I assume that the places you refer to where anchoring is prohibited are in chanels, cable areas, military or government restricted zones or within established mooring fields. I'm not familiar with an state. county, or city legislation that have countered the federal laws provided a freedom of navigation (including anchoring) in US waters. Local attempts made in Florida to prohibit anchoring of vessels engaged in navigation have failed. We have experienced difficulty anchoring in New England because of the areas that are saturated with mooring fields, but most of the East Coast doesn't suffer from this. Please add to our knowledge of these "maximaum amount of time" restrictions. We've never experienced an anchorage with a time restriction. Who records, regulates and enforces this time rule? Thanks, 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
Yep, that was what I was abuot to type. There are a few place in Florida (I am at one right now... Fort Myers Beach) where the municipality has taken over the anchorage and set up mooring balls which of course prevents anchoring. In all fairness to them, it was being abused as a local dump for jerks who care less about their boats and typically abandon. It is those people that screw it up for the rest of us that might actually be cruising. However, in all fairness, there are places to anchor very close to the mooring field so you are not absolutely required to grab a ball there.
Back to the quesiton: I will say that I prefer anchoring out to being in a marina... always. However, before you sell the farm and commit to it, you better try hauling the water aboard every couple of days. You will also have to deal with recharging your batteries, diesel, pumpout (certianly you are not going to dump overboard inside the 3 mile I hope), and hot water. That is just to name a few of the issues. Now you also have food, watching out for storms, dragging anchors, etc.
My prefence myght be anchoring out, but it comes with a lot of negatives too. Some people do not care and work around it. Fine. I personally am not in a financial position where I mind paying marinas along the way as I want to or need to. My financial ability does not change the fact that I prefer anchoring out. And I suspect my boat is set up for anchoring out much better than yours as I have set it up to be electrically independent (with a large solar array, tankage, and diesel generator). The investment on those items would be very hard to recoup if compared against the cost of a marina or mooring ball.
One last thing: Going from land life to anchoring out will be a huge culture shock for you. If it is just you, I suspect that you will handle it better. I am tryping this as there have been many people ask me (many of them with young families) about the reality of anchoring. I think that if it is all possible, sliding into it with a marina first is easier - even if it taxes the budget for a little while. Just sign a transient. And if you pay for the week or the month (or longer), the more discount you get until you find that it is by far cheaper than most apartments (that I would live in anyways).
Just my opinions. But make sure you consider the advice given on these threads carefully against those that have actually lived aboard and spent time on the hook - which I have, Captain Force has, and some others.
All the best,