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Old 02-25-2011
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Question Sailing in Galveston Bay

My wife & I are considering retiring to the Kemah ((Galveston Bay) area. We are looking at a 37 ft boat with a 6'3" keel - is this too deep for the Galveston Bay area? My wife & I are also considering sailing around Florida up to the Carolinas - again, is this keel going to be trouble? If we watch the charts for the deeper areas, is there good sailing available? (We just prefer the way a deeper keel performs).

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Old 02-25-2011
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You can sail in Galveston bay with a 6' keel. As with any keel that deep it will limit where you can go. On issue would be if you wanted to sail into Clearlake. That could be difficult as the channel is narrow and often not as deep as listed. I was taking a boat out of one of the marinas there with a 6' full keel and we drug most of the way. You need to watch the tides.
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Old 02-25-2011
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On Galveston Bay you will have to watch where you go. There is some pretty skinny water in places.
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Old 02-25-2011
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In the bay there will be few problems. Depending on the marina you should be able to get out 85% of the time in the summer months. In the winter watch out though. Marina Del Sol, Legend Point, and alotof Watergate will be tight during the low tide months of winter. There could be more marinas to worry about but thats all I know of.

Its also getting harder to get a liveaboard slip in some marinas under 35', Watergate is 40'.

The positives are friendly Texans and a great little community that has restaurants, groceries, bars, and chandleries all in a few miles.

Last edited by Badfsh; 02-25-2011 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 02-25-2011
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I agree it can be done, but I would prefer a shallower draft if possible. There are lots of beautiful wilderness areas and coves that you would be excluded from with that draft. If you're living there, you'll likely want to explore some of the natural areas...they're so beautiful! Much of the adjacent Trinity and Tabbs bays are pretty shallow. For the open waters, and marinas, ditto the above comments.
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Old 02-25-2011
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What Badfsh said. We are at Watergate and drag through the mud with 4'11". You'll be fine in the bay. The Kemah Boardwalk Marina might be your best bet if you will be keeping your boat here, staying out of Clear Lake.
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Old 02-26-2011
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Use to run Oil field supply boats into Galveston... One word of advise. When out by the entrance stay outside the green line. plenty of water for the smaller boats and lest apt to be run down by inbound or outbound ships... Remember those ships don't stop very well. (at least a couple of miles) so stay well clear of them. Safer that way.
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Old 02-26-2011
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Check out the marinas that are along the channel before it opens up into Clearlake. We are in Seabrook marina and even after a few days of north winds and a low tide, I have no problem getting out with 4'11" draft. At the one skinny spot exiting our marina I have at least another foot under the keel according to sonar...that was on a day when it was the lowest I had seen this winter. I know they accept liveaboards but I am not sure what the length requirements are. Nice folks there too.
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