The canal systems in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte comprise of intersecting waterways that lead to the harbor. Some homes are situated on what is known as a “Sailboat Canal” which means that there is no bridge to pass under. It does not guarantee water depth. Homes that have waterways that pass under at least one bridge are known as “Power Boat Canal” homes.
In Punta Gorda one main road in is West Marion which leads from downtown Punta Gorda to Ponce de Leon Park to the west. This road is one dividing line for sailboat homes versus power boat homes. All homes on the north side of West Marion are sailboat homes and this area is considered the “Old Sailboat Section”. Another main road that runs north to south is Bal Harbor Blvd. which intersects with West Marion. Generally speaking the south and east quadrant formed by these two streets is known as the “Power Boat Section”. There are several canals that lead out to the harbor from these homes and they all must pass under West Marion. The BRIDGE HEIGHTS and BRIDGE WIDTHS vary slightly from canal to canal.
I contacted the canal maintenance department in the city of Punta Gorda to get their official response on bridge heights and widths. I am not guaranteeing these numbers but they look fairly accurate based on my travels to and from the canals. If you have a vessel that has a tower or upper station or is extra wide and you are concerned about these constraints you may wish to measure these for yourselves by hiring a captain to take you in to the canals. Here are the numbers I was given based on Mean High Tide. On average our tidal variation is about 2 feet but strong northeasterly winds can cause a very low tide and a strong southern push of wind can increase the tides as well.
Punta Gorda Isles Bridge Heights and Widths
- Bass Inlet (next to Fisherman’s Village)- 13’ 8” Clearance, 28’ Width
- Sailfish Inlet- 13.0’ Clearance, 30’ Width
- Tarpon Inlet- 13’ 6” Clearance, 36’ 3” Width
Port Charlotte Bridge Heights
The major road in to Port Charlotte waterfront homes is Edgewater Drive. Edgewater generally runs east to west and creates a dividing line between sailboat waterfront homes and power boat homes. Boaters leaving from homes on the north side of Edgewater have at least one bridge to go under which is Edgewater Drive. Depending on the canal location there may be one or more bridges to pass under.
I was unable to get an official answer on these bridge heights. Most bridges appear to have an 11 foot clearance and in talking with various home owners they confer on this as a safe number.
Route 41 (Tamiami Trail) and Interstate Rt. 75 Bridge Height
There are waterfront home communities above these bridges along with waterfront homes directly on the Peace River. In general, 45’ is the common number used as a limiting height for sailboat masts leaving from this area. I do not have an official answer from the county at this time but some have indicated 42’ as the magic number (perhaps a sailboater on the conservative side). For powerboaters, the bridge height shouldn’t be an issue. Sailboaters interested in Harbour Heights often must consider this bridge height as the limiting factor as to whether this community fits with the size of vessel they plan to moor at their dock.