Explore the Backcountry
in One of These Everglades Boats
Rent one of these Everglades boats at the Flamingo marina and spend the day exploring the Everglades backcountry of Whitewater Bay.
Rent Your Own Skiff for the Day
These Everglades boats are 17' flat-bottom skiffs with 40 horsepower engines, just great for daytime gunkholing
in the expansive Whitewater Bay backcountry. Plus, they're zippy enough to let you cover a lot of territory
in a few hours.
Rent a skiff for two hours, four hours, or eight hours. The last time I rented a skiff, I was acting as
tour guide, showing my Atlanta cousin the wilds of Florida. Our time was short, so we went out for only four
short hours. In those hours, however, we had a great time cruising Whitewater Bay, and some of its
Where You'll Explore
Leaving the marina, you'll head up the Buttonwood Canal, then into Coot Bay, then on to Whitewater Bay, which
is located about 4.5 nautical miles north of Flamingo. This inland body of water is about 10 nautical miles from
one end to the other.
Before setting out, be sure to take:
- a proper marine chart (the marina normally provides this)
- at least one good compass
- a GPS (a good safety tool)
One Extra Thing
Maybe it's just me, but I think a hand-held VHF marine radio is an additional must-have piece of equipment.
The marina doesn't provide them, and cell phone coverage can be a lot more miss than hit back in the backcountry.
If you were to break down, or have some real emergency, a VHF marine radio just might save the day.
Deep in the Everglades--no cell phone coverage here
When you look at Whitewater Bay from Google Earth, it doesn't look all
that big. But, believe me, when you're down there on the water in a little 17' boat, it looks pretty
doggone expansive. Plus, the islands and channels can be confusing, so it's not all that hard
to get, ahem, temporarily dislocated.
Checking the Chart...Often
To help stay located, I like to plot my trip the night before into the GPS, and once out on the Bay, I just
follow my float plan from one waypoint to the next. That's not a bad idea. After all, this is some pretty wild country.
To cut down on the number of those who get lost, and to increase the chances of quickly finding those who do, the Park Service
concessionaires who rent these skiffs ask you to refrain from entering certain areas--for example, the East River and
Now, they tell me Hell's Bay got its name because "It's hell to get into, and hell to get out of." I've been there,
and it's true. My friend and I went to Hell's Bay once in a motorized canoe, and spent about 45
minutes looking for the correct channel back to familiar open waters. We finally found it, but only
after the most painstaking re-tracing of our travels.
In this maze of a place, just because your GPS says "Go that way" doesn't mean you can. If you get off
the open water, you are constrained to following the labryinth of little waterways and channels.
I believe it was the Chesire Cat who told Alice "You can't get there from here." Sometimes,
in the Everglades, that's too close to being true.
Navigating the Small Channels Can Be a Challenge
How to Rent one of These Everglades Boats
For complete rental and contact information, check out the Flamingo Marina's web site. Here's a link straight
to a page where you can get up-to-date
info on skiff rentals. As you'll see from their web site, you can also rent canoes, kayaks, bicycles, even