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Old 08-11-2015, 16:40   #1
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Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

Can anyone provide insight into a good place to work towards our dream of moving aboard a boat full time?

We have a timeline to leave for a two year trip in about two years from now. The first year is to learn to sail by taking classes, chartering, joining a sailing club, and finally buying a boat after a year of saving and learning. Second year would be spent living aboard at a marina and working full time, coastal sailing the boat, learning more, and saving for the trip before we take off.

We are looking for the perfect location for this transition period to the sailing life. We are set to move from our landlocked position in upstate NY in July 2016. I'm an ER doc and Hannah is a nurse, therefore we can move virtually anywhere in the coastal US. We would prefer east coast for proximity to home.

Factors which are important to us:
1. Strong boating culture
2. Awesome nearby cruising grounds
3. Weather which allows boating most of the year
4. Low-ish taxes and reasonable-ish cost of living (i.e. not california)
5. Friendly people!

If anyone can provide insight into towns/cities/states which would be a great fit we would surely appreciate it!

Tom and Hannah
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Old 08-11-2015, 17:52   #2
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

Loads of options on the east coast...New Hampshire has low taxes and a significant boating community. Of course, it gets cold there so maybe something further south like Florida. The West Coast of Florida is a great cruising ground with no State income tax.
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Old 08-11-2015, 17:57   #3
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

If I were you I would ask myself.....what is my ideal cruising route?....

.... and then locate and work from that starting point till you have the cruising kitty and confidence to take off.

Caribbean side is crowded....

West Coast areas like San Fran and San Diego heading across the Pacific much more of a pure cruising adventure and with your medical skills, visiting remote Atolls in the Marshall islands and Micronesia would be a special experience.
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Old 08-11-2015, 18:42   #4
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

There are lots of great places to sail/cruise from. I suggest taking classes from a reputable school in the location where you want to cruise. This will give you insights into both ideal boats for the region and the area's unique challenges. The boat perfectly suited for heading to Alaska or around Nova Scotia is probably not the same boat you'd pick for cruising the Florida Keys/Bahamas.

In terms of an ideal location: Personally I always liked the Pacific NW. Stunningly beautiful scenery, nice folks and a (practically) year-round sailing season. Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2015, 18:44   #5
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

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The West Coast of Florida is a great cruising ground with no State income tax.
That's great to hear.. I was debating a flight down to Clearwater/Tampa/Sarasota and even maybe trying out Pensacola...What makes the cruising grounds of the west coast so great compared to the east?
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Old 08-11-2015, 18:47   #6
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

My experience is mostly limited to the Gulf coast, but I would suggest St. Petersburg, FL. Lots of nearby cruising destinations, great liveaboard marinas, decent weather (hot in the summer, of course, but they have a good track record with hurricanes). Fairly large city with attendant cultural opportunities and some hospitals around.
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Old 08-11-2015, 18:57   #7
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

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If I were you I would ask myself.....what is my ideal cruising route?....

.... and then locate and work from that starting point till you have the cruising kitty and confidence to take off.
I think we envision ourselves starting with the bahamas and the caribbean because it would be easy sails from place to place and would be a bit of a safety net. Central America is definitely on our list as well. I spent time in Costa Rica and miss the pura vida life! But who knows with more knowledge about sailing and routes that preference may change??
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Old 08-11-2015, 19:07   #8
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

Hi Tom and Hannah and welcome to the forum. Airway? Good handle for someone in EM.

Sounds like you have a good plan to move into a cruising lifestyle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Airway View Post
We are looking for the perfect location for this transition period to the sailing life. We are set to move from our landlocked position in upstate NY in July 2016. I'm an ER doc and Hannah is a nurse, therefore we can move virtually anywhere in the coastal US. We would prefer east coast for proximity to home.

Factors which are important to us:
1. Strong boating culture

Lots of areas around the east coast fit this criterion: several locations in New England, several areas around the Chesapeake, Charleston, Brunswick GA, a lot of locations in FL Atlantic and Gulf sides, TX Gulf coast to mention a few.

2. Awesome nearby cruising grounds

Kind of depends on what you define as awesome. New England and LI Sound could keep you busy for years. Chesapeake same thing. South of the Chesapeake it's mostly up and down the coast until you get to south FL where you have the Keys and Bahamas. West coast of FL offers some options.

