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Old 22-02-2011, 06:54   #1
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Residential Canals in South FL

Long time lurker, first time poster here.

I live near Atlanta but I'm considering a move to south FL (Deerfield Beach, Ft Lauderdale area) to be closer to the ocean. I'd love to have some waterfront property with a dock for a sailboat, but the only houses in my price range on the water are along residential canals.

Does anyone know how deep these canals generally are? Google hasn't been helping, other to say that they're "shallow". I'd like to be able to dock a 30-36ft sailboat (which generally have a draft of 4-6ft) and be able to get to the ocean in an hour or so.

So my questions are:

Is there any way to find out how deep residential canals are? Do municipalities have websites with this data or could I e-mail or call someone that would know? Real estate listings don't provide this type of information...

How deep would a canal have to be to be able to safely dock a boat with a 6ft draft? I assume the depth is affected by tides so that might complicate things a bit...

Thanks for any info you can give me!
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Old 22-02-2011, 07:00   #2
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Re: Residential canals in south FL

Get a chart of the area. Generally the ICW charts or other detailed charts of the areas are the best place to start.

Depth of the canals varies as much as the depth of the ocean. I lived on board in Ft Lauderdale for years and saw canals big and deep enought for almost megayacht size down to canals barely deep enough for a large dinghy.

Also, all other things being equal, price will increase for houses with bigger, deeper canals and increase even more as your distance to the ocean decreases.

One resource is to find a realtor in the area that focuses on waterfront housing. Listings frequently used terms like "deep water dock", "ocean access", etc. Savy realtors will have a pretty good handle on the details.

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Old 22-02-2011, 07:04   #3
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Re: Residential canals in south FL

Most of these canals just off the intercoastal are deep enough, my friend has one and many 60-100' yachts are docked at them,ive docked at a few over the last 20+ years all were deep enough
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Old 22-02-2011, 07:12   #4
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Re: Residential canals in south FL

the canal that I'm on right now (Islamorada FL) is 30' deep in the center but this is not shown on charts. I suggest asking the realtor's that your dealing with.
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Old 22-02-2011, 07:32   #5
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Re: Residential canals in south FL

As others have said, find a real estate agent who is a boater and understands your issues. One good way is to look at listings on realtor.com and read the text. Often it will say: sailboat water, deep water with ICW access, etc. See which agent is responsible for these listings. He knows what is important.

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Old 22-02-2011, 07:36   #6
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Re: Residential canals in south FL

Great, thanks for the help everyone! I'll get ahold of some ICW charts. I'm not quite at the stage where it's time to reach out to a realtor but that's a great idea.

I've been checking things out on Zillow just to get an idea of property price ranges by looking at a map, but the listings I've seen there don't list canal depth so it's hard for me to correlate price with that. I'll look for listings that mention sailboats or deep water access.
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Old 22-02-2011, 07:40   #7
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Re: Residential canals in south FL

If you see sailboats docked in the canals, you will know they are deep enough..Simple as that.

The City of Fort Lauderdale has to maintain a minimum dept of 5 feet, but most canals carry more than that.
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Old 22-02-2011, 07:48   #8
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Re: Residential canals in south FL

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
If you see sailboats docked in the canals, you will know they are deep enough..Simple as that.

The City of Fort Lauderdale has to maintain a minimum dept of 5 feet, but most canals carry more than that.
Yeah, I've been looking at satellite pictures. In the affordable houses on canals, the docked boats all look like motor cruisers. Thanks for the info on Ft Lauderdale. I'm open to other areas as well so I'll keep looking around.
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Old 22-02-2011, 12:03   #9
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Re: Residential Canals in South FL

The cheapest sailboat depth canal waterfront homes in Florida are over in the Punta Gorda area.
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Old 22-02-2011, 12:08   #10
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Re: Residential Canals in South FL

Don't limit your search by depth only.........you also have to factor in any bridges that you might have to navigate under.........not all open or have enough clearance!!!!!!!!!
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Old 22-02-2011, 12:18   #11
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Re: Residential Canals in South FL

May I suggest the Jupiter, Hobe Sound and Stuart areas???
These are slightly north of where you are looking, and have extensive waterfront with access to the Atlantic. I have my boat behind my house, but many neighborhoods have communal dockage/marinas where the slip is deeded with the house. This also eliminates the expensive dock upkeep and is very reasonable.

This area is far enough north to get out of the "Lauderdale Rat Race" as we call it.
Be careful of realtor input- I draw six feet and have a 72 foot air draft, thus it was a complicated process to find the depth and no bridges combination. To some realtors, 3 feet is deep water dockage.....
Regards.
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Old 22-02-2011, 12:39   #12
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Re: Residential Canals in South FL

Ooops, I wasn't even considering bridges! I'm not tied to the Ft. Lauderdale area, I'm just looking there because I have some family in the area and I've been there before.

I don't really need to live near a big city, so if I can get better property cheaper and farther away from the 'rat race' then that's probably better for me. Really anywhere on the Atlantic coast where I can sail year-round would be fine. Ideally I'd have a dock in my back yard, but having a marina dock on the deed is interesting as well - I didn't know that was an option.

This potential move won't happen this year, I'm just trying to research what my options are. Thanks again, everyone!
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Old 22-02-2011, 13:21   #13
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Re: Residential Canals in South FL

In real estate vanacular you will find that "water front" often means on a canal with a fixed bridge, and "deep water" means no fixed bridges. Another key consideration for you will be "distance/time" to nearest cut. In other words, how long will it take before you can get your sails up and go sailing. If you do buy your dream house on the water, you should consider making room for a power boat as well. You will find going to restaurants by boat will be your prefered mode of transport. Good luck, it's worth it.
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Old 22-02-2011, 13:35   #14
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Re: Residential Canals in South FL

Waterfront Times e-Edition
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Old 22-02-2011, 13:51   #15
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Re: Residential Canals in South FL

you are also limited by the ability to turn any corners in a canal .. i once saw a 120' sailboat docked in a small canal in boca raton .. how they got it there i will never know.
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