Details for River Forest Yachting Center - La Belle

River Forest Yachting Center - La Belle

Display in The Interactive Cruising Guidebook
Average rating 4.5 stars from 48 reviews

Address 1992 Williams Road
Moore Haven, FL 33471


After hours contact

John Helfrich, 772-807-0270

Pro-Op message

Inside climate controlled and non-climate controlled storage, pristine land storage with tie-downs, fresh water dockage and full repair and maintenance services. Members only Hurricane Club.

Winter Service Special December to April: Bottom Job $45.00/ft includes haul, block, launch, full prep & sanding, 2 coats of antifouling paint to bottom and running gear, labor to replace BWL zincs and up to 15 days of storage during service period; requires reservation.

Facility type

Marina - YES
Club - NO
Fuel - NO
Repair - YES
Municipal - NO
Other - NO

VHF channel



Email contact;

Owner, manager

John Helfrich - Manager


John Helfrich


John Helfrich

Payments acceptedCredit cards - YES
Checks - YES

Payment info

Payment discounts

Transient discount 25% for ActiveCaptain and BoatUS members.

Operation (seasonal or year-round)
Year round

Additional info: Open year round, Monday - Friday 8:00 am to 5:00pm.


Depths are 7.5-9 feet down a narrow channel on the north side of the Okeechobee Waterway. It is just east of the Ortona Lock.





Tide & current additional info

Situated between Moore Haven and Ortona Locks with no tide or surge action.


Approach: 8
Transient dockage: 8.5
Fuel dock: Unknown

Other depth info:

Dock typesWood - NO
Concrete - YES
Floating - NO
Fixed - NO
T/Alongside - YES
Other - NO

Additional info: Basin with all face docks.

Size restrictionsLOA max: Unknown
Beam max: Unknown

Other info: None


Transient: Unknown
Total: Unknown
Transient price: $1.75/ft (2017-03-20)

Other price info: Includes electric and water. Monthly slip price is $12 per foot and does not include electric.


Transient: 0
Total: 0
Transient price: Unknown

Other price info:

AC power30 amp - YES
50 amp - YES
100 amp - YES

Additional info:

Pricing info:

Cable TV (and pricing)


Phone hookup (and pricing)


Water (and pricing)

Yes - Well water, run through a water softener.

Dinghy access


Liveaboard info



Fuel brand:

Gas priceUnknown

Other price info: No onsite fuel available.

Diesel priceUnknown

Other price info: No onsite fuel available.


Pets welcomeYes

Other pet info:

Disability access

Launch service


Pump out






Yes - Very clean, in office building. Night access is by key and outside door.


Yes - Very clean. Located in the office building with key access after hours.









Hotels or motels

Repair capabilities

Yes - Full repair and maintenance services. Major and minor boat repairs, no do-it-yourself.

Haul out capabilities

Yes - 82 ton lift, 22' beam max.

Storage facilities

Yes - Two 51,000 sq ft. climate controlled storage buildings rated to withstand Category 4 hurricanes. Ample non climate controlled storage and outside concrete pad space with tie-downs cleats. 100% fresh water dockage and a members only hurricane club.

Fishing supplies


Chartering capabilities

Internet access

Yes - Good Verizon cellular and data signal here. ATT data with Edge only, no 3G.

Boat ramp availability



Other services


Reviews for River Forest Yachting Center - La Belle
Great Service! Nice marina, protected, 2017-07-10
Captain: , Key Largo (5457)

Had an alarm going off, out there in the middle of Nowhere, pulled in the marina.
Long story short, I was out in 15 minutes, fast, efficient, friendly, and Great service.
,good wifi, clean, well kept, very isolated.
good stop , priced right.
You can trust these guys with your boat.
Also great captians lounge, good wifi, good pililng side to docks. Helpful staff. No courtesy car and islolated. but that was nice.
Overnited here also, quiet, safe. Great lounge, good showers and wifi

I wish I could give it more stars, 2017-06-29
Captain: , Denver, CO (10)

While trying to cross Okeechobee to Stuart I hit bottom with my 4.2 draft trawler. 6.4 feet was published clearance level. Ha d to get pulled of high spot by local tow in Clewiston by Bill at Lake Tow. He referred me to John here at River Forest. I called on my way and when I arrived they were waiting to lift me out. They pulled the prop and it was in the shop inFt Myers with in 3 hours that afternoon (Tuesday). The prop was repaired and back at marina this morning at10:00am(Thursday) and they are installing it as I write this review
Great people, great service, great facility!

