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Old 07-12-2010, 18:25   #16
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I'm 1500 miles away from my boat in Marina del Rey. Just moved it there 6 months ago. I get to the boat on average every 2-3 weeks. I went with a "higher-end" marina which equates to a higher (marginal in my opinion) than market slip fee. What do I get in return? 24 hour security (docks gated with key access, and 24 hour security patrol) and 2 full time dock attendants that are on the docks everyday for cleaning, trash removal, etc. I have gotten to know both attendants very well and have tipped them kindly for helping me out with anything. They know my situation and I'm confident I'd recieve a call very quickly if anything unusual were spotted. In addition I did a lot of due diligence on dive service. In my instance they're at my boat once per month. Again, I have developed a rapport with the owner of the dive service (we talk after each cleaning and/or zinc change) and trust that he would also call should anything cause concern. I'm also fortunate enough to have good friends in the area should I be alarmed of anything.

A few other things to consider. I have a full cover for my boat - it was originally made to protect the boat from snow while the boat was in the water during the winter months. It has now proved invaluable even in sunny SoCal. I clean the boat before departure, take the 20 minutes to put the cover on, and I'm rewarded with a clean boat upon my next arrival (not to mention the protection my teak receives from the sun). You can also look into remote monitoring devices (e.g. Boatsense) depending on your budget. Essentially you install a device that can detect motion, bilge levels, etc. and report back to you electronically on a monthly subscription basis.
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Old 07-12-2010, 18:27   #17
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I would not leave a yacht unattended unless it was on the hard. Too many things can happen unattended in the water.

If a diesel tank leaks fuel and the bilge pump sends it overboard, the environmental fine could easily exceed the value of the yacht.

You may get away with leaving the boat for a couple months at a time, but you are taking a significant risk.

When I am away from the yacht, I put it on the hard.
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Old 07-12-2010, 19:11   #18
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I always had mine hauled and stored on the hard. I used the Indiantown marina boatyard for years. My current boat is on the the hard in the Bahamas. I plan to haul it at the end of this winter at the Cape (Canaveral) yard. (I want them to do some professioanl work on it and they have regular shuttles to the airport, which can be a big problem with Indiantown) The Harbortown marina is another I'd consider for hard storage.
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Old 07-12-2010, 19:23   #19
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Find a marina that is liveaboard friendly. Get to know your neighbors and then contract with one of them to look after it. I have done this for many years with great success. The marina generally does not want anything to do with it.
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Old 07-12-2010, 19:33   #20
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I commuted to the boat for three years from 2200 miles away. Sometimes went 3 months or more without getting back to the boat. Had a friend who came down to his boat at least 3 days a week keep an eye on it. He never had to do anything.

I did put in a new bilge pump and switch when I bought the boat. I changed out the Rule float switches every year after the first one failed in just over a year. If the commute would've continued, would have put a back up pump in but that would have necessitated a haul and a new thru-hull. The rule switches are really pieces of junk. Had two fail in three years. Luckily I was there when the first one quit and the second one gave plenty of warning that it was going out. Switched to a Johnson Controls switch which worrks better and seems to be holding up much better. Finally sailed the boat home so I go down to it almost every day now.

