I will give you my advice. That is all it is, advice.
Living Aboard, FL
Contrary to the many negative comments you will hear me (and others) say about living aboard in Fl, the state does promote boating and cruising. It is a nice place to live aboard. THere are a lot of state parks and lots of places that have not and will not be developed. The wildlife is great and you are at the gateway to most of the world (including the Bahamas, which is an easy run). One of these days Castro will kick over, and I would imagine our govt's policy towards them will change (if his brother is not worse, which he could be). Regardless, it is a nice place to boat... honestly.
Now, there are many hurdles. Finding a place to put your boat is the biggest. The regulations and difficulty of developing more land for boat use (in addition to the large number of boaters) as really made slips difficult to find and expensive. In addition, many parts are inaccessible to large boats and the water is very shallow. Insurance is the most expensive of anywhere in the country (to the best of my knowledge). The area is hurricane prone and there are storms every day it seems in the summer.
I like catamarans a lot (don't let SD hear me say that). THey are roomy and I think they are safe. They have a shallow draft which opens up many areas that are not open to others. However, I do not think they are a good choice if you are primaarily going to be around Fl. As I said before, finding a place to put any boat is tough (esp liveaboard), now restrict it further with that floating condo, and you will really be limited. Fl is not the best place for Cats. It is not the boat, it is the area.
Since you are primarily cruising the US coast and islands, you should look into a production type of boat, like a Catalina 350 and up... that is what they were built for. It will serve you well anywhere in this hemisphere from Canada to Brazil. They are comfortable and will allow many amenities. As far as where to put it, if you are not F/T Fl, why not park it in NC or Texas where the slippage is vastly less expensive? Also realize that many insurance companies will not allow you to keep the boat in FL during hurricane season unnattended.
If you have some more questions, let me know... I will answer them as best as I can.
PS THere are other boats besides Catalina to consider... I was just naming them off the top of my head.
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Last edited by Cruisingdad; 04-02-2007 at 03:12 PM.