Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Wichita, KS
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Re: Ideas and/or guidance
I am 41, have two kids (9 &12), live aboard and cruise. We have been doing this on and off since about 2000. Honestly, we know little other than this life. That being said, here are my opinions:
First, I would probably not do the charter business. My opinion, but I see those boats pushed hard. If you are going to try and make this work for you and your family, especially as a 4 month/year liveaboard, then set the boat up as you like it and make it your second home. Since you are taking a loan out, you will be able to write off the interest on it anyways. While you are not on the boat, just put it on the hard. However, you might also condier leaving it in the wate for long weekends/vacation time outside of your norm??
Location? Boy, the Carribean would sure be tempting. However, your costs are going to go up a lot on everything, from outfitting, slippage, insurance (which you will have to have), etc. Our insurance for 225k policy is 2800/year which includes all the gulf, bahamas, and all of the east coast. Our last quote to head to the carribean was 4800 I think.
I would conisder keeping the boat in the St Pete area. There are lots of yards, not much of a winter (which prevents having to winterize), and lots of areas to cruise. You can head to Pensacolla which has beautiful hills and blue water for the end of spring, or sail down to the TOrtugas to what is I think the most beautiful area in the US, or spend some time in the keys snorkelling off the back of your boat, or jump to the Bahamas for an even more exciting adventure. I am not knocking the Carrib, but I would personally start here (and did start on the West Coast of FL). The west coast of Fl has a lot to offer for anchorages, nice people, and reasonable rates (for FL).
Happy to answer any other questions.
Do you have any suggestions as far as marinas for storage in the St. Pete area? I saw on another thread several complements for the Indiantown Marina that is inland a bit from Pt. St. Lucie. The rates are at least half of those I saw posted for a couple places in the caribbean. Florida is likely the most logical choice starting out the more I think about it. I do have what is another somewhat silly question. Are the water temps in south florida/bahamas in January/Feb ok to swim in? My boys are 7 and 4 currently and like the boating more for the swimming/exploring than the sailing. Having good swimming opportunities would make my life much easier. I am getting pretty excited thinking about all of this. Thanks again for all the advice