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Old 14-10-2009, 08:16   #1
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Living Aboard in S or SE Florida

With the new laws, how long can you feasibly stay in the hook in one location, before they consider you a live aboard and give you the boot?

Is it possible to live on a mooring full-time in Florida? What if I was to join a sailing/yacht club and pick up a mooring at the club? Or would I still get the boot after whatever the answer question #1 is?

If the answer to #1 is not much more than a few days, and the answer to #2 is NO. If you just hop from anchorage to anchorage and/or mooring to mooring, how soon/often can you ideally return to a spot without being defined as a live aboard?

Basically, I'm ready to escape the NJ, think I can really make the work from the boat thing happen, not really ready to cruise full-time, and don't feel like getting screwed by a marina.

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Old 14-10-2009, 08:47   #2
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I will be vacationing in Florida this summer. Do I need to register my vessel there?
Florida recognizes valid registration certificates and numbers issued to visiting boaters for a period of 90 days. An owner who intends to use his vessel in Florida longer than 90 days must register it with a county tax collector. However, he may retain the out-of-state registration number if he plans to return to his home state within a reasonable period of time.
Which means that they might want tax money from (up to 6%) you if you stay longer than 90 days and they find out.

This is different from the municipality wanting to stop people anchoring in front of their town and the rule is that you must be in the course of navigation or some similar phrase. Enforcement has varied from 1 week to never and the newest law is to the best of my knowledge untested.

Some of the mooring fields do allow you to live on the boat and they want about $250/month but if they ever talk to the tax collector alot of people will owe a lot of money! Marathon is worth trying as will be Miami's Dinner Key if they ever open it.

Yacht Clubs usually are not an option because of cost and most prohibit living aboad


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Old 15-10-2009, 07:58   #3
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Damn Florida and it's crazy confusing laws!!!

I knew after 90 days you needed to register, and if you buy a boat there you have 90 days to get it out of the state, but...

What exactly are they taxing you on, on a vessel the you own outright and/or already paid taxes on in another state?
Is that up to 6% of hull value?!?!?! Just to cruise there?
Is that 90 days in any calender year? If not how long do you need to leave the state to reset it to 0?
Is that tax only for mooring/anchoring vessels, where as if you're in a marina at least a local business is making money off you, and they're getting taxes from the marina?

Hmmm...maybe slowly following the weather South to Georgia, and then heading into Florida once it gets too cold, may be a better idea. Then back North as soon as it starts getting warm again.
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Old 15-10-2009, 09:13   #4
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Live aboards in Florida are defined as permanently moored boats, used principally as a residence, not in a cruising status.

Taxes in Florida are controlled by the state, even though registration is administered by the counties. Unlike Maryland, where they hit you with the tax after 90 days, as long as you are not a Florida resident at the time of purchase, and in a curising status, they aren't going to bother you.
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Old 15-10-2009, 09:59   #5
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why would you get screwed by a marina? they can provide a shower and toilet for you along with some electricity and a way to get groceries and meet other people. or were you going to do without that kind of stuff?
sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most.
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Old 16-10-2009, 14:19   #6
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Guess I should have been a little more detailed in my original post. Here's my situation.

1- Lived in NJ my whole life
2- No connections to FL (don't own or rent anything down there)
3- Bought the boat in FL
4- Private sale, previous owners were CO residents who were cruising, and had it registered in NH
5- Moved it out of state within 90 days
6- Paid the taxes in NJ
7- By the time I return it will have been more than 6 months.

So, I can stay longer than 90 days, as a cruiser and outside of needing to register in FL I owe nothing (no taxes), correct?

And the same would be true if I decided to stay in FL, aka become a resident...except I would need to move to a marina or a mooring, because living aboard on the hook isn't allowed, but when cruising it is?
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Old 16-10-2009, 14:32   #7
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Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
why would you get screwed by a marina? they can provide a shower and toilet for you along with some electricity and a way to get groceries and meet other people. or were you going to do without that kind of stuff?
Because most marinas are ridiculously overpriced. When you factor in all the BS, and the services you really get for your money, even more so. In the less than a year that I've been a live aboard I've already had it with marinas. You go on any boating website and you'll see hundreds of posts saying the #1 way to cut costs is to stay out of marinas.

Yes, they can provide all those things, but then why did I waste all that money on a boat with a shower, head, propane fridge, water maker, solar panels, and a dinghy, and then spending even more money on LED lighting and a bike, and on top of all of that getting rid of all those power sucking land lubber toys.

I may be staying in Florida for a while but the plan always has been and is to cruise. So even if all marinas were the best invention since fiberglass, why get locked into a big expensive contract? Of course I could pay by the month, but then the costs go up even more.

Also, every cruiser I've ever met says they meet tons of people in anchorages. I'm not saying I'm going to stay out of marinas entirely, but I don't want to be connected to one long term.
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Old 16-10-2009, 15:11   #8
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I lived on board a 25 foot boat for 5 years in NY and spent every summer happily on the hook. I now Live on a 40 footer in NC and spend the whole year in a marina and I can give you the major reason. Air conditioning! It gets hot in the summer in the south and I for one like the comfort of AC. Other problems with being on the hook, where will you tie up the dingy and can you lock it? I have had more than 1 stolen. You will have to pay to have your waste tank pumped. Is the tank big enough to last more than a week? Gets old running to the dock and paying for a pump out. And lastly....A propane frig? is that approved for marine use? Those things can be very dangerous if not installed right.

Just my thoughts and some things for you to think about. good luck and welcome to the world of live aboard, I love it despite the challenges!
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Old 16-10-2009, 17:44   #9
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Well, it does great pretty hot in NJ in the summer too, and I made it through the summer, in a marina with no AC. Anchored out it should be a little cooler...and I'll at least have the option to jump in the water.

Numbers painted directly on the dink and big old chain with a huge lock. I guess I'll try to only come in places where there's something I can lock it to.

Yeah, I guess pump out could be a problem. Well, if worse comes to worse, take a sail 3 miles out...and at least then I'm sailing, not taking a ride in to do work. Use bathrooms on shore when there to extend the tank, and course I'll be peeing in my wetsuit.

I hope it's approved? It's OEM installed by at the factory.

Thanks for giving me things to think about.

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florida, living aboard

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