The Pine Island Bascule Bridge is located on Matlatcha Pass, an alternative inside route that runs from Mile Zero of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) at Merwin Key north to Charlotte Harbor near Smokehouse Bay. Depths in Matlatcha Pass are unreliable, and all aids to navigation are privately maintained. Proceed with caution, and if in doubt, take the more reliable outside GIWW route.
Use NOAA Chart 11426.
In addition to the shallow depths, overhead power cables limit the vertical clearance to 56 feet above the water; not such a hospitable place for tall-masted, deep-keel sailboats.
The bridge operates on a restricted opening schedule.
Year-round, Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the bridge opens on signal. Year-round, Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., the bridge opens on signal. The bridge does not operate at any other times.
Depending on schedule, the bridge can be opened by horn signal (one long, one short) or by hailing the bridge tender on VHF Channel 09. (All bridges in the state of Florida must be hailed on VHF Channel 09.)