Key West, FL Weather, Tides, Events, and Local Information
Key West in Monroe County is the southernmost city in the contiguous U.S. Additionally, it is the most western island connected to the Florida Keys by highway. The area is home to Naval Air Station Key West, which is a year round training site due to its tropical weather. Popular destinations in the city include Old Town, the southernmost point in the U.S. and Casa Marina. The port of Key West is also a popular stop for many cruise ships. Due to its proximity to Cuba, there is also a strong Cuban presence in Key West.
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Boating in Key West, FL Map View
Berths, electricity, water, ice, and some marine supplies are available at Key West. Gasoline and diesel fuel are available in Garrison Bight and Key West Bight. A pumpout facility is at a marina in the southwestern part of Key West Bight. Hull, engine, electrical, and electronic repairs can be made. Small craft berths are available at several marinas in Key West Bight, in Garrison Bight at the Municipal Marina or at Key West Yacht Club, which are at the southwest and eastern ends of the bight, respectively. A causeway across the southwestern part of Garrison Bight has a small-craft opening. The highway bridge over the opening has a 44-foot fixed span with a clearance of 19 feet at the center. An overhead power cable crossing the northern part of Garrison Bight and the entrance has a clearance of 50 feet over the entrance and 34 feet elsewhere. Anchoring or mooring in Garrison Bight, except in an emergency or as a shelter during bad weather, is not permitted. Public small-boat ramps are in Garrison Bight, at the foot of Simonton Street, and at the south end of Bertha Street.
Click the “Map View” button above to see a chart of this harbor.
Key West Harbor is 134 miles and 151 miles southwestward of Miami Harbor via the inside and coastwise routes, respectively. The harbor proper lies in front of the city of Key West, protected on the eastern side by the island and on the other sides by reefs, sand flats, and by Wisteria Island and Tank Island. The harbor is entered through breaks in the reef by several principal channels with depths of 13 to 34 feet, and by several minor channels.
Sand Key Light (24°27’14″N., 81°52’39″W.), 109 feet above the water, is shown from a white, square, pyramidal, skeleton tower enclosing a stair cylinder and square dwelling.
The Main Ship Channel is the only deep-draft approach to Key West. Federal project depth is 34 feet from the Straits of Florida to a turning basin off the Naval Air Station Truman Annex Mole and inside the annex basin, thence 30 feet to an upper turning basin off Key West Bight, and thence 12 feet to and including a turning basin in the bight. The channel from the entrance to the upper turning basin is marked by lighted ranges and other aids to navigation. Spoil areas are W of the channel.
Northwest Channel is a medium-draft passage between Key West Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. In 2002, the midchannel controlling depth was 10 feet. Vessels can pass directly across the reefs from the Gulf to the Straits of Florida by way of Northwest Channel and Main Ship Channel. The Gulf end of the channel is shifting westward.
The jetties on either side of the Gulf entrance to Northwest Channel are 0.3 to 0.5 mile from the centerline of the channel, and only the outer part of the east jetty shows above low water. The northwest end of the jetty is marked by a light. The channel is marked by a 166° lighted range, daybeacons, and lighted and unlighted buoys. The pilings and skeletal structure of a former lighthouse are about 0.3 mile southwestward of the south end of the west jetty.
Smith Shoal about 4.5 miles northward of the northern entrance to Northwest Channel, is covered 11 feet and marked on its northeast end by Smith Shoal Light (24°43’06″N., 81°55’18″W.). The light also marks the northern approach to the channel and is shown 54 feet above the water from a small black house on a white, hexagonal, pyramidal skeleton tower on piles. A relatively flat-topped coral head, covered by a least depth of 11 feet, is about 3.3 miles west-southwestward of the light.
Southwest Channel, a convenient approach to Key West from southwestward, has been swept to a depth of 23 feet and is marked by buoys. In 1961, this depth was confirmed for midchannel. A general course following the aids leads to the outer anchorage and Main Ship Channel. Strangers should not attempt passage at night.
West Channel, a passage leading westward from Key West between the keys and outer reefs, is deep but unmarked. It is used by shrimp boats and small craft bound toward the Dry Tortugas. Local knowledge is advised.
Calda Channel leads northward from Man of War Harbor to the open waters of the Gulf. The channel is narrow and crooked, but is well marked by daybeacons and a light at the northerly end. In 1983, the controlling depth was reported to be 3 feet, except for shoaling close to the aids marking the channel. In 1992, severe shoaling was reported to extend into the channel between Daybeacon 6 and Daybeacon 8. The channel should be used only with local knowledge and during good visibility.
Garrison Bight Channel, a well marked dredged channel, leads from Man of War Harbor around the north end of Fleming Key, thence south for about 1.8 miles, thence east to Trumbo Point, thence into a turning basin just inside the entrance of Garrison Bight. In 2009, the controlling depth was 2.8 feet (4.7 feet at midchannel) in the channel; thence in 2001-2009, 8 feet in the turning basin. An overhead power cable crosses the entrance and the northerly part of the bight; clearances are 50 feet at the entrance and 34 feet elsewhere. Mariners are advised to use caution when approaching the overhead power cable because high voltage arcing is reported to occur between the powerline and sailboat masts. A privately dredged channel leads from the turning basin to a basin in the southwesterly part of the bight. In 1983, the privately dredged channel had a reported controlling depth of 5 feet. In 1983, the channel was reported to be shifting; local knowledge is advised. A causeway bridge, with a 44-foot span and a clearance of 19 feet, crosses the southwesterly part of the bight.
Garrison Bight can also be reached via an unmarked channel, locally known as Fleming Key Cut, which leads from Man of War Harbor eastward between Fleming Key and the north shore of Key West to the junction with Garrison Bight Channel at Trumbo Point. A depth of about 6 feet can be carried to the junction. Fleming Key Cut is reported to have very strong tidal currents and is not recommended for low-powered vessels. The channel is crossed by a 42-foot fixed span highway bridge with a clearance of 18 feet which connects Fleming Key with Key West.