Originally Posted by sea_hunter
For those that state with utmost authority that one keel be better for the Florida shoals than the next; nonsense. If you continue to ground, please learn to check your charts and tide tables. If the ground is ever shifting why is it that we don't hear of freighters and other naval ships constantly aground in the southern states? Keel length is relative. A 6 foot draft on a 50 foot boat that IS a shallow draft design. My issue with fin keels is the inherent structural incongruities with an increased (and increasing) possibility of catastrophic failure. A cursory search on Google of "boat looses keel" is disturbing to say the least. Keel type is argumentativly as personal a preference as whether or not you have a ketch, sloop or power boat. If you still keep grounding, perhaps some training wheels might be in order.
It's not the keel for me, its the draft.
The difference you need to understand is that in the PNW, when the tide comes in you have many feet under your keel assuming you stay in the channel. In Florida, the approach to my marina is about 6 - 7 at high. The middle of the channels is often 6. The ICW is supposed to be kept at 7+, but often is not. Many of the islands and approaches are simply not approachable with boats that have a deep draft.
I don't care what the tides are if you cannot get in at high because you have a deep draft boat, you cannot get in. That excludes a whole lot of beautiful areas down here that you can explore. Buy the draft for where you plan to cruise.