Great Facility, 2017-06-23
Captain: , Ocean Springs, MS (132)

River Forest hauled my boat and pressure washed the bottom for a survey. Price was very reasonable and they did a great job.

Outstanding storage facility, 2017-01-30
Captain: , White Bear Lake, MN (100)

Most of the reviews cover the marina aspect of River Forest, which I would add to the 5 star rating. But it is foremost an absolutely 5+ star storage facility with indoor climate control. We have stored our 42 Krogen there for the last five years (summer) along with having her serviced by John and crew. The "out-of-sun and wind" buildings (huricane rated) helps emensely in maintaining our boat's (investment?) condition. Our insurance underwriter likes it too providing a significant discount for storage there.

Terrific Yard, 2017-01-17
Captain: , Marco Island (242)

Had bottom paint, props serviced and boat waxed. Great job, on schedule. John is excellent.

modern but tough to get off boat, 2016-11-25
Captain: , Wilmington,NC (320)

Nice modern and solid docks. There are a couple of floating docks but we were put on a fixed concrete wall. The wall was about 6 feet above water level which made it difficult for us to get on and off the boat. At the time, the Lake level was 14.88 feet. Other boats on the wall were bigger than our 40 foot trawler. Good depth coming in and at dock. Good help with lines on arrival. Well protected off the waterway. Remote location.

Wonderful facility, 2016-10-31
Captain: , Marion Ma (641)

One our favorite places! First rate in every respect. Nice people!!!

Helped us out of a bind, 2016-07-26
Captain: , Englewood, FL (905)

We came in with mechanical problems & they hopped aboard as soon as we'd tied up. Their service to resolve our issue was fast, friendly, and highly competent. We spent one night tied to the wall. Beautiful facility & grounds. Quiet & peaceful & a protected harbor. Easy in & out with a 4.5 ft draft. This is a great place to have work done or stop while transiting.

Good Place Along the Okeechobee Waterway, 2016-04-04
Captain: , Longboat Key, FL (1089)

Due to scheduled work at the Ortona Lock, I had to stop mid-way through the waterway. Even though it was a Sunday evening (they were closed), I had made arrangements with River Forset in advance to dock for the night. We came in through the narrow canal (but plenty of water at 8-9 feet) and picked out a spot on the wall. Another boater who was there came to greet us and help with the lines which was very nice. The head facilities were clean and adequate. No resturants nearby, so plan to eat on board. The next morning we left before they had openend, but a quick phone call in route and credit card squared us away for the night. Good place in the middle of nowhere.

Friendly even if only for a pumpout!, 2016-03-28
Captain: , Kingston, ON (260)

Stopped in for a pump-out ($5). No fuel. Very friendly staff, lovely facility. If you want to pump out, you must use the west face of the basin. Tight entrance from river. Wide boats will definitely want to sight it for fishing boats or other yachts before committing to entering.

Great stop, 2016-03-18
Captain: , Cape May, NJ (130)

This is a very nice protected marina! Easy to get to, 3 dockhands greeted us to help tie up. Very clean well maintained. Showers clean and nice captain's lounge BBQ area, frieindly staff. We had a hotspot, marina wifi slow. The only negative is that it's remote and nothing nearby but a great overnight stay or even a few days. Working boatyard and lift at the marina. i would definitely stay here again!

Great Find!, 2016-03-03
Captain: , Lakeville, Maine (225)

We were towed to River Forest Yachting Center from the Ortona Lock with mechanical difficulties. Not knowing what we were going to find we were extremely pleased with the prompt service by John Helfrich, the manager and his competent and professional staff. The docks and storage facilities are top notch.

