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Old 06-10-2020, 11:03   #46
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

I wouldnít say that there are only three West Marines spread along the whole chain.....two of them are in Key West within five miles of each other! (Ok one is actually on Stock Island but its part of incorporated Key West.

V/r

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Old 06-10-2020, 12:07   #47
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

Saleen,

I will not try to rain on your plans....they sound okay....but, I'd like to add a bit to the discussion...

I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale in the 60's and 70's....(and sailing/boating/cruising SE Florida/Keys, the Bahamas, Caribbean, N. Atl., and the Med)....and have lived/worked in central Florida and south Florida ever since....(except for college out-of-state)....and have been a Florida property owner (and submerged-land-lease-owner) for decades...

So, I do have some experience and can back many (but not all) of your observations....

But, before I get to them, please take a bit of advice from a Floridian who has realtors as acquaintances.....do not take advice from realtors in regards "where to live", nor "what are the disadvantages"....

Also, please remember the Keys are a bit of a culture of their own....not a bad thing, mind you....just be aware there is a world of difference between the Keys and most of the rest of Florida...and some actually love this, and strive to keep it that way....so, if you'll be living in the Keys, just know upfront that it's a bit different.


You may find the Keys, are perfect for you....that's up to you...


Now some specifics:

1- Hillsboro Inlet: Not an issue for any seasoned yachtsman....of course like all small inlets along the east coast, if you have a strong wind against tide it can be "fun"! Btw, many say worse things about the St. Lucie Inlet, where I keep my boat these days, and I think it's an easy-peasy inlet...and Hillsboro is even easier... And, while I'm not a circumnavigator (only done a few Atlantic crossings, etc.), it certainly doesn't take a world-cruiser to make it thru the Hillsboro Inlet, just a competent skipper....

Fyi, years before I could get a driver's license, my friends and I would run that inlet all the time, in lots of wind....and we would "fly" quite often in 10' - 12' Zodiac's and 13' Boston Whalers....probably shouldn't have done many of the things I did as a kid, but experience (especially the kind that almost kills 'ya) does teach, and after all these years, I can still handle a boat (especially sailboats) in a surge / crossing a bar / etc....so, maybe it did teach me something...



2- Hurricanes.....in over 50 years, I've been through many, including a few on-board....and it's a subject that fills volumes....so, just a few quick thoughts...

Please remember, there is more to consider than "insurance" here....in my opinion, those that simply build or buy anywhere (and/or decided to keep a boat anywhere), and just have enough insurance, are a bit short-sided and unfortunately have been one of the causes of increased insurance costs for all of us....so, please, if moving to Florida (and/or keeping a boat here) we will welcome you, but please don't just rely on "insurance".

a) No place in Florida is completely "safe" from hurricanes.....but, that's not really a big deal for most of us....I mean there's about than 22 million people here, and almost a million boats (915,000 registered in Florida), so while no place is "safe", we do live here just fine....


b) If you're looking to be "on the water" / "waterfront property", ocean front, ICW, open canal, near an inlet, etc...(not an inland lake), then it doesn't matter where in Florida you are....you and your waterfront property will need to be prepared (concrete block home, secured roof, approved hurricane shutters, flood mitigation plans, etc...), west coast, east coast, Keys...it matters not! (of course the Keys will require more thought)

c) If looking in the Keys (and/or barrier islands of Florida)....any significant hurricane will flood any low-lying property....now, if you can find a "high-spot" you might not get much, but I'm not aware of any "high spots" down there...and, yes houses on "stilts" can be a good idea, but even they've flooded (the realtors don't want to talk about it, but it has happened)


BTW, I laughed when I read what the realtor told you ("some have flooding issues"), that's the biggest understatement of the year!! No matter what a "realtor" says, please just know and accept that in the Keys you will get flooded at times....and not just in hurricanes!

This means that if you have a boat down there, when a hurricane is predicted to track near you, you'll need to have somewhere to put the boat, and then you get out of the Keys...

Opps, where are you going to put your boat? Certainly tied-off well in a canal is typical, but just be aware that nowhere is completely "hurricane safe" down there....so, it means that you should be prepared to sacrifice your boat and accept some damage (flood, rain, and wind) to your home....if you are okay with those choices, then the Keys are great for you!
Heck, there are many folks down there, and many that would love to afford it, but cannot....so, you're not alone in wanting to live in the Keys....just make sure you understand the trade offs....

