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Old 30-06-2016, 09:30   #1
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Gulf Coast US

I'm going to move my boat to the Destin / Fort Walton Beach area. Because my boat has deep draft (6.5 feet) my marina choices are limited. I am currently deciding between Shalimar yacht Basin in Shalimar and Bluewater Bay marina in Niceville. According to what I'm reading on active captain, Bluewater Bay is the nicer of the two. But it has no haul out equipment for my boat, which can be important if a hurricane is on the way. The marina in worse shape (Shalimar) DOES have haul out equipment, so if a big storm came, I could be first in line to get out of the water. Any suggestions as to which one to choose? Does a poorer maintained marina with haul out equipment trump a nicer marina without, when keeping one's boat in a hurricane area?

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Old 30-06-2016, 10:21   #2
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Re: Gulf Coast US

Having lived in PC for 52 years and weathered a number of storms/ hurricanes, I am convinced that the safest place for a yacht is at anchor in a protected bayou (assuming suitable ground tackle). The biggest risk is some J***A** dragging down on you hanging on a lunch hook.

The area around both marinas you are looking at is not real high so just being on the hard is no guarantee, and neither is in a great protected location. We don't have much of a natural tide here but storm surge of 10+ feet is not unusual.

I assume you know that you are blocked on the West and South by 50 ft fixed bridges and the only way in or out to the GOM is via ICW and Panama City pass (a good deep water pass).
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Old 30-06-2016, 10:31   #3
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Re: Gulf Coast US

Thanks. I'm aware of the bridges. That might be a deal breaker. Boat is listed as 53 feet in all the books. But previous owner told me 48, maybe cut down or made that way. Will measure it soon. I live aways away from the boat. There is a chance a storm comes up and I have no time to get down to tend to things. Are you familiar with Shalimar Marina? Docks seem to be in pretty poor shape. But I am only down there once per month and that is not important outside the security of the boat. Thanks for responding.

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Old 30-06-2016, 11:24   #4
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Re: Gulf Coast US

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Originally Posted by Frankly View Post
Having lived in PC for 52 years and weathered a number of storms/ hurricanes, I am convinced that the safest place for a yacht is at anchor in a protected bayou (assuming suitable ground tackle). The biggest risk is some J***A** dragging down on you hanging on a lunch hook.

The area around both marinas you are looking at is not real high so just being on the hard is no guarantee, and neither is in a great protected location. We don't have much of a natural tide here but storm surge of 10+ feet is not unusual.
Yep, a friend of mine had his Tayana 37 knocked off it's stand and destroyed during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

He was at a marina near the Florida/Alabama line along the Redneck Riviera....

There were lots of boats destroyed during that hurricane though both in the water and out.
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Old 30-06-2016, 17:59   #5
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Re: Gulf Coast US

Passed the Shalimar Marina from the water but never stopped in. In and out of Bluewater a number of times. If you are going to be away from the ship and depending on others, travel lift equipped marina is probably one of the best options. I would check their storm haul policy. Kind of hectic when a big blow is on the way.
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Old 30-06-2016, 18:18   #6
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Re: Gulf Coast US

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The marina in worse shape (Shalimar) DOES have haul out equipment, so if a big storm came, I could be first in line to get out of the water.
Perhaps. Marinas along the coast sell their pre-hurricane services similar to insurance...and those that buy the opportunity for haul out do so at premium prices. Many lifts will be booked for days, and if you haven't prepaid and aren't on their list, you are outa luck. Have you talked to Shalimar about their policies and practices?
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Old 01-07-2016, 13:19   #7
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Re: Gulf Coast US

Looks like you have some good input. I agree with Frankly's comments on hurricane preparedness. Before relying on a marina to haul, check with others that have used them as there are some horror stories out there. One other comment - why Destin area? It's packed in that area during tourist (aka terrorist) season. In my opinion there are much better spots to hang out to the east or west of there.
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Old 01-07-2016, 13:33   #8
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Re: Gulf Coast US

Thanks all. Looking at Bluewater Bay in Niceville and Shalimar Marina. I love Pensacola but can find ZERO marinas that can accommodate my draft (6.5') and have spaces available. Have been to Gulf Shores. But with many many area of mobile Bay looking between 8 and 10 feet mlw (account to chart), I'd be on edge the whole time sailing there. Being from North Georgia, I know what a PITA it can be to drive to Panama City on a Friday evening. Niceville and Shalimar are not as touristy and have less traffic, from my experience. Also have available slips and enough depth for me.

