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Old 04-05-2010, 05:53   #1
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Young Family Liveaboard in Florida ?

Hi All!
My husband and I are looking to become liveaboards in Florida. We are a young family with a 15 month old little girl and a small dog. Our plan is to sort of set up a home base in FL as we transition into being full time cruisers, get comfortable sailing, etc. We have been looking at Melbourne and Ft. Lauderdale and are visiting both in June to check out the cities, marinas, boats, etc. My question is has anyone had a family living aboard in these areas? Any thoughts or advice? And does anyone have a marina recommendation? We want a marina that isn't a fortune, but one that's a good fit for a young family and our daughter especially. I am getting very overwhelmed picking marinas to visit.

I've been doing a ton of research on these areas to make the most use of our trip but my big fear is that we'll miss out on something fabulous that's right down the street that I didn't find online.

Thanks VERY much for any thoughts or recommendations!
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:25   #2
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, B.
Good luck in moving aboard.
You might check out Isle of Venice & Hendricks Isle (both off Las Olas) in FLL:
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 04-05-2010, 08:01   #3
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We have a family and live aboard in Florida - though we are unching out again for a while to the Bahamas around mid June.

I am not going to profess to know every square inch of Florida, but I know a bit of it pretty good. I could and can live anywhere and like you, we are cruisers. What was important to us was having some ability to communicate and keep our fingers in our businesses some (IE, internet connection), have a secure marina, a place where we could venture out on weekends if we did not want a longer trip, and be relatively secure in a storm.

We chose (for the second time) Fort Myers Beach. We actually live at a marina where there are several other kids living aboard around us - most of them my kids ages (6&9). There are a lot of places to go and things to see around here. You can also test your longer distance cruising skills with a run to the Keys or Tortugas. The cost is probably a LOT less than Ft Lauderdale but I cannot comment on Melbourne. If you want to put your kids in school for a little while, the Beach School (pretty much only beach kids are allowed) is about as close to a private school as you will get in a public school system. Very small classes, lots of funding, and very good teachers. The negative of the Beach school is that they stop at 5th grade. After that, your kids will have to be taken off-island to continue their education in the public system.

Negatives of this area are that it is further away from the Bahamas and the water in the immediate area is brackish. Draft can also be an issue. If you draw much more than 6, you will probably get tired of running aground all the time or revolving your life around the tides.

Anyways, there you go. Hope that info helps.

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Old 04-05-2010, 09:06   #4

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I'd expect Melbourne to be cheaper. "Fort Liquordale" can be an expensive and overcrowded place. The Florida school systems in general are not highly praised but I expect your employment situations will wind up being the most important criteria.
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Old 04-05-2010, 15:16   #5
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One of the least expensive, and safest places is Green Cove Springs. It is 42 miles from the ocean, so there is a tiny surge if any at all during hurricanes. It is a small community, and mostly everyone waves. You can sail the river to hone your skills.......i2f
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Old 04-05-2010, 15:22   #6
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Welcome aboard! Feel free to check out our blog, we documented our moving-aboard process the best we could. We also did a small podcast with a marina manager in case you have any questions about how that works: Podcast #1: An Hour With A Marina Manager - TheKeel

This forum can be a great resource; glad to have you around!
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Old 04-05-2010, 15:31   #7
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You REALLY should check out Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart. It is the most affordable in the area, readily accepts livaboards, and is brand new!
Stuart is a very laid back city, with small town flair, but close to everything you will need. And it is on your way from Melbourne to Ft. Lauderdale
Denny and Diane
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Old 04-05-2010, 19:58   #8
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Thanks VERY much!

I really appreciate all the great feedback and suggestions. I spent the afternoon looking them all up online! I am excited about having some new marinas and areas to add to our list for our trip!
LOVE this forum, thanks!
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Old 05-05-2010, 17:22   #9
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We raised our two children from newborn to adults while living aboard in Florida. We favored the option to have protected inland daysailing for easy afternoons after work and more use of our boat. This would omit Ft. Lauderdale or Daytona Beach or other places without inshore sailing. This leaves Biscayne Bay, Bayside Key Largo (shoal draft), Indian River (and Stuart), St. Johns River, Tampa Bay, Ft. Myers & Pine Island Sound, and some panhandle bays. We would once again select the St. Johns River south of Jacksonville for price and quality environment. Some rather have the "tiki bar and resort glitz" of south Florida, but there's a price for that that is more than money. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 22-12-2010, 07:34   #10

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My son and his GF asked about living aboard here in Fla so
yesterday after reading this thread I drove to MarinatownMarina Liveaboard Marina North Fort Myers Florida and walked around and talked to people and petted dogs and all in all looked like a perfectly nice place live.
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children, family, florida, liveaboard, living aboard, marinas

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