{BTW, as someone who has ridden out direct hits from Cat 3 hurricanes (on-board and on-shore), I can share some helpful insights....if you like, please get in touch, as it's a bit too involved to write it all here...}



3- Diving is of course better along SE Florida and the Keys....but, I prefer SE Florida...


4- Sailing is also better in SE Florida (and the Keys), and of course the Bahamas are right there in front of you....if you have good wind, From SE Florida you can make the Bahamas in a Friday overnight, and enjoy a weekend there, returning Sunday night if needed for work / school....


5- Property taxes of waterfront property in SE Florida will surprise you!!!! Actually this is one of the largest expenses most have....
(if you'd like some details, please get in touch directly....just be sure you're sitting down, 'cuz it might cause some skipped heart beats....remember, we don't have a state income tax, and sales tax is 6% state-wide, so it's property taxes that pay for a lot!)


6- Insurance for waterfront homes, and for boats kept there, will also surprise you....albeit not as much as the property taxes, but just know it ain't cheap!


7- Weather in SE Florida and upper/middle Keys is nice!! No question about it....I mean it's not an accident that places like Palm Beach, Miami Beach, Key Largo, etc. were developed a century ago...the water off SE Florida is warm all year....and while in decades past, the further south the less severe the cold fronts were, these days, even the Keys can get chilly after a front passes in wintertime....yes, after a front passes Lauderdale might be a few degrees cooler at night than Key Largo, but not by that much...





8- No see 'ems....they are less if near salt water in SE Florida....and if you live on a well-circulating salt water (good flow, tidal and/or river) and are near other like homes, with well maintained property, you might never be bothered much by them....





Saleen, as a wrote above, if you'd like more details and/or some personal stories, etc., please get in touch directly.

fair winds...

John


P.S. I'm not sure if property taxes in Calif are as bad as the grapevine says, but in SE Florida they're pretty high....depending on the county, down in SE Florida figure on $13k - $20k per year for each $million of assessed value...(fyi, a house 2 doors down from my Mom's place is on the market for $3.5M, and it's 5 feet lower in elevation, and smaller dock, etc.....I think the realestate tax est was ~ $45k/yr...waterfront, deep-water canal / river, just one mile from inlet....and that's just "average"...)
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Old 06-10-2020, 14:27   #48
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Originally Posted by psjanker View Post
I wouldnít say that there are only three West Marines spread along the whole chain.....two of them are in Key West within five miles of each other! (Ok one is actually on Stock Island but its part of incorporated Key West.



V/r



Pete


There are actually 5 West Marines in the Keys. Key West, Stock Island, Marathon,Islamorada and Key Largo
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Old 06-10-2020, 15:59   #49
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

I don’t doubt 5 West Marines at all, I was just responding to the note about three being spread along the Keys. I will say that the West Marine is very upscale and one can get lost in it. The one on Stock Island is a typical one except more tailored to support those few working boats that remain to support the fishing industry.

I keep my sailboat, Cape Dory at the Navy base on Boca Chica and when a hurricane comes in there isn’t much one can do in terms of hurricane holes. Irma sunk quite a few boats which is why i got a slip after waiting 10 years.



V/r

Pete
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Old 07-10-2020, 10:58   #50
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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There are actually 5 West Marines in the Keys. Key West, Stock Island, Marathon,Islamorada and Key Largo
Doesn't really matter if there is five or three......

If you are in Marathon, and that WM is out of an item you want, your choices are to make a one and half hour round trip to Islamorada, or a two hour round trip to Stock Island/Key West.

And god help you if there is construction, or worse, it's a holiday weekend.....
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Old 07-10-2020, 11:13   #51
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Doesn't really matter if there is five or three......



If you are in Marathon, and that WM is out of an item you want, your choices are to make a one and half hour round trip to Islamorada, or a two hour round trip to Stock Island/Key West.



And god help you if there is construction, or worse, it's a holiday weekend.....