It's no problem leaving the boat in the water. I'd either make a deal with a fellow slip owner or hire someone to check the bilge regularly, however. Be sure the Marina Manager has your cell number and local contact should something happen. In a hurricane prone area, I'd definitley haul the boat for the season.
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Old 07-12-2010, 19:37   #21
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The closest I have been to my boat is a three hour drive. It seems like every situation changes. When I had it in Canada I hired a boat maintenance guy to look after her. He was a retired RCMP and his boat was immaculate. He checked on the boat in the water and went inside. It took him 15 minutes. I paid him $50 a month to look after Ohana and he would send me a report every week. When I had the boat in Astoria Oregon I put her on the hard. I had a guy watch it but he didn't do a very good job and was $75 a month. When I went to the boat the bilge was full of water. I would really like to have a drain in my bilge. The problem turned out to be that the riggers hadn't put a drip loop in my radar cable. While in SF there was a live aboard across the way and he would look at the boat but I would come down every other week. When I had the boat in San Diego I made friends with a lady who owned a condo and she would look at my boat. I don't know if she had the expertise to know if she was heeled incorrectly. In La Paz Mexico I did two things. 1) I made friends with a live aboard on the boat next door and he wouldn't accept anything for looking after the boat. I also lent my boat to someone I trusted so that the boat wouldn't be on its own for more then a month. I also strip off the sails and the dodger whenever I am going to leave the boat for a month or more. Long way to tell you that it varies with what kind of arrangements that you can make where you are at.
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Old 07-12-2010, 19:39   #22
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I've left my boat in the EC for 5 years ,living in the summer (6-8months) in Wa state. Not in the water though, on the hard.
Plenty of folks do it.
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Old 07-12-2010, 20:20   #23
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i ran away from home to sail gulf for a near year-- my 2 boats were fine--in to formosa i stuffed toilet seal wax so packing gland wouldnt leak and tarped her goood so her decking would dry out and went sailing. my ericson was fine just sitting on mooring --- there is a cam in sin diego i can see my boats when i am n0t in town.
in hurrycame country i would not leave her in season of the storms. watch weather well and make sure the boat is safe during that season
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:10   #24
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There is at least one boat in our marina, that has not been visited by it's owner for over five years. It looks like it too, but is still afloat. Just a data point.

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Old 08-12-2010, 11:29   #25
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Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
If a diesel tank leaks fuel and the bilge pump sends it overboard, the environmental fine could easily exceed the value of the yacht.
Seems like a silly thing to worry about after the BP "leak".

I have a captain maintain mine. We are something like 3000 miles away. But I usually get there about 1 time per month. Hurricane Earl freaked me out as we couldn't call St. Martin for 36 hours after it hit.

If you want your boat maintained and ready when you get there, expect to pay (alot). It's worth it for me as absolutely everything is ready upon arrival and I leave the boat without any worries.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:38   #26
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The toilet seal wax is a good idea. I never thought of that.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:36   #27
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Here in NC, at least in the Oriental area, there are a couple of "boat tending" services. They go aboard once a week or so and check your bilges, sea cocks, batteries etc. They'll even start your engines for you if you want. In the event of bad weather they'll make sure your lines are properly tied and check for chafe damage. For a little extra they'll clean the decks once a month or so. Surely there must be similar local services in Florida.
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Old 08-12-2010, 13:08   #28
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When I have a boat I will be away from for a while I rig up a cheap and nasty surveillance camera system that I can log into. Shore power, mounted mobile and laptop. The whole kit cost less than $800.

1 camera on bilge (floorboards up)

1 camera on a fixed horizontal point

1 camera on the deck (in hindsight I should have paid the $200 extra and I could control it remotely sweeping around)

If I see anything I ring the dock master and can even guide them as they fix

Very easy
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Old 08-12-2010, 13:54   #29
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I asked this very scenario a long time ago. I was and still willing to babysit anyone's yacht. I am currently in the Auckland, New Zealand area and would love to just watch it, wash it, etc.. Many people have helped me in my lifetime and I'm happy to pay it forward..
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Old 08-12-2010, 14:15   #30
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Dunno if you have a similar set-up over there but many folks (Cruisers) have started doing 'Guardiange' in Marina's all round the Med... many are using the earnings to stay put as they're happy there... basiclly you pay$50/month or whatever and they hose down your boat weekly, check lines, moorings and genarally keep an eye out... usually they live in the same marina which is handy if there's bad weather... if nothing else they can alert the marina staff...
I did that for a short while when away from my baby.
My wife is a very avid technology person and for our anniversary she bought me a solar powered security system. I didn't think it would work but it does rather well, I installed motion sensitive detectors inside so far no issues but my marina is rather well guarded to begin with. It supports email\txt alerts and you can see where its at using GPS as well as displaying latitude and longitude numbers.
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