Navigation, Canal Depths and Other Considerations
Punta Gorda Isles is Punta Gorda’s premier waterfront community with perfect access to Charlotte Harbor and a short boat ride to the Gulf of Mexico. The isles are located on a deep water canal system that provides quick access to Charlotte Harbor. There are plenty of sailboat waterfront homes with no bridges to pass under which offer the safety of a protected harbor in their canal front setting. Be sure to know that homes listed in our local MLS database that are referred to as SAILBOAT WATERFRONT or NO BRIDGES OUT only refers to the absence of bridges and does not address water depth. Many homes in Charlotte County Florida are advertised as a SAILBOAT WATERFONT HOME but do not have the water depth to support a sailboat unless it has a retractable keel. Be sure to Call the Captain at 941-628-8040 to consult on any waterfront home and associated canal depth.
There are 4 distinct sailboat waterfront areas in Punta Gorda Isles. The first major dividing line in the neighborhood which establishes a sailboat waterfront boundary is the road known as West Marion which runs east to west. The homes to the north are known as the OLD SAILBOAT SECTION OR ORIGINAL SAILBOAT SECTION. The homes in this area have the deepest canal system with the shortest boat ride out, in the order of literally staring at the open harbor from your dock to 5-10 minutes boat ride time. Canal depths are reportedly maintained by the City of Punta Gorda to a minimum of 6 feet in depth at mean low tide. As in all waterway systems there will be variations.
The canal depths themselves are quite deep averaging 8-15 feet with the exit canals being the place requiring more dredging to maintain as shoaling is more likely to occur there. I was told by the skipper of a tour boat during the Christmas canal tours (where homes decorate the back of their houses and parades of well decorated boats go by) that even in December with strong northeast winds, his boat never touches bottom with a draft of 6 feet and he travels many of the canals in the old sailboat section. Please check out Canal Depths in Punta Gorda Isles on the home page or click here to view my personal depth soundings taken in these canals. Boat Ride Times were taken by me personally as a matter of convenience for my customers and can be found by clicking here or going to the home page.
The second sailboat waterfront home section in Punta Gorda Isles is bounded by 2 streets and Ponce de Leon Inlet: namely West Marion Ave. (north boundary) and Coronado Blvd. (east boundary) and the Ponce de Leon channel as the south boundary and exit canal system. This canal system is maintained by the City of Punta Gorda to a mean low tide depth of 6 feet Mean Low Water (MLW). Periodic dredgings are necessary to maintain this depth and the prudent mariner will monitor their depth finder on the first few passes to understand the bottom contours. The canal systems themselves are plenty deep with some canals hitting 20 feet of water. Many sailors with vessels drafting more than 6 feet live here and understand channel variations and tides to use their boats most of the year. One customer I sold a house to owns a 47’ Catalina which draws a bit more than 7 feet. Watching the tides coming and going this family reported not having any problems! Most homes will have plenty of water at dockside but a private dredge can be facilitated for a very reasonable fee if you need more draft for your sailboat. Contact me for the name of a local marine contractor however I have an idea of what a dredge might cost you, if necessary.
The third section of Punta Gorda Isles is the stretch of neighborhood to the south of the Ponce de Leon channel with a northern boundary of Aqui Esta Blvd. and Bal Harbor Blvd. providing the eastern most boundary. This area of Punta Gorda Isles exits out of Ponce de Leon inlet. The Ponce de Leon channel system is maintained by the City of Punta Gorda with a goal of 6 feet MLW.
The fourth section of Punta Gorda Isles that boasts Sailboat Water is locally known as the BIRD SECTION. Every street in this area is named after a bird, some of which you may never have heard of! This area is bounded by Bal Harbor Blvd. to the west, Rio Villa Drive to the south, Aqui Esta Blvd. to the north and generally speaking, inland of Tamiami Trail to the east with the exit out of Ponce De Leon channel. Ponce de Leon is maintained by the City of Punta Gorda with guidance from the DEP, Fish & Wildlife Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers. Local dredging companies handle the actual dredging with a target depth of 6 feet MLW. The canal systems themselves are very deep with 10-20 feet common place. There is a main canal system known as the RIM CANAL which runs adjacent to the protected mangrove sanctuary that borders Charlotte Harbor. Most homes in the bird section utilize the rim canal to access the Ponce channel from their prospective canals. Homes in the bird section can have boat ride times from 15-20 minutes up to 1 hour in locations next to Aqui Esta Blvd. to the north.
Don’t be fooled when studying the charts of Charlotte Harbor or when looking at aerial views. There is only one SAILBOAT exit out of this canal system and this is the Ponce de Leon channel. There is an old channel that is blocked off which is about half way down the rim canal. Accessible by kayak as a way out and was originally used to tow barge material out to open water during the dredging process in the creation of these canals.
There is Another Option to get out to open water for the power boater from the bird section that is Much Quicker! Local waterfront residents take a meandering creek branch that is located at the south western corner of the bird section that will take you quickly into Alligator Creek. Boaters love having this quick accessibility for fishing trips, easy boat rides and trips to waterfront restaurants. Most of the year there will be enough water for a 22’ shallow draft bay boat to get out. I have heard of one neighbor that operates a 24’ bay boat that uses this way to come and go all the time.
About Punta Gorda Isles: In Punta Gorda Isles you will find well-built exquisitely designed homes constructed using top-shelf materials with a Florida style set in lush tropical landscaping. A private golf course is located within Punta Gorda Isles (PGI) named St. Andrews Golf Club. The Yacht Club is new and modern and boasts a fabulous clubhouse, docking facilities, fuel and services. The atmosphere at the yacht club is wonderful and the food is exceptional. SAILBOAT Waterfront home prices start at $250,000 and condo’s start around $100,000. Luxurious homes well over 1 million dollars are mixed in quite nicely throughout the neighborhood. With only 5 minutes to any type of modern amenity, the location is second to none.
PGI is a deed-restricted community with city water and sewers. All the canal lots have concrete seawalls and most have docks. The seawalls and canals are maintained by the city which is an extra perk for the home owner. PGI is a well-manicured, upscale community with happy people living the waterfront lifestyle.
The canal system was designed to provide the vast majority of home sites with unobstructed boating access. All types of boaters will find the perfect location. The canal systems are full of fish and crabs and catching dinner off your dock is pretty much a guarantee. Many homes have unobstructed access out with no bridges to the harbor. There are still many lots available and new homes are typically custom built. This is not a stamped out community but holds great character and charm with each house reflecting the sub-tropical environment and the tastes of the home owner. This is truly a boaters paradise.