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Old 14-03-2008, 21:20   #1
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Florida Liveaboard Questions - Boca Raton Area

Hi Folks - I hail from snowy Michigan where I own a Meridian 381 flybridge yacht(which is for sale or I could trade for a nice Catamaran!). My experience sailing is comprised of some time I spent in 2001 in San Diego taking a Capri 22 out every weekend I could - probably 80 days on the water.

In Michigan I owned a condo and a house. It took me 2 years to sell my Condo for $40K less than I bought it for in 2002. The plan was to sell my house and then purchase a catamaran with my wife and daughter and live aboard in the South Florida area. I figured I had another 2 years to plan while waiting for the current house to sell. After listing it last week, I got an offer today and they're asking us to be out in 30 days. The best laid plans of mice and men....

So now I'm in information-gathering mode and this is the greatest and smartest forum I've found pertaining to the sailing/cruising lifestyle.

After reading many of the posts on this thread, I am afraid that there is so much information I might be at risk of not seeing the forest for the trees, so I'm going to ask some direct questions.

1. Is there a good place to go to find liveaboard-friendly marinas in the Boca Raton area?
2. What do you do in the event of a hurricane? I'd be especially interested in hearing from the folks that have been through this in South Florida.
3. Is there anybody on this forum in the South Florida area that might not mind speaking with me directly as I get closer and closer to making the leap? If so, please PM or just give me a shout on this thread.

Thank you very much -

Tim
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Old 14-03-2008, 22:16   #2
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Welcome to the board Tim . I just got back from Florida, was there with my wife to attend some boat things . We have a boat in Palmetto area ,she is on the hard ,but in the the fall our family is moving aboard . Our plan is to outfit the boat and go cruising . When we were there we check the marinas where we would like to stay . There are two to choose from in that area ,one in Palmetto , $850 /month including taxes ,another one in Bradenton , $1350/month . The one in Bradenton is really nice one ,has big liveaboards community ,pool, barbeques ,and is right downtown ,walking distance everywhere. The all have websites so you can check it out.
Regards Henryk
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Old 14-03-2008, 22:33   #3
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Henry,
Thank you very much for the response. I wish you the best of luck getting the boat and family ready for your adventure!

Hmm, Palmetto and Bradenton - I think those are on the west coast of FL. I am looking at SE FL, i.e. Ft. Lauderdale area.

-Tim

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Welcome to the board Tim . I just got back from Florida, was there with my wife to attend some boat things . We have a boat in Palmetto area ,she is on the hard ,but in the the fall our family is moving aboard . Our plan is to outfit the boat and go cruising . When we were there we check the marinas where we would like to stay . There are two to choose from in that area ,one in Palmetto , $850 /month including taxes ,another one in Bradenton , $1350/month . The one in Bradenton is really nice one ,has big liveaboards community ,pool, barbeques ,and is right downtown ,walking distance everywhere. The all have websites so you can check it out.
Regards Henryk
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Old 14-03-2008, 22:49   #4
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Tim, Welcome. I am in NE Fl. In the event of a hurricane--LEAVE--Your family is too valuable to stay and try to weather the storm. Look at what Katrina did to New Orleans. Concrete block homes in Homestead were totaled during a hurricane in the 90's. Insurance for the vessel will be expensive. I pay $2,500 a year for my s/v behind my house on a canal. Check with your prospective insurer about the cost in S. FL. A slip for a 36" boat here runs close to $1,000 a month. No pool, electricity, and cable are extra. S. FL is more expensive. Do check out the marinas on-line. Many have web sites.

John
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Old 15-03-2008, 00:09   #5
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I am little further north, there are a couple live-aboard marinas here, Fort Pierce - Harbourtown and The City Marina, further south, where we live Nettles Island Marina, a little further south in Stuart is Harborage (they tolerate live-aboards, however that may change if they lose the desparation to fill the joint). I don't know much about anything further south of here, so i can't be of much help there.

