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Old 15-03-2012, 20:33   #1
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Looking for Liveaboard Boat and Marina in Tampa

I know I posted previously with a similar topic. But it appears that I will be looking for a liveaboard boat in a very compressed timeframe. 2 job offers on the table - one on a cruise ship, and one in Tampa. The one in Tampa is near the airport. I have a general idea of some decent liveaboard marinas in the area. My question is for any of you living in those marinas, or have boats in those marinas. Do you see any liveaboard capable boats for sale in those marinas that maybe don't make Yachtworld or sailboatlisting postings? And I'm talking cheap here! Maybe boats the marina is trying to sell or get rid of because the owner wasn't making slip payments or whatever. I will be calling around to the various marinas, but I always like eyes and ears on the ground - much better info usually

And as always - if anybody wants to brag about the marina they live in feel free
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Old 16-03-2012, 07:18   #2
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Re: looking for liveaboard boat and marina in Tampa

Haven't walked the docks lately, but I can tell you that a good number of boats get listed on craigslist around here. Were I you, I would check tampa.craigslist.org, sarasota.craigslist.org, and fortmyers.craigslist.org, all of which will be close enough to easily move a boat into Tampa Bay. You might also consider craigslist for the Keys, Okaloosa, Panama City, Pensacola, and even Tallahassee.

And if you're going to be searching all of those different craigslists, then you might want to check out crazedlist.org, which allows you to search multiple craigslist sites at once.

Good luck.
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Old 16-03-2012, 08:25   #3
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Re: looking for liveaboard boat and marina in Tampa

Tampa will have a huge number of boats and so will the Ft Myers area which isn't far away. Don't sweat getting a boat right away, you can live in a hotel while you're looking. Hotels have long term rates and I did it for 3 months while I was out looking for a boat.

Marina-wise I'm not sure what your best choice would be. It's going to be all about traffic. St Pete Municipal is close, but requires a trip across the pond to get to the airport and slip availability can be slim.

Brandenton has 2 very good liveaboard marinas that always have slips, but it's farther away. That said, the trip up 75 might be a quick ride.

There are also all sorts of little no name marinas around that you could probably live at. Really, you may want to get into the area first and look around and get a feel for the traffic patterns. I found the traffic in Tampa to be horrible every time I visited there.
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Old 19-03-2012, 07:14   #4
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Re: Looking for Liveaboard Boat and Marina in Tampa

I think "horrible" is a pretty kind word to describe the traffic around the Tampa Bay area, and the trip up 75 from Bradenton would NOT be a "quick ride"!
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Old 19-03-2012, 08:36   #5
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Re: Looking for Liveaboard Boat and Marina in Tampa

Yep. I turned down a Tampa job due to the extreme traffic problem.
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Old 28-03-2012, 07:41   #6
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Re: looking for liveaboard boat and marina in Tampa

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Originally Posted by LauderBoy View Post
Tampa will have a huge number of boats and so will the Ft Myers area which isn't far away. Don't sweat getting a boat right away, you can live in a hotel while you're looking. Hotels have long term rates and I did it for 3 months while I was out looking for a boat.

Marina-wise I'm not sure what your best choice would be. It's going to be all about traffic. St Pete Municipal is close, but requires a trip across the pond to get to the airport and slip availability can be slim.

Brandenton has 2 very good liveaboard marinas that always have slips, but it's farther away. That said, the trip up 75 might be a quick ride.

There are also all sorts of little no name marinas around that you could probably live at. Really, you may want to get into the area first and look around and get a feel for the traffic patterns. I found the traffic in Tampa to be horrible every time I visited there.

I'm sorry but Fort Meyers is WAY too far for a work commute. I urge the OP to look at the miles involved there. If you can't find a place in Tampa I know a GREAT, live-aboard friendly marina in the St. Pete area. It's run very well. The professional dockmaster lives in the marina. It has good showe facilities and a nice pool.
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Old 28-03-2012, 07:43   #7
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Re: Looking for Liveaboard Boat and Marina in Tampa

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I think "horrible" is a pretty kind word to describe the traffic around the Tampa Bay area, and the trip up 75 from Bradenton would NOT be a "quick ride"!

You're absolutely right about that. It would include not one but two bridges, both of which can get pretty congested at rush hour. That said, a job near the airport would make a commute from St. Pete "not too awful." There is just no need to go as far as Bradenton.
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Old 28-03-2012, 08:09   #8
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Re: looking for liveaboard boat and marina in Tampa

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I'm sorry but Fort Meyers is WAY too far for a work commute.
I don't think he was suggesting commuting from Fort Myers. I think he was saying that Fort Myers is close enough to consider buying a boat there, and then moving the boat up into the Tampa Bay area.

I would also say that I do know a couple of people who commute from the Bradenton/Sarasota area up to Tampa (the Temple Terrace/New Tampa area). They come up I-75 and spend about two hours (on an average day) going each way. Personally, I have better things to do with my life than spend four hours every day driving back and forth to work!

And that's on a good day. Toss in an accident on the interstate and it could easily double. For example, just yesterday there was an accident in the northbound lane of I-275 near Busch Blvd. in Tampa. This resulted in a backup of bumper-to-bumper traffic, going 5-10 mph, that stretched more than four miles in the southbound lane. Yes, you read that right--the southbound lane. Four miles of backups, simply from people slowing down to gawk at the accident on the other side of the interstate.

Yeah. "Horrible" doesn't even BEGIN to describe the traffic around Tampa!

