Sarasota’s New Mooring Field

This Florida Gulf Coast city has laid out the welcome mat for cruisers.

Marina Jack Sarasota mooring field

Janis Frawley

The City of Sarasota, on Florida's Gulf Coast, has laid out the welcome mat for cruisers by opening a new 99-acre designated, engineered mooring field, which wraps around the beautiful downtown Bayfront Park/Marina Jack complex. The city, which leases the deep-water harbor from the state, has 35 of the planned 109 mooring balls ready for sailors looking for an easy-access, extra-fun port-of-call.

Operated and managed by Marina Jack, long-term, daily, and monthly rates are offered for up to 60-footers that have proof of vessel registration, insurance, and a signed mooring agreement. It works like this: radio ahead (VHF 16/71, 7 am-7 pm daily), steer off Sarasota Bay's Intracoastal Waterway, between markers 8A and 10, tie up at the fuel dock and register with the harbormaster, who assigns a numbered mooring ball. If needed, direction in securing the mooring line will be provided. After hours? Tie up to a ball and check in the next morning.

Rates are reasonable (daily fees start at $18 for up to 29 feet.) and include marina amenities, a mooring staff providing patrol and assistance, gas/diesel dock, ship's store, pump out vessel, temporary use of a slip for loading/repairs, a floating dinghy dock (at H dock) and a dinghy beach (O'Leary's Tiki Bar and Grill), shower/restrooms, trash/recycling, potable water, mail services, laundry facilities, WiFi, restaurants, and scheduled for March, a free launch to take boaters to and from the marina.

Plus, the mooring field is only a short stroll to Sarasota art galleries, sidewalk cafes, bakeries and bars, entertainment from live theater and opera to movies and music, a Saturday morning farmers' market, Whole Foods, a library, churches and banks, renowned Selby Botanical Gardens, and buses to Lido Beach and fashionable St. Armands Circle.

“You can stay for a day or indefinitely,” Dockmaster Sam Chavers, Jr. said. “It’s a great place to hang on a mooring!”

Note: A new ordinance only allows anchoring 150 feet outside the mooring field or from any waterfront property.

Info/Rates: Mooring Field Harbormaster: 941-955-9488;