Dependable and responsive staff, 2016-02-24
Captain: , Buffalo (832)

We came in to have our boat hauled to check some strange sounds on our starboard drive. We wound up having the bottom painted, the hulls and topsides detailed and some other work done. All at a reasonable price and in a reasonable time period. If we ever come through the Okeechobee again, we'll make sure we come back. We saw some transients, but they seem to specialize in having long term commitments with their boaters. You could not do better anywhere else and since it is less than a day's travel from Fort Myers, you should consider it for repair or long term storage.

nice Okeechobee stop, 2015-10-21
Captain: , Ruskin, FL (169)

arrived on Sunday evening after a rough crossing of lake Okeechobee (20-25 knot winds). Channel into marina is very narrow. nice floating center dock made for easy tie off. No staff on hand but knew that going in. very friendly fellow boaters helped with the tie off and gave us the run down on where the showers and such were. Staff monday morning was friendly and gave a nice Active Captain discount. Special thanks to fellow boater Kathy for her wealth of local knowledge she shared with us.

Great Customer Service, 2015-09-16
Captain: , Cape Coral, FL (220)

We are full time live aboards either on our boat or motor home. We found River Forest a perfect place to store either the boat or the RV under cover and out of the Florida elements. We left our RV there last winter then switched in March and left the boat in their fully enclosed building for six months. Upon returning we found the boat to be in excellent condition both in and out, not a touch of mold or odor. The service for our boat is also first rate. They gave our boat a bottom paint, new zincs, waxing, etc, possibly the best job we have seen in 12 years of owning the boat. The guys who work here are truly considerate with your boat, treating it as their own. We will continue to use their services for many years to come!

Very clean but limited amenities -- fine for an overnight stay, 2015-07-01
Captain: , Fort Myers, FL (30)

I needed a place to overnight as I transitted the Okeechobee waterway. I was west bound and the Ortona lock had closed for the night. The channel was very tight and shallow. Fortunately, I have just a 3.5' draft. There was a place to tie up for the night. The grounds were very well kept, but there were no staff and no access to any bathrooms or showers, nor anywhere to dispose of our garbage. I left a phone message to let them know that I had stayed overnight and had connected to the electric. They phoned me back two days later so that I could pay for my overnight stay. The fee was fair.

First Impressions, 2015-05-26
Captain: , TIERRA VERDE (41)

Boating for 50 years from Maine to Alabama. Needed running gear repairs and ended up at River Forest Yachting Center. It was by far the best experience I ever had with a repair yard. We arrived on a Sat. and the yard was closed. Grounds and facilities were spotless and organized. Truly instilled a confidence that you were in the hands of professionals. First impressions are everything; repairs were made at a fair price and ahead of schedule. I would travel the extra hundred miles to have my boat serviced at River Forest. John and his crew are knowledgeable and helpful...can't say enough good things about them.

Captain Ken

Very Neat and Clean, but no ice???, 2015-05-18
Captain: , Baytown, Texas (70)

As previously mentioned in other reviews, the facility is very neat and clean. Very clean shower (looks to be only one, but it's a small marina. Showed up on a Sunday (unstaffed Sat and Sun) and paid Monday morning with no problem. (Called a week ahead and they said I'd have a spot) All face docks with nice concrete seawall with a concrete cap that overhangs about one foot. This is mitigated by many wood pilings which can be easily fended off with your fenders slung horizontally. Fenders easily stay in place; no current, no surge. Very nice looking storage facility for off season storage. Would stop here again as long as I didn't need ice.

