention, I know of one person that has had anything stolen there. We leave stuff out at our place all the time.

    I love the Cedar Key area as well, but I have to agree with Dockside. CK1 if you own a place there and do not know about the crime I think you need to ask around. I do not believe it is the locals stealing, but I know for a fact that there are a lot of drug related thefts that happen on the islands. My neighbor had his canoe stolen from him while he went to use the restroom at the beach. If you do a search on this website you'll also read about all kind of bad experiences. I personally had my center console rifled through, but I guess they didn't want the life jackets or the dock lines. Thankfully I had all my rods locked up. People have had flats boat poles, rods, gasoline stolen, etc. Truck windows have been broken. My other neighbor went gigging flounder on the flats, and someone siphoned all of the gas out of his K10 blazer. Someone even stole a redfish out of a cooler once (I remember reading this one on the forum and shaking my head: who does that?).

    It's really sad. Beautiful place, but when it comes down to it, you pay $15 to have no parking guaranteed for your truck and trailer and if you are lucky enough to find parking, your stuff is in jeopardy of being stolen. The police chief sure has no problem writing you a ticket if you end up parking in the wrong spot: I guarantee you that.

    As far as your comments about parking, I don't think they need to get more land, but I do think the parking spots at the marina should be made mandatory boat trailer parking at ALL times, including festivals. The tourists can park their compact cars somewhere other than the 40 foot parking stall designed for my truck and trailer. If boaters are so important to Cedar Key then they should do something to justify their $15 ramp fee: Security cameras in the parking lot, patrolling the parking lot at night, better lighting in the parking lot, guaranteed parking 24 hours a day and maybe they could even dredge the inside ramp once a year (I'd be willing to over look this if they took care of the other things though).

    Dockside and a lot of other people on here have it right: Cedar Key doesn't give a **** about boaters and fishermen. I have since taken my money elsewhere and I advise everyone to do the same unless things change. If you are looking for good alternatives: Fowlers Bluff, Barge Canal ramp, Horseshoe Beach and Steinhatchee. Horseshoe and Steinhatchee are really nice ports, they don't overcharge for their ramps, the parking is awesome and the people are even better. Give Steinhatchee a try, I guarantee you won't be disappointed.
  • nicknick Posts: 5,070 Admiral
    Cedar key has it all.

    Bad food
    Horrible parking
    Inept officials
    Zero docking
    Meth head thieves

    What's not to love?
  • m9000m9000 Posts: 2,188 Captain
    I've owned a weekend house in Cedar Key for 24 years and have had one case of my home being entered (the house is up on stilts and we routinely didn't lock the sliding glass doors) and a handheld GPS was stolen. On two occasions, I forgot to lock my storeroom door with all of my rods and reels, fishing equipment and tools. The room was unlocked for a week and when we returned the following Friday the storeroom door was wide open. Not a single item was missing.

    Reading this section, it appears that some people have left their boats near the ramp area overnight have had stuff stolen, but that hasn't been the case that my place, which is approximately 1 mile from the ramps. I suspect the vast majority of the Thefts are committed by daytrippers to the island taking advantage of easy pickings. There are only about 600 permanent residents on the island and as is the case in most island communities, thieves who live there can't remain unnoticed and have more to fear from the residents than law enforcement.

    Trailer parking does get crowded, and many times When I have gotten a late start, I have had to take my trailer back to my house and ride my bike to the ramp. Local officials have recently extended the time reserved for the long parking spaces for boat trailers from 11 AM until 2 PM.

    As for the bad food comment, the restaurants there are mixed, but the fish sandwiches at Steamers have always been good. I love the hamburgers at the bar at Island Hotel. The city officials are in a constant tug-of-war when deciding to cater to fishermen who show up early, pay for a ramp fee and leave at 4 o'clock – and in many cases don't spend another dime on the island, versus the tour buses of retirees from the villages who will spend four hours in the restaurants and T-shirt shops.
  • Grady-ladyGrady-lady Posts: 5,282 Admiral
    m9000 wrote: »
    ...As for the bad food comment, the restaurants there are mixed, but the fish sandwiches at Steamers have always been good. I love the hamburgers at the bar at Island Hotel. The city officials are in a constant tug-of-war when deciding to cater to fishermen who show up early, pay for a ramp fee and leave at 4 o'clock – and in many cases don't spend another dime on the island, versus the tour buses of retirees from the villages who will spend four hours in the restaurants and T-shirt shops.

