Cruising/Navigating - Florida’s (West Coast)

Sanibel Island to Anclote Key

The Florida (West Coast) portion of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GICW) has its beginning near Punta Rassa, FL and the Sanibel Island Causeway. The GICW begins at mile marker (MM "0.0") in San Carlos Bay at 26°30.6’N / 82°01.1’W, close to the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River and its junction with Okeechobee Waterway.

From its starting point, this section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway runs generally in a northerly direction ending at 28°10.4’N / 82°49.5’W (MM "150.0") located between the southern tip of Anclote Key and the approaches to the Anclote River leading into Tarpon Springs.

Navigation

Buoyage

The GICW is marked the same as the AICW, where Aids to Navigation displaying yellow triangles are kept to starboard and those displaying yellow squares should be kept to port along the entire length of the waterway. While typically the yellow triangles will be found on red markers and yellow squares are found on green markers, caution should be exercised where the GICW intersects or coincides with a channel marked by the Lateral System.

Charts

NOAA chart coverage of this portion of the GICW beginning at mile marker "0.0" to mile marker "150.0" is provided by charts #11427, #11425, #11416, and #11411. These charts can be viewed by clicking on the links below:

Chart #11427 - Ft. Meyers to Charlotte Harbor
Chart #11425 - Charlotte Harbor to Tampa Bay
Chart #11416 - Tampa Bay ICW Extension
Chart #11411 - Tampa Bay to Port Richey

Distances and Mileages

All distances along the Florida Gulf Intracoastal Waterway are given in statute miles unless otherwise noted. Statute miles are used in order to conform to the distances shown on the small craft charts typically used along this route.

Like the AICW, the portion of the GICW between Punta Rassa and Anclote Key is measured based on increasing mileage from MM "0.0."

Channels

The Federal project depth for this portion of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway provides for a channel depth of 9 feet and a channel width of 100 feet. Even though every effort is made to maintain the project depth, the actual controlling depths in the channels may vary due to shoaling reducing the available water depth until maintenance dredging can be accomplished.

Communications

Bridges, Locks, and Overhead Power Lines

Florida’s West Coast GICW Bridge Schedule

At last count, a total of 25 bridges cross the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway between Punta Rassa and Anclote Key, FL. The fixed bridges along this route provide a minimum vertical clearances of 65’.

The lists below are believed to be accurate as of July 2020. If any errors or omissions are noted, please e-mail us at with any corrections or recommendations.

Open Down Arrow GICW - Florida West Coast Bridge Schedule
San Carlos Bay to Venice

Gulf Intracoastal Waterway - Florida (West Coast)


San Carlos Bay to Venice

Mile Marker Bridge Charted Vert. Clear. Schedule Restrictions VHF
 
34.3 Boca Grande Swing Bridge 22’ Shall open on signal; except that from 0700 to 1800, Mon. through Fri., except for Fed. holidays, the draw need open only on the hour and half hour. On Sat., Sun. and Fed. holidays, from 0700 to 1800, the draw need open only on the hour and every 15 minutes thereafter.   09
43.5 Tom Adams Bascule Bridge 26’ Opens on Demand   09
50.0 Manasota Beach Bascule Bridge 26’ Opens on Demand.   09
55.0 Circus (Tamiami Trail) Bascule Bridge 25’ Opens on Demand.   09
56.6 Venice Avenue Bascule Bridge 30’ Shall open on signal, except that from 0700 to 1630, Mon. through Fri. except Fed. holidays, the draw need open only at 10 minutes after the hour and every 20 minutes thereafter. Between 1635 and1735 the draw need not open. 09
56.9 Hatchett Creek Bascule Bridge 30’ Shall open on signal, except that, from 0700 to 1620, Mon. through Fri. except Fed. holidays, the draw need open only on the hour and every 20 minutes thereafter. On Sat., Sun., and Fed. holidays from 0730 to 1800 the draw need open only on the hour and every 15 minutes thereafter. Mon. - Fri. between 1625 - 1725 except Fed. holidays the draw need not open. On the 2nd Sunday of November, the bridge need not open between 0900 and 1700. 09

Open Down Arrow GICW - Florida West Coast Bridge Schedule
Venice to Anna Maria Island

Gulf Intracoastal Waterway - Florida (West Coast)


Venice Inlet to Anna Maria Sound

Mile Marker Bridge Charted Vert. Clear. Schedule Restrictions VHF
 
59.3 Albee Road Bascule Bridge 14’ Opens on Demand   09
63.0 Blackburn Swing Bridge 9’ Opens on Demand.   09
68.6 Stickney Point Bascule Bridge 18’ Shall open on signal, except that from 0600 to 1900 daily, the draw need only open on the hour and half hour. Twin Spans 09
71.6 Siesta Key Bascule Bridge 25’ Shall open on signal, except that from 0600 to 1900 daily, the draw need only open on the hour and half hour.   09
73.5 Ringling (Gil Waters)Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge (Span "A")    
87.4 Cortez Bascule Bridge 22’ Shall open on signal, except that from 0600 to 1900 daily, the draw need only open on the ¼ hour and ¾ hour.   09
89.2 Anna Maria Island Bascule Bridge 24’ Shall open on signal, except that from 0600 to 1900 daily, the draw need only open on the ¼ hour and ¾ hour.   09