3. Weather which allows boating most of the year.

Unless you enjoy cold weather sailing this pretty much eliminates anything north of FL. Anywhere on the Gulf Coast will be not bad most of the time but some winters worse than others

4. Low-ish taxes and reasonable-ish cost of living (i.e. not california)

Anywhere in FL except the stretch from Palm Beach to Miami. FL has no state income tax, no annual personal property tax and reasonable property taxes.

5. Friendly people!

I find boaters to be pretty friendly anywhere but like any group there's the occasional fly in the ointment. Nice thing about boats, if you don't like the neighbors you can move.

If anyone can provide insight into towns/cities/states which would be a great fit we would surely appreciate it!

Tom and Hannah
As far as specific locations in FL, probably want to stick close to a med to large city to find a hospital with much of an ER or trauma ward. If you want lots of excitement at work go for Miami. A little more expensive for dockage and traffic can be terrible but you also have more cruising options and lots and lots of boaters.
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Old 08-11-2015, 19:07   #9
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

OK personally I would recommend the Seattle area. Year round sailing. Great liveaboard communities locally. Excellent public transportation. An extensive network of bicycle friendly roads and paths. Several of the best hospitals in the country. Harborview, Swedish, children's and the UW medical center. As far as cruising you are only about 4 hours sail from the San Juan islands
http://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Guide.../dp/0071420398
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Old 08-11-2015, 19:30   #10
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

Quote:
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I think we envision ourselves starting with the bahamas and the caribbean because it would be easy sails from place to place and would be a bit of a safety net. Central America is definitely on our list as well. I spent time in Costa Rica and miss the pura vida life! But who knows with more knowledge about sailing and routes that preference may change??
In that case Florida makes the most sense.....many members here with intimate knowledge of Marina's that would be close to any specific Hospital you would like to work at.
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Old 08-11-2015, 19:58   #11
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

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In that case Florida makes the most sense.....many members here with intimate knowledge of Marina's that would be close to any specific Hospital you would like to work at.
Awesome. Nice to hear there are others out there with knowledge and can point us in the right direction.
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Old 08-11-2015, 20:32   #12
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

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Hi Tom and Hannah and welcome to the forum. Airway? Good handle for someone in EM.
Thanks dreaming up a boat name early can't be unlucky can it?
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Old 08-11-2015, 20:33   #13
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

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My experience is mostly limited to the Gulf coast, but I would suggest St. Petersburg, FL. Lots of nearby cruising destinations, great liveaboard marinas, decent weather (hot in the summer, of course, but they have a good track record with hurricanes). Fairly large city with attendant cultural opportunities and some hospitals around.
Cool. We will be definitely planning a trip down to that area next month. Have to start researching the hospitals.

Sounds like Florida meets our criteria the best.. any other parts of Florida you guys recommend besides Tampa and the surrounding areas?

What about the panhandle? Naples?
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Old 08-11-2015, 20:59   #14
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

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Cool. We will be definitely planning a trip down to that area next month. Have to start researching the hospitals.

Sounds like Florida meets our criteria the best.. any other parts of Florida you guys recommend besides Tampa and the surrounding areas?

What about the panhandle? Naples?
I like Tampa as an option. Bigger boating community than Naples including a lot of live aboards. Good place to practice sailing and some places not too far to cruise. If you want to go farther afield you can head south to the Keys or Dry Tortugas. Also several hospitals in the area so more options for jobs.

Downside, it's a long way around to get around the bottom of the state to the Bahamas if you were so inclined.
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Old 08-11-2015, 21:38   #15
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Re: Best locations to learn to liveaboard?

You can enjoy awesome sailing experiences on either the US east or west coasts. Why don't you try for the easiest job move and be open to where you land? We were living in Washington, DC when we started our boat search and fully expected to buy on the east coast--but found ourselves moving to the west coast. We're coastal cruising here (boat purchase in San Diego) anywhere between San Diego and southeastern Alaska. Lovely places all along the west coast. My husband and I know the east coast well and we'll eventually sail back through the Panama Canal, the islands, and onwards.

The Pacific Northwest is lovely, the SF Bay area wonderful sailing and the entire coast worthwhile cruising for many years IMO.

Fair winds,
Brenda
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