(But God forbid that we should spend a little money improving the public transportation infrastructure, though that's probably a rant for another day.)
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Old 28-03-2012, 09:21   #9
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Re: looking for liveaboard boat and marina in Tampa

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...I know a GREAT, live-aboard friendly marina in the St. Pete area. It's run very well. The professional dockmaster lives in the marina. It has good showe facilities and a nice pool.
Would you be willing to pass on the marina name, either here or in a PM? We're currently in St Augustine on a 33-foot sailboat; thinking ahead for autumn 2013 or thereabouts. Thanx.

To the OP - seconding the idea of staying in a hotel for a while if necessary while taking your time to find the right boat, not the first one that comes along. And, good luck and welcome to living aboard!
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Old 29-03-2012, 08:26   #10
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Re: looking for liveaboard boat and marina in Tampa

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I don't think he was suggesting commuting from Fort Myers. I think he was saying that Fort Myers is close enough to consider buying a boat there, and then moving the boat up into the Tampa Bay area.
Yep, this. The only bad thing about buying from that area is that Punta Gorda seems like the place sailboats go to slowly die. You end up seeing a lot of boats that've been sitting unused for years.

My boat came from Cape Haze(close to Punta) and was sort of like that. Previous owner bought it from Indiantown and moved it there, sailed it to the keys and back once and she sat at dock for 8 months building up a lot of barnacles. But I got her for a great price, she's cleaned up nicely and has been a lovely liveaboard.

The Florida west coast has tons of boats and you can even pick some up from the east coast. If the mast height is under 49ft it's an easy 3-4 day trip to hop from Stuart to Ft Myers. Fort Pierce up through Titusville will also have a lot of cheap boats for sale and as long as they have a good engine(and can get under a 49ft bridge), bringing them to Tampa wouldn't be a huge deal or expense.

I think I spent something like $60 in fuel moving my 32ft boat from Cape Haze to Ft Pierce and I just tied off for free at the locks for my overnights. It cost me more to travel back by bus and cab to fetch my car.

You have a lot of options for boat buying in Florida. Some really good deals and quite a few dogs too. My weekends for several months where all about driving 4-8 hours in a day running around looking at boats. I'd really plan on spending some time pinning down the right boat, especially if you're on a tight budget.
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Old 29-03-2012, 08:40   #11
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Re: Looking for Liveaboard Boat and Marina in Tampa

Such great responses! This is a great community ! My current plan is to follow the sage advice of many on here, and not jump into the first thing I can find. I'll do an extended stay hotel or sublet or something, and do some good looking around (for marinas and a boat). I have heard nightmares about the traffic in Tampa, but I guess the good thing will be, at the end of the drive home - I'll be on a boat! (eventually). Now I just have to wait to get the start date on that job. Waiting for some upper level approvals apparently.

And WingNWing - did I read that correctly that you might be in that area next fall? I might actually meet the world-famous Annapolis couple
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Old 29-03-2012, 09:05   #12
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Re: Looking for Liveaboard Boat and Marina in Tampa

Anclote Harbors in Tarpon Springs is decent and not a bad drive to North Tampa (not downtown).

There are also a couple of hotels in Clearwater Beach, but that can be a tough drive at times. We lived there for about year at Barefoot Bay while Diana worked in Tampa area. Clearwater in general doesn't allow liveaboards, but a few of the mom-n-pop hotels were grandfathered in. To the airport area isn't a bad drive.
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Old 29-03-2012, 16:28   #13
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Re: Looking for Liveaboard Boat and Marina in Tampa

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I have heard nightmares about the traffic in Tampa, but I guess the good thing will be, at the end of the drive home - I'll be on a boat! (eventually).
You are so, so right about this. Spending an hour staring at brake lights on a beltway suxx, but coming home to a boat that's a restful haven more than makes up for it. BT, DT.

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And WingNWing - did I read that correctly that you might be in that area next fall? I might actually meet the world-famous Annapolis couple
We were hoping to connect up with you in Annapolis before that. But if not, then yes, we'll be in Florida autumn 2013.
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Old 30-03-2012, 06:26   #14
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Re: looking for liveaboard boat and marina in Tampa

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If the mast height is under 49ft it's an easy 3-4 day trip to hop from Stuart to Ft Myers.
If you're talking about using the Okeechobee Waterway then, besides mast height, you also need to be mindful of draft. At the best of times the shallowest areas can limit very deep-draft boats. And these have not been the best of times.

Right now most of Florida is in a state of drought. I heard just yesterday that we are on track for the driest March ever in the Tampa area. My understanding is that the water depths in Lake Okeechobee are quite low right now. Here's a website maintained by the Corps of Engineers that tracks the depths...

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers®*— Jacksonville District
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Old 30-03-2012, 07:20   #15
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Re: looking for liveaboard boat and marina in Tampa

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If you're talking about using the Okeechobee Waterway then, besides mast height, you also need to be mindful of draft. At the best of times the shallowest areas can limit very deep-draft boats. And these have not been the best of times.

Right now most of Florida is in a state of drought. I heard just yesterday that we are on track for the driest March ever in the Tampa area. My understanding is that the water depths in Lake Okeechobee are quite low right now. Here's a website maintained by the Corps of Engineers that tracks the depths...

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers®*— Jacksonville District

The comment about deep draft and the Okeechobee is right. However, it should also be a serious consideration for any sailboat in Florida. I draw 4'6" and really wouldn't want to draw any more than that. I had only 5' under me at one point last night coming in at low tide, and I knew the channel well. Didn't last long, but it only takes one "bump" in the road.
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