Or you could do a store to store transfer and have it in a day.
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Old 07-10-2020, 16:47   #52
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Or you could do a store to store transfer and have it in a day.
Doesn't really help, if, you know, you want the part today.........
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Old 09-10-2020, 10:32   #53
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

well, I'm off.....what the above posters have said is correct, and jives with my past experiences there, as I've also heard and seen this about Marathon, in that the majority of canals are not very sailboat friendly. I will be staying near Sombrero Beach, so will give the area a looksee, as this seems to be the most promising area, outside marina's.

I have seen sailboats on the Gulf side canals, but they have tended to be the smaller variety of monohulls or a small cat.

Anyway, will know more soon.
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Old 09-10-2020, 11:07   #54
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Doesn't really help, if, you know, you want the part today.........


Iím guessing whether in the Keys or on the mainland it would be hard to find marine parts stores within 30 minutes of each other, unless in Lauderdale.
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Old 09-10-2020, 14:45   #55
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Iím guessing whether in the Keys or on the mainland it would be hard to find marine parts stores within 30 minutes of each other, unless in Lauderdale.
My current location has four WM's within about twenty-thirty minutes. Used to be five but they closed the express location on Holmes Beach.

The store in St Petersburg is a "flagship store", which means it stocks much more product than a regular store.
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Old 09-10-2020, 14:56   #56
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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My current location has four WM's within about twenty-thirty minutes. Used to be five but they closed the express location on Holmes Beach.



The store in St Petersburg is a "flagship store", which means it stocks much more product than a regular store.


Sounds like you live in a boat owners dream location for working on boats!
I prefer the Keys and the lack of all the things money can buy, though slowly itís changing.
Reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot........sad thought.
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Old 17-10-2020, 14:50   #57
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

Shipmates,
I am looking to purchase a home or townhouse (I prefer a home with a private pier for a 110' Sailing Yacht with a 10' Draft) however, what I have been told is that with a yacte that has a Ten Foot Draft that there are no such places anywhere in Florida. Is that TRUE or is it FALSE? I also am considering The Cayman Islands, however, I also have been told that with Ten Foot Draft there is no place in the Cayman Islands that can handle Ten Foot Draft. If any of you shipmates here on Cruisers Forum know this to be False or True, I will greatly appreciate hearing from you. As for which coast of Florida I prefer, either East or West is OK.

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Old 17-10-2020, 15:41   #58
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

Are the middle Keys a good place to have a home with a yacht in your backyard?

I'm wondering if the canals are wide enough or deep enough for a modest catamaran.

Same with the houses that are on more open water.

Are there any cruisers here that own waterfront homes in the Keys?

I'm pretty familiar with the general pros and cons of living in the Keys, but would love to hear what you have to say.


Well, back from Marathon. It was a shocker. I have been to the Keys many, many times, but never seen it so desolate. Many shops closed, etc.
Anyway, to the question, I rented a house on a canal, that was located between Sombrero Bch and Book Key. It was your typical stilted house on a canal....these type houses are selling in the $1.5-1.7M range. I measured the water depth of the canal and it was 9' at high tide....deeper than I had thought and quite wide, not sure how wide, but I would guess 50' or 60' ??...however, many are overgrown with mangroves, in front of out rented house, I would guess the available width was maybe 25'. I saw three sailboats, all trimarans, one in the water, one on a lift and on up on land. See pics. Saw also one other small sloop, maybe 30' or so, I could not tell what it was. I did not visit each and every channel, but sailboats were noted by their absence.
There are marina's at the east end, plus a haulout yard, a small one at 35th St on the Gulf side and some near Key Colony to the west, and Boot Key Harbor off course....the one's at Key Colony appear to be private. My take on the matter is the east side of Marathon and Boot Key are the only viable marina's.

Key Colony has a lot of boats, virtually every house there has a dock. Most houses seem to be the mobile home variety. We stopped at the office there to enquire about things. The place has horrendous yearly HOA fees....$10k a year....there are other similar places.

We shopped some area grocery stores and department stores. It was depressingly devoid of merchandise and people.

Took a trip to Key West. Again, have been here many, many times, but this is the first time I was able to park on Duval St. Many, many empty parking spaces as well as many empty shops. Never seen anything like it. Not a ghost town, but certainly devoid if the usual foot traffic.

There are other Keys with marina's as you head back west, but i don't know anything about them, just saw them in passing.