As far as hurricanes, i didnt even stay in our house during jean and frances, screw that, we run. This year, I will prolly throw the boat on the hard if one approaches (boat can't sink on the hard), I know a couple people who ran north or south but you gotta be way ahead of it and it's a gamble IMHO as you never really know where they'll end up and you may just be moving into it.
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Old 15-03-2008, 05:24   #6
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Hi John - that is great advice and I would never plan on keeping my most valuable possessions (My Family) on board during a hurricane. I guess aside from getting the heck out of Dodge, what do you do with the boat? Is there a common tactic that is used by Florida hurricane veterans? Maybe a particularly safe harbor for Hurricanes or a mooring/anchoring technique and location that has worked?

Or do they just leave the boat tied to the dock, spiderweb the hell out of the lines and pray to God?

Thank you,
Tim

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Tim, Welcome. I am in NE Fl. In the event of a hurricane--LEAVE--Your family is too valuable to stay and try to weather the storm. Look at what Katrina did to New Orleans. Concrete block homes in Homestead were totaled during a hurricane in the 90's. Insurance for the vessel will be expensive. I pay $2,500 a year for my s/v behind my house on a canal. Check with your prospective insurer about the cost in S. FL. A slip for a 36" boat here runs close to $1,000 a month. No pool, electricity, and cable are extra. S. FL is more expensive. Do check out the marinas on-line. Many have web sites.

John
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Old 15-03-2008, 05:29   #7
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I am little further north, there are a couple live-aboard marinas here, Fort Pierce - Harbourtown and The City Marina, further south, where we live Nettles Island Marina, a little further south in Stuart is Harborage (they tolerate live-aboards, however that may change if they lose the desparation to fill the joint). I don't know much about anything further south of here, so i can't be of much help there.

As far as hurricanes, i didnt even stay in our house during jean and frances, screw that, we run. This year, I will prolly throw the boat on the hard if one approaches (boat can't sink on the hard), I know a couple people who ran north or south but you gotta be way ahead of it and it's a gamble IMHO as you never really know where they'll end up and you may just be moving into it.

That's why I was always confused about people running North and South - it seems like one might inadvertently end up expending a lot of time just to guarantee a rendezvous with the very hurricane they are running from.

I was also reading some insurance website that said the majority of their claims that result from hurricanes are from boats on the hard. I don't know if this is true or not but it seems like an interesting theory...
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Old 15-03-2008, 06:07   #8
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Tim - It all is based on storm surge. If you are on the hard and the marina in 10 feet under water the vessel floats unassisted into everything. If you are at the dock and the piers are fixed the vessel can pull the pilings out of the mud. I have a floating dock but if dock floats higher than the pilings everything is loose, even though I have lines running from the dock to the land. I have even had a cleat pulled from the floating dock and the vessel moving around the other three cleats. The vessel is insured and to try to move it before a storm is a task. That is why some boat owners summer in the north and winter in the south.
John
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Old 15-03-2008, 06:08   #9
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Tim,

Think this through carefully. Do you really want to live aboard a boat in a marina in Florida? If you like sailing you'll not do much sailing living aboard in a marina. Most folks that do this never go out of the marina. Florida, especially the east coast is not very friendly to folks that live aboard their boats. Marinas are getting more expensive and harder to find. Most will end up as condos once this housing collapse ends. A condo would be a better choice right now as the prices are coming down. If you want to get out of Michigan during the winters do what half the folks in Michigan do - cruise the Bahamas from November to May, keep the boat on the hard in Florida during the summer and go home to the condo or cottage in Michigan. I think there's more boats from Michigan down here in the Bahamas than any other state!
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Old 15-03-2008, 06:38   #10
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Having lived in South Florida through all the big storms of the last 25 years, I take exception to the "sky is falling" approach to them in the other posts. The tracking is VERY good, and if the storm is heading to Palm Beach county, you can rest assured it will end up damn close. We have watched the last 10 years always with the thought "where to go to avoid this" and found that there is always about three days of time to move on the coast to avoid the worst, usually moving south, as the storms always are moving NE when they come ashore. My 70 year old house in Miami weathered all the storms with no damage, it was all about prep and getting the shutters up in time. The name of the game is to keep aware, be prepared, and DON'T PANIC. Nothing more disheartening then watching people fight over bottled water when they already have 30 jugs in their shopping cart. Remember, the media doesn't interview those tht are calm and prepared, it just doesn't sell. I also remember them showing a listing houseboat on all the national news in Key West, and that boat had been like that for years . .. Credentials: Was in Miami for Andrew and St. Thomas for Hugo, both Cat 4+ storms, and I'm still here!
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Old 15-03-2008, 06:45   #11
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That's good to know - I too believe that the media loves to sensationalize any event, be it weather, environmental, etc.

