BR to Bahamas

Discussion in 'Sport Boats' started by Woody, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. surfinjoe

    surfinjoe New Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    220 Sundeck 2007
    350 MAG w/Bravo III
    There were 40-50 boats near me so I was not that worried being 3 miles out. It was a calm day and everyone wanted to get out and enjoy the open water. Once you loose sight of land & other boats, you are on your own. It is important to be prepared!

  2. sprink56

    sprink56 New Member

    Oct 28, 2008
    West Palm Beach, Fl
    1979 255 Liberator
    twin Mercruiser 450 HP I/O on Bravo I Drives
    I have been boating in South Florida for over 30 years. Living here makes it easier and tempting to make the crossing to the islands and eventually many of us "hardcore" types make the trip. I have the following to offer.

    My first boat, a 18' Formula I/O made the trip several times. I never did it with less than 2: other boats and we always picked the weather window with 2~ 4 ft seas or less. The best time of year for a crossing is during the summer months when the weather is more agreeable. I have however crossed in January or February on the right day. I had the expierience of taking squall waves over the bow & windshield and learned quickly that the "prudent" captain always keeps a 5 gallon bucket on board for bailing.:thumbsup:

    My second boat was a 24 ft. Formula with a single 260 HP I/O. It was a great boat for the open ocean and with 135 gallon tank it had the range to go to West End and back (from West Palm). It also had a self bailing cockpit with scuppers thru the transom to quickly drain water that would come over the bow or the stern. I also learned with this boat the proper use of a sea anchor in following seas.:smt101

    The third boat I crossed with was a 27' Formula with twin 320 HP I/O's. That boat would "cruise" at 60 MPH in 2~4 ft. seas and I could do the Ft. Lauderdale to Bimini trip in less than an hour.:grin:

    The weather is your No. 1 concern. Never push the limits of your equipment and most Sea Ray boats that I have been on are not designed for heavy offshore travel. This is a function of the bottom shape as well as the general layout/hardware configuration. Please don't mis-understand this statement...Sea Ray's are very sea worthy, safe and capable boats...they are not designed for crossing the Gulfstream in 4-6 ft seas. That being said, I plan to purchase one soon and will make occasional crossings to the Bahamas...I will however always watch the weather closely and travel with other boats. I will also be mindful that I am not piloting a Bertram, Hateras or even a deep v Formula.

    Another 2: factors to concern yourself with are communication and navigation. I don't leave the dock without a good VHF radio. Also, know how to navigate using a compass and a chart. Electronics (GPS) can and do fail...if you don't know how to read a chart and have a good "compensated" compass on board when that GPS takes a dump you could be in real trouble. There have been a few mariners who left Florida headed for the Bahamas and missed, ran out of fuel and were found days later in the Gulfstream half way to Bermuda.

    So the question is can a safe crosing be made in a bow rider? My answer is yes...IF the seas are calm, the skies are fair and you use good sense. The open bow can work against you but if you are smart and the weather is on your side it can be done...but is this more of a survival mission than a pleasure trip? Is it worth it? Maybe...but be safe.

    Hell...if a 16 year old boy can circle the globe alone in a 24' sailboat (The Dove), then a smart Sea Ray captain can cross 65 miles of open ocean on a calm day in a bowrider!!:smt038
  3. wish2fish

    wish2fish Active Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    Locust Creek, Ohio River mm 433
    2003 220BR
    5.0 MPI
    Gary will love this one! This was just posted on a pontoon site I visit. The guy is from Canada and he has no experience on the ocean. Think it is a younger person? maybe 18-21 years old?

    Could you take a pontoon from Florida to the Bahamas.If you can what size of Pontoon and motor.How long would it take to get there.This will have a bering on what I buy.I don't like to fly and Florida is only a full days drive away.My thought is find a marina where I can park truck and trailer.Go for a week or 2 to the Bahamas and head back.Any info on this would be great and thanks.
  4. surfinjoe

    surfinjoe New Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    220 Sundeck 2007
    350 MAG w/Bravo III
    I love your vote of confidence for us BR's. I will be trailering my 220 SD to Singer Island this Thanksgiving, but won't be making the trip to the Bahamas. I will spend most of my time on Peanut Island. Hope the weather cooperates with us this time. Two years ago, I took my 180 sport down there for Thanksgiving and it was cold (mid 60's). In fact, it was warmer in Michigan than Florida....I was like WTF. We did have a couple of days that crept into the 70's by mid afternoon. I can't wait for this trip :)

  5. islandhopper00

    islandhopper00 Active Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    Lake Norman (Denver) NC
    240 Sundancer
    5.0L 260hp, BIII outdrive

    First off I grew up in Florida. I've already said it before. For you people who can't imagine that it can be done, guess ya'll haven't lived in Florida. I won't say herds of people do, but there are plenty that have. They just wouldn't post on here that they did, because they would be targeted for name calling.
    I still wouldn't do it myself either, and I'm not saying that because I fear someone calling me names, but I am guilty of crossing in small cc's.
    What your reading here is a honest responce from a member whom probably hasn't been flamed for it...yet!
    I guess what I'm trying to relay is, just because you can't imagine it, doesn't mean it can't or doesn't happen.
    Take it for what it is.
  6. berth control

    berth control New Member

    Nov 16, 2008
    Saugatuck, MI
    1985 270 Sundancer
    3.7 liter Mercruisers
    I agree with you Islandhopper. The trip can be made in a 10' canoe on the right day. I crossed Lake Michigan twice in a bowrider, the first was a 16 footer and the second time was a 23. It is 90 miles to cross where I live, so it can be done. You just need to be VERY careful of the weather, have the proper safety gear, and should cross in a group if possible. I am not saying it's safe, and you can sink, but it can be done.
  7. unlvrebel

    unlvrebel New Member

    Mar 24, 2008
    Clearwater, FL
    2005 220 Sundeck
    2002 Dodge Durango 5.9L
    5.0 Merc
    I LOVE this thread!!!
  8. ray306

    ray306 New Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Hollywood, Fl
    sundancer 350 1990
    502 mpi
    Can it do done? yes
    Would I do it? not in that size boat!

    I have made a few trips to the Bahamas but in a 35' Sea Ray. Last summer my son and a buddy took my flats boat out in the Ocean. They were fishing for swordfish and when they turned back they were within sight of the Bimini chain (call it at least 30 miles off Ft. Lauderdale). For those of you who don't know what a flats boat is the gunwale is about 12 inches off the water and it is open all the way around. On that particular the water was like glass and they made it back safely. I think those types of trips are for the very young. Clearly the flats boat no longer goes into the Ocean.
    Yes that is a sailfish caught miles offshore in a flats boat.

    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009

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