Some of the paddle or fishing areas on Kennedy Space Center are open to the public.
Some areas are off limits to everyone but the KSC security or fire fighting teams.
Then there are the "In-Between" locations:
Closed to the public. But available to the workers of KSC or CCAFS who possess an issued identification badge.
So what exclusive locations can your KSC Identification Badge get you access too?
Why far from the meandering crowds…..
The long answer is your KSC Badge allows you to escape to the official fishing locations allowed on Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Navy Trident Basin at Port Canaveral.
Have to add, with the recent announcement to place a man and woman on the moon surface in four years......Well things are going to get hopping at Kennedy Space Center!
Sure more badges issued, but far less fishing and kayaking time as the rockets rumble and light up the sky around the Cape. 'Exciting times'
Areas might be closed for rocket launches
At all locations, you must follow state fishing regulations and on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (Banana River No Motor Zone and Mosquito Lagoon) you must carry the "free" refuge fishing permit.
The permit can be printed from the Refuge web site or picked up on the north end of the refuge (Baris Cove/Haulover Canal area) and is a simple acknowledgement that you understand the Refuge rules and while the permit is free, the fine is substantial for not possessing a signed permit.
You can also get a copy of the free permit from my other page: Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge fishing permit
All the areas might be closed at times for rocket launches (my rocket launch schedule page is not always up to date) and the Trident Submarine Basin may be closed if a submarine or ship is docked at the pier.
All fishing locations have specific rules as to how many guests may be brought to fish. Guests must be signed in at one of the security checkpoints and obtain a daily fishing pass. . For maps and full list of rules: http://centerops.ksc.nasa.gov/resource/fish.htm
A more or less permanent resident of the space center
And as always the KSC badge allows you to bring family to watch the awe inspiring rocket launches (Evidently there are some people who visit the space coast not for the fishing or paddling but for the launch viewing) (?)
And get out to NASA Causeway for a rocket liftoff!
With a badge: welcome to your Private Beach......
Identity badge issued to those who work at Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral Air Force Station can get you access to some of the worlds top fishing and birding locations as well as two secluded "fishing only" beaches
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. CCAFS has two beach areas open for surf fishing. A badged employee can escort guests to the beaches. No swimming is allowed and everyone must stay within the area marked for fishing.
The beauty of the beaches at CCAFS is that a “crowd” might consist of one to two other fishermen, but often the beach will be yours alone.
Shells and other items of interest are often found on the KSC beach
The fishing quality is similar as can be found at Canaveral National Seashore, (a few miles north) but without paying the park service fee or dodging sun burned tourists. Note: Traffic speed limits are strictly enforced on CCAFS. (Speed is enforced on the NASA side always, but on the Air Force Base-- "One" mile over the speed limit will get you pulled over. They are not joking around and you can see it by the way the every day workers drive below the posted speed limits.
The Navy Base at Port Canaveral
This Pork fish caught in the Trident Submarine Basin is common in south Florida, but a rare visitor to east central Florida (as far as I know)
The Naval Facility, known simply as "The Trident Basin" is located on the north side of Port Canaveral across the busy port channel from the teeming crowds at Jetty Park.
A badged employee may bring one guest over twelve years of age. The Trident Submarine Basin is exceptional for its fishing, legendary (repeat that word to yourself) for large flounder and snook. Toothy barracuda are frequently observed around the pilings. There is always plenty of room to fish, except when the pompano are running and word gets out quickly-Expect eager crowds for the pompano catch. Call 853-1169 for an automated response to learn which piers of the Naval Facility are open. (Closed when subs are in port)
When describing the Submarine Basin, I often get asked the following; Should the Port Canaveral Locks be opened to Flush the Banana River/Indian River Lagoon? Short answer...not sure.
Trident Basin at Port Canaveral, home to monster snook
The Banana River Manatee Sanctuary (The No Motor Zone)
The Banana River Manatee Sanctuary. Known locally as the “No Motor Zone” because only paddle, pedal, push or sail powered water craft are allowed in the sanctuary waters. The Manatee Sanctuary may be accessed from either the north end (NASA Causeway) or the South end, (KARS Park)
The 10,000+ acre “No Motor Zone” is the jewel of Florida’s east coast. World class shallow water fishing in one of the world’s most diversified estuaries is available to badged employees by simply parking on the south side of NASA Causeway. (The North side is closed to fishing)
Badged employees may bring two guests (adults or children are permitted) to NASA Causeway and either fish from the shore or launch non-motorized water craft from the causeway. The two causeway bridges are popular fishing spots. Non-motorized boats can also be launched from the slip behind Hangar AF on CCAFS.
Fishing from canoe or kayak and getting away from the sounds of traffic noise demonstrates the uniqueness of the No Motor Zone- its lack of internal combustion engine noise pollution. Sometimes the only sound heard across the wide open water is the lifting of great flocks of ducks or the exhalation breath of an unseen aquatic mammal. A busy day in the no motor zone might be a dozen canoes or kayaks and on weekdays the river will be yours alone to share with the diverse wildlife. Perhaps the distant flash of a canoe paddle will inform you that someone else in the zone.
KARS Park. The closest southern access point to the No Motor Zone is Kars Park and while possessing a badge alone will not allow you into the park; the identification badge will allow the opportunity to purchase an annual KARS park membership pass for twenty dollars. Fishing from the shore of KARS is a poor prospect due to the shallow water; however the designated canoe/kayak launch area gets you quickly into the no motor zone. Occasionally you will see boaters paddling past the park, who lacking the membership pass have already paddled many miles from the 528 Beach line-such is the lure of the no motor zone. However the KARS membership reduces the paddle time and gives access to a store, restrooms and peace of mind about the security of your vehicle.
Another unique aspect about KARS Park over the other locations is that as a KARS member you can bring up to 10 guests fishing.
Also noteworthy is that non-badged fishermen for a daily fee of five dollars may use a special parking area and launch their kayaks or canoes from the Park, eliminating the long paddle from the Beach line.
Small update: The KARS park shoreline is being restored from our last hurricane. For a few months, all kayaks and canoes can only be launched from the concrete slip in the marina.
What however when you pull up to one of the security check points and the guard denies access to you and your guests?
Hmm, did you:
Could be the area is closed to fishing until launch. -Always a good idea to have a back up plan.
However the guard issues you a guest fishing pass:
Lather on the sunscreen, put your cell phone in a water proof bag (the phone is a requirement) and show your guest the natural treasures of Florida that have mostly disappeared from the east coast.
And of course explain the various hazards of the Indian River Lagoon.
Requirement for fishing on KSC, CCAFS: Cell Phone and Merritt Island Refuge Fishing Permit (a free permit)
Space Coast: Quite possibly world record size everything
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
A Identification badge allows you access to Air Force Base Canoe launch. A special launch location the places you directly around the islands of the No Motor Zone and to the deep channel that was once used to bring in the space shuttle rockets retrieved from the Atlantic.
Final note: Native American artifacts are protected on both KSC, CCAFS, Merritt Island Wildlife Area & Canaveral National Seashore
Never forget you are guest in a wildlife sanctuary!
Return Home from KSC Badge Page
My book on Florida history:
Struggle for the northern frontier and other lost tales of old Florida