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The Dangers When Navigating in an Inlet

Boating is perhaps the No. 1 pastime in Florida. Traversing the open ocean can be dangerous enough, but when navigating Florida’s many inlets, one small mistake can result in damage to the vessel and personal injury. They can be deadly.

No two inlets are the same. They can change from hour to hour and each poses its own set of variables. Some situations can be anticipated, while others occur unexpectedly. Conditions can quickly become treacherous and a nightmare for inexperienced mariners.

Fixed Bridges

Wind and currents can easily sweep boats into confrontations with fixed bridges that have limited clearance. A swell occurring at the “wrong” time can sweep a vessel upward to smash into a bridge.

Narrow Spaces

Inlets vary widely in size and some weren’t even designed for public navigation. Some don’t have markers and they can be very narrow, which increases the risk of fast currents and potential for running into rocks and other objects.

Swift Currents

The speed of water currents, and their direction, can be hazardous. Tides running into the inlet tend to create flattened waters, depending on other conditions. When the tide is running into the ocean, it creates dangerous turbulence. Standing waves may also occur that tumble over themselves.


Wind and wave action create unexpected sandbars. Depending on prevailing conditions, their size and scope change from day to day and can appear in new, unexpected locations.

Tidal Rips

Tidal rips have the ability to create unforeseen swells. It occurs when outgoing tide meets incoming ocean water. The result is very short troughs and steep waves. The danger is compounded by a new or full moon that has an immense affect on tides.


In an inlet, even a 10-knot breeze can complicate navigational ability. Winds and storms may be light, but winds at a significant distance away can influence the waves that are encountered in an inlet. They can toss vessels around like toys into embankments and any number of obstacles. Even large freighters have capsized in those conditions.

For more information about how The Sena Group can help you with any

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The Sena Group
6501 Congress Ave., Ste. 100
Boca Raton, FL 33487