The Boca Raton Inlet is located on the East Coast of Florida 24 miles south of West Palm Beach and 16 miles north of Ft. Lauderdale near Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) Mile 1048.
The image above is a view from the east looking west over the Boca Raton Inlet where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The darker water comes from the Intracoastal Waterway and Wyman Lake, which get their darker color from tannins that leach into the water from plant matter along the shorelines of the two areas.
Originally listed on early charts as “Boca Ratones," many people actually use the literal Spanish translation to describe the inlet as “Rat’s Mouth.” More accurately, “boca” was used to describe the inlet here, and “raton” was used as a term for a thief – “Thieves Inlet.”
The first bridge was built across the Boca Raton Inlet in 1923 and was a wooden structure of pilings with an opening to allow watercraft through. Today, a modern bascule bridge carries auto traffic across the inlet.
Use NOAA Chart 11467.
The main obstacle to navigation in the Boca Raton Inlet is the 23-foot fixed vertical clearance Boca Inlet Bridge that crosses the channel just past the sharp northerly turn when you approach from the sea. The bridge has a restricted opening schedule, opening every quarter-hour from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on demand at all other times. The current edition of NOAA Chart 11467 warns visiting mariners not to transit the inlet without advance local knowledge, due to shoaling. Be sure to call ahead to one of the local marinas to ascertain current depths before making the decision to attempt the inlet.
To reach the inlet from the Atlantic Ocean, first set a course to pick up quick flashing green “1” and quick flashing red “2” on the south and north inlet jetties, respectively. Once you have picked up the lights you can head in to the inlet, keeping the aforementioned bridge schedule into mind. You do not want to have to wait for the bridge on an incoming current.
The Boca Raton Resort and Club is located on the west side of Lake Boca Raton just past flashing green “67” off the ICW Channel with extensive facilities for transient guests. Additional facilities can be found farther south off the HIllsboro River.