Fort Lauderdale Boating Guide

Fort Lauderdale waterways offer an exciting experience for both locals and visitors. With beautiful year-round weather and calm, clear waters, boating in the South Florida area is the perfect way to escape daily life and enjoy the freedom boating in open waters offers. 

The Greater Fort Lauderdale area has more than 300 miles of waterways awaiting exploration by boat. Boating along these waterways takes you through gorgeous canals that weave in and out of luxurious neighborhoods and out to the scenic New River in the downtown area and along the Intracoastal Waterway.

There is no shortage of places to explore, fish, dock, or drop anchor when boating in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Boating Rules in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Driving a boat requires knowledge of the boating rules and regulations throughout South Florida. Following the rules helps ensure a fun, safe experience exploring the waterways of Fort Lauderdale. Boating rules include:

  • Watercraft must stay 200 yards from the shoreline, except when launching and returning to a designated launch area.
  • Boaters must not anchor or interfere with another boater’s use of the channel area of waterways.
  • Boaters cannot have more than a 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration while operating a watercraft.
  • Boats must be adequately equipped with working lights, safety equipment, and emergency gear.

Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, operating a vessel with ten horsepower or more must complete an online Boaters Safety Course. Those of any age looking to spend a significant time on Fort Lauderdale’s waterways could also benefit from taking this course to learn more about safety regulations.

Marinas in Fort Lauderdale. Florida

Fort Lauderdale has several marinas providing boaters access to gas, restaurants, shopping, and beaches. The Fort Lauderdale Marina is a full-service marina located on the Intracoastal Waterway providing boaters access to restaurants, fuel, and premium boat slips. 

Boaters looking for the finer things when boating will want to check out the Hall of Fame Marina. One of the most beautiful marinas in the area is the Pier 66 Marina, nestled along either side of the 17th Street Causeway Bridge with more than 5,000 linear feet of dockage. 

The Bahia Mar Marina offers private yacht club access and slips, shops, restaurants, and many recreational amenities for boaters.

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Fishing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

South Florida has some fantastic fishing spots, with several colossal fish species just off the shores of the Fort Lauderdale beaches. Anglers come to the area to fish for snook, tarpon, snapper, sailfish, bass, barracuda, sharks, boccia, and king mackerel.

Fort Lauderdale’s waters have more than 100 reefs, which are home to several fish species, including snapper, groupers, and amberjack. The best time to fish near a Florida reef is summer. 

The Intracoastal Waterway is also a great spot to fish, with the best times for fishing in the spring to early summer months. Additionally, the inlets around Fort Lauderdale are home to great fish species, including tarpon and cobia, during the morning and at high tide.

If you are looking for a place to fish where all the big fish hang out, head out to the Gulf Stream, which is only 10 miles from the shores of Fort Lauderdale. The best time to fish in this area is during the spring and summer months, but you can typically find larger fish here all year long.

Finally, one of the most exciting times to go fishing is at night during the summer months, especially when there is a full moon. Those who choose to fish during this time will find more significant activity in levels of fish. Night fishing is the best closer to the piers and other artificial light sources to help increase the chances of catching snapper and grouper.

Those wishing to fish must possess a Florida freshwater or saltwater fishing license to cast a line or catch fish in any local waterways, including offshore fishing.

Best Place to Anchor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Many places in the Fort Lauderdale area offer opportunities to drop anchor for fishing, lounging, or jumping into the water. Lake Sylvia is accessible from the Port Everglades Channel near Bahia Mar, offering a beautiful place to anchor. 

Additionally, the Fort Lauderdale City Mooring Field is located on the southwest side of the Las Olas bridge providing a great place to anchor. Other popular places to anchor in the waters of South Florida include No Name Harbor, Nixon’s Sandbar, Dinner Key Channel, and Hurricane Hole.

When anchoring anywhere in the area, make sure to arrive early because several of these locations are popular and do fill up fast.

Fort Lauderdale is a city with a diverse ecosystem perfect for boating when you know the rules and where to visit. With a Boatsetter boat rental, you can rent a variety of boats to explore Fort Lauderdale with your friends and family.

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