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Dreaming of long term Marina hopping...

Discussion in 'Marinas & Waypoints' started by Joe Deepwater, Jan 12, 2019 at 1:01 PM.

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  1. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater New Member

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    Instead of buying a home in Florida, my wife and I are wondering if long term marina hopping is a real thing, and how do we reserve slips so far in advance? Meaning, we buy an ocean worthy vessel (what minimum size do you recommend?) and reserve a slip in southeast Florida for one year. Then we fly down and explore that area for a year for long weekends at a time and fly home. The dream is then to reserve a slip in Southwest Florida and reposition the vessel there for 6 months, fly down and back. Then reserve a slip in the Keys for 6 months, then Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, etc. You get the idea. Is it reasonable to reserve long term slips so far in advance? Or do marinas not know if occupants will renew? Is there a shorter period of slip rental that is more predictable? And can marinas be trusted to generally honor those reservations so far in advance? We have a 40 foot sterndrive express cruiser in fresh water northern US. Thank you for your time and expertise.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    It depends on the size. But generally speaking 60' and under, in most marina's you can secure a long term slip a month or two out...…..some of the highly sought after marina's do have long waiting lists. Keep in mind that a house would be a much better investment...…..
  3. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Finding slips for extended stays won't be a problem. In most cases two to three months before you intend to move to them but in some cases longer in advance. There will be a few prime marinas not available but plenty of others.
  4. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater New Member

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    LOL! My wife kept saying that a house is an investment while a boat is an expense. We were looking at homes for a while, then I started to add the expense of having a boat at the home on a canal, then the question of what size boat led to the need for one large enough to go over to the Bahamas for a few days, which led to the logic that if we enjoy sunshine, beaches, and adventure, why not skip the home altogether and keep a floating condo at a marina? That was the evolution of our thinking. We're not sold on it yet, still just gathering the pros and cons. Hopefully some other posters have had experience with this dilemma.

    Do most marinas in south Florida have pools? Is there vibrant dock community and nightlife? What size boat and draft would you recommend for beach and island hopping?
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Some marina's have pools. Some have a vibrant dock community and nightlife. One option is to get a house on the water and a fast center console like a 39' Nortech or Seavee and rent places to stay. You can cover lots of ground quickly and just as flexible for fishing, diving, and going to the local restaurant for dinner without huge operating costs.

    It's tough to say what size, figure out what amenities you need, space constraints, and cruising distances and we might be able to make recommendations.
  6. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater New Member

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    Would a better option be to consider buying a south Florida home on a canal, installing a 25K pound boat lift, and bringing down my 40' Rinker express cruiser with sterndrives? My dry weight is 20K. I know it would be inconvenient to flush the outdrives each time out but this might be offset by not having the expense of another boat. Or is there just too much salt water corrosion with sterndrives? I bought the boat used for a good price.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Stern drives do ok on a lift. That is an option.
  8. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    CZ and I had that same "tickle" with our Post - we scratched it pretty quickly when we started t0 put together a realistic budget - and we own the boat already. When we divided the real cost by the projected actual days of use, we found that we could have a plush room at the Breakers and rent a center console with change to spare. We still have business interests in NY so it would be long weekends at best for us. The travel costs, to say, the Exumas are significant. Maybe if we could take weeks at a time....

    I don't mean to throw cold water on your thoughts, and if your pocketbook is well fortified and easily replenished go for it.

    We do a lot of traveling and living board here in the NE near home. Personally I'd look for something with a salon, and stay away from the express. There are plenty of good used boats out there, but watch out for the one's that may have had salt water in spots where it never belongs.

    Good luck with your adventures!
  9. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    I couldn't recommend a stern drive for salt water unless one designed and equipped for it and even then not a huge fan.

    I think you would benefit by doing some chartering in the area. Two charter companies on the west coast that could help you. Also, some rentals on the east coast and larger charters.

