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Old 21-05-2015, 14:40   #1
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How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

Hey all!

Firstly, a little about me:
I am currently in the Midwest enjoying Tornado season, but this fall I am relocating to the Tampa/St Pete area to fulfill my dream of living aboard.

My general plan is thus:
1) Buy boat, learn about boat through experience whilst paying off boat.
2) Once boat is paid off, liquidate enough assets to spend a few years cruising, or longer if I find work
3) Profit

So, right now I am on step 1. After tons of research, I don't want to get myself into anything over 90k to start. I have a great IT career going so I am not worried about income. Currently looking at some older Gemini 105 models or similar, around 70 or 80k.

From what I understand buying a boat in Florida has the following steps
1) Get approved for boat loan
2) Find boat you want
3) Make offer on boat you want, pending a survey and sea trial
4) buy boat and take boat to your marina

Those are very very general, I know, and I am looking for more details.

How tough are boat loans for liveaboards these days?
What kind of insurance cost could I expect for that kind of boat? (a reasonable estimate, obviously not expecting an exact quote!)
Are there hidden fees in FL? I read in another thread about FL sales tax?
Where is a good place to find a surveyor?
How much does a surveyor cost to go through a boat?
Will liveaboard friendly marinas rent me a slip before a boat is purchased, or do I have to find a marina after the boat is purchased?
Once the boat is purchased, how can I get it to my slip? Are there captains that I could convince/hire to get the boat to my slip? (I am not certified/licensed/whatever to sail or motor a boat, nor would I want to try with my limited experience)

I am not overly concerned with learning to sail, learning how to fix my boat, etc. That stuff will come with experience and jumping on crews for day sails. Just concerned with the finer points of how to go about acquiring the boat

Thanks all!
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Old 21-05-2015, 15:07   #2
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

There is no profit in a boat. Hard to finance over 20 year old boat. Don't spend as much as you can. It will cost more to change things you don't know about. You sail or truck your boat. You may have trouble with insurance if you have no experience. If you own a home your not a live aboard just getting ready for a voyage.

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Old 21-05-2015, 15:17   #3
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

You will pay sales (6-7% depending on which county you claim as residence), on up to $300k of purchase price.

I would be more concerned finding a liveaboard marina that has availability.

Insurance might be better sought thru a Progressive or Allstate, they probably won't have the questions a full-fledged marine insurance underwriter would have.

Purchase survey usually charged by the foot....plus haul-out fee. Plan $15-20/ft. for both.

Enjoy your new boat!!!
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Old 21-05-2015, 16:20   #4
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

I think previous posts covered the high points pretty well.

6-7% sales tax will be due unless you get the boat out of FL within XX days, 90 I think is the current limit. You can get an extension on the deadline if document that the boat is in a yard being worked on in preparation to move it.

Sales commissions if you buy from a broker come out of the seller's share.

State of FL registration $100-$200.

Haul the boat and survey around $20/foot.

Yes you can easily find live aboard marinas in FL. Just be aware that the rough rule of thumb, the further away from big cities like Miami or Tampa, the cheaper the dock rent. Central and north FL you can find docks for $10-$15 per foot per month. Some places electric is extra.

Insurance depends on your experience, level of coverage and deductible. Figure $1500-$2000/year for full coverage with a moderate deductible.

Unless you get really lucky plan on some significant expenses on getting the boat up to date. Might need new rigging $3-$4,000. New sails around $3,000 each, engine work? Just get a good survey and allow for any jor issues you find, get and estimate and then double that, seriously.
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Old 21-05-2015, 16:25   #5
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

This is great info, thanks!

Skipmac, is that $20/foot include hauling the boat out and the survey, or just the survey?
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Old 21-05-2015, 16:30   #6
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrNoSmiles View Post
This is great info, thanks!

Skipmac, is that $20/foot include hauling the boat out and the survey, or just the survey?
The $20 would be the whole cost. For a survey you would probably only need what they call a "short haul". Lift the boat, inspect the underwater areas and drop it back in. Charge for the short haul $4-$10/ft. Surveyors last I checked were around $10-$15/foot.
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Old 21-05-2015, 16:49   #7
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

You don't need to be a "liveaboard" when buying the boat. You cant be on it until the deals done anyway....... just use your land address for the loan. That would be truthful. Even if there was a question regarding if you were intending to live aboard, People change their lives all t he time. It's like if you buy a car, someone wanting to know if you would ever move to different state?
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Old 22-05-2015, 10:33   #8
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

My take: Forget #3, and consider the money as well-spent on your health, education, personal development, satisfaction, and peace of mind. I've spent thousands on boats and don't consider a single cent of it "lost." Back to #1, You need to learn about much more than just the boat, including basic safety on the water and at sea, navigation, Rules of the Road, etc. I would set aside at least $2-3K for on-the-water instruction, a formal class in sailboat cruising, and at minimal-cost, Coast Guard and Power Squadron courses. Also, volunteer for short passages, races, etc. through your local marinas and clubs.
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Old 22-05-2015, 11:28   #9
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

Absolutely, I agree.
#3 was meant to be tongue-in-cheek

That is good to know about coast guard courses! I didn't know they offered them. I had planned exactly what you mentioned, just jumping on with some other boats in marinas for some cruises to learn. I love learning hands on.

