Big Pass/Otter Key - Florida Sea Grant

Anchorage Inventory
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Big Pass/Otter Key

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Site ratings
Storm protection: good
Bottom holding: poor
Scenic beauty: fair
Tranquility: poor
Overall site rating: medium
Recreational characteristics
Activites: fishing
Overall site rating: low
Shoreside profile
Natural: no
Public access: no
Commercial access: no
100% private: yes
High Use or "Popular"
Low use (ie, "undiscovered"): no
Small craft and water sports: no
Anchoring: yes
Size: small

The following extra downloads are available:

  • Minimum approach depth: 6 ft.

  • Depth In anchorage: 9-13 ft.

  • Latitude: 27 18.8' N

  • Longitude: 82 34.3' W

  • (use Chart 11425 for navigation)

  • 4.0 statute miles from Roberts Bay, 3.3 statute miles to Sarasota/ Island Park.

Approximately I mile southwest of ICW green 7, near marker 15A in Big Sarasota Pass, a broad channel breaks off to the north/northwest between Bird Key to the east and the shoals outlining Otter, St. Armand's and Lido keys to the west.
While fairly well marked, this channel and its offshoot into the Otter Key anchorage require caution.
For best depths, cut north some 100 yards southwest of marker 16 on the Big Sarasota Pass channel and point to come abeam of the first aid on the Sarasota Yacht Club channel, marker 2, by about 20 yards to its west/southwestern side. Once abeam of 2, stay about 25 yards to port of subsequent marks.
About halfway between markers 4 and 6, a small 6 foot deep channel with shallow sea grass beds on both sides makes off to the west just south of Otter Key, then opens out into a deep pool.
Turn into this channel, keeping the manatee sign and small piling to starboard. Head for the comer of the bulkheaded shoreline, then, when about 50 feet from the comer, turn northwest into correctly charted 9-13 foot waters and drop the hook. This anchorage appears to provide excellent shelter from all winds, but the holding is tenuous on a dredged bottom of mud and silt.
There is plenty of swing room for even the largest pleasure craft, but the narrow entrance channel could be difficult for boats exceeding 45 feet.
The banks of Otter Key are undeveloped, but the shore of Lido Key is lined with sumptuous homes, private docks and sensitive residents. Best behavior is advised.
Shoals prevent further passage around the northern tip of Otter Key, and a 7 foot fixed bridge blocks the channel to the west. The way out is the way in.

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