Open Down Arrow GICW - Florida West Coast Bridge Schedule
Tampa Bay to Dunedin

Gulf Intracoastal Waterway - Florida (West Coast)


Tampa Bay to St. Joseph Sound

Mile Marker Bridge Charted Vert. Clear. Schedule Restrictions VHF
 
99.0 Sunshine Skyway Bridge 180’ Fixed Bridge    
110.5 Skyway Northern Span Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge Twin Spans  
113.0 Pinellas Bayway E Span Bridge 65’ From 0700 - 2100 on the Hr. & 1/2 Hr. Other times on demand. On going construction thru August 2020. 09
114.0 Pinellas Bayway C Span Bridge 65’ Fixed Bridge    
117.7 Corey Causeway Bascule Bridge 23’ Shall open on signal; except that, from 0800 - 1900 Mon. through Fri., and 1000 to 1900 Sat., Sun., and Fed. holidays, the draw need be opened only on the hour and every 20 minutes thereafter. Twin Spans 09
119.0 Treasure Island Causeway Bascule Bridge 21’ Shall open on signal except that from 0700 - 1900 Mon. through Fri. the draw need only open on the hour and every 20 minutes thereafter. Sat., Sun., and Fed. holidays the draw need open on the on the ¼ hour and ¾ hour. Twin Spans 09
122.8 Welch Causeway Bascule Bridge 25’ Shall open on signal; except that, from 0930 - 1800 on Sat., Sun., and Fed. holidays, the draw need be opened only on the hour and every 20 minutes thereafter.   09
126.0 Park Blvd. Bascule Bridge 20’ Opens on Demand Vertical clearance reduction to 18’8" until 09/07/2020. 09
129.0 Indian Rocks Bascule Bridge 25’/21’ Opens on Demand Twin Spans 09
131.8 Belleair Causeway Bridge 75’ Fixed Bridge    
136.0 Clearwater Memorial Bridge 74’ Fixed Bridge    
142.0 Dunedin / Honeymoon Bascule Bridge 24’ Opens on Demand   09

The tables above list the bridges, their schedules, and restrictions along Florida’s Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from its intersection with the Okeechobee Waterway in Ft. Myers, FL north to Dunedin, FL.

These bridge operating schedules can be downloaded for your personal and private use as a ZIP file. The file contains the schedules in Adobe (.pdf) file format.

Florida (West Coast) GICW Bridge Schedule - Download

GICW/GIWW Bridge and Lock Schedule (Florida to Texas) - Download

Open Down Arrow Florida’s West Coast Long Term Temporary Bridge Restrictions

Gulf Intracoastal Long Term Temporary Bridge Restrictions

Gulf Intracoastal Waterway - Florida West Coast

Mile Marker Bridge Charted Vert. Clear. Restrictions
 
122.8 Pinellas Bayway "E" Bascule Bridge 23’ Ongoing construction: Delays and channel closures can be expected thru August 2020.
126.0 Park Blvd. Bascule Bridge 20’ Single leaf operation and vertical clearance reduction to 18’8" thru 07 September 2020.

Locks

None.

Overhead Cable and Power Lines

The minimum authorized clearance of overhead cables crossing this section of the GICW is 88 feet and is found at the Manasota Beach Bascule Bridge (MM "49.9".)

Caution - Many of the overhead cables crossing the waterway carry high voltage, an extra margin of safety should be allowed in the event of threatening weather.

Tides

Tidal ranges are fairly small along Florida’s west coast. Under normal conditions the mean range of tide averages 1’ at Ft. Myers and at Punta Rassa and increasing to a little more than 2½’ at Anclote Key.

The type of tide experienced in this area is commonly referred to as a "Mixed Tide" - exhibiting (2) unequal high tides and (2) unequal low tides each day.

Entrances, Inlets, and Passes

There are numerous Entrances, Inlets, or Passes between the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the West Coast of Florida. Between Sanibel Island in the south and Port Richey to the north, there were 23 at last count. All provide access to sheltered inland waters with most providing access to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

While many of these are only suitable for shallow draft vessels and/or local knowledge, some can be considered navigable for most vessels. We have listed them on the next page along with useful information on each to aid you in deciding if you wish to use a particular inlet.

Next Page LogoNEXT - Florida’s West Coast - Entrances, Inlets, & Passes

Heading North

After leaving Anclote Key, it is a 132 NM open water passage to East Pass and the vicinity of Carrabelle, FL where you can again rejoin the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) at (MM "376.5 EHL").

Next Page LogoNEXT - GIWW (Florida Panhandle)

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