Terms - Palm Bch. - Broward - Dade - Monroe
In South Florida the combination of boat and trailer opens up a vast array of recreational choices. From my home in west Broward, in about 2 hours or less, I can reach the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Key Biscayne, or Flamingo Park. The Keys, 10,000 Islands and Naples take just a little longer. (See Map)
Trailered boats today range from canoes, kayaks and wave-runners on one end, up to 30' plus offshore cruising and fishing machines. The recreational activities available are at least as varied as the watercraft used.
The one problem we often have after we have selected an activity and location is finding a way to make boat and water meet. There are marinas and public boat ramps throughout South Florida, but there is no one good source of information about where to find them and what conditions you can expect once you get there.
Well, with the addition of this page, there still isn't "one good source", but I will try to offer some of the information I have been able to gather. Remember, I have a small boat and limited experience. What looks OK to me might be totally unacceptable to another person with more boat or more sense.
Most of these sites are public access boat ramps as opposed to private marinas. The exceptions are mostly marinas operated as part of a public park. There is no hard rule about this, they just happen to be the facilities I know the most about.
The information here is from personal experience, published reports or word of mouth from persons I consider reasonably reliable. I will also consider adding information E-Mailed to me by people who read this page. At one time or another, I have at least seen most of these ramps and have used several of them. Information such as fees and hours of operation tend to change too often for me to attempt to keep current. For that reason I will usually not list them, except to note that they exist or where they seem so unusual as to effect your decision to use the facility.
...and a little help from the Florida Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission. Freshwater Boat Ramps In addition to ramps statewide, this site includes: Boat Ramp Maps, Boat Launching Suggestions, Boating Safety Tips, Rules of the Road and much more boating information.
For each ramp I will try to give at least it's Location, the Waterway served and it's general Condition. Again, I will try to Note special features such as fees, hours of operation, restrooms and bait shops or unusual conditions where I can. None of these listings will address the suitability of a ramp for a specific watercraft or the suitability of a particular waterway for specific recreational activities. I wouldn't want to scuba dive in the Everglades or paddle a canoe across Port Everglades, but that doesn't mean nobody else would.
GPS: New for the summer of 1998! A little extra help finding the ramp from the highway or the waterway. The first field is a 6 character waypoint name followed by Latitude (N) and Longitude (W) in decimal degrees (ddd.ddddd). Here is the GPS waypoints file for Garmin/Waypoint+ users sf-ramps.wpt. It contains waypoints for all of the ramps and uses the same names as the list.
I have taken snapshots of the ramps listed for SE Florida that I had ready access to and posted them here. The first set was taken when Bobbie and I took a long weekend in the Keys and continued through most of 1996. The Camera icon at the end of a listing will identify which ramps have photos available. Just click on the camera to see a picture of that ramp. Click your "Back" icon to return to this list. I hope this will give you a better idea of what to expect before starting out for a new ramp. (As you can imagine, the process of visiting each ramp, taking pictures, getting the film developed, scanning the pictures and creating the links is a little time consuming and gets expensive. Now that the set is pretty much complete, I will only update the descriptions and pictures when I find that there have been changes. I will update the "Checked on" info when I re-visit or use a ramp to give some indication of how current the information is.)
Checked mm/yy The date I last visited or used this ramp since I started this list in Oct. '95.
The condition of the ramp is obviously the most subjective item. I will usually use Good or Poor to describe the condition of most ramps. Ramps rated either Good or Poor should be usable by persons with a reasonable amount of experience, but you will want to very carefully inspect a Poor site to see if it meets all of your needs. If I consider a ramp Unusable, I either will not list it at all or give specific reasons for my decision.
There are a few ramps that may receive a Very Good. They are usually associated with parks and have extended facilities associated with them. Most of these features may be of more interest to the family boater than to the dedicated fisherman. An Excellent rating would probably include valet launching and a free wash-down on return. If I ever find one I may, or may not list it here.
If I only know of the location of a ramp, but have absolutely no information about its condition I will give it a Don't Know for condition. It's existence may be as questionable as its condition depending on my source.
In making my judgment about the condition of a site I am considering factors such and the ramp's physical size and condition, access to the ramp, docks, parking, maintenance and security. All of these things are lumped together in how comfortable I feel setting out from home to use this site to launch my boat. This decision may be based on my personal observations and experience, or sometimes only on second-hand information that I have not had a chance to verify. All of the factors above can be expected to change with time. Other factors such as wind, tide and boat traffic can change very rapidly and be much more important in the decision to actually launch or not. No opinion given here should ever be substituted for your own personal judgment!
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Last modified on 04/15/2000.