Originally Posted by Cruisingdad
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.