Good place to stop, 2015-05-08
Captain: , Salcombe, UK (170)

Good facilities, clean and modern, and friendly, helpful staff. A great place to stop.
Last Hurrah

Stranded in paradise, 2015-04-06
Captain: , Wilmington NC (400)

Absolutely awesome place. Called John on my way in to discuss some water pump problems. He said bring it on in and we'll look at it. I was a big bump in they're schedule but they worked me in verified the problem, got the part in, installed it, and sent me on my way. The final bill was very fair considering I was the one with the engine problem and no way to sail anywhere. Ended up staying close to 3 days at no fault of the folks at RFYC. Very clean restroom and shower facility. Huge weber grill on site. Tons of beautiful grounds for my dog to run and play. And when John found out I was going to be staying some extra time, he gave me a ride to town so I could grab some supplies. Matt installed the water pump. Very professional and personable young man. I'll stop there again even if it's just to say hi.

very clean and neat marina, 2015-04-02
Captain: , Clayton, NY (655)

This looks like it would be a wonderful hurricane hole with 2 large metal storage buildings. one is air conditioned the other is not. As a transient, bathrooms are clean, staff is very helpful. There are no services nearby, but it is a very peaceful setting and the price is very reasonable.

Nothing Better, 2015-02-26
Captain: , Halifax, N.S. (50)

We had to overnight here after getting a lock line wrapped around our port shaft. They had to come out and help us up the narrow channel (with a little help from the great folks at the nearby trailer park), and then proceeded to treat us like royalty. Even though it was after 5 pm, Ben, the travel lift operator, offered to get whatever we needed from town. After a quiet and uneventful night, they hauled us, got the line off, and had us on our way by 9 am. John, the manager, showed us around the property. It is a Cadillac yard, and one that anyone would be very comfprtable using. We have decided to haul and store at their sister property in St. Lucie, equally as nice.

Nice big basin, 2015-01-20
Captain: , Jacksonville Fl (1550)

Lots of room to tie up and hookups available. If after hours all is still available and you can pay up in the morning. They have had some problems with skip-outs, hopefully a new video system will catch the offenders. shame on those who do.

Quite a Find, 2015-01-13
Captain: , Hobe Sound, Florida (480)

Found this place on Active Captain running east in the Okeechobee Waterway on a Sunday, looking for a place to stop. Should have read all the words to have known it was unstaffed on the weekends, so no answer to our phone calls, but we pulled in anyway, liked what we saw, side-tied in a vacant space in the harbor, and sent them a email offering payment. Really a nice facility, truly in the middle of nowhere, clean as a whistle.

Service and Storage, 2014-08-29
Captain: , Barnegat Light, NJ (210)

We came to River Forest to leave our boat inside for hurricane season and to have some maintenance items attended to. Things changed and we put our boat on the market so I asked the folks at River Forest if they could get on the maintenance right away. John jumped right on it and had the work completed quickly. I can't say enough about the cleanliness of the facilities and the accomodating attitude of everyone there.

Great stop for overnight, 2014-07-29
Captain: , Salem,AL (120)

We got there on Sunday but made arrangements via phone ahead of time. Out in the country but squeaky clean and well lit. Staff very pleasant.

Great protected harbor, 2014-07-02
Captain: , Perry, Kansas (317)

Stopped her for one night on way to Ft. Myers. A great protected boat basin. Very nice Captains lounge and heads/showers. Super price, however you are in the middle of nowhere with no other shopping/dining options, but it is located just right on the waterway.

Pumpout Unavailable, 2014-05-01
Captain: , Toronto, ON (40)

Today the wall that has pumpout was completely taken up with large power yachts that looked to be going nowhere soon. Pumpout was completely unavailable.

They tried to accommodate me in the haulout slipway, but the pumpout hose would not reach.

In the end, they simply could not provide pumpout and I was forced to leave without it.

The marina displays a prominent pumpout sign, and the fee is $5, which indicates, I believe, a state-subsidized pumpout station.

By loading the fuel dock/pumpout with semi-permanent moored vessels, River Forest Marina has constructively made pumpout unavailable to transients.

There were other places available for mooring, so there can be no excuse for this.

An excellent boatyard on the freshwater OK Waterway, 2014-04-17
Captain: , Charlotte Harbor, FL (1588)

We came here by accident and stayed months. It is a good facility for repairs or storage. Knowledgeable and firendly staff. We had a number of boat repairs done by the yard and were happy with the service. It would be 5* if a full service marina, but it is more of a repair and storage facility. We'll be back!

