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Old 05-03-2020, 02:50   #1
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Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

Hey everyone,

I have recently decided to build my own houseboat... Well more like a "house barge" and I'm trying to figure out where I could anchor it and not get in any trouble by not having it registered or having permission to live there.

I've been exploring the countless city websites trying to find information but have come up empty handed, my next step is to call and figure everything out but before that I figured I ask around see who could give me any ideas.

The barge itself is 60ft x 20ft (LxH) and is currently up in New Jersey. before I tug it down... Any idea on where I could put it and live? What kind of permits would I have to get? I know the city marina allows a maximum length of 70ft but I'm skeptical that they would let a barge sit at the end of there dock... But, then again, maybe they would... Lol

All information and ideas are welcome, I'd like to finally make my dream of living on the ocean in a custom build "shack" come true!!!

Thanks everyone 😊
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Old 05-03-2020, 05:22   #2
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Gunner.

FWIW: All motorized vessels in Florida must be registered & titled, through the local County Tax Collector's Office.
In Florida, a purchaser, purchased in or outside of Florida, of a new or used vessel has 30 days to title and register that vessel. During this 30 day period, the owner must have proof of the date of purchase aboard the vessel. Operating an unregistered vessel after 30 days is a second-degree misdemeanor.
https://www.flhsmv.gov/motor-vehicle...registrations/
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Old 05-03-2020, 06:17   #3
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

Along the sad portion of the ICW that leads from Key West to Miami, there's tons of shallow backwater marinas that are chock-full of tarp-draped derelicts with people living the same dream. There's also any amount of open shallow water surrounded my mangroves in which you could anchor until the local authorities decided to enforce whatever rule is in place to prevent that--which they might not, if you're far enough off the radar.
Key West, though, is gonna be pretty expensive, and the anchorage, as well as being horribly exposed, is patrolled by three or four different law enforcement agencies trying to outdo each other in pettiness.
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Old 05-03-2020, 06:38   #4
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

Could I enter a plea for you to include a sewage disposal system, such as Incinolet? If you are planning to avoid Key West, you are going to be dumping sewage in someone's mangrove swamp.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:29   #5
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

I believe that to anchor long term you need to be able to move under your own power. If I am wrong, I’m sure to be corrected soon. Also, in future it might be better not to refer to your floating home as a “shack” due to the concerns and legal battles over derelict vessels. You are probably unaware of the ongoing struggle against anchoring restrictions in some areas due to landowners taking offense at unsightly rundown vessels that anchor off their homes for months on end. Part of the concern is about disposal of human waste, so you had better incorporate that into your design.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:31   #6
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benz View Post
Along the sad portion of the ICW that leads from Key West to Miami, there's tons of shallow backwater marinas that are chock-full of tarp-draped derelicts with people living the same dream. There's also any amount of open shallow water surrounded my mangroves in which you could anchor until the local authorities decided to enforce whatever rule is in place to prevent that--which they might not, if you're far enough off the radar.
Key West, though, is gonna be pretty expensive, and the anchorage, as well as being horribly exposed, is patrolled by three or four different law enforcement agencies trying to outdo each other in pettiness.
I’m thinking that a 60’x20’ barge with a house on it is going to be hard to keep “off of the radar”.....


It does sound like a great base for a float house that could be docked permanently at a marina with water and power and regular pumpout of the holding tank. It won’t be cheap though: $25k and up a year to moor plus $100k or much more to construct to a minimum standard. Honestly, you’d be better off buying an old motor yacht with dead engines, at least the systems are already there. And it would be easier to fool the authorities into believing that your are self propelled.

You might want to look into how many thousands it will cost to tow your barge south: you may be surprised at how many gallons of diesel it takes to go 1500 or more miles and of course the rental of the tow boat with crew.
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:35   #7
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

There is a free pump out service in the Keys. I used them when I first arrived and was not set up in the mooring field yet.



Pumpout Florida Keys
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:49   #8
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

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There is a free pump out service in the Keys. I used them when I first arrived and was not set up in the mooring field yet.



Pumpout Florida Keys
Who pumps you out in the mooring field now? He would need to use them since the whole of the Keys is an NDZ AFAIK. If its not a free service how much would it cost him?
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Old 05-03-2020, 08:53   #9
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

City Marina at Garrison Bight (who runs the mooring field) has two pump out boats to service the mooring field. It's included in the cost of the renting the ball.



The free service does the popular anchor spots in the keys but there are some areas that aren't covered.



In regards to the "having to move under your own power" most houseboats and barge houses that are anchored out here have a large outboard mounted on the back to qualify for that.
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:03   #10
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

How much is a mooring ball per month and would he qualify at 60’x20’? It looks like the costs of a cheap barge home keep going up: now he’ll need a large outboard.
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:34   #11
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

I am still stuck on the costs of the trip from New Jersey to the Keys. I would think that tow bill would be prohibitively expensive. Far better off getting something/building something already in the area you intend to live on it. Kind put the cart before the horse on this one it sounds like...

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Old 05-03-2020, 09:53   #12
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

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How much is a mooring ball per month and would he qualify at 60x20? It looks like the costs of a cheap barge home keep going up: now hell need a large outboard.



It's $350 a month. Not sure what the size limitations are.
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:28   #13
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

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Who pumps you out in the mooring field now? He would need to use them since the whole of the Keys is an NDZ AFAIK. If its not a free service how much would it cost him?
nature's head solves all that
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:45   #14
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

Garrison Bight Marina has houseboats parked there in slips. The rate is $12.96 per ft x 60 = $777.60 per month incl utilities.

City Marina has slips available for live-aboard, recreational and transient customers who wish to stay long or short term.

New Rates: Effective March 01, 2020
Mooring Field Rates:
$ 20.32 Daily (tax included)
$357.58 Monthly (tax included)

for info & reservations (305) 809-3981
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Old 05-03-2020, 11:26   #15
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Re: Where to anchor my barge/house boat (Key West, FL)

I'm sorry!
This sounds like a pipe dream.
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