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Old 30-07-2018, 10:24   #1
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Family of 4 needs advice

Hi all,I am new and needing help and advice.I live in TX and have bought a 30 ft sailboat.It is located in Bonita Springs at a private dock.My plan is to move it to a marina near by and live on.I don't have any sailing exp,so it will be motored there until i have the knowledge and exp to sail her.I know some will think it is crazy to buy a sailboat with no exp,but like i said i wouldn't do anything like sailing across the ocean,to put my family at risk!I am new to sailing but not boats.I am a boat mech here in TX.I just want to get it to a live aboard marina and get situated.I hope to learn from others there and i have been doing my homework,reading,watching and learning.I just want to get my family and boat in a spot,then get settled in,maybe stay at marina the first yr.I would like to know where is a good marina close to Bonita springs or near,that has good schools.I have a 6 and 3 yr old girls.The 6 yr old will be the one going to school,of course.I am open to live aboard marinas,farther if i feel they are better situated for my family.i may just have to pay someone to get the boat there,if needed.I just want a place where my family is safe and not in some shady town with crack or meth heads!Not saying Florida is that,we have plenty here in TX like that!Just want to be around good,nice and honest people.I have heard that Marathon FL is a good place for sail boaters but i am not sure,and it is farther around the keys,on the other side and i am not sure it is a good idea to motor that far.Any advice and help,will be gladly appreciated.Thank you!

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Old 31-07-2018, 03:30   #2
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Sea Turtle.

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Old 31-07-2018, 03:57   #3
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

Welcome to CF, Sea Turtle. I hope that four people living on a thirty footer proves workable for you and your family. Anything is possible. Remember that home schooling is always an option, and until you do get settled somewhere, you can always just think of your vessel as a motorboat, try to stick mostly to the ICW, and put sailing on a back burner until you have a little less on your plate. The Gulf Coast of Florida does have some gorgeous (but somewhat pricey) live-in marinas with facilities that could tend to make live aboard on a smaller yacht more agreeable for all. Whatever you choose, keep us posted on your progress and best of luck.
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Old 31-07-2018, 05:29   #4
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

Welcome to cruisers Forum Sea Turtle...
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Old 31-07-2018, 08:59   #5
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

First, welcome.

Second, that was some post. I think you were asking for livaboard marina recommendations in S. Florida.

Third, I think you were sharing your legitimate concerns of raising a family in a safe environment

Sounds like you are in the marine field so employment in these areas would not be a big concern.

All that being said (and we raised our two daughters aboard starting at ages 1 and 4) the 30í boat with no experience sure got my attention along with South Florida (read super hot).

Baby steps my friend, baby steps. If sailing/cruising is your dream then living aboard might kill it. If itís more simply living aboard at a marina then might work.

Plenty of that, at least there used to be, down in the Keys.

If you do find a marina that allows livaboards please do us all a favor, maintain your vessel in a proper fashion. That ought to get everyone discussing what that means ;-)

Those who do not make it that much tougher of those who do. (Which may be one reason why livabaord marinas are harder and harder to come by)

Best of luck! Youíll get plenty of good advice here.
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Old 31-07-2018, 09:50   #6
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

Welcome!.. and I know how you feel. We were in your position 2 years ago.. scouring the forums and spending hours researching the internet.. but now happily living (and travelling) on our boat in the Med with 3 kids. We're on a 53' but met people doing it on a lot smaller.. gotta say though 30ft is a bit cosy for a family of 4.. but people do. Your background as a boat mech. will come in really handy as most of our big headaches were to do with maintenance.

There's some great forums on FB for family liveaboards.. homeschooling and raising kids on boats around the world - we particularly like 'kids4sail' but there are loads depending on your location and circumstances.. just do some searching.

When we started we couldn't find many 'family friendly' sailing bloggers that the kids could watch and get inspiration from (too much swearing and drinking - looking at you SV Delos ).. so we started our own, detailing our transition from land to sea here.. particularly for family friendly viewing:

There are thankfully a few more now than when we started but hope it helps anyway.. We need more families out here so hope to see you soon!
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Old 31-07-2018, 15:31   #7
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

Sounds like quite an adventure!

While you seem to be getting things a little backward you also sound like you are aware of your limitations. Keep listening to those feelings.