Clean, Professional, Perfect, 2014-03-22
Captain: , MV Red Head (3106)

River Forest is so much more than most boaters realize. I had thought of them as primarily a storage facility and they certainly excel in that category. Their storage sheds are magnificent - hurricane rated, large enough to handle most any boat, clean and with a choice of climate controlled or not. They even have great outdoor storage with hurricane rated tie downs. All offered within their lock-protected basin. But what surprised us was everything else they offer.

When you come in the grounds are beautiful with nice landscaping, seating placed about for relaxing, not what you think of when considering a storage facility and boatyard. And that's the second surprise. They are also a full service boatyard. We saw boats of all sizes being worked on.

And they have great transient docking available along the walls of the well protected basin. It's perfect for a stopover or to stay while having work done. There's a beautiful boaters lounge area that even includes a kitchen you can use for a boater party or just to stretch your elbows while making dinner. There's plenty of places to walk your dog and some fields where you can throw a ball. Add to all this a very professional, helpful and friendly staff and you have a place that you should definitely check out. Stop in for the night but make sure to check out all they offer. You'll very likely be back for their other services.

Perfection is Achieved, 2014-03-14
Captain: , Cincinnati (65)

Fellow boaters: if you are looking for a storage/service facility that is perfection in motion bring your boat here. After traveling 2000 plus miles I have finally found the facility that I trust to maintain and store my boat correctly. The entire staff is very helpful and has professional experience in all aspects of boat maintenance. We definitely will be returning to this facility!

Good space for a nightly stop, 2014-01-23
Captain: , Clear Lake, TX (694)

We stopped for a night after hours and were met by fellow boaters who helped us dock. There is a nice, clean shower and head & gas grill but nothing else close by. The price was reaonable at $1.31/ft including electric. A nice place to get organized before or after Okeechobee.
This is the same owners for the Facility on the other side of Okeechobee by Stuart

Convenient and clean, 2013-12-10
Captain: , Sault Ste Marie, MI (240)

Unable to make contact with marinas further to the west, we talked with a very pleasant woman at this marina who had come in on a Sunday to catch up on work. She took our credit card over the phone so when we arrived we simply tied up on a concrete face wall. This is apparently a very new operation; everything is almost incredibly tidy for lack of a better word. There are two restrooms, one with a shower. It is as the woman mentioned out in the middle of nowhere, and it is probably not a good place to replenish groceries, but it suited our needs for convenience.

Great staff and service, 2013-11-26
Captain: , Fort Myers (769)

We stayed the summer out of the water on the concrete pads. We also had some
worked completed while there. They were not able to complete some of the promised
work but what they did do was very good. The staff was very professional and did all they
could for us. The facility is top notch, albeit a bit out of the way. I would not hesitate to return.

A great, protected stop on the way to/from the lake, 2013-09-01
Captain: , Tampa, Florida (243)

We stopped here over night on the way from the lake. We were after hours, but that presented no problems whatsoever. small canal opens into a basin with concrete walls. Not much of anything around, but it is a wonderfully protected area. You could ride out a hurricane here!

Quality service and fair prices with a smile, 2013-05-14
Captain: , Fort Myers, Florida, USA (13)

We recently had our boat's bottom painted and topsides polished and also had them close some through-hull fittings. The entire staff was very friendly and professional. Matt and John was great to work with. They don't allow you to do your own work (that we knew upfront and a non-issue for us) but they are very neat and we appreciate that the job was done as promised on time and no nasty surprises. Thanks for great service! S/V Imoya

Quiet and Clean, 2013-03-21
Captain: , WARWICK, RI (62)

A clean new facility. No fuel and no surrounding amenities. Docks roll up @ 1900. My appologies to all we kept up!

We'll Be Baaack, 2013-01-15
Captain: , Rising Sun, DE (210)

Very helpful staff, pristine facility, easy in-out and well placed for transiting Lake Okeechobee.

