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Boating in Florida

West End  
Onto the Bank  
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The Biminis

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West End

The little town of West End is the closest landfall on Grand Bahama Island from the Palm Beach County Inlets (Jupiter, Lake Worth, Boynton, Boca Raton) and is a quick trip in most boats.

Looking SE into the entrance of the harbor
at West End, against an early morning sun.
Latitude  26 42.3    Longitude  078 59.8

The old Jack Tar Marina has been taken over by new ownership who completely renovated it, and renamed it Old Bahama Bay.

Navigational Changes

The previous commercial entrance from the ocean is now the only entrance, eliminating the tricky trip around to the north side. This makes it an excellent day or night port to make landfall.

Note the jetty light is low and to the left of center, at the end of the north jetty. Left of the entrance and to the rear is a 200 foot TV/telephone tower, conspicously marked at night (most of the time). The construction crane seen at the right of the entrance, to the rear, moves regularly and is not a reliable landmark.

Completely new, albeit pricey, marina and landside facilities have been built (see sidebar). The fuel dock and the pink Customs and Immigration building remain where they were, on the south side of the marina, with the plan being to build new facilites for them at a later date.

Note Well!

Indian Key Light is NOT a channel marker.

Indian Key Light, about a mile north of West End, is awash at low tide, and the area around it in all directions is shallow as well. Watch your depth and stand well off to the west. If making for Indian Key Pass, do not make the turn NE until you have found the initial unlit marker and have it on the correct heading. (see Onto the Bank on the menu). The pass is just north of this light and its marks are not lit.




Jupiter110 mag60.3 nm
Lake Worth099 mag56.1 nm
Boynton087 mag57.4 nm
Boca Raton074 mag62.2 nm

Old Bahama Bay

After months of construction, with more to come, Old Bahama Bay opened for business in May, 2001. For a boater they offer:

  • 72 slips with water and electricity.
       Oct-Mar $2.05/ft minimum 35 ft.
       Apr-Sep $2.35/ft minimum 35 ft.
  • Diesel and gasoline fuel dock.
  • 24 hour token operated landromat.
  • Beachside kitchenette resort units.
    ($350-$565/day, with tax and surcharges)
  • Oceanfront pool and lounge.
  • Well appointed Dockside Grille with
    international and local cousine.
  • Botique Shop, Golf Driving Range, Pool.
  • Taxi and bus service to Freeport.
  • Planned 150 acre residential community.
  • 1 acre canal and oceanfront homesites,
    with prices from $250K - $550K.

U.S. phone         800 444-9469
Bahamas phone  242 350-6500


West End is an excellent landfall location to clear customs, refuel, or just take a break on the way in to the Bahamas. Customs opens a 9:00 a.m, closes at 5:30 p.m. and are now available 7 days a week without overtime charges. Fuel prices are at least a $1/gal cheaper than at Walker's Cay, so I stop there both coming and going for that reason alone.

The mandantory water and electrical charges make the marina slip prices the highest in the northern Bahamas. Still, it's a good place to plug in the boat if it's big enough to sleep on, for a few days of enjoying the excellent fishing and diving less than a mile away.

The very high room prices will likely discourage the average boater from spending much time there, as reasonable accomodations are available just down the coast at the Freeport and Lucaya areas at 1/3 the price.

No amount of investment will get rid of the no-see-ums that swarm the area every summer evening at sundown. Bring lots of bug spray.