Post by Adrian Mott - Published on 3/2/18, 8:00 AM
Whether you’ve found yourself in Florida after a trip down the ICW or you call the Sunshine State your home, when you're boating in Florida, the Bahamas beckons.
Where the flat, sandy, gorgeous and mostly-deserted beaches meet the most beautiful tranquil blue water you’ve ever seen, the Bahamas is truly an island paradise. We'll take you through some of the key things to know before you go, and when you're ready to book your floatplan, click here to explore and reserve at Bahamian marinas.
If you’re not a boater, the Bahamas can be a difficult destination to reach – even more so if you’re interested in exploring the more remote spots in the islands, which offer some of the most scenic beaches and welcoming amenities.
Boaters who cruise across the Gulf Stream are treated to a tactically demanding but quick passage from Florida’s Atlantic Coast to the nearest of The Bahamas islands: Bimini and Grand Bahama (specifically the town of West End).
Crossing the Gulf Stream from Florida is not to be underestimated. Strong current from the Gulf Stream can wreak havoc on your navigation, and weather from the Atlantic can seemingly come out of nowhere.
If you’re planning to make the crossing, make sure that you prepare your gear by following somehelpful tipsfrom our friends at BoatUS.
When making the crossing, there are three main things to consider: the speed of your boat (obviously include the wind speed if under sail), the Gulf Stream current that will be affecting your navigation, and the weather.
If you’re in a powerboat that can do 15-20 knots, you should be able to reach Bimini or West End in just a few hours with only minor adjustments to account for the Gulf Stream current. Make sure that the GPS on board is in good working order, so that you can get back on course if the current throws you off.
If you’re sailing, cross the Gulf Stream on a day that has good weather and a fairly steady breeze so you can get to the islands in good time and on schedule. School of Sailing published a great piece on navigating current in the Straits of Floridahere.
Once you get to the Bahamas, marinas are the safest spots to spend your nights (click here to read about a few of our favorites), and many marinas have restaurants and grocery stores on site so you don't need to provision as extesnively for the crossing. Enjoy the comfort of the marinas, and then hop off the boat to explore the beauty of the islands!