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Old 03-08-2017, 10:45   #1
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Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

Hello to all. I am new to this forum and am excited that I found you all!

My wife and I are contemplating the option of keeping a boat...likely a trawler in the 45' range...somewhere on the Florida coast. We are currently able to get away from home for about two weeks each month, year round. Boating here is...well, you can imagine. Regardless, it is a bit difficult to wrap our minds around keeping a boat so far from home.

We would like to keep a boat in a place that is somewhat "central" to likely cruising destinations, up and down the coast.

Q: Where in Florida would you suggest? Are there any specific marinas in that area that we should look at?

Q: What would you say would be on the top five list of considerations for "absentee boat ownership" in this region, so to speak?

We assume that arrangements can be made to have our boat looked after (a fee-based service) if we aren't there for, say, a few months at a time. Is this even a thing?

Many thanks in advance to all who have advice to share!
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Old 03-08-2017, 14:25   #2
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

For only 2 weeks a year have you compared the costs of renting/chartering? I'm almost 100% sure dollar wise you'd be ahead to rent. The longer you intend to use a boat (per year) the closer the costs become.
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Old 03-08-2017, 14:30   #3
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

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For only 2 weeks a year have you compared the costs of renting/chartering? I'm almost 100% sure dollar wise you'd be ahead to rent. The longer you intend to use a boat (per year) the closer the costs become.
OP's post -

for about two weeks each month, year round
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Old 03-08-2017, 14:34   #4
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

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For only 2 weeks a year have you compared the costs of renting/chartering? I'm almost 100% sure dollar wise you'd be ahead to rent. The longer you intend to use a boat (per year) the closer the costs become.
Thanks for the reply. I apologize for the lack of clarity. Our travel availability is two weeks each and every month throughout the year.

We will begin by chartering though, but are struggling to find a "Cruise and Learn" school in FL. We wish to renew our certifications in boat handling and coastal navigation prior to buying. These are plentiful in the Pacific Northwest, so we may just re-certify up there if need be.

Cheers!
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Old 03-08-2017, 17:53   #5
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

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Originally Posted by el taco loco View Post
Hello to all. I am new to this forum and am excited that I found you all!

My wife and I are contemplating the option of keeping a boat...likely a trawler in the 45' range...somewhere on the Florida coast. We are currently able to get away from home for about two weeks each month, year round. Boating here is...well, you can imagine. Regardless, it is a bit difficult to wrap our minds around keeping a boat so far from home.

We would like to keep a boat in a place that is somewhat "central" to likely cruising destinations, up and down the coast.

Q: Where in Florida would you suggest? Are there any specific marinas in that area that we should look at?

Q: What would you say would be on the top five list of considerations for "absentee boat ownership" in this region, so to speak?

We assume that arrangements can be made to have our boat looked after (a fee-based service) if we aren't there for, say, a few months at a time. Is this even a thing?

Many thanks in advance to all who have advice to share!
My apologies, you quite clearly stated 2 weeks per month vs year.

I would consider marinas roughly north of St Augustine and south of Savannah, GA (for hurricane avoidance), but hard to achieve on the USA eastern seaboard.

Most marinas will charge a premium to look after your boat in the event on a named storm. It may be very difficult to escape that charge as an absentee owner.

IMO, marina agreements are only valid when nothing bad happens to your boat.
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Old 03-08-2017, 18:37   #6
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

I am also in Colorado and have settled on the Sea of Cortez. California is just too far, Florida would be out of the question unless I had free flights.
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Old 03-08-2017, 18:52   #7
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

Hi Loco and welcome to the forum.

Where to keep the boat will depend a LOT on what kind of cruising you want to do. Most of FL cruising is basically up and down the coast or up and down the ICW or a combination of the two. If each cruise starts from the same location you will very quickly see all there is to see in a two week cruising radius.

If your goal is just to hang out on a boat in a warm, sunny local, meet some other boaters and have a couple of sundowners in the cockpit then that could work. However if your goal is to see new places, exotic locations, etc then you have two options. Base in SE Florida and head east to the Bahamas and beyond or base in SW FL and head west to Cancun and the Mexican Riviera.

The problem with the last two options, two weeks is barely enough time to get there and back. To the Bahamas you will be limited to a few, nearby islands and miss out on the best cruising areas. You could cruise the Bahamas in stages IE move the boat to the islands and leave it for two weeks, come back and move a little farther, leave for two weeks, etc.

Again, depending on your goals, a better option might be to criuise for two months, back to CO for two months, repeat.

Maybe a little more about your expectations and ideas on cruising.
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Old 03-08-2017, 22:25   #8
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

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...hang out on a boat in a warm, sunny local...
I'm not too sure how warm and sunny the locals are in Florida, but if they are large enough to accommodate a boat, that speaks volumes.

