Catamaran Sailors and Power Boaters share the love for their style of vessel and are a unique bunch in the overall scheme of the boating world. When it comes to finding a waterfront home for their vessel beam often becomes a bigger consideration than draft. Punta Gorda is one of the few locations in southwest Florida where there are sailboat friendly homes and land that meet the demands of beam in draft. With that comes some local guidelines that govern how far a vessel may enter the navigation range of the canal system.
Punta Gorda and the city itself have guidelines in place that are loosely enforced as to how far your vessel can enter the canal when moored. The first consideration when looking for a home is to know which canal systems will accommodate which sailboats. Water depth concerns are a lesser concern for sailors in Punta Gorda Isles or Burnt Store Isles especially for a catamaran or tri-maran hull. Generally, 6 feet mean low water is the mitigating water depths but having sufficient canal width without entering the navigable area of the canal center is the real concern.
The general rule of thumb (not always) is that 50% of the canal system must be open for navigation. There are many different canal scenarios that sometimes bring in a city guideline to be aware of but this is the golden rule. So, with a 100 foot wide canal which is quite typical in Punta Gorda you can protrude into the canal 25 feet from the seawall. This includes the dock and vessel.
As an example lets look at a home buyer I worked with that was purchasing a Lagoon 46 with a 4’ maximum draft and 26’ of beam. With a dock of 5’ to 10’ wide you can see that you will need an especially wide canal system to accommodate your catamaran sailing vessel in Punta Gorda waters. Rest assured there are plenty of locations to accommodate this type of vessel. If you have a 5 foot dock and a 26 foot beam you are at 31 feet of protrusion from seawalls edge.
So, if you were considering a home on a particular street I would first look at an aerial view. I have the ability to measure canal widths which is easily done and fairly accurate. By example, if you were looking at a sailboat water front home on Suzi Street in Punta Gorda Isles, I measured this at 112 feet wide. Divide 112 by 4 which gives you 28 feet from seawall to canal center which would be 3 feet over the standard rule of 25% for a Lagoon 46. Is anyone really keeping an eye on such things? I don’t think so and have never heard of anyone measuring for a few feet. In fact, one customer that bought a Lagoon 40 with 22 feet of beam on a standard canal and put it behind his house entering the center more than the standard distance. He called the city to see if there would be problems and got bounced around from many departments with no one willing to take ownership on his questions and concerns about his vessel entering the canal. They verified the city guidelines that were in place but it appeared they never get that question and my customer decided there was nothing to worry about and that was the end of it. I am not suggesting putting caution into the wind but we usually can find a home for your boat and you that fits the bill without worry.
Many canal systems have wide and standard widths such as Osprey Street has 130’ of width in some locations or Ryan with 200’ in some locations. Trawlers and Sportfisherman also have to consider the canal systems when looking for a house and I can help you make the right decision.