Suwannee River info needed

 I plan on taking my cruiser from Homosassa to the town of Suwannee for the weekend via Cedar Key.   My boat drafts approximately 3 feet. Would I be wise to use Alligator Pass or East Pass to enter the river?    Are both passes maintained?   Thanks,  JWalker

Replies

  • gatorsaintgatorsaint Posts: 177 Deckhand
    With a boat that drafts 3 feet, I would take Alligator Pass or McGriff Pass(Northwest Pass, just North of Alligator). I don't think there is a marked channel coming into East Pass from the gulf, .It can be done, but I think it would be more tricky. Some others may chime in with more info about accessing East Pass.
  • navigator2navigator2 Posts: 22,472 AG
    JWalker2 said:
     I plan on taking my cruiser from Homosassa to the town of Suwannee for the weekend via Cedar Key.   My boat drafts approximately 3 feet. Would I be wise to use Alligator Pass or East Pass to enter the river?    Are both passes maintained?   Thanks,  JWalker
    Define "cruiser".  Your safest bet is McGriff. You DO NOT want to take Alligator Pass. About  3/4 mile from the mouth of the river there is about 8 inches deep at low tide.... IN THE CHANNEL. High tide?, see define cruiser.  If you arrived on a higher tide the quickest way is come through the channel at Cabbage Reef and enter the Suwannee in East Pass.........but still have no idea what cruiser means, draft wise. 
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  • navigator2navigator2 Posts: 22,472 AG
    JWalker2 said:
     I plan on taking my cruiser from Homosassa to the town of Suwannee for the weekend via Cedar Key.   My boat drafts approximately 3 feet. Would I be wise to use Alligator Pass or East Pass to enter the river?    Are both passes maintained?   Thanks,  JWalker
    Define "cruiser".  Your safest bet is McGriff. You DO NOT want to take Alligator Pass. About  3/4 mile from the mouth of the river there is about 8 inches deep at low tide.... IN THE CHANNEL. High tide?, see define cruiser.  If you arrived on a higher tide the quickest way is come through the channel at Cabbage Reef and enter the Suwannee in East Pass.........but still have no idea what cruiser means, draft wise. 


    Edit. I just saw 3 foot draft. Silly me. McGriff channel ONLY. And even at that at low tide, the 3 outer most markers can be sketchy, particularly with an inboard. Don't even think about entering or leaving on a low tide. 

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  • JWalker2JWalker2 Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    Thanks for your response.  My cruiser is a 280 Sea Ray.  So McGriff near high tide I should be good?  Thanks JWalker
  • StankBaitStankBait Posts: 384 Deckhand
    On the NOAA chart it looks like a straight shot but it is not. The channel is narrow.  Go close to the markers. Real close. Outside marker is land (rocks) with little water on top. After you pass #7 up a ways there are some shallow spots. In your boat I would idle. Shallow spots as you near the river area where it bends right. . Do not get out of channel. You will run aground. High tide is your friend. A barge with a dragline on it passed through there a month ago (high tide) and boat pushing didn't bump. I head from one marker directly to the next. Remember slow. If you go to north (Salt Creek) after coming into river, as said before, you will bottom out. It's sand but still bottom. The markers are private and my chart with them is at Suwannee so that's about all the help I can give. I have a Hewes and one foot or so draft, less prop and I have to be careful.
  • navigator2navigator2 Posts: 22,472 AG
    JWalker2 said:
    Thanks for your response.  My cruiser is a 280 Sea Ray.  So McGriff near high tide I should be good?  Thanks JWalker
    Correct. High tide you should be good. As said before by Stankbait, go straight marker to marker as close as you can. These channels have not been dredged in at least 30 years (environmental crap).  Even though McGriff is the best channel, you still need to exercise caution. No need to turn a fun trip into a nightmare. Enjoy your trip. :)
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  • JWalker2JWalker2 Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    Thanks,  great trip. 160 miles this weekend. McGriff was fine at the middle of the incoming tide although I did idle in.  I ran full speed outbound at the top of the tide.  The folks at Gateway Marina are first class. JWalker
  • StankBaitStankBait Posts: 384 Deckhand
    Glad you had no issues.
  • navigator2navigator2 Posts: 22,472 AG
    JWalker2 said:
    Thanks,  great trip. 160 miles this weekend. McGriff was fine at the middle of the incoming tide although I did idle in.  I ran full speed outbound at the top of the tide.  The folks at Gateway Marina are first class. JWalker

    I was fishing the outer grass islandsnear McGriff Sunday around 12:30 pm. I saw what appeared to be a monster sized boat departing, it was about half way out out and leaving when I noticed it.  Was that you? From a distance it looked much larger than a 28 footer but may be because it's a luxury cruiser and high above the water line. I immediately remembered your post and thought it could have been you. 

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