Question though, what license/certification/etc is required before one can legally take their boat out for a sail, actin as captain of their boat? Captain's license or something like that?
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Old 22-05-2015, 11:50   #10
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

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Originally Posted by MrNoSmiles View Post
Absolutely, I agree.
#3 was meant to be tongue-in-cheek

That is good to know about coast guard courses! I didn't know they offered them. I had planned exactly what you mentioned, just jumping on with some other boats in marinas for some cruises to learn. I love learning hands on.

Question though, what license/certification/etc is required before one can legally take their boat out for a sail, actin as captain of their boat? Captain's license or something like that?
I understand NJ requires you take a basic class or get some kind of permit. Most states you don't need a thing. Nothing federal required unless you are taking passengers for hire or operating large commercial vessels.

Need to check with the state you plan to register and keep the boat.
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Old 23-05-2015, 03:15   #11
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

IMHO, given the OP's questions and responses...

"Dear OP,

Forget looking for a boat, or worrying about costs, for a few months at least.

I did it 'your way', and fortunately the seller of the boat gave me a long, hard 'talking to', forbidding me to sail it until I had time to learn -- many hours of personal instruction from both him and a licensed captain friend.

What I learned over the next couple of YEARS was that it wasn't the boat, or 'knowing how to handle the boat' that could kill me. It was the questions that I didn't know enough to ask!

Fortunately, it did not kill me. Nor even injure me. Was rescued, though, by the coast guard when a minor heart problem struck. Sailing alone - 68 years old at the time - in the Bahamas.

Among other lessons learned: BoatUS captains can destroy your boat during a tow, especially if you are not seasoned enough to demand things be done differently. Thieves can steal your boat, and no one will help you find it outside the USA. Can you recognize failing rigging before the mast falls? There are hundreds of possible emergencies -- how will you handle the one that happens to you, without personal experience. Sure, classes help prepare you, but they are far from all-inclusive.

No, I don't mean to dissuade you -- on the contrary, please do join our sailing community. We all were rank beginners at one time. Just please, for the sake of Yourself and any loved ones with you, relax, take your time, and gain some practical experience as well as book learning. You'll enjoy it more when you do find your perfect match, and will be far less likely to be disappointed with your purchase.

Surveys: a good surveyor will advise of any problems he/she sees. But... on an older boat, you're not likely to have a 'complete' survey to find any and all problems, if even such could be accomplished. It's not a matter of 'if', but rather 'when' you'll experience expenses you never anticipated.

Here's a personal experience. My first sailboat was 28', very well made, in as close to 'like new' condition as can be found in a 30-year old. Engine started within a split-second, ran like the proverbial top. (Sail drive). First time out, in the middle of Port Everglades (Ft Lauderdale) inlet, the engine died. That inlet is very, very busy, and rough. The seawall was coming up closer, more quickly than I wanted. Engine had been running for 2 hours at that point, coming down the Intracoastal. No reason to expect a problem in that last few minutes before raising the sails.

The problem? Internally, completely out of sight, three 1/4" bolts had their heads split off. The engine was a loss, and not readily replaceable. Result: boat was hauled, engine removed, fiberglass man sealed the hole in the hull. The cost: as mere 50% of what I had paid for the boat.

Will any of this happen to you? Probably not. But, all I suggest is that you take some time. Some lessons. As you said, hop on to crew a few times. Above all, ask, ask, ask. I have yet to meet a captain who wouldn't take hours of personal time to offer real, self-experienced advice and knowledge.

Or, do it my way. The first time I ever set foot on a sailboat was the very day I bought my first one. Had the time of my life, wouldn't do it differently today.

But then, I've cheated death many times. Are you ready for that?

Regards,

Charlie
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Old 23-05-2015, 06:14   #12
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, MrNoSmiles.

https://www.google.ca/search?q=boat+..._xGYanNo68gbAC

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Old 23-05-2015, 07:36   #13
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Re: How to buy a boat in Florida, what to expect in fees

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrNoSmiles View Post
Absolutely, I agree.
#3 was meant to be tongue-in-cheek

That is good to know about coast guard courses! I didn't know they offered them. I had planned exactly what you mentioned, just jumping on with some other boats in marinas for some cruises to learn. I love learning hands on.

Question though, what license/certification/etc is required before one can legally take their boat out for a sail, actin as captain of their boat? Captain's license or something like that?

I have taken courses over the years and can say that the best courses are offered through the U.S. Power Squadron. A good live aboard marina is Brunswick Landing Marina in Brunswick, GA and the courses the local power and sail squadron offer are outstanding. Also members of that organization are soooooo helpful to newbies and would help you get started. Most are sailors. I was there last year. Will be taking boat there for the hurricane season.


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