Branching off the St. Johns River about 4.2 miles southwest of Jacksonville, the Ortega River is the first smaller piece of water that breaks off the St. Johns on its west shore. The Ortega River has what is perhaps the largest collection of marinas on the entire St. Johns River south to Sanford, with over seven marinas within a half-mile stretch of the river entrance (all located on the north shore). There is literally no service or repair that cannot be undertaken here. Three of the seven marinas accept transient guests at their slips.
Use NOAA Chart 11491.
From the Fuller-Warren Bridge (75-foot fixed vertical clearance) near Winter Point, set a course of approximately 228 degrees magnetic for about 2.8 miles to intercept flashing green 1 at the mouth of the Ortega River, making sure to avoid a small shoal reaching south from Winter Point, which is just west of the Fuller-Warren Bridge. Make sure to pass flashing green 1 well to the northwest, as shallow one- and two-foot depths reach north from Sadler Point.
Just beyond flashing green 1 is the Ortega River Bascule Bridge (nine-foot closed vertical clearance), which opens on demand. Once you have cleared the draw bridge, a solid line of marinas opens op to starboard, lining the north shore of the river up to, and beyond a 45-foot fixed vertical clearance bridge and a two-foot vertical clearance railroad bridge, which is left in the open position unless rail traffic is approaching.
Depths in the river range from five to eight feet, but shallow quickly after the second set of bridges past the last marinas. There is an anchorage just past the Ortega River Bascule Bridge in five-foot depths, and moorings are also located here.