This article is a guide to sailing south from Port Everglades through Government Cut to Dinner Key Marina. It is based on a recent delivery of a yacht.
Note: Unless you have less than 55′ bridge clearance, you must go offshore. The Julia Tuttle fixed overpass is a special limiting factor on the SE Florida ICW.
Caution: Watch your weather. Making this trip in the winter months can be uncomfortable as nor’easters routinely come through, buck the Gulf Stream, and generate heavy chop. In the summer months, low pressure tropical storms can lead to subpar weather conditions.
Starting at the Port Everglades sea buoy, you have about 25 nautical miles to Government Cut and 10 more nautical miles to Dinner Key. There are relatively few navigational hazards along the coast. The north side of Port Everglades is notoriously shallow but the south side is less so. You’ll pass by Hollywood beaches, then Hallendale, North Miami, and Sunny Isles. The only cut, albeit with a low 32-foot fixed bridge, is Haulover Inlet.
South of Haulover are the Bay Habor Islands and Miami Beach. Finally you’ll see the jetties of Government Cut. Make sure to follow the navigational markers and avoid the northside rocks. Once you enter, you will go southward around Dodge Island. Navigation on the northside is restricted. Stay in the center of the channel which hugs close to Dodge Island where the shipping docks are. Swanky Fisher Island is on your southside.
Once past Fisher Island, continue on in the channel towards downtown Miami and the mouth of the Miami River. You’ll see Rickenbacker Causeways to the south across a large stretch of shoal water. Once you pass the last marker to the entrance of the Miami River, you will join the outgoing river yachts and head south along them. To the north is access to Bayside Marina / Miamarina where the yearly Strictly Sail Miami Show takes place.
Keep heading south in the ICW waterway with the yellow square markers – green to sea, red to dirt. You will pass underneath the Rickenbacker Causeway and head about 210 degrees southwestward toward the entrance to the Dinner Key Marina channel. Enter this channel ( red right returning ), and you will arrive shortly in the basin.