    ...and the clam chowder at...now I forget the name...is it Tony's? But it is yummy.

    I love Cedar Key, it holds a special place in my heart and always will. When looking to buy, it would have been my first choice except for the long drive to nearest hosp. etc. We've fished there for decades and spent considerable money - 2 or more nites in a hotel (Beach Front) once or twice a month Oct thru May, groceries, bait, gas, eating out, ramp fees - and always felt happy to do it. I mean, where else can you get groceries and take-out pizza while stopping to watch a gorgeous sunset over the gulf, all while tooling around in a golf cart? We met a lot of great people and made some lifelong friends - lost our grouper virginity thanks to a friendly commercial guy with the most beautiful blue eyes I've ever seen. :) Only the drastic change in the grouper regs sent us down to the Keys for lobster and dolphin instead.

    Cedar Key, imho, is in the midst of a clash of cultures - when the locals sell out, they can never afford to return. I also don't think the ramp fee is outrageous, but the property taxes are dang high! We had one incident of theft - overnighting at the old pier, late at night, asleep in the cabin, the boat was boarded by a fella who had been fishing from the pier for several hours - he grabbed a rod from the boat and took off. It was the movement of the boat that woke us. Ironically the rod he grabbed had a sabiki on it and it grabbed him right back. Looked out the window and he was shaking the rod trying to get the hooks loose. We got the rod back but he got away. After that we always locked stuff up.
    I find my peace out on the sand...Beside the sea, not beyond or behind. R.A. Britt

  • RapscallionRapscallion Posts: 63 Deckhand
    m9000 wrote: »
    The city officials are in a constant tug-of-war when deciding to cater to fishermen who show up early, pay for a ramp fee and leave at 4 o'clock – and in many cases don't spend another dime on the island, versus the tour buses of retirees from the villages who will spend four hours in the restaurants and T-shirt shops.

    The Gainesville "locals" who go fishing EVERY weekend, and get to pick where they trailer to, would probably be more willing to stay and spend money if they weren't paranoid about what their truck and boat are going to look like after dinner. I've spent lots of time and money at Cedar Key, especially when the family is in tow, so I really do not see that as a valid consideration.

    I have heard good things about the new restaurant...
  • capt louiecapt louie Posts: 10,901 Moderator
    The first time I went there years back I got homesick. Being from Key West it was like being home.

    Unfortunately , it still is like home....
    "You'll get your weather"
  • GatorCityGatorCity Posts: 335 Deckhand
    It's really sad. Beautiful place, but when it comes down to it, you pay $15 to have no parking guaranteed for your truck and trailer and if you are lucky enough to find parking, your stuff is in jeopardy of being stolen. The police chief sure has no problem writing you a ticket if you end up parking in the wrong spot: I guarantee you that.

    I've been regularly launching from CK for about a year. Trailer in from Gainesville. I got a $30 ticket Sunday for being "double parked", which is complete BS. My buddy parked the truck and unfortunately didn't get a picture before he pulled out so I could load the boat on the trailer but if they are going to write parking tickets in the main lot by the ramps, then paint some **** lines on the asphalt!!! Most are completely gone or just barely visible. That was just about the last straw for me, $15 highway robbery just to use the ramp and then they are writing tickets for petty stuff, I'll just start going to Suwannee or Steinhatchee. They are running the non-locals out of there one by one. Will see how long their little town survives on the "locals only" mentality.
  • CK1CK1 Posts: 36 Deckhand
    I would say that I spend more time in CK than most of the people on the forum. Growing up we spent most weekends fishing there as well. Like I said I know of one time that someone that I know had something stolen. It was a castnest and a cooler with two reds in it. As for not knowing what is going on around there. My family moved to CK in 1842 and I am a member at the eagles there and I spend a ton of time with the locals.

    As for the double parking I spend a lot of time at the ramp watching the boat ramp show and I can't tell you how many times I have seen someone show up and demand that the local cops write someone a ticket for a trailer not being inside the lines taking up two spots. As for the trailer parking like was said earlier they have moved that back to the afternoon as well. I have also seen the cops writing tickets for cars in the trailer area as well.

    Now I will say that due to the location of our place I refuse to park in the parking lot. I walk the two blocks back and forth to our place just so I do not have to deal with that parking lot. Almost every weekend I watch someone who doesn't know what they are doing hit another trailer and or car in that parking lot.

