In-the-know boaters on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway or Gulf of Mexico seek out Tarpon Springs, the unique Greek sponging port on Florida’s west coast. East of Anclote Key, a 3-mile, well-marked dredged channel follows the Anclote River to the city.
“The channel’s used by commercial fishing and sponging boats all the time,” says City Marina dockmaster Ted Musnicki. “Boaters should have no problems. However, if you draw over 4 feet, stay in the middle of the channel. Watch the no-wake zones.”
You’ll pass a half-dozen drystack marinas that might have space for transients. Near town, commercial yards and boat repair facilities that line both riverbanks should be able to fill most needs, from canvas work and electronics to prop and engine work.
Tarpon Springs City Marina — (727) 937-9165, www.ctsfl.us/Marina/marina.html — a designated Clean Marina in the Greek shopping, dining and fishing district, offers four transient slips with 10-foot depths, basic amenities, an ATM and visitor center. Daytime tie-up is available and overnight dockage is $1.50 a foot per night. Reservations are suggested.
Tarpon Landing Marina — (727) 937-1100, www.tarponlandingmarina.com — offers transient slips with 5-foot depths at $1.50 a foot per night. Fuel, amenities and Capt’n Jacks restaurant are on site. Slip-holders often walk the half-mile to the Sponge Docks, then take a cab back.
Tarpon Springs Yacht Club — (727) 934-2136, www.tsyc.info — in Tarpon Bayou, a short walk to the Sponge Docks, welcomes members of reciprocating yacht clubs.
Motorized boats are prohibited in Spring Bayou from Nov. 15 to March 31 to protect the manatees. The Alternate U.S. 19 bridge above City Marina and drawbridge above the yacht club limit access.
A trolley circles the city’s attractions hourly, and buses run from downtown to Tarpon Mall’s supermarket. West Marine is a mile away. Rental cars, kayaks and bicycles are available. Several motels and bed and breakfast inns offer shoreside lodgings.
NOAA chart 11411 — Tampa Bay to Port Richey covers the Anclote River, Tarpon Springs and approaches.
Other possible slips
• Anclote Harbors Marina, www.ancloteharbors.com, (727) 934-7616
• Anclote Isles Marina, www.ancloteisles-marina.com, (727) 939-0100
• Anclote Village Marina, www.anclotevillagemarina.com, (727) 937-9737
• Port Tarpon Marina, www.porttarponmarina.com, (727) 937-2200
• Spongeorama, www.spongeorama.com, (727) 365-8793
• Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, www.tarponspringschamber.com, (727) 937-6109
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This article originally appeared in the March 2012 issue.