The West Coast Inland Navigation District continually studies the 17 passes/inlets within its jurisdiction to develop management mechanisms for inlets that are not maintained as federal projects. The federally authorized projects within the District are Longboat Pass, New Pass (Sarasota), Venice Inlet, Boca Grande Pass, and Matanzas Pass. Passes that do not fall under WCIND or federal management generally are not actively maintained, but some study and strategic planning/maintenance have been associated with Big Sarasota Pass, Redfish Pass, Stump Pass, Blind Pass, Big Carlos Pass, New Pass (Lee), and Big Hickory Pass. The challenge in maintaining the integrity of a pass system involves resource viability and character, navigability, and the relationship to the coastal system. Inlets that are not maintained to any established criteria tend to be associated with adjacent eroded beaches.
WCIND strongly recommends obtaining as much information as is available through charts, guide maps or local boater knowledge to aid you in safely navigating in Southwest Florida waters. Inlet channels are often unstable in terms of migration and depth. During storm events of high wave energy and wind activity, they may be subjected to larger shifts in orientation. These dynamic shifts could mean that the best water for navigation is completely different after a storm.
REMEMBER: Tides, weather and other seasonal conditions affect navigability at inlets/passes. The shoaling of the outer channel creates inadequate depths for navigation that can result in running aground. Always check the U.S. Coast Guard’s Local Notice to Mariners for up-to-date navigational information.