The best of luck to you and your family!
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Old 31-07-2018, 16:45   #8
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

Thank everyone for advice and info.It is much appreciated!I will continue to watch and learn from you,that are more experienced than us.I will continue to check on thread to get all the knowledge I can.You all have been great!I know the 30 ft is a bit small,but my girls are little bitty things!lol,and we hope to move up later after we have learned a lot more.I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew with a bigger boat!lol.Boat people are the best!!!
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Old 01-08-2018, 05:43   #9
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

I think I'd put some feelers out for a job first & then look for something close to that. I'm a fan of the St Petersburg Municipal Marina for live aboard but there is a waiting list. The Tampa Bay area has a lot of work & a lot of marinas and you'll need to stay at a marina if you want air conditioning. Marathon is great but, depending on your budget, you'll probably be on a mooring which means no air conditioning & it is REALLY HOT in Florida this time of year. Staying at a marina in the Keys will be crazy expensive & work might be hard to come by although I have heard that because of the serious housing shortage there is a shortage of workers.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:02   #10
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

I understand your concern about getting a boat bigger than you feel like you can handle but 30' is very small for a family of 4. The younger one at least will need a quiet place for nap time and maybe even the six year old. Most 30' boats will have only two sleeping areas and one of those the main cabin so either the girls share the forepeak leaving parents the main cabin or vice versa.

I agree that starting out with a liveaboard, especially such a small one, risks killing the dream. If your budget allows something a little larger would make life a lot easier and the family a lot happier.

Also the advice about hot weather in FL is right on. Boats have almost no insulation and usually less ventilation than a house so will generally be much, much hotter than a house. Living on board in FL summer will almost demand air conditioning which eliminates living at anchor or on a mooring for your situation.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:39   #11
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

While most would recommend a bigger boat for 4 to live on the OP has already bought his boat so at this point... that ship has sailed.
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Old 01-08-2018, 07:47   #12
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

If you can affoard the keys you can affoard a larger boat ! And i live iand cruise in Florida tampa bay !
Now i have seen some just anchored permently . semi homeless. No power no Air conditioning no dock ! Would not be me ! Stay in your home state build your knowledge. Take a sailing course. ASA or like RED Cross You and your wife., than you can pass the knowledge to your children. Kids just soak boats and wind right up . Welcome SEA TURTLE
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:04   #13
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Family of 4 needs advice

This was our first sailboat, we live aboard.
First sailing is not hard, not hard at all. Now I donít claim to be all that experienced and am not a racer etc. , but I get by. By a book or two on sail trim and or talk to knowledgeable people, there usually is no end to the number of people that are willing to help.
Most will tell you that you need to take all these sailing courses and live aboard course etc.
Iíd say if money is no object, sure go ahead, itís likely fun.
However Iím of the belief that all these sailing courses are a relatively new thing and that people have been going to sea for thousands of years without ASA courses.
Read a book and go out in a protected bay on a day with 10 kt or so winds and just play with it, youíll figure it out, most of it is common sense.

To keep the purists off of my back, Iíll clarify and say that sailing to cruise to a destination is not all that hard, Iím sure sailing to eek the last .001 kt is exceedingly difficult and people spend their entire lives polishing those skills.
Just saying sailing at a much lower level isnít rocket science and itís not dangerous to get out on your own in protected waters and learn is all.
Maybe have Boat US or Seatow Insurence first though.

Sailboats can be and are extremely efficient motor boats, in fact it seems that is the way that a great many are used, not to cross Oceans, but to run up and down the East Coast and Gulf Coast of the US anyway.
When motoring expect to make 40 ish miles a day, maybe a little better in Summer Months. The little motors are usually good for thousands of hours, seem to last pretty well if maintained.

30í is awfully small though, I feel that your family will outgrow it, at least your lucky in that both kids are the same Sex, and privacy isnít as big a concern.
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:16   #14
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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

Put the two girls in the vee berth. They will be safe there and will enjoy the privacy and security. It will also keep them (and their toys/gear) clear of the main cabin, where you and your spouse can live in comfort.
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Old 04-08-2018, 09:28   #15

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Re: Family of 4 needs advice

My first crop of spawn we lived full-time in the bush off-grid in small tents, cooking over campfires, a 10' trailer in year six was a big upgrade.

Not only no harm done, they loved it and thrived.

Only got back to civilization at 11 & 13 y.o.

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