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Old 26-04-2017, 12:06   #16
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
Let's be clear about something. In the event of an impending hurricane, you're not going to head out in your Gibson houseboat to get out of the storm's path or find a hurricane hole. You're going to have her hauled, or spider-web secure her in her slip, and get out. A car will be the right form of mobility in that circumstance.

And you're probably going to want a car anyway, realistically, particularly given that you need to work but don't yet know where you're employment will be.
Thank you for the input.

I know this sounds like a stupid question, but why can't I get out of the storm's path? I figure I can get 600-700 miles away in 3 days pretty easily.

I can only imagine what traffic would be like on 1 in the event of a hurricane.

Sorry in advance for my naivety.

Ken
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Old 26-04-2017, 12:11   #17
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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So at what point do you try and leave Key West with a hurricane on the way.

Many hurricanes head in the direction of Key West only to turn when they near land.

For you to have time to get away, you'd need to leave early. Then the question will be, which way to go? If it's a year with lots of hurricanes, you could be coming and going a lot.

That's the trouble with hurricanes, they are unpredictable

Why not pick another place with a navy base. There are limited options in Key West.

Thanks for the reply.

Maybe I am basing too much faith in weather models. I would think they would give you a pretty decent idea three days out whether you need to go gulf side or atlantic side to avoid the storm.

I obviously have not thought this through enough, with all of you expressing the same concern.

The IT gig is just a possibility. I have been doing the same thing for 21 years. It would not break my heart to do something else in the hospitality\bar\restaurant business.

Trust me, I am not being argumentative, and every piece of input is greatly appreciated.

Thank You!

Ken
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Old 26-04-2017, 12:32   #18
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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A houseboat is nice, for comfort at a dock or in a calm protected mooring. Lots of space. It is literally a house, with a hopefully more or less leakproof bottom, and an engine. Not roughing it at all, never feel like you are camping out. However, there are mobility issues. A fishing trip? You would be better served with an auxillary craft such as a skiff or whaler type boat that you can quickly get to a good fishing area without burning a bunch of fuel, and cast or troll or whatever unimpeded by a huge superstructure and ponderous maneuvering. For running from a hurricane, first choice is a good roadworthy car with a big trunk, leaving the boat tied up with plenty of slack in the lines and good chafing gear. Second, a nice big sailboat with a dependable and reasonably powerful diesel. Next, a trawler with a well maintained engine that can run economically for long distances without pit stops. lots of thirds and fourths and fifths etc but at the tail end of the list I would put a houseboat. You are very limited in what sea conditions you can navigate across open water safely. So you are giving up a lot, for luxurious digs. Whether it is worth it to you, or not, is the real question.

I would favor a trawler or a 45'+ sailboat. You can still have adequate living space if you don't need a hot tub, badminton court, etc. You don't HAVE to take a boat to sea just because it is designed to do so. I have seen some beautiful blue water boats used as dock queens. But, the capability is there, when needed, as long as equipment is checked and maintained.

A slip will be easier to find for a medium sized trawler or sailboat, than a big lumbering houseboat. I can't tell you what it will cost in the KW area, but I would not want to be pricing one for a houseboat.
Thanks for the advice!

Let's say I don't want to go near open water...is a Gibson OK then? I have no plans of not seeing the shore.

Actually, my wife has revealed that she is petrified of open water and wants no part of it. Right now a sunset cruise past Mallory Square is going to take some coaxing until she gets her sea legs.

Does that change the "no houseboat" narrative in the short term? Maybe down the road we will adventure into a more open sea-worthy vessel. We are just trying to break the seal right now, so to speak.

Thanks for the help...I really do appreciate it.

Ken
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Old 26-04-2017, 12:35   #19
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
There are so many people up North that for some reason or another want to live in KW, that its just not viable, or more likely very tough to do, unless you have bags of money in the bank.
Why not pick another area in Fl or the Gulf coast with more, better paying jobs and half the cost to live?
Second, a house boat is best on a lake, you wouldn't believe how rough it gets in a protected anchorage in a storm, your house boat won't likely survive, but in a Marina, with insurance it stands a much better chance, and its insured if it doesn't.
Simple answer...we love Key West and are not a fan of anywhere else on mainland Florida.

Thanks for the help.

Ken
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Old 26-04-2017, 13:13   #20
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Re: Hello Liveabords

I think very little of what you are posting is realistic, in fact I'm starting to suspect you're trolling.

