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Old 21-03-2023, 11:18   #1
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Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

Hi All,
This forum has been my go to resource for years and I am now in need of some local Florid knowledge.
We are exploring the feasibility of selling our California boat(power) and purchasing a boat on the east coast with the hopes of keeping it in Florida. We are thinking ideally the East coast of Florida but recognize we need to be flexible and are open to options. We are aware of the many issues with purchasing an east coast boat but what is new to us is the insurance/storm/Marina situation in the area.
We have done some research and found that insurance will be costly, especially during hurricane season and that the deductible will increase during the season as well.
What are the best options during storms? Haul out service, run, stay put?
It seems that since we will not be Florida residents, that insurance and marinas may be hesitant to work with us.
It appears that finding a marina slip will also be challenging.
In your experience is this information accurate? Any suggestions on work arounds or other creative options. What else do we need to know ?

Thank you for your help
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Old 21-03-2023, 16:54   #2
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

If you are buying through a broker, make him earn his money. All these things are what I would expect help with from a good broker. Not just expected, but had delivered.
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Old 21-03-2023, 17:22   #3
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

Most marinas it seems have waiting lists, but I think this improves during the off season as people go cruising. I know of several marinas that have laughed at us when we asked for a slip, the waiting list being 2-3 years long, however when we showed up as transients there were open slips available, some even for months at a time. Long term dockage seems to be the issue, but then I think there are also a ton of tire kickers, people who call looking for a price and a slip when there is almost zero chance of them showing up.
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Old 21-03-2023, 17:40   #4
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

I don't think you will have a problem finding a marina slip most anywhere in Florida.

Where, in particular do you want to be on the east coast ??

South Florida seems to be more prone to hurricanes than North Florida, but who can say about these things.

Most marina's will require you to have liability insurance, and most boat insurance will require you be out of hurricane areas....ie, B'mas, etc by a certain date.

Marina's these days discourage liveaboards, but when you first arrive, you'll be a transient as noted above, but ask for long term storage after you arrive.
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Old 21-03-2023, 17:53   #5
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

Recommend making your purchase offer contingent on buyer being able to obtain acceptable satisfactory insurance for the vessel [a contingency that is similar to real estate purchase offers].

If the vessel is to be kept in a slip during hurricane season then the marina and the insurance company will likely [read almost certainly] require that you have a written storm plan which typically requires removal or extra securitization and precautions, such as stripping the boat of sails, Bimini, solar panels, dinghy, etc. The agreed to plan likely becomes an addendum to the marina contract and the insurance policy must be followed to the T in order for coverage to be allowed.

If you will be away from the marina / ship yard then you will need to have a hired agent to perform the storm plan in lieu of yourself.

You can google yacht storm plans insurance for guidance and examples.

If you are going to have your vessel hauled out for the season, I recommend that you have a robust custom cradle manufactured and that you try [insist] to have the boat placed away from vessels that are placed just on stands instead of sturdy cradles, as boats on stands frequently tip over and then they damage the adjacent boat and it becomes a situation of dominos with one boat knocking over another. Have your mast stepped and secured so as reduce leverage due to high winds blowing on the post. Of keen issue is storm surge and high tides flooding the ship yard and floating other wayward boats and having debris enter the storage yard. Be sure the cradle is placed on concrete or asphalt and not of sand or soil as the substrate will soften during a storm and sink / tilt the cradle / stands. And be sure that the cradle and vessel are tied to straps fixed to sturdy stake posts in the ground.

Example of proper cradles, widebase so as to not tip:

https://www.yachtlegs.co.uk/index.pl...uide&langx=eng

https://www.tennamast.com/product/the-arran-cradle/
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Old 21-03-2023, 20:29   #6
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

