Just for your information: (Information, not advice).
I live in Ft Lauderdale (Lighthouse Point, near Hillsboro inlet) I have a small boat, a Kelly Peterson
46. My boat draws 6.9 feet. I have carried 7 feet across the banks with no problem from Cat Cay and South Riding Rocks, to Northwest Channel and Chub Cay. Down through the Exumas
, and Turks and Caicos
, and the east side of the Abacos, (Marsh Harbor) and Cat Island.
7 feet is not problem, but does limit you a bit. For instance in Hawk Channel your anchorages are a bit limited, but not too much more than if you had 6 feet. And there are times you have to play the tide. Places like little harbor in the Abacos, you have to anchor
outside (good anchorage), or at high tide dredge your way in and out for a short ways.
Because my boat is an offshore
boat made for crossing oceans I would hate to give up my draft. However, if I were to just wish to coastal cruise (US and Bahamas), I would probably look for something around 5.5 feet in something 37 to 42 feet or so.
I used to sail a 26’ boat that drew 4.5 feet, again throughout the Bahamas and southern Florida, and it was nice having the shallow draft
, but the size of the boat was a bit small and light. Everything is a trade