If not, find a way to spend lots of time on the sort of vessel you want before you consider buying one. Talk to lots of people that own them, what sort of travelling they can do in what sort of waters.

And if you don't have enough money to buy even a small house for cash, I don't think you can afford the sort of lifestyle you're talking about here. $3000 a month for a rented apartment would be much more realistic.

Sorry to be so negative. . .
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Old 26-04-2017, 14:26   #21
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Re: Hello Liveabords

Live the dream. It is all about your comfort zone and funding!~

You never said what size 36' 44' 50' new or used? How big is your purse?

Find the place you want to be in Key west. (you may even find a boat already there.)
Take a week go down find the dock and cost.
Check out other house boats.
Check out those who are already there and doing what you want to do..
Then find a boat and cost. Research job availability in person.

If everything is positive. Go Home .

Sell everything or turn your house over to a land mangement company.
max one year lease. If it works then sell the house....

Fleming Fl. used 44' 2002 Used 2002 Gibson 41' Classic, Fleming Island, Fl - 32003 - BoatTrader.com

I personally would have at least two years monthly expense money in bank after purchasing boat but that is me. I this case I would say $48,000.00 to $$72,000.00 in bank as back up money

Consider;
Dock fee, pump out fees, electric, cable, phones, Internet, boat insurance, car insurance, drivers lic., Car plates, health insurance, life insurance, boat lic. fees, Boat taxes, Boat maintence, fuel costs, haul out, bottom cleaning, bottom painting, fishing Lic. fees, food, laundry, Sundries. Entertainment? Did we forget anything?
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Old 26-04-2017, 14:49   #22
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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Originally Posted by kendaukcat View Post
Simple answer...we love Key West and are not a fan of anywhere else on mainland Florida.

Thanks for the help.

Ken
This implies a familiarity with the whole of Florida's approximately 3,000 miles of coastline when including the shores of navigable waterways and rivers. Much of this length of waterway system would be suitably protected for a houseboat during tropical storms, but not the lower Florida Keys.

Even if a houseboat could be moved 600 miles in three days (highly unlikely), there is no path escaping the lower keys without exposure to water that would be treacherous for piloting a houseboat in winds approaching 20 knots.

Someone may be fortunate to keep a houseboat in the lower keys without damage for many years, but in the event of a major tropical system, there would be no safe escape by attempting to move the boat out of a hurricane's path. A houseboat in the Keys should be considered a potential loss.

I've protected a far more sound vessel in Florida waters for decades and still accepted the potential for total loss.
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Old 26-04-2017, 15:06   #23
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
I think very little of what you are posting is realistic, in fact I'm starting to suspect you're trolling.

If not, find a way to spend lots of time on the sort of vessel you want before you consider buying one. Talk to lots of people that own them, what sort of travelling they can do in what sort of waters.

And if you don't have enough money to buy even a small house for cash, I don't think you can afford the sort of lifestyle you're talking about here. $3000 a month for a rented apartment would be much more realistic.

Sorry to be so negative. . .


Sorry you feel this way. I guess I failed in my sincere attempt to acquire information. I will look elsewhere. I apologize for wasting your time.

Ken
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Old 27-04-2017, 00:17   #24
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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Originally Posted by kendaukcat View Post
Thanks for the advice!

Let's say I don't want to go near open water...is a Gibson OK then? I have no plans of not seeing the shore.

Actually, my wife has revealed that she is petrified of open water and wants no part of it. Right now a sunset cruise past Mallory Square is going to take some coaxing until she gets her sea legs.

Does that change the "no houseboat" narrative in the short term? Maybe down the road we will adventure into a more open sea-worthy vessel. We are just trying to break the seal right now, so to speak.

Thanks for the help...I really do appreciate it.

Ken
From Key West, it is pretty hard to not go near open water to get anywhere at all. Houseboats are all the rage on the Western Rivers and lakes. They are very cost effective, in inland waters, when you look at cost per sq ft of living space. To purchase, anyway. Some are also fairly inexpensive to operate, too. They are best used and enjoyed on inland waters, even fresh water. I have seen a few "mega houseboats" which actually are basically barges with superstructures added on, and there is one near me that can probblly take all the punishment that Lake Pontchartrain can dish out apart from a blue norther or a hurricane. Out in the Gulf, I would prefer to be on a trawler or sailboat 1/10 the size. KW IMHO is a pretty iffy environment for a houseboat.