Assuming you are going to buy a power boat, you have much more flexibility when it comes to marinas. You will find many marinas behind fixed bridges that a sailboat simply cannot get to. You will find that the central east coast (Ft Pierce-Titusville) has more reasonably priced marinas than South Florida. There are some good hurricane hole marinas as well in that area. Haulout is not usually a problem if your beam is 16 ft or less. You might look at getting Insurance though the National Boat Owners Association. They offer Progressive insurance at a reasonable rate for boats that staying Florida for the Hurricane season, though their Bahamas coverage is a bit limited. It's really not practical to run from hurricanes in Florida as the errors in the forecast landfall can be hundreds of miles. Just a day before Ian came ashore last year it was going to Tampa. If you were in Tampa and ran to Ft Myers you would have taken a direct hit. The problem is that most storms that hit Florida are moving in a northerly direction. A change in just a few degrees in the direction of the storm can make a huge difference on where t comes ashore. A few Years back we were in Melbourne in a good hurricane hole marina when Matthew was forecast to make a direct hit as a strong cat 4 or possibly even five. It change course just a few degrees and hit near St. Augustine instead.
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Old 21-03-2023, 22:08   #7
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lulu Too View Post
Hi All,
This forum has been my go to resource for years and I am now in need of some local Florid knowledge.
We are exploring the feasibility of selling our California boat(power) and purchasing a boat on the east coast with the hopes of keeping it in Florida. We are thinking ideally the East coast of Florida but recognize we need to be flexible and are open to options. We are aware of the many issues with purchasing an east coast boat but what is new to us is the insurance/storm/Marina situation in the area.
We have done some research and found that insurance will be costly, especially during hurricane season and that the deductible will increase during the season as well.
What are the best options during storms? Haul out service, run, stay put?
It seems that since we will not be Florida residents, that insurance and marinas may be hesitant to work with us.
It appears that finding a marina slip will also be challenging.
In your experience is this information accurate? Any suggestions on work arounds or other creative options. What else do we need to know ?

Thank you for your help
I dont think not residing in FL makes any diff to Marina owners as we Floridians love money from snowbirds but they may want someone locally to be in charge of it when you are away. For Insurance try Ski Safe--- but dont try to over insure it .Try a "Agreed Value" of about 80% of its street value. Worked for me. Many houses with dockswill rent the dock . Some reasonal, places are on Gulf of Mexico north of Tamp such as Hudson Fla and surrounding areas (try craigslist ). Bradenton FL and Manatee River has several fancy Marinas that allow live a boards --for a price of course. Fair Winds. Anything below Cape Canaveral on East Coast is very expensive .
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Old 22-03-2023, 05:02   #8
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

I recommend keeping a boat near where you actually are.

Too many folks think it's easy to remotely own a boat. It is not. Especially in a place prone to the threat of yearly weather events (hurricanes).

It's likely that in the event of a hurricane, you won't be able to easily travel there and back. Between that and insurance, there is no way I'd remotely keep a boat in Florida.

Better to keep a boat close to where you are. That way you have no excuse not to use it.
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Old 22-03-2023, 05:33   #9
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

Yep, boat ownership comes with a heavy price tag these days. What with insurance, mostly with limited coverage, exorbitant marina fees, high fuel prices, maintenance, etc.

Finally, if you don't use it, you will loose it. Boats left at marina's for months on end are liable to grow all sorts of issues.

I totally agree with the above statement. If you are not living on it, at least keep it in the close vicinity of where you do live.
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Old 22-03-2023, 06:25   #10
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

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Originally Posted by letsgetsailing3 View Post
I recommend keeping a boat near where you actually are.

Too many folks think it's easy to remotely own a boat. It is not. Especially in a place prone to the threat of yearly weather events (hurricanes).

It's likely that in the event of a hurricane, you won't be able to easily travel there and back. Between that and insurance, there is no way I'd remotely keep a boat in Florida.

Better to keep a boat close to where you are. That way you have no excuse not to use it.
This is a good point.

My boat was damaged in a hurricane in north Florida while I was in California

The absolute second I saw the hurricane, I tried to book a flight to Florida on my phone to get the boat out of the marina.

No chance. All the flights were shut down.

So I drove as fast as I could Rte 10. From Los Angeles to Jacksonville, FL.

I didn’t make it in time.

It was smashed against a seawall with 8 or so other boats when the “mooring” field dragged. Other boats sank in the smashing. I got cosmetic damage, which is not pleasant when you put your life, health and money into building a very nice looking boat.

Don’t underestimate this problem.
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Old 22-03-2023, 06:41   #11
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

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... It's really not practical to run from hurricanes in Florida as the errors in the forecast landfall can be hundreds of miles. Just a day before Ian came ashore last year it was going to Tampa. If you were in Tampa and ran to Ft Myers you would have taken a direct hit. The problem is that most storms that hit Florida are moving in a northerly direction. A change in just a few degrees in the direction of the storm can make a huge difference on where t comes ashore. A few Years back we were in Melbourne in a good hurricane hole marina when Matthew was forecast to make a direct hit as a strong cat 4 or possibly even five. It change course just a few degrees and hit near St. Augustine instead.
Yep. There was a guy here on CF who was done in the Miami area when one hurricane was forecast to hit his area so he went north. The hurricane forecast landfall followed him up the coast. He crossed over to the west coast, found a good hurricane hole, and the hurricane went right over him.

