Well, the answer for the Bahamas
would be very different answers in my mind. At the moment I own two boats. My 5-foot draft in the Virgin Islands
has never restricted me. My 4-3 draft in the Bahamas limits me all the time.
The Bahamas have a lot of shallow water
. How much this limits you depends on where you want to go and whether or not you viewing waiting for high tide to be limiting. Many places I enjoy going have limiting depths of 3.5 feet MLW. If you can't make an early afternoon HW, that means anchoring
somewhere else, and waiting until the next afternoon. Then the following day, you have to wait until afternoon to leave. I think you can see how those time restrictions can add up. Many protected places I anchored in my trimaran
are simply too shallow for overnight anchoring
in my monohull
forcing me to either miss them or anchor
further out in more exposed conditions.
If your goal is simply to work
your way through the Abacos, Exumas
and other islands on your way to the Caribbean, hitting some of the popular spots along the way, even a 6 foot draft would not be that limiting. For exploring the more out of the way places, I'd prefer 3.5 or less.