    Nothing at all wrong with your thoughts on the floating, relocatable condo. Others do similar. In each area there are "country club" or "resort" marinas that have all the amenities.
  10. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater New Member

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    The objective nature of the financial aspect seems to be easier to measure than the intangible costs of the adventures. The home is looking like the better option. Thank you so much for your insight!
  11. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater New Member

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    I've been hearing the range of responses between yours and Captain J's. One is acceptable and the other is not. I weigh the costs of new outdrives and engines versus the expense of buying a second boat, and, as crazy as it sounds, it almost seems cheaper to keep one boat and buy new engines and outdrives post salt corrosion...
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Well gas inboards have fallen out of favor as outboards are just better all of the way around. The inboards you have to change the manifolds and risers every 5-7 years. Outdrives take a real beating on boats that sit in saltwater. But they do ok if kept on a lift and serviced annually like you're supposed to. if the boat meets your needs, go for it. It should work out ok.

    I have a customer with an older 34' express with twin mercruiser gas stern drives. He ships it down for 5-6 months every year and it sits in saltwater for the 5-6 months. We keep zincs on the drives and them and the bottom clean...….so far no issues and it's year 2......and he maintains them once a year. He happens to own 2 Mercury/Mercruiser platinum boat/engine dealerships. But he took it on trade and figures for the money he has in it, why not.
  13. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    We have many, many sterndrives up here in the NE that sit in the water 5-7 months a year. With proper maintenance, I have not heard of any special concern? When the boat comes out of the water for the winter, the drive comes off and is serviced, the bellows inspected and the metal is repainted with the appropriate bottom paint. In the spring the support bearings and gimbals are re-inspected and greased and in she goes. Is the experience different down south?
  14. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    How many of those are Ocean-X or Seacore models though? There's a difference in stern drives purchased for coastal use and those purchased for inland use.
  15. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    After 5-7 months in our hot salt water, tied next to Fatso's barge, there is not much left.
    Why are people still thinking about stern drives?
    The technology and future is in outboards.
  16. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Did I mention; I hate outboards...

    Just put together our third work boat. 2006 Yam 225, 4 stroke, 20' CC.
    Looks like hell, runs great.

    I was raised on the AquaMatic 100s thru 290DPs.
    Still luv them but the headaches...

    There is no reason for anybody to be purchasing stern drives still.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019 at 9:52 PM
  17. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater New Member

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    We use our 40' with stern drives for 5 months of summer here in the fresh water rivers. My options are to transport this one south for the winter and deal with the corrosion, versus buying a second boat for Florida, versus selling the one we own and buying a salt water with inboards to be transported north and south each season. The wife doesn't like the center consoles with small sleeping quarters. I really like the Meridian 391 pilot house style with its shallow draft for cruising but I think its too tall to be transported via trailer. I don't see too many cruisers with outboards.
  18. AnotherKen

    AnotherKen New Member

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    Lots of sailors around here use anchors and launches, however you might have to pay for anchorage rights in some ports.
  19. Joe Deepwater

    Joe Deepwater New Member

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    In Canada? Or Florida? Where can one find the resource of information to prevent one from running afoul of the law?
  20. AnotherKen

    AnotherKen New Member

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    Yeah, I live in the False Creek part of Vancouver Canada. We have multiple very full marinas here and several sailboats that are moored to buoys. Some of the Super-Yachts appear to just drop anchor and wait to see if anyone challenges them, some sailors do the same.

    The easiest way to stay on the right side of the law is to fly the flag of the country where your boat is registered. Relevant port authorities can search registration databases for your contact info then call you and advise you of your rights and responsibilities while in their area of influence. Or you can be more pro-active and contact those port authorities and find out what your options are. There is usually somewhere you can anchor for free and there are usually public docks where you can tie up a launch while you go ashore. Another thing that comes to mind is piloting, some ports require that you have a certain type of boat pilot license. You might have to get some extra training to sail into certain areas, or just hire a local pilot to get you through those waters.

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