a boat seems to be a favorite method of achieving housing in the Keys. Unfortunately, too many think that they can find a cheap
vessel and just anchor
out. All vessels in the Keys are required to have their household sanitary wastes (toilet water) collected in holding tanks
and pumped out by some kind of a state approved collection device. Direct discharge to the water
is forbidden anywhere because all of the Keys waters are a marine
sanctuary (near shore direct discharge is prohibited in all US waters). The fact of the matter is that the only way low-income sailors can stay anchored out for any length of time is by breaking the discharge law and screwing up the environment
The other problem is that when a hurricane
comes, these less that ship-shape boats are abandoned and become wards of the state for disposal at $10,000 per boat (rumor has).
I'm not suggesting that you or anyone else on this forum are irresponsible enough to contribute to the problems in the Keys. However, choosing to live aboard a boat in the Keys is not cheap
. Boot Key has probably the best setup at a cost of around $300 per month tied up to a buoy in their mooring
field and having free weekly pumpouts (the last I heard). You still need to dinghy
to shore each day (which can be a royal PITA after the novelty wears off) and you need to be total self-sufficient for energy (propane gas for cooking
and solar/wind energy for electricity). Keep in mind that a boat still needs costly maintenance
even when anchored up which is covered elsewhere in the forum.
And finally, the last I heard, boat still need to be insured if using public berthing facilities which is an additional cost. I'm not going to go into what you will do with the boat when a category five hurricane
is bearing down on your anchorage and you haven't developed a hurricane plan for escape.
Good luck with your endeavors and make responsible decisions in your choices.