Liveaboard in Key West? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 31 Old 03-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Liveaboard in Key West?

Thinking of retiring. Want to live aboard my Pearson 303 in Key West. Any ideas? Thanks!
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post #2 of 31 Old 03-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Liveaboard in Key West?

I spoke with Terri at the Key West City Marina at Garrison Bight. She tells me that there are no liveaboard slips available (at $11 and change per foot per month), there's no wait list, they open up rarely, and you just need to be lucky. They do have "transient" slips available at $34 plus per foot per month (!!), and you must leave for at least one day every four months. This compares to about $650 per month for liveaboard here in Sausalito (just north of the GG Bridge) with no reqt of moving every four months. I'd rather retire in Key West, though, and avoid the cold, foggy winters (and colder, foggier summers!).
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post #3 of 31 Old 03-17-2012
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Re: Liveaboard in Key West?

Check Stock Island and Marathon. Much more reasonable.
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post #4 of 31 Old