Charlotte County is one of the best places in the world for private boaters, but local and state rules and regulations must be followed for the safety of everyone out on the water.
Visitors who bring their watercraft or boats to Charlotte County must have State of Florida licenses displayed in a designated place on the boat. If your watercraft or boat is registered to any other state, Florida will recognize that registration for a period of 90 days. After that, a Florida tag must be displayed. The cost of the sticker is based on the length of the craft. (Details follow.)
State licenses can also be obtained at a local branch of the county tax collector's office in downtown Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte or Englewood.
Procedure For Obtaining Florida Vessel Title
The owner of a new vessel must have the manufacturer's certificate of origin (MCO) completed by the seller (dealer/store). The MCO is the "birth certificate" for the vessel. For a used vessel, the new owner must present the title. If the vessel was previously registered in a state that did not issue a title, the registration and a notarized bill of sale signed by the owner must be provided. (Note: Never can a registration replace a title for a vessel that was registered in Florida). New owners have 30 days to transfer the title or they will be subject to a $10 delinquent fee. Note: On Florida vessel titles, notarization is no longer required. All new owners must be present to sign the title application form and must present legal ID. For estimated costs to title a vessel, call (941)-637-2142.
Annual Vessel Registrations
Registration fees for commercial vessels and pleasure vessels are based on vessel lengths. Vessel registrations expire midnight of the registered owner's birthday, except for company-owned vesssels which expire June 30. Pleasure and Commercial registrations are issued the same type decal; previously there were separate registration decals for each. It is strongly recommended that all vessel owners renew their registration by mail. Duplicate registration can be obtained at your local tax collector's office. The duplicate must be applied for by the vessel owner. The vessel owner will need his FL#. For additional information, call (941) 637-2141.
Fishing piers and boat ramps
Fishing piers and boat ramps are located at various locations in Charlotte County, most of them operated by Charlotte County. Fishing pier locations include Ponce de Leon Park, Gilchrist Park, Laishley Park, Bayshore Pier, Port Charlotte Beach Complex, El Jobean Pier, Placida Pier, Tom Adams Bridge Pier and the U.S. 41 Bridge. A number of artificial reefs have been provided for anglers in Charlotte County waters. They are open to the public.
The following list details the address, phone number and amenities of area boat ramps:
Some of the boat ramps have restroom facilities, others have portable toilets and some have no restroom facilities. (*Indicates parks with restroom facilities)
Ainger Creek Park*
2011 Placida Road, Englewood, 941-473-1018
The 1.93-acre park features easy access to boat ramps, canoe/kayak and fishing.
Butterford Waterway Park
13555 Marathon Boulevard, Port Charlotte, 941-473-1018
The 6.2-acre park offers boating and fishing.
537 Darst Avenue, Punta Gorda, 941-505-8686
The .53-acre park offers boat ramps, canoe/kayak, fishing and picnicking.
El Jobean Boat Ramp*
4224 El Jobean Road, Port Charlotte, 941-625-7529
The boat ramp, which is located on 4.69-acres, is a paid parking facility of 75 cents per hour. Obtain a ticket from kiosks located in the park and display on dashboard. Annual parking passes are also available for purchase. El Jobean has boat ramps and canoe/kayak.
Harbour Heights Park*
27420 Voyageur Drive, Punta Gorda, 941-627-1074
The 8.21-acre park offers basketball, BBQ grills, boat ramps, canoe/kayak, fishing, horseshoes, picnic shelters/pavilion rentals, picnicking, playground, shuffleboard, tennis courts and volleyball courts.
35461 Washington Loop Road, Punta Gorda, 941-505-8686
The 29-acre park offers birding, boat ramps, canoe/kayak, horse trails, nature preserve, nature/walking trail and picnicking.
Laishley Park Municipal Marina*
100 West Retta Esplande, Punta Gorda, 941-572-3387
The marina offers 85 slips, 47 trailer spaces, ship store for boat supplies, bait, groceries and more, boater rest rooms and showers, sailors day room, community meeting room and a free double wide public boat ramp with trailer parking.
6499 Gasparilla Road, Placida, 941-473-1018
This park, which is 5.62-acres offers both boat ramps and canoe/kayak.
Ponce de Leon Park*
4000 West Marion Avenue, Punta Gorda, 941-575-5050
The 10-acre park sits on Charlotte Harbor at Ponce de Leon Inlet. It offers a quarter mile raised boardwalk through a wetland area, educational signage, boat ramp, boat trailer parking, two fishing piers, playground, man-made beach, shelter, picnic tables and a Peace River Wildlife Center.
Port Charlotte Beach Park*
4500 Harbor Boulevard, Port Charlotte, 941-327-7628
The 16.08-acre park is a paid parking facility of 75 cents per hour. Obtain a ticket from kiosks located in the park and display on dashboard. Annual parking passes are also available for purchase. The amenities include basketball, BBQ grills, boat ramps, bocce, canoe/kayak, fishing, horseshoes, picnic shelters/pavilion rentals, picnicking, playground, recreation building, room rentals, swimming pool/beach, tennis courts and volleyball courts.
8320 Riverside Drive, Punta Gorda, 941-627-1074
The .56-acre park offers boat ramps, canoe/kayak and picnicking.
South Gulf Cove Park
10150 Amicola Street, Gulf Cove, 941-625-7529
The 4.84-acre park offers boat ramps, fishing and picnicking.
Spring Lake Park*
3520 Lakeview Boulevard, Port Charlotte, 941-627-1074
The 8.11-acre park offers boat ramps, canoe/kayak, fishing, nature preserve, nature/walking trail and picnicking.