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Old 01-07-2016, 13:58   #9
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Re: Gulf Coast US

That's a French boat, so put it in New Orleans so it can talk Cajun with all the other French boats. It will be lonely in Florida.

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Old 01-07-2016, 14:34   #10
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Re: Gulf Coast US

You would be fine here in Pensacola. The bay has great depth and is a great sailing ground. If you are going to be in the gulf with your boat, you will need to get used to skinny water! I am pretty sure you could get into Palafox. There are also several marinas in bayou Chico (depth would be close but I think you would be OK)......or you can join our crowd at Pensacola Yacht Club that has migrated from Lake Lanier. PYC will have new slips available soon.
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Old 01-07-2016, 15:35   #11
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Re: Gulf Coast US

I am familiar with Pensacola and Pensacola yacht. Did some work with Ron before we went on out first REAL bareboat in Puerto Rico. The only Chico marina that has enough water for me is Pensacola Ship yard and they are full. I checked everyone else and nobody has that kind of depth from my inquiries. Palafox does, but is currently full from what I was told by the office staff. I need Palafox to drop $2 per foot before it is affordable for me. Have been to the Wharf in Orange Beach. Nice, but a long way from sailing water, which is a major reason I'm moving the boat now. I love the Amel and can't wait to sail her across oceans. But for now, a little inconvenient with the deep draft.

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Old 01-07-2016, 16:13   #12
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Re: Gulf Coast US

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Originally Posted by hyperope View Post
SNIP

The only Chico marina that has enough water for me is Pensacola Ship yard and they are full.
Curious about the time frame when the Pensacola Ship Yard is full. I was kinda, sorta, maybe thinking about taking my boat there in a couple of months for a haul out, bottom job, and preparing for cruising in the fall winter season. All my research indicates PSY is a good place for this. Since I live in NW Florida someone recommended I keep the boat there as well.

Anyone have thoughts, and sorry about possible thread drift.

3'5" draft 19'6" beam 33'6" LOA
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Old 01-07-2016, 16:34   #13
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Re: Gulf Coast US

I was told it was popular due to the protection from hurricanes. I was also told that they don't have many people ever leave.

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Old 01-07-2016, 17:03   #14
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Re: Gulf Coast US

We weathered Hurricane Kate (1985) there, when Bluewater Bay had our Pearson Triton to replace our Atomic 4 with a Westerbeke. They anchored our boat off the marina and she did well. The folks there are very with access to restaurants and marine services. Fisherman Boat Yard is nearby for haulouts. Randy Hinely and crew at Bluewater are fine folks.

The deal breaker for us is the Destin Bridge which is lower than our air draft of 51+/- on our current boat. This means transiting the ICW to Panama City to get out to the Gulf.

Have you considered Carrabelle? Marinas and haul out facilities on a freshwater river and quick access to Apalachicola Bay.
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Old 01-07-2016, 17:20   #15
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Re: Gulf Coast US

I am not familiar with Destin or the near-by marinas. Are any of the two marinas considered a hurricane holes, and provide floating docks with mooring facilities on both sides of the vessel? Insurance companies like hauling out, however living in the gulf of mexico, your boat is most vunerable on the hard, in particular if you have a 15 foot storm surge - you are better off moored securely in floating docks.
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I'm going to move my boat to the Destin / Fort Walton Beach area. Because my boat has deep draft (6.5 feet) my marina choices are limited. I am currently deciding between Shalimar yacht Basin in Shalimar and Bluewater Bay marina in Niceville. According to what I'm reading on active captain, Bluewater Bay is the nicer of the two. But it has no haul out equipment for my boat, which can be important if a hurricane is on the way. The marina in worse shape (Shalimar) DOES have haul out equipment, so if a big storm came, I could be first in line to get out of the water. Any suggestions as to which one to choose? Does a poorer maintained marina with haul out equipment trump a nicer marina without, when keeping one's boat in a hurricane area?

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