As for me, I'd prefer a warm, sunny locale... (sorry, couldn't resist...)
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Old 04-08-2017, 03:06   #9
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

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I'm not too sure how warm and sunny the locals are in Florida, but if they are large enough to accommodate a boat, that speaks volumes.

As for me, I'd prefer a warm, sunny locale... (sorry, couldn't resist...)
Oops, I missed that one.

Or, maybe there was a double entendre intended.

Either way, now I'm going to be watching. If you ever mix up there, their or they're I'll be sure to take note.
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Old 04-08-2017, 05:28   #10
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

Hello from a former Denverite!

For a "cruise and learn" school, I have taken a couple of classes, and chartered boats, from this operation, and feel comfortable recommending them... St. Petersburg & Tampa Bay - Sailing Yacht, Catamaran & Fishing Charters

A class here, combined with a few days scoping out the area would help you decide if you like the west coast of Florida. The west coast is very different from the east coast, so you really need to spend some time checking out both. Then there's the panhandle, and the Keys, each of which are very different from the rest of the state. Florida is a big and diverse state.

Other than that, I will "ditto" what skipmac said. And, yeah, last time I was at Walmart I think I did see some locals that are large enough to accommodate a boat!

Good luck!
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:43   #11
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

One other piece of advice from someone that's been there, done that. Absentee ownership can sometimes be a pain. Years back I kept a boat alternating between FL and the USVI while living in Atlanta. Main difference, I could only go down for 2-4 weeks every couple of months.

Discovered that leaving a boat sitting, closed up in the tropics for months at a time created all sorts of problems. Mold and mildew were one but the biggest pain was maintenance and repairs. Boat systems: engines, electrical and electronics don't like sitting in hot, humid boat interior for long periods. These creates all sorts of problems, especially corrosion, poor electrical connections, etc. When they're used frequently they warm up and dry out and stay happy.

If you would really be on the boat every couple of weeks this shouldn't be a problem.

The other thing, it can be a lot more expensive trying to manage a boat long distance vs being there in person. Boat yard bills tend to grow a lot when the owner isn't there to oversee things. No dishonesty, just work seems to expand without supervision plus you get charged hourly rates for easy, routine things that you could do yourself.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:13   #12
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

I have lived in South Florida since 1980. Marina's are plentiful. You get what you pay for though, but shop around. There are lots of "yacht managers" that will tend your boat while you are away. From West Palm Beach and southward, you have a lot to choose from with two weeks for adventure: Bahamas, FL Keys, Biscayne Bay, ICW north and south, and even take the Okeechobee Waterway to the west coast is possible. As for hurricanes/storms, I say pffffft. In thirty seven years, we have only had two storms strike in our vicinity. Buy insurance, make a storm plan, and have fun.

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Old 04-08-2017, 08:15   #13
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

With 2 weeks a month available then what you are thinking of makes sense.
If you plan to leave the boat ready for use and in "striking distance of the Bahamas, short cruise destinations then Halifax Hbr. Marina in Daytona Beach is a fine hurricane hole (been thru 5 hurricanes there myself). Orlando airport is only a 1 hr drive or Daytona Intl (if you can make their schedule work) is only 10 minutes from the marina.
The rates are reasonable and you can get most services accomplished locally.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:27   #14
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

I would say define your mission a little more and that will help you where to base out of. If you want to cruise a lot of little islands in the Bahama's, then SE Florida is closest. Great fishing both here and there.

Daytona as someone mentioned is 200 miles to the north of me here in West Palm Beach. West End Bahama's is just 60 miles from the Lake Worth (Palm Beach) inlet. Crossed over dozens of times. That sets you up easy for the northern bahamas.

I would say look from Jupiter to the Keys if the Bahama's is in your plans. Let me know if you are interested in a Cat.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:33   #15
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Re: Living in Colorado and keeping a boat on the Florida coast

I respect greatly the advice you've received, and I envy your freedom enough to comment in the alternative anyway... The Admiral and I live in Thornton, Colorado, but bought our retirement home on the West Coast of Florida (Gulf Harbors/New Port Richey). There were, and still are many, many bargains (compared to the Denver market) to be found in Florida, on deep-water canals with Gulf or ICW access. I would recommend looking to buy a home down there that you can rent by the month to snowbirds (like we do), use yourself when you want a home base, and have a "free" dock to use as you wish. We have a lift for our fishing boat and a floating dock for our sailboat...I've tried to figure out how to manipulate it to add a trawler, too!!! If your goal is simply to be on the warm, fish-filled waters of Florida...what a plan!! We found a gentleman in our neighborhood to scrape the bottom monthly and he is an amazing steward, changing zincs and keeping us informed of her status, too. Add in retired neighbors who all own arsenals, and we could leave the boats for years with no worries.

Whatever you decide, I hope to see you on the water. Heck, come up to our slip at Carter Lake and sail with us...we love boats and boaters!!
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