Gulf Stream

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Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream.jpg
Typical water temperatures of the Gulf Stream


The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, exits through the Strait of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. At about 30°W, 40°N, it splits in two, with the northern stream crossing to northern Europe and the southern stream recirculating off West Africa. The Gulf Stream influences the climate of the east coast of North America from Florida to Newfoundland, and the west coast of Europe.

A river of sea water, called the Atlantic North Equatorial Current, flows westward off the coast of northern Africa. When this current interacts with the northeastern coast of South America, the current forks into the two branches. One passes into the Caribbean Sea, while a second, the Antilles Current, flows north and east of the West Indies. These two branches rejoin north of the Straits of Florida.

Consequently, the resulting Gulf Stream is a strong ocean current. It transports water at a rate of 30 million cubic meters per second (30 sverdrups) through the Florida Straits. As it passes south of Newfoundland, this rate increases to 150 million cubic meters per second. The volume of the Gulf Stream dwarfs all rivers that empty into the Atlantic combined, which barely total 0.6 million cubic meters per second. It is weaker, however, than the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.


Chart Number - Chart Name
Chart Number - Chart Name
Chart Number - Chart Name


The weather is the most important consideration for crossing the Gulf Stream. It is the exception to make this passage on a flat sea so waiting for a reasonable weather window is vitally important to make a safe, comfortable crossing.

The Gulf Stream runs roughly North/South between the Bahamas and Florida so, the sea can kick up dangerously high and steep if a wind of over 30 knots blows from the North - against the current.

Ideally, if crossing from Fort Lauderdale directly east, the wind should be under 15 knots and from the South. Leave very early in the morning, sail as fast as you can (even motor-sail) to ensure that you complete the crossing and arrive well within daylight hours.

Be very aware of your drift in the current (which can run up to 3 knots) and adequately compensate your heading. It is VITAL to constantly update your position on a chart and know exactly where you are during this crossing.

A good rule of thumb is not to make this passage if the wind has a Northerly component.

Also see: US to Abacos Passage

Sources of weather information for the passage:

Weather Windows

The summer months are when the sea is the calmest and visibility is the best. A forecast of light to variable winds in the summer will make for a great crossing.


Add any navigation notes such approaches, dangers etc here. If this section does not apply remove it.


Also see World Cruiser's Nets.

Possible Departure Points

Route/Suggested Stopovers

List the route and the suggested stopover points (in sequence), including their coordinates, and some description.

  1. Starting from Departure Point1/wiki/Gulf_Stream#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EDeparture_Point1.3C.2Fspan.3EHarbour icon Departure Point1 [[Gulf Stream#Departure Point1|Departure Point1]] DD°N.m′N/S, DD°M.m′E/W
    1. xx nM SE to Anchorage Point1/wiki/Gulf_Stream#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EAnchorage_Point1.3C.2Fspan.3EAnchorage icon Anchorage Point1 [[Gulf Stream#Anchorage Point1|Anchorage Point1]] (Alt name of Anchorage Point1) DD°N.m′N/S, DD°M.m′E/W in the SW side of the island of [[yy]],
    2. or 21 nM S to the remote island of Island Point1/wiki/Gulf_Stream#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EIsland_Point1.3C.2Fspan.3EIsland icon Island Point1 [[Gulf Stream#Island Point1|Island Point1]] DD°N.m′N/S, DD°M.m′E/W , form here you can go
  2. xx nM to Stopover Point1/wiki/Gulf_Stream#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EStopover_Point1.3C.2Fspan.3EHarbour icon Stopover Point1 [[Gulf Stream#Stopover Point1|Stopover Point1]] DD°N.m′N/S, DD°M.m′E/W
  3. etc.
  4. Finally you arrive at Arrival Port1/wiki/Gulf_Stream#.3Cspan_style.3D.22color:magenta_.22.3EArrival_Port1.3C.2Fspan.3EHarbour icon Arrival Port1 [[Gulf Stream#Arrival Port1|Arrival Port1]] DD°N.m′N/S, DD°M.m′E/W

Possible Arrival Points

Distance & Duration

The passage from Florida to the Bahamas is about 50 miles - crossing the Gulf Stream at it's narrowest.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


List links external to the wiki such as in Wikipedia & Wikivoyage.

For Wikipedia you can use the Wikipedia template & for the Wikivoyage the Wikivoyage template.


Books, Guides, etc. Use the Reference template or not at your discretion. For example:

{{Reference|Rod Heikel|Greek Waters Pilot|Imray|Laurie and Wilson, Cambridgeshire (2010)|9780852889718}}, expands to
Rod Heikell, Greek Waters Pilot, Imray Laurie and Wilson, Cambridgeshire (2010), ISBN 9780852889718
  • Author, Title, Publisher, ISBN ISBN number
  • Author, Title, Publisher, ISBN ISBN number

You may want to remove the above entries and use instead a link to the Country or Region that lists the relevant references. If so enter, after removing {{MagentaText|xx}}, the following:

See [[Country or Region#References_&_Publications|Coutry or Region]].

If you do not use the above link, please remove it.


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