Alternatives to Keeping your Boat in the Backyard!

A variety of excellent boating venues exist in the Ponte Vedra Beach area.  With three bodies of water available for water sports; river, intracoastal and ocean you will see all sorts of opportunities for pleasure, fishing, cruising and racing.  The intracoastal waterway (ICW) connects various rivers. North of Ponte Vedra Beach , the intracoastal waterway intersects the St Johns River which meanders through Jacksonville out to the Atlantic Ocean  and the Jacksonville Sea Buoy (STJ).  South of Ponte Vedra Beach, the intracoastal (ICW) intersects the Matanzas and Tolomato Rivers into Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  Keeping a boat in your backyard?  Then you are looking for homes in Ponte Vedra Beach along the ICW on Roscoe Boulevard or in the boat basin of the community called Marsh Landing.  Further to the north in Jacksonville, is Queens Harbor, which uniquely has a fresh water basin and lock system connecting to the intracoastal out to the ocean.  Also nearby Isle of Palms, a smaller community, with canals that lead out to the intracoastal waterway. There are single family residences along the river and intracoastal waterway that have boat docks and some with deep water in Jacksonville and St. Augustine.

Of the homes in Ponte Vedra Beach along Roscoe with a boat dock, most have lifts. When low tide occurs, the water level in some areas goes as low as mud. This may limit the type and size of boat you can keep in your back yard and where you will be able to live.  However, there are alternatives to keeping your boat in the backyard!

Ponte Vedra Beach resident Sean McKenna, President of Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor, Inc. shared his insights with me about the subject of yachting in our area of Northeast Florida.  Sean commutes a quick 20 minutes south to his office, watching the sunrise over the ocean and the surf pound the sand as he drives along Highway A1A from his home.  Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor is found on the west side of the Francis and Mary Usina Bridge (Vilano Bridge) in St. Augustine, FL.  The ocean views are literally breathtaking when heading eastbound over the bridge. So Sean has it “good” both ways for his commute.

Mr. McKenna said “In Camachee Cove, a yachtsman will find a safe harbor with little current and minimal wave action, and protection from harsh nor’easters and hurricanes”.  This is primarily because of the design of the harbor.  Open to the public, the largest yacht that can be accommodated in the 220 slip marina is 160 feet. Currently, one of the largest, ARETI I, a 127 ft luxury yacht calls Camachee Cove home.

The beauty of Camachee Cove is its proximity to open water, the “ocean”!  The distance to the ocean inlet is 1 nautical mile (nm) to the entrance of the inlet and from there to the St Augustine (STA) Sea Buoy is 2.25 nm with the total trip time to the STA approximately 20 to 25 min. According to Sean, the trip to the open water from someone’s backyard boat slip in the exclusive gated community of Marsh Landing  (approx 16 nm) could take at least 1.5 hours depending on speed.   The best deep sea fishing is out an additional 50nm from the sea buoys into the gulfstream. Additionally, the St. Augustine Yacht Club conducts 23 sailing races both in the ICW and ocean annually which is convenient to the local sailors and attracts sailors from Jacksonville and Daytona Beach, Fl.   Many of the races on Wednesday nights are just outside the Camachee Cove Inlet north of the Vilano Bridge.

Known for their quality of service, McKenna told me a little known fact.  His office functions like a hotel concierge service to boaters.  They help with the coordination of transportation (rental cars, taxi’s, airport shuttles), dry cleaning services, on-shore lodging accommodations, dinner reservations, and more.  Amenities of this full service marina besides gas, pump-out services and dock assistance, include water, electric, cable tv, free wi-fi, a swimming pool, walking distance to fine dining, a bait shop, marine mechanic and repair services, a ships store, sailing school, fishing club,  boater insurance company, and Sea Tow and Tow Boat US services  who also have offices on site.  A major plus is the Publix grocer only 2 miles away for restocking necessities.  One of the most unusual services that he could recall was assisting someone whose dog had died on board.  While most of the amenities are used by transient boaters,  they are also available for the local residents who keep their boats there.  

Camachee Cove Yacht Services to Marsh Landing residents in Ponte Vedra Beach will send a captain to pick up your boat in the back yard for marine repair services, drive it to their location, do the repairs or maintenance and return the boat to your back yard.  

In case your boat is too big for your back yard, or you don’t have a back yard to put your boat, please click on this link for a reference to all area marinas.

Kathleen Floryan, Broker Associate, Ponte Vedra Club Realty, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.