20kts? A houseboat? I suppose it is possible. It is not, after all, a blatant violation of the laws of physics. But most houseboats are not meant to go that fast. Depends of course on hull shape and type, and power. And sea state. Frankly I have never seen or heard of a houseboat going that fast, much less cruising at that speed. Then again, I can't say I know much about houseboats.

I can't vouch for Gibson except that they seem to be popular. Google is your friend.

I really do think in the long term you will be happier on a trawler or sailboat, even if it mostly stays at the dock. These two types of vessels simply offer too many advantages in a marine environment over a houseboat. And if you opt for a nice little whaler or similar boat for a dinghy, you can take your fishing jaunts or sunset cruises on it, and leave the big boat in the slip.

Where you see a lot of houseboats, is probably a good environment for houseboats. In my marina, on Lake Pontchartrain, there are... zero houseboats. On Lake Mead, I am sure there are probably dozens of them. Ditto most TVA lakes.

Slip availability might be just as much an issue as slip cost. One way to get a slip, in marinas with long waiting lists, is to buy the boat that is already in it, and get the slip transferred to you. In KW, this will probably NOT be a slip with a houseboat in it. There will be a lot of sportfishermen available with slip, a few pontoon party barges, some planing cabin cruisers, center console fishing machines, race boats, and what you ought to be considering... cruising sailboats and trawlers. You want to already be living in temporary quarters in the area, to shop for boat and slip deals. Maybe an RV.

I am wondering, actually, if you might not actually be happier in an RV than a boat. Something to think about. Maybe with a trailer queen to go fishing in when the mood strikes. I suggest you somehow rearrange your life temporarily so you can spend some time on or around boats, get invited aboard for excursions, maybe even crew on a sailboat. Crewing can be as simple as being "rail meat", or living ballast, sitting where you are told to sit, so it's not necessarily a big technical thing requiring experience. The dream is often far out of touch with the reality. It is easy to see a rosy picture of an idyllic life afloat. I am still waiting for the idyllic part. Living aboard has not soured me on it but it has tempered my enthusiasm with a bit of healthy cynicism. And I have always been around boats of one sort or another. So get a little spray in your face and listen to the cussing and moaning and groaning about repairs, maintenance, fuel, taxes, fees, slip rental, insurance, regulations and required safety devices and stuff, as well as the "stuff happens" stories, before you sell the house and buy the houseboat. Or trawler or sailboat or whatever. I think an RV would be cheaper and less hassle. Is the difference worth it, to you?
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Old 27-04-2017, 01:28   #25
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Re: Hello Liveabords

You are 30 miles from Cape Sable, and 90 miles from Cuba... Everything is "open water" once you leave the slip. Sometimes even in the slip depending where you're at. Long term marina space is limited and expensive. More cost effective to tear down a funky old marina and put up more transient housing for the visitors. If you do have a marina, you gear it towards a snowbird with a $200,000 multihull who doesn't mind the extra $100/month to plug in his AC and icemaker. Even true here a little further up the keys... Slip prices double during the "season". Work here is easy... big turnover from all the folks gonna "live the dream"

Sorry... Houseboat row is gone, and Jimmy Buffett doesn't live here any more.
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Old 27-04-2017, 03:15   #26
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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Originally Posted by kendaukcat View Post
Thanks for the reply.

Maybe I am basing too much faith in weather models. I would think they would give you a pretty decent idea three days out whether you need to go gulf side or atlantic side to avoid the storm.

I obviously have not thought this through enough, with all of you expressing the same concern.

The IT gig is just a possibility. I have been doing the same thing for 21 years. It would not break my heart to do something else in the hospitality\bar\restaurant business.

Trust me, I am not being argumentative, and every piece of input is greatly appreciated.

Thank You!

Ken

Sometimes you have to go through a few hurricanes to get the total idea. The big ones though can be so different than the smaller ones.......

Hurricanes can be so large and the forecast so iffy that at times it's hard to make a decision besides heading straight North but in Key West that's still a problem.

Gulf Side Or Atlantic Side sometimes isn't a choice either since the hurricane can cover the whole lower Florida Peninsula.

https://www.google.com/search?q=hurr...cSF4M:&spf=205

Here's one in the gulf. Which way do you go to get away? And don't forget do buy gas early because lots of times it's all gone a few days before the thing hits or the line are really long at the pump. Motels are full along the escape route etc.

