- - I think what is important is to start going places in the boat. Of course you need to update and make sure the basic boat systems are operating. Then head
out into the river and work your way up the ICW
to Norfolk or down to Myrtle Beach and back. This will "test" out systems that seem fine now but might not function properly underway - and - you are remaining "in range" of good parts
and repair facilities.
- - Don't move the boat anywhere until you have "unlimited" TowBoatUS or SeaTow coverage. You can run aground in that narrow channel out of New Bern and end up with a $6K +/- towing bill while still in eye-sight of home.
- - Next season head
up onto the Chesapeake - which also has great support facilities for the boat and great places to hide in should you get bad weather
. I went up and down the US east coast
5 times before heading offshore
. You are visiting and exploring some fabulous places at the same time as working out "bugs" and getting experience to boot. You inspiration level will skyrocket, it is just necessary to get your experience level up there also.
- - Then you are ready for the big southbound to Florida
run. I have done that 4.5 times, twice going "outside" (off shore or better said, close to shore) for speed/scheduling reasons. And twice I did the whole ICW
just to "see" everything along the way. The first time was so good, not the waterway but the towns and villages, swamps and wildlife, - that I did it again another year stopping in places I missed the first time plus some favorites from the previous trip. MarkJ's comments - "boy oh boy" are dead on accurate. The hardest part of the trip is trying to stay in the channel as you are hanging out the windows and doors "eye-balling" all the wonders around you.