Best Season to sail between South Florida and Harbour Island

There are debates about boaters as to what is the best season to travel by boat from Florida to the Bahamas. The reality is that boating is pleasant and possible the whole year. Different periods present different pros and cons. If you are a seasoned boater you will probably know how to mitigate weather’s risks and stay out of trouble. The only area that can pose a problem is when boats leave the coast of Florida they may encounter the effect of “the Gulf Stream System” . The Inner edge of the system is around 10 miles offshore; it may result in increased current and more agitated seas.

From December to April the weather is cooler and dryer and overall more stable, however crossing the gulf stream at this period is not the calmer.
If you intend to dock at marinas or to find sheltered anchorage it is more expensive and more challenging. You will need to reserve your dock in advance and rates are at the highest.

From June to end of October it is the Hurricane season however, they rarely reach the Bahamas and the only good thing about “hurricanes” is that they are announced sometimes up to 10 days in advance so there is plenty of time to find a safe harbor in the Bahamas or in the US. Marinas are way less busy and much cheaper. Summers are less windy with a few short term daily showers.

sail harbour island

The best time of year to boat from Florida to the Bahamas is from November through April, since there is a smaller risk of seasonal storms or hurricanes, resulting in more reliable, and thus safer sailing weather.
You’ll also find very nice weather in the summers, and it will be cooler than Florida. But seasonal storm risks and the rainy season should give boaters pause before heading offshore. Let’s get more into why.

The other major risk in reaching the Bahamas is the Gulfstream. The Gulfstream is a strong current, starting in the Gulf of Mexico, and it can be seen from some points on the coast of Florida. At its fastest point, it can reach speeds of about 5 knots. Although they aren’t that common during the fall season, cold fronts can still sweep down and bring northerly winds and rainstorms alongside them. So, avoid this crossing especially if you’re a beginner sailor.

Even though you can sail to the Bahamas year-round, the best time to sail to the Bahamas is between December and April. Others say that the best season is from late March to early June. The northerlies have passed and the hurricane season hasn’t begun. The skies are sunny, the winds and seas are relatively calm. The weather is warm, no hurricanes at all, and the waters are calm thus allowing you to sail around 15 to 25 knots. Sailing to the Bahamas includes crossing the open Ocean and sailing in the island’s remote areas. Also, after Easter, many of the snowbirds have left for summer up North resulting in many secluded anchorages without being overcrowded. I wish you all a pleasant and safe voyage to the magnificent islands of the Bahamas!