New Boaters at BCK
Boating is one of the true pleasures of BCK with your boat moored just a short distance from your condo you can go out every day of the year. Whether new to Blue Crab as an owner or renter, or new to boating, or both, this page will provide you with some important information about successful boating at Blue Crab.
Boat Storage / Ramp
There is a boat/trailer/camper storage lot located between the S and T buildings directly west of the tennis courts. This facility has two gates that should remain locked when not being used. The lock on the gate to the ramp area must be closed in order to get your key out of the lock. If you do not have a key to this area and need one please contact the management company. Whatever is left in this storage area should be marked with the building and unit number of the owner. Due to crowding during season, maximum one item per owner unless kayaks. During season, you may find your boat trailer has been moved to facilitate someone else gaining access to their trailers/campers etc. If moving someone else's trailer, please be careful with tail lights etc.
There is a hose with spray nosel in the ramp area for washing boats/trailers and flushing outboards. Please make sure to coil up hose and turn off water when finished using. Boats are typically easier to launch and retrieve at higher tide levels. If someone is waiting to launch or retrieve a boat when you are cleaning your boat in the ramp area, please try to move off the ramp as quickly as possible.
Docks are available on a first come / first serve basis. Docks can typically accommodate two boats. If you are singly docked and someone else needs to share, try to work how to arrange your boats in a mutually agreeable manner. No water or electricity is supplied by the HOA at this time but many docks are rigged with one, the other, or both. When using electricity around water, be careful. Boat owners are responsible for providing all docking hardware (cleats, piling bumpers, etc) for their own vessels. If someone is using a dock space and is just out boating, please do not take their space. Look for an unoccupied dock.
Please maintain a no wakespeed in the canal areas. This will keep your neighbors boats from banging against the docks from your wake and prevent wave damage on the shoreline.
There is a clearly marked channel in the center of Pine Island Creek as well as from the north BCK canal leading out to this channel. Please do not idle in the main PI Creek channel. If exiting the south canal in a deeper draft boat you will need to make an immediate left turn to the north and skirt the mangroves to the marked channel of the north BCK canal to get to the Pine Island Creek channel. Please maintain a no wake speed in along this mangrove edge. In a shallow draft boat you may be able to head out directly from the south canal to the PI Creek channel. This can get extremely shallow. To get out to Matlacha Pass, keep channel markers on your right in PI Creek and then on your left once you pass large oyster bars at north end of PI Creek. The reverse coming home. The Pine Island Creek channel can be extremely shallow especially during winter negative tides and North and NE winds. Be aware of extensive minimal wake / manatee zones at the end of this channel all the way to Matlacha Pass channel as well as behind the “Captain's Island”. The fine is expensive if pulled over.
There is a large series of oyster bars at the end of PI Creek to the north of BCK. Definitely don't want to hit these. Be aware that at higher tides much of this hard bottom is covered by water and they extend out much farther than is visible.
Please try to give people fishing a lot of room. Fish in shallow water are extremely sound sensitive. Being 150 yards away is way too close. If someone is fishing a shoreline with an electric trolling motor, please do not place your boat in front of the direction they are traveling / fishing. Do not anchor near anyone fishing. If you can avoid running along a shoreline, through a flat, or though a channel that someone is actively fishing, please do so. You will ruin their fishing that spot if you do. If you must travel anywhere near someone due to not seeing them until too late or minimal water conditions, please come off plane and idle by them unless in the main PI Creek channel.
BCK is located on the eastern side of Pine Island and to get out in to the area known as Charlotte Harbor you need to navigate a narrow, tidal and barely marked channel. Whether you are an owner or renter if you are new to BCK, boating or both the best way to become familiar with crossing this shallow water is to ask any of your boating neighbors and if possible take a ride out with someone to familiarise yourself with the route. To cross the shallow water you will need to put your boat up on plane, even if your boat has a shallow draft you will need to avoid idling in the channel as many boaters rely on being able to cross the water on plane.
The channel is tidal and at certain states of the tide or times of the year you many not be able to get out (or in) so know high and low water times. The link below shows the tide times at Matlacha Bridge (about half hour later at BCK). Tide times will also differ at other locations for instance the barrier islands of Sanibel and Cayo Costa.
To help you, the way out is shown in this video - it is shown in real time and the journey out takes just over five minutes
The National Weather Service, the Coastguard Auxillary and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission all provide a wealth of information to make your time on the water safe, enjoyable and legal.
Red tide is an unfortunate fact of life in the waters around Pine Island. Both the NOAA and the FWC provide information and regular updates on if and where there are high concentrations of harmful algae which are likely to lead to red tide.
Boating education and safety courses
Both the Coastguard Auxillary and the FWC provide excellent Boat Education and Safety Courses, locally and online. Your insurance company may also give you a discount if you complete one of these courses.
Useful contacts - download page
The NOAA provide a useful contacts list which can be downloaded from the pdf link below. To be sure of the most up-to-date numbers use the link below on the left to periodically download an updated list.
This website was produced by the Blue Crab Key Homeowners Association