Battlewagon or flats boat; center console or kayak, there’s water in the Florida Keys for every kind of boat that floats. Whether it’s the deep blue hues of the gulfstream, the turquoise of the coral reefs, or the shades of deep green and brown in the Florida Bay flats there is no lack of boating options.
President Thomas Jefferson created the U.S. Coast Survey in 1807 to provide nautical charts that would help the young nation with safe shipping, national defense, and maritime boundaries. Two centuries later, Coast Survey – now an office within NOAA – continues to provide navigation products and services that ensure safe and efficient maritime commerce on America’s oceans and coastal waters.
As most mariners familiar with the local waters know, navigating around the Florida Keys can be a bit tricky. A fair number of Spanish galleons that ended up on the reefs are testimony to that, to be sure! Today, end up aground on a reef or a seagrass bed, and you’ll be sure to be visited by one or more law enforcement agencies and end up with a sizeable fine.
To help you avoid run ins and run agrounds, we’ve provided convenient links to current NOAA charts of the area from Miami to Marathon.
Chart 11464 offers the most detail of the backcountry waters around Islamorada and approach to the Outpost Bayside marina basin.
|Chart Description||NOAA Chart #|
|Miami to Marathon and Florida Bay||11451|
|Alligator Reef to Sombrero Key||11452|
|Fowey Rocks (Miami) to Alligator Reef||11462|
|Blackwater Sound To Matecumbe||11464|
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of 14 marine protected areas encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa.Chances are that if you are in the Florida Keys, you will eventually enter Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. If you’re not familiar with the various marine zones with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, before setting off for a day of boating, be sure to know where these Sanctuary Preservation Areas are, and the regulations that govern activities in these designated areas.
24.54.80 N | 80.38.57 W.
The basin entrance is marked with numerous privately maintained channel markers, with a controlling depth of 3 ft. Pay special attention to the channel, as surrounding waters are mud flats that carry one foot of water.
Our marina basin opens onto “Little Basin” as demarked on local charts. Transiting the Intracoastal Waterway, the north entrance to Little Basin is accessed at Markers “3” and “4” (24.55.28 N | 80.38.57 W).
The Outpost basin has 14 slips, capable of accommodating boats 26 feet long or less. Each slip has 110v power and water.
Slips are available for the nominal fee of $25 per night, discounts may apply for longer stays. Boat slips must be reserved in advance! Be sure to reserve your slip at the same time you reserve your guest villa.
Unfortunately, Outpost Bayside does not have a boat ramp or room for trailer parking on property. To see our suggested launch options, click here. Costs vary seasonally so please inquire when making your reservation.
There are numerous nearby marinas capable of accommodating larger center console outboards and sportfishing boats.
One of our favorites for convenience to the Islander Resort, and more importantly, to both offshore and backcountry waters is the famous Bud n’ Mary’s Marina. Its so popular, it actually is the only marina to rank on TripAdvisor.com as an Islamorada attraction! To read the reviews, click here.
Bud n’ Mary’s is located Oceanside at Mile Marker 80, at the Tea Table Bridge. To locate the marina, click here.
It has direct deep water access for boats with a maximum of 4.5 foot draft and lengths up to 55 foot. A fork lift is available for lifting trailered boats in and out of the water. The marina carries both diesel and gas fuel.
To contact Bud n’ Mary for reservations or information, click here.