Later,
Dan
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Old 22-03-2023, 06:42   #12
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

A lot of stuff in this thread is nonsense. I keep my boat up the St Johns River. My Geico premium went up this year to $450/yr. I don't have any requirement as to how I'm supposed to prep for a hurricane, though Geico does tell me every hurricane they will pay half the haul-out cost, which I've never taken them up on. My brother's boat was damaged in a hurricane while in a slip at a marina. His insurance paid the claim and didn't cancel him afterwards. And if you have a power-boat, there are many marinas that pick your boat up with a forklift and put it in a warehouse. North Florida and Central Florida are somewhat safer, cheaper and saner than South Florida.
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Old 22-03-2023, 07:38   #13
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

Reasonable comments on this thread, so head their advice. Lulu Too, you did not mention the type of boat or why you were thinking about Florida (retirement, tax dodge, relocating, etc.). With only seven posts, we cannot tailor advice to your situation, so please share. A 22-foot beam catamaran has much different costs and marina requirements to a 36 foot power boat.

You are correct that the boat insurance and marina markets are definitely scarce in Florida, which drives prices up. You also need to realize that, like California, there are very different regions of our state and vastly different costs to each. South Florida revolves around the Miami - Ft. Lauderdale city, and services are scarce / prices are high. The further away from Miami, the cheaper things get with slip prices dropping more than half a hundred miles north. If you are just keeping a boat here and do not need to be near Miami, there's a big cost savings. Major airports are everywhere, so that is not a problem. Similar comments can be made about Tampa, but not so much Jacksonville.

Hurricanes tend to happen further south, so get yourself a historical hurricane map and you'll see that Miami-area is hit every fifth year or so, while Jacksonville is a third that rate. Insurance companies live by those historical maps, so when you declare what marina you are in, they price accordingly.
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Old 22-03-2023, 08:09   #14
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

Just north of Jacksonville, is Brunswick, about a day sail away. The marina there is some ways away from the ocean. It is reputed to be a "hurricane hole" but in my opinion, no marina is worthy of that name.
Brunswick is very popular with folks from up north leaving their boats there and there is a large liveaboard community there, plus many shoreside facilities. There is also a yard, replete with travel lift, right next door. Book early, as the place fills up fast.
The nice thing about Brunswick is the many liveaboards. So many eyes on the place, including your boat.

Jacksonville also has several marinas on the St. Johns Rive, near the city center Like Brunswick, these are also tucked away, offering better shelter compared to a place on the ICW.

Further up the St. Johns River is Green Cove Springs Marina. They offer a huge storage yard should you want to haul there. There is a marina there, several in fact, should you want to remain in the water.

St. Augustine also has some backwater marina's, behind the City. Hurricane proof ? Probably not, but better protection than a marina on the ICW.

Daytona has several marina's along the ICW. Again, hurricane proof, probably not, but the City marina is well built.

Palm Cove also has a marina in a tucked away location.

What I'm saying is that there are many choices besides the main stream places, where you'd likely be able to find a slip.

J'ville, for what it's worth, is located somewhat more to the west as the rest of Florida. Hurricanes generally tend to come barreling past the place, but not a direct hit.

But one can never tell where the next one will hit. That is a toss of the dice, no matter your location.

Lastly, South Florida is usually packed to brim with boats. However, in Ft. Lauderdale and elsewhere in the vicinity, there many canals there, which have boat slips right next to their property. Many of these residences rent their slip out to boats.

Anyway, some options for you to consider.
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Old 22-03-2023, 10:07   #15
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Re: Florida Insurance, Slip Availability and options

Why do you want a cruising boat in Florida? Every inch of shore is packed with expensive homes, crowded marinas, and restricted anchorages. Underway youíre constantly waked by uncountable overpowered fishing boats. Even Key West is so full itís easier to fly in and stay at a hotel.

The best reason to have a cruising boat on the East Coast is to spend a few months in the The Bahamas in winter (and Maine in the summer - but thatís another post)

So locate in Georgia or the Carolinas at least during hurricane season. Insurance is half the cost, easy to get, and hurricanes are rare compared to Florida. A slip is also about half the cost of southern Florida. Then go to The Bahamas each winter.

Georgia and the Carolinas are only really cold in January and February and even then comfortable at a slip with reverse cycle air conditioning.

The ICW is beautiful with interesting towns and friendly people. Coming from New England we spend as little time as possible in Florida on our way to The Bahamas.



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