Sarasota/Bayfront Park - Florida Sea Grant

Anchorage Inventory
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Sarasota/Bayfront Park

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

The following extra downloads are available:

  • Minimum approach depth: 8 ft.

  • Depth in anchorage: 8-11 ft.

  • Lat 27 19.8' N

  • Lon 82 32.8' W

  • (use Chart 11425 for navigation)

  • Off mile 73.8 on the ICW: 3.3 statute miles from Big Pass/Otter Key, 3.0 statute miles to New Passi Sands Point, 11.6 statute miles to Long boat Pass/Longbeach.

   Northeast of marker 8A on the Intracoastal Waterway, a deep channel leads to a large marina and restaurant right in front of downtown Sarasota.
   A hook shaped peninsula to the southeast, Bayfront Park, protects the marina. Outside the hook is a broad basin with 8-11 foot depths that contains many private moorings and regularly plays host to dozens of anchored vessels. To enter, veer to the right about 100 yards southwest of the peninsula as you approach the marina.
   The City has forbidden landing dinghies anywhere in the park except at the snack bar/boat rental concession located at the northeasternmost point of the anchorage. There you will also find public rest rooms and telephones. The concessionaire may charge a nominal fee for dinghy landing.
   There is a city ordinance limiting anchoring or mooring to 72 hours, but it has not been enforced. The ordinance also calls for the establishment of an anchorage here for longer stays. A managed anchorage and a mooring field, controlled by a harbormaster, may be established. The bottom is owned by the State, not the city.
   There is plenty of swing room for a] most any craft to drop anchor, with good protection from easterly breezes and some shelter from northerly or southerly winds. The anchorage is open to winds blowing across the ICW from the west and is exposed to storms coming onshore through Big Sarasota Pass to the southwest. Soft mud on the bottom results in only fair holding, so set the anchor firmly and use plenty of scope.
   The shores of Bayfront Park are backed by Sarasota's high-rise downtown skyline. Most groceries and a ship's store require motorized transportation, but the marina inside the hook offers gasoline, fuel, ice, and a pumpout station.
   Downtown Sarasota offers a host of outstanding restaurants and watering holes just a short walk from the anchorage, as well as art galleries, antique shops, live theater, opera and ballet.
   Bayfront Park itself is the site of many events throughout the year, including Fourth of July fireworks and a Christmas boat parade.
   Just south of the anchorage, a short walk along the bay front, is a botanical garden; just north along US 41 is Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, a 2,000 seat auditorium. On the way to Van Wezel is Sarasota Quay, also reachable by water through a narrow channel east of marker 12 (northwest of the Ringling Causeway Bridge), featuring retail shops and half a dozen restaurants.

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