I just like knowing there's options.

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Having lived in South Florida through all the big storms of the last 25 years, I take exception to the "sky is falling" approach to them in the other posts. The tracking is VERY good, and if the storm is heading to Palm Beach county, you can rest assured it will end up damn close. We have watched the last 10 years always with the thought "where to go to avoid this" and found that there is always about three days of time to move on the coast to avoid the worst, usually moving south, as the storms always are moving NE when they come ashore. My 70 year old house in Miami weathered all the storms with no damage, it was all about prep and getting the shutters up in time. The name of the game is to keep aware, be prepared, and DON'T PANIC. Nothing more disheartening then watching people fight over bottled water when they already have 30 jugs in their shopping cart. Remember, the media doesn't interview those tht are calm and prepared, it just doesn't sell. I also remember them showing a listing houseboat on all the national news in Key West, and that boat had been like that for years . .. Credentials: Was in Miami for Andrew and St. Thomas for Hugo, both Cat 4+ storms, and I'm still here!
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Old 15-03-2008, 07:48   #12
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Not sure how far south you want to be in Florida, but you may check out Panama City, Destin, Pensacola, FL & Mobile, Al. Much less expensive slip rentals
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Old 15-03-2008, 09:45   #13
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I totally agree with WATERWORLDLY.....
I'm born and raised in FLORIDA for 60 years...... Hurricanes have never scared me, I've survived all hurricanes, including ANDREW, HUGO, BETSY and about a dozen others........the key is being alert and prepared to evacuate if necessary.................... don't change your plans unless you have a crystal ball for the weather!
I stayed at the HOLLYWOOD MUNICPAL MARINA for 6 months and REALLY enjoyed it, right off the ICW between Miami and Ft Lauderdale...... it was about $750.00/mo...
best part was the Hollwood POLICE had their MARINE PATROL stationed at that marina!........ no problems, never!
Good Luck!
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Old 15-03-2008, 10:47   #14
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I would love to check those out but the main reason that I want to get out to Boca is that I have a large group of friends and customers there, so that's pretty much where I have to focus.

-Tim

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Not sure how far south you want to be in Florida, but you may check out Panama City, Destin, Pensacola, FL & Mobile, Al. Much less expensive slip rentals
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Old 15-03-2008, 12:53   #15
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Tim,
With a sailboat and a limited range in three days, I leave. Some people stay around and live to regret their decision. As an old Floridian, I have seen many storms. The sky does not fall. Tree limbs, gargage cans, and other materials fly about. My neigbor lost his front and back porch roof. I had no damage. We both left the area. I have moved south and was hit in Daytona when the storm was to go north. If you watch the cone of a possible hit, it is wide. The closer the storm gets, the narrower the cone for a possible strike. One storm was 50 miles off shore coming into St. Augustine, when at the last moment it decided to go south. The storm was to hit in five hours. Not much time to move a s/v. The cost of insurance is an indicator of risk. BoatUS does have a list of things to be done when a strom is coming. The old experienced Floridians will either go or stay depending on their past experiences.

John
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