Saw only 1 sailboat out sailing about 5 miles off shore....going north....for the rest, lotsa center console fishing boats.

Hope this answers some of your questions.
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Old 17-10-2020, 16:08   #59
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Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

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Originally Posted by MicHughV View Post
Are the middle Keys a good place to have a home with a yacht in your backyard?



I'm wondering if the canals are wide enough or deep enough for a modest catamaran.



Same with the houses that are on more open water.



Are there any cruisers here that own waterfront homes in the Keys?



I'm pretty familiar with the general pros and cons of living in the Keys, but would love to hear what you have to say.





Well, back from Marathon. It was a shocker. I have been to the Keys many, many times, but never seen it so desolate. Many shops closed, etc.

Anyway, to the question, I rented a house on a canal, that was located between Sombrero Bch and Book Key. It was your typical stilted house on a canal....these type houses are selling in the $1.5-1.7M range. I measured the water depth of the canal and it was 9' at high tide....deeper than I had thought and quite wide, not sure how wide, but I would guess 50' or 60' ??...however, many are overgrown with mangroves, in front of out rented house, I would guess the available width was maybe 25'. I saw three sailboats, all trimarans, one in the water, one on a lift and on up on land. See pics. Saw also one other small sloop, maybe 30' or so, I could not tell what it was. I did not visit each and every channel, but sailboats were noted by their absence.

There are marina's at the east end, plus a haulout yard, a small one at 35th St on the Gulf side and some near Key Colony to the west, and Boot Key Harbor off course....the one's at Key Colony appear to be private. My take on the matter is the east side of Marathon and Boot Key are the only viable marina's.



Key Colony has a lot of boats, virtually every house there has a dock. Most houses seem to be the mobile home variety. We stopped at the office there to enquire about things. The place has horrendous yearly HOA fees....$10k a year....there are other similar places.



We shopped some area grocery stores and department stores. It was depressingly devoid of merchandise and people.



Took a trip to Key West. Again, have been here many, many times, but this is the first time I was able to park on Duval St. Many, many empty parking spaces as well as many empty shops. Never seen anything like it. Not a ghost town, but certainly devoid if the usual foot traffic.



There are other Keys with marina's as you head back west, but i don't know anything about them, just saw them in passing.



Saw only 1 sailboat out sailing about 5 miles off shore....going north....for the rest, lotsa center console fishing boats.



Hope this answers some of your questions.


The boat on the lift is a Maine Cat 30 not a trimaran. Thereís currently an Edel 35 and a Gemini in the canals. Iíve seen larger Catanaís, an Edel 43 and a Crowther 45 tied up behind houses. Some of the canals are to narrow for catamarans but others are plenty wide. Thatís all in Sombrero Beach.
There are multiple catamarans tied up behind houses in the canals directly of Boot Key including a Casamance 46 and a Scape 39.
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Old 17-10-2020, 17:00   #60
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Re: Middle Florida Keys: Waterfront House with Sailboat?

Buying real estate in the Keys is apparently a bit different from buying real estate elsewhere. I've long wanted to buy a place there and every time I'm there, I'm always kicking a few tires and talking with area brokers and come away with mixed emotions about the matter. For starters, it is quite pricey there and off course every one is aware of hurricanes and flooding, but we looked at a house two years ago, now back on the market at a substantial higher price...plus taxes, insurance, utilities, HOA fees, etc.
It would be worth it for a potential buyers time to thoroughly investigate other Keys besides Marathon. Marathon does have a large " rental " base as they can rent by the week there....I'm told that Islamorada for instance can only rent by the month....

I've always liked Marathon, but also have friends that live in Big Pine Key next door as well as Key West and Key Largo...just about any Key is bound to have some appeal. Marathon does have an airport though...

Spend some time down there yourself is the key...things you may like would not fit my agenda and vice versa....

as smj has pointed out, there are are several homes and condo's along Boot Key, that sport docks and various boats, but it is hard to see these places as a bystanders as they are typically all private with big "no trespassing signs"...I have tried to walk along these units and it rarely takes more than a few minutes for someone to come out and enquire as to my presence there..

The thing to do would be to rent a small boat and go sightseeing from the water...you'll see a lot more than driving around in a car..
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