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Old 08-16-2012
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Florida or not?

I'm a new owner of a 44 foot sailboat in Boston, MA and I see that winter will be coming too soon.

I'm wondering about the practicality of extending our use of the boat by bringing it (or having it brought) down to Florida and what the implications of that might be.

I'm not to the point of taking out the charts and studying the currents. I'm more wondering how would I manage the boat down in Florida being a resident of MA. What are the tax implications and what permits/licenses do I need to acquire? I would plan on bringing the boat back up before hurricane season next year (at least that would be the plan, maybe Florida is just so awesome that I will want to leave it down there but that would remain to be seen).

The 6.25% Massachusetts taxes has been paid, so I'm assuming that I don't have to pay additionally in Florida since their rate is only 6%. But I also assume that I'm wrong about that.

I read somewhere that if your local rate was less than the Florida rate you would have to pay the difference to Florida but I assume they aren't fair minded about that and won't give me a 0.25% refund.

I do see that I'd need to update my insurance policy.

I assume I will have to register my dinghy in Florida as well or else leave the outboard at home. If I did that would I really need two sets of registration numbers on my dinghy? It already has MA plates.

I guess the second step is to figure out where in Florida to base it. The boat draws 5'10". The Keys look nice, but it might be more practical to base it farther north. Recommendations where and why would be welcome. I think I'm partial to the East Coast of Florida, but other than the additional trip of getting to the other side I don't have a good reason for that preference.

Once that is all figured and if it makes sense. The third step would be to plan the trip. If I went ahead with everything I would most likely hire an experienced captain who has done this before and he would provide the plan.

If I was allowed to retire and just take off sailing I would probably just keep going once I got to Florida. So a hired captain would be good in either case.
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Florida or not?

Technically, if you're in FL waters for more than 90 days you pay an annual use fee, which did not cancel out our registration in our home waters. ($85/yr for our older 33-footer). They're used to snowbirds like us.

You are correct in understanding about sales tax. We were able to prove that we paid sales tax when we bought the boat in Michigan and FL did not ask for any additional $.
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Florida or not?

Do you have enough free time, and spare money, to be going back and forth often enough to make it worthwhile?
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Florida or not?

Florida's rate is 5% the 6% plus they charge actual goes to the County and varies by County from 6 to 7 percent depending. So u are good with the sales tax already.
Over 90 stay requires a use sticker which is just a way to get you in there with your tax reciept. There are no Yearly Property Taxes on Boats in Florida so it might be to your advantage to switch the boat here.

There is no additional trip to the west coast at least one or two Banana Republic Flights come to Tampa from Boston every week.(<== sarcastic tongue in cheek comment).

West coast is Cheaper for dockage and has more cruising grounds.
East Coast has St. John's river area which is nice but I have only been there once for a fishing tourny.
The Gold coast/South Florida has Biscayne Bay but shoal draft is better there.
Too much Concrete over there for me.
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Re: Florida or not?

"Do you have enough free time, and spare money, to be going back and forth often enough to make it worthwhile?"

That's a valid point and partly what I'm trying to figure out. Once I get a better idea of the costs involved I'd be in a better position to decide if it made sense. Although I don't know all the details yet. I'd willing to gamble one winter than spend the rest of the winter wondering what if. If it turns out to be impractical and I'd just be better served by bareboating then I can do that instead the following year.
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Florida or not?

Dear Skelmir, new places that you go in Florida are priced differently depending on your location. I am located in the gulf of Mexico Panama City. However I am a delivery Capt. and have traveled the East Coast and West Coast extensively.the cost to you can be directly related to where you want to stay.I have found that the East Coast of Florida south of Jacksonville is expensive compared to other areas as far down as the keys. As you travel north on the West Coast( Gulf of Mexico) the prices become more relaxed North of Tarpon Springs,as well as the enforcement of tax laws. many people keep their vessels in the gulf Coast area because of that reason. If you want to move your vessel every 90 days you can remain in compliance in South Florida. Hopefully this will help you to make the decision that fits your needs....Captg
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Florida or not?

I have a freind who sails down in Dec. from R.I. to work in key west through season and in april he sails back up. Every year, back and forth. I think he does it in 14 day's staying outside. He just keeps his R.I. reg. current and that's it.
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Old 08-16-2012
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Re: Florida or not?

It would be fun to sail up and down the coast in weekend-long segments, keeping the boat in transient slips for a week or two along the way, then fly or take the train home.
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Re: Florida or not?

So the costs are going to be insurance, mooring/slip fees, maintenance, and the costs of the trip back and forth itself. In addition to flights back and forth to use the boat as well as possibly a rental/hired car to get to the marina/mooring field.

The boat draws 5'10", can motor about 8.5 knots and has a 52 gallon tank. There is deck space and some storage space for additional fuel. In what time range would you expect a delivery to take from Boston? To Jacksonville? The Keys? And Tampa? Is 5'10" too deep for the Keys?

Probably make sense to stage the boat in NC end of October and bring it down to Florida sometime after that?

Too many questions for one post so I'll leave it at that.
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Re: Florida or not?

5' 10' is fine for the key's. You can knock it out in a week from N.C. to key W. Jacksonville a few day's.
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