Thanks for all your input!
Wife wants to know if you're serious about the dogs...
I know what you mean about is it worth the risk, certainly couldn't forgive myself if one of them drown, and it seems like the risk would be higher living on a boat than on dry land. Point taken about auto accidents, or getting hit by a bus, but the actual risk of death seems higher to me living on the water.
We are also considering renting a room on shore, where wife and little girls could take refuge from the PFDs, and be able to run around a bit without being tied down.