This was Ivan. I was in Pensacola for that one. The eye came in Pensacola Pass according to the weather channel. It beat on us hard for 10 hours then we had no power for a couple weeks. There was a curfew and you had to 75% of all roofs were blown off. Cat 3/4. Surge 14'-18'. The one good thing was that it was September and not July so the temps were down a bit. And you could see lots of stars at night from your balcony with no power in the area .........except a few generators here and there

https://www.google.com/search?q=hurr...UPerM:&spf=387

Evacuation traffic:
https://www.google.com/search?q=hurr...15McM:&spf=595
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Old 27-04-2017, 03:32   #27
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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Originally Posted by kendaukcat View Post
Thank you for the input.

I know this sounds like a stupid question, but why can't I get out of the storm's path? I figure I can get 600-700 miles away in 3 days pretty easily.

I can only imagine what traffic would be like on 1 in the event of a hurricane.

Sorry in advance for my naivety.

Ken
A Gibson is not exactly the most sea worthy vessel. It's basically a calm, flat water boat, which will limit your ability to go almost anywhere at all depending on what the weather is like in advance of the cane, given that your first move has to be a 100 mile open water run to Marco. It's not a boat that you want to head out deeper into the Gulf in, that's for sure. You'll probably end up looking for a closer hurricane hole, but even then a Gibson at anchor in 80 mph winds is not something I'd feel very good about.

You might be fine, or not. It all depends on the circumstances at the time. But if you can't move the boat you're going to be stuck in Key West with no way to get out because you don't have a car.

My comment was more about the lack of a car than what you do in the event of a hurricane. You'll explore your options when the time comes and you assess the situation. Having a car simply gives you more options.
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Old 27-04-2017, 03:42   #28
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Re: Hello Liveabords

Insurance costs will be high, they're not silly.
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Old 27-04-2017, 04:32   #29
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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Originally Posted by kendaukcat View Post
Simple answer...we love Key West and are not a fan of anywhere else on mainland Florida.

Thanks for the help.

Ken
I agree %100 with the a64pilot. Last year I spent months (about 3) rebuilding my boat in Key West. I just couldn't figure out why people kept moving there. There are almost no jobs, drugs are rampat, crime is high and the costs of living are insane.

I would encourage you to look a little more north. Marathon or Islamarada have the same beautiful waters but much better living.

Back to your original question. The Marinas around Key West quoted me about $1300/month for our 40 foot cat. Electricity was charged on top of that. You WILL NEED an AC unit to live at the dock in Key West.
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Old 27-04-2017, 06:49   #30
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Re: Hello Liveabords

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I would envision taking off days in advance for calmer seas. AT 20 mph cruising speed I can be 600-700 miles away in 3 days.
Certainly possible but assume around 1mpg, so 600miles turns into $5000 round trip. If 3-4 hurricanes threaten in a year, that adds up pretty quickly and that assumes you get out before any bad weather hits. If you don't run before the winds pick up, you may not have a realistic option (and that applies for most trawlers and sailboats too depending on the conditions)

That also assumes marina fuel docks stay open and you don't run into mechanical issues (no one will have time for you if they are prepping for a hurricane).

It also assumes the 3rd time you left your job early, there is still a job to come back to.

One issue in the discussion is what constitutes open water. There is no official definition but:
- Outside on the atlantic side would definitely qualify and would be only for really nice days and be ready to run for home.
- On the Florida Bay side, it gets a bit more of a gray area. You need to loop out into the main bay to get to Marathon but then can run up the inside. At 20kts, that's only a couple hours to Marathon. Assuming the wind is out of anywhere but the north, the line of islands makes it relatively protected and as you get closer to Miami, it's definitely protected waters.
- But if you have a storm rolling in, things can get dicey trying to sneak up the inside as there are some shallow spots.

But all this still leaves the issue of where do you go? No way to get up to Ft. Myers and the west coast without being on open water for a a good distance and lots of hurricanes will come at the keys and then run up towards Miami and the east coast. You could easily be up around the Georgia boarder before getting clear.

If you are going to be full time in the keys (regardless of boat type), I would want a contract to be hauled in the event of a hurricane...but expensive and again, if something goes wrong, you are in for a world of hurt really quick.

The houseboat in my mind isn't the big issue. While they aren't as seaworthy, they don't implode in 2' waves. It's having a viable exit strategy for a hurricane regardless of boat type that becomes problematic.
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