I am moving my boat to Venice next year (hey, that is in two days) in March, so need some guidance.
We went across Okeechobee in Sept of 2014. We consulted with Richard and Joanne Collins and read their blog. Things went exactly as Richard described. Bruce Whyte was aboard and the trip went exactly as Richard had outlined. The antennae scraped on what I assume are the last two west side beams of the Route 95 Bridge. It was just a light scrape. I would advise checking the levels of the waterway and the tides on both sides. I found the markers on the bridges to be very accurate. Billy the Tipper does not return calls very often. My wife and I were driving past the Indiantown Marina about a month ago and we stopped in. The manager there said Billy was still tipping boats. If you are going east to west that Marina is a good place to stay overnight. The 49 foot railroad bridge is not too far from the Indiantown Marina. There is a restaurant in town that will pick you up and take you to dinner. We met Billy about 10 am and he put the barrels on the boat and everything was done in about an hour. Billy showed up a little late and I think he had his son with him. We then crossed the middle of the lake. Billy said to not try using the perimeter route. We stayed at a municipal Marina on the west side of the lake that night. Then we motored over to the Fort Myers Marina. We went under the Cape Coral Bridge at dead low tide. I don't remember scrapping that bridge. I think our mast with antennae is about 53'8". I do have pictures of Billy doing his tipping operation. Once we get done with a couple of RV trips I think we will venture across Okeechobee again next spring. We did not have a problem with bugs on the trip. However, I bet if you stopped moving in the summer it may get buggy. If I do it again I am taking extra netting and bug spray.
Punta Gorda, Fl