Good Marina, Excellent Working Yard, 2012-03-09
Captain: , Annapolis, MD (329)

Stopped here March 9 2012 to get a leaky shaft seal replaced. Came in the night before and enjoyed a nice quiet tie up in a big basin at a reasonable rate. The narrow channel going into the basin was no problem at all. They weren%u2019t going to charge for the night%u2019s stay but I insisted on paying. John, the dock master, and his entire crew were extremely helpful both getting us tied up for the night and getting us into and out of the travel lift. Also, this was the first travel lift that gave me a weight of the boat.
We were impressed that when the mechanic first got on board he started by spreading out plastic and carpets everywhere to protect our floors. Their mechanic is very experienced and knew exactly what to do to change out my leaking shaft seal and did it very quickly. Also, at my request, John had one of his workers do some minor repair work on my rub rail and he didn%u2019t even charge me for it. He said that it didn%u2019t take him very long to do. When is the last time that you heard that from a yard?
This is a great place to stay when crossing the Lake and a wonderful place to get work done on your boat.

Great Facility!!, 2012-03-08
Captain: , Jupiter, FL (1306)

Can't say enough good about these folks.
Pulled in for a night's stay and the Service Manager informed me of a Special they were offering for Bottom Painting.
We came back a week later and had that work done. They did an excellent job and the bill was just as expected.
State of the Art facility.

Nice overnight stop., 2012-01-23
Captain: , Kingtston Ontario (273)

Great staff. Clean showers/toilets. You can go right pass the entrance before seing the marina, it is up a small cannal,but has a large turning basin. No tv/wifi, as it caters to covered storage. For our 34' trawler that would be $1000+ a month, although the out door storage would be about $300+ Hurrican tie downs in the concrete.

Nice, quick stop, 2012-01-14
Captain: , Cape Canaveral (1191)

We stayed a couple days to wait out the weather. Staff was very friendly, marina spotless, and well protected. We took a long walk, wandered into the Corps of Engineers visitor center a the lock, and the volunteer staff took us back to the marina! Nice folks around here.

Nice marina & yard., 2011-12-08
Captain: , Naples, FL (145)

The marina and staff are first rate. Narrow entrance but no problem. No ship store or restaurant on premises or within reasonable walking distance. Great place to haul and store indoors.

Beautiful , New Facility, 2011-11-20
Captain: , Little River, SC (1987)

The marina staff was extremely helpful and friendly. All of the docks are face docks and the facilities were great. Showers/restrooms were very clean. The mosquitoes however were horrendous. They descended upon us at dusk and filled the boat before we could put up our netting in the doorways. Great place - highly recommend it.

Convenient for transient, Awesome for hurricane storage & services, 2011-03-23
Captain: , Cruising (3310)

This is an absolutely beautiful facility - extremely well built, well thought-out, and clean and neat. The staff couldn't be more friendly and helpful, and their capabilities are impressive as are their storage buildings and tie-down systems.
For a convenient overnight stop it can't be beat - plenty of face dock space and power pedestals, with lovely heads and showers. It is a working boat yard so there is some noise during business hours, but we didn't think it was a big deal.

Nice place to stay., 2011-03-18
Captain: , Ft. Lauderdale (1164)

River Forest is a new marina/boat yard. Very nice staff. Concret bulkheads with standoff pilings. Good power and good water for our 5 foot draft. Well back from the waterway so no surge.

Nice, new facility, 2010-11-04
Captain: , Nassau Bay (185)

Stopped here when going from west to east on the trip from Ft. Myers to Stuart. Very narrow entrance channel, but plenty deep for a 54' motoryacht. Helpful staff and looks to be a full service boat yard. A sister facility in Stuart.

Riverforest - 10/15/10, 2010-10-17
Captain: , Emerald Isle, NC (300)

We arrived late, no reservations. No answer on the phone or VHF but workmen still there after 5pm hailed us on VHF as we came in. Very helpful, stayed late and came early to help us and other boaters. Great clubhouse and facilities. The staff took some other boaters to a store. We would say this would be the facility to use closest to Moorehaven / Lake O. Could not find an nearby anchorage.

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