    As for a police presence in the parking lot at night, when is the last time you were there at night? The very first parking spot by the boat ramp is where I see the cops most of the time at night. It is very rare night when I come back from the big deck that at least one cop is not parked there.

    As for the bad food I have to agree that it can be subpar sometimes. If I am going to eat out I am going to go to big deck and get a burger. I hear good things about steamers but just never make it that far down dock street. Island room is very good normally and the new restaurant at Seabreeze has a good looking menu. Went in for a drink on Saturday and everyone I talked to said the food was good.

    I am very surprised at the amount of anger here about Cedar Key. As soon as I pass the number four channel my attitude changes. In fact we decided to get married at CK. We had our ceremony behind hodges cottages and it was great. Had the reception at the island room and the after party at the eagles. Don't think I could have asked for a nicer setting.

    As for the people on here saying that they will never use the ramp again. Sorry you feel that way. But this is the busiest spring that I have ever seen. The town is only getting more popular and crowded. If you think that you are causing them any pain by not going I hate to disappoint you.
  • hihater36hihater36 Posts: 137 Deckhand
    I didn't start this to try and cause any pain to cedar key. Just to keep other boaters from having the pain of wasting gas and time. i will agree Cedar Key is definitely unique in that I can't think of another island that is less accommodating to boaters looking to spend money on its dirt.
  • RapscallionRapscallion Posts: 63 Deckhand
    CK1 wrote: »
    I would say that I spend more time in CK than most of the people on the forum. Growing up we spent most weekends fishing there as well. Like I said I know of one time that someone that I know had something stolen. It was a castnest and a cooler with two reds in it. As for not knowing what is going on around there. My family moved to CK in 1842 and I am a member at the eagles there and I spend a ton of time with the locals.

    As for the double parking I spend a lot of time at the ramp watching the boat ramp show and I can't tell you how many times I have seen someone show up and demand that the local cops write someone a ticket for a trailer not being inside the lines taking up two spots. As for the trailer parking like was said earlier they have moved that back to the afternoon as well. I have also seen the cops writing tickets for cars in the trailer area as well.

    Now I will say that due to the location of our place I refuse to park in the parking lot. I walk the two blocks back and forth to our place just so I do not have to deal with that parking lot. Almost every weekend I watch someone who doesn't know what they are doing hit another trailer and or car in that parking lot.

    As for a police presence in the parking lot at night, when is the last time you were there at night? The very first parking spot by the boat ramp is where I see the cops most of the time at night. It is very rare night when I come back from the big deck that at least one cop is not parked there.

    As for the bad food I have to agree that it can be subpar sometimes. If I am going to eat out I am going to go to big deck and get a burger. I hear good things about steamers but just never make it that far down dock street. Island room is very good normally and the new restaurant at Seabreeze has a good looking menu. Went in for a drink on Saturday and everyone I talked to said the food was good.

    I am very surprised at the amount of anger here about Cedar Key. As soon as I pass the number four channel my attitude changes. In fact we decided to get married at CK. We had our ceremony behind hodges cottages and it was great. Had the reception at the island room and the after party at the eagles. Don't think I could have asked for a nicer setting.

    As for the people on here saying that they will never use the ramp again. Sorry you feel that way. But this is the busiest spring that I have ever seen. The town is only getting more popular and crowded. If you think that you are causing them any pain by not going I hate to disappoint you.

    First off I think you are missing the point. I don't think anyone wants to cause Cedar Key pain, and I think the people complaining about CK are doing so because there are some things wrong that need to be fixed and they love the area just about as much as you do.

    I used to fish CK regularly at night. Did I see cops there sometimes, yes. Most of the time I saw the car parked by the fire station or at the gas station, not patrolling.

    The issue isn't about coming online and bashing CK to cause pain. The issue is people going to City Hall to complain and getting turned away with no answer or told their opinion doesn't count because they're not local. There are some very simple changes that can be made, that wouldn't cost a whole lot of money, that would benefit boaters and fishermen.

    I hope things do change there. I like the area. You have a nice day.
  • SaltOnTheRimSaltOnTheRim Posts: 18 Greenhorn
    Wow! That is really a bummer. I have always had the impression of people who own their docks as being so welcoming (well, maybe not the ones with the gajillion $$ houses on the river fronts) - but I'm glad at least that the cop just gave you a warning. Hopefully you're feeling better about the whole thing and can shake it off. Not everyone is such a jerk.
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,340 AG
    DOCKSIDE wrote: »
    Cedar Key is a dump. They will steal you blind at night. Don't give a **** about visitors. And don't deserve your money, period...

    People say they stealing is bad, but I have been going to CK with boat for 35 years and never once had ANY issue.
  • tankardtankard Posts: 7,030 Admiral
    m9000 wrote: »
    The city of Cedar Key has never figured out that providing outside dock space for boaters that draw more than a foot would lead to more people in shops,hotels and restaurants.


    They'd have to first build a seawall or jetty. It frequently gets way too rough there to tie off to a fixed structure.

    And yes, CK is about as unfriendly a tourist town as one can find. The people are generally rude (there are exceptions) parking can be a nightmare, and the cops are some of the worst I've ever encountered.
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,340 AG
    My only encounter with a cop at CK was not finding my car keys after a long day fishing and almost dying in a bad storm.

    Saw a CK officer, I asked him if anyone found a set of keys....he handled them to me and drove off.

    Recently had an acquaintance get arrested for drunk driving after driving her car into the Gulf at the outside boat ramp. She wasn't mad at the cop....
  • CK1CK1 Posts: 36 Deckhand
    Cyclist wrote: »
    My only encounter with a cop at CK was not finding my car keys after a long day fishing and almost dying in a bad storm.

    Saw a CK officer, I asked him if anyone found a set of keys....he handled them to me and drove off.

    Recently had an acquaintance get arrested for drunk driving after driving her car into the Gulf at the outside boat ramp. She wasn't mad at the cop....

    On the video that I saw she wasn't mad at anyone and was laughing as being handcuffed. At least she had a good attitude about it.

    But I will say there used to be a cop named Boston that was a complete ****. Thankfully they fired his butt.
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,340 AG
    CK1 wrote: »
    On the video that I saw she wasn't mad at anyone and was laughing as being handcuffed. At least she had a good attitude about it.

    But I will say there used to be a cop named Boston that was a complete ****. Thankfully they fired his butt.

    Video?!?! :rotflmao She's a good sport.
  • JonsredfishinJonsredfishin Posts: 3,046 Captain
    When staying at a condo near by, don't try the old "dump and run" at the ramp. Barney Fifth and Festus will be knocking on your door shortly after. They're just doing their jobs though.
    One president put a man on the moon.
    Another president put a man in the Lady's bathroom.
  • hihater36hihater36 Posts: 137 Deckhand
    I didn't have an issue with the chief of police. He was fairly cordial , though he wasn't very proficient with his little computer looking up FL numbers. I even complimented him in my email I sent to the mayor. I tried to tell him he didn't have to waste his ink writing the trespass warning because I would never be back to Cedar Key but he said he had to. All in all it could have ended a lot worse and a whole lot more legal. I was just shocked that a place on the water has ZERO facilities for day trippers.
  • CK1CK1 Posts: 36 Deckhand
    hihater36 wrote: »
    I didn't have an issue with the chief of police. He was fairly cordial , though he wasn't very proficient with his little computer looking up FL numbers. I even complimented him in my email I sent to the mayor. I tried to tell him he didn't have to waste his ink writing the trespass warning because I would never be back to Cedar Key but he said he had to. All in all it could have ended a lot worse and a whole lot more legal. I was just shocked that a place on the water has ZERO facilities for day trippers.

    Tankard has it correct. I have seen five to six footers rolling into the outside ramp. I watched the old floating dock break mostly free and beat up pilings. There really would need to be a jetty or something. I can tell you right now that the city definitely doesn't have money for that.
  • Luv2YakLuv2Yak Posts: 944 Officer
    I love Cedar Key. Have spent many hours and days there over the past 30 years.
    Never once have had any problem with theft or vandalism (regretfully, I can't say the same for Yankeetown). Have nothing negative to say about the "locals". Don't do much restaurant dining in CK anymore (I do miss Brown's/The Captain's Table), however, clam chowder at Tony's (albeit "pricey" with its notoriety) is very good and on the way out of Cedar Key Robinson's Seafood is not only very good but it's generous portions are reasonably priced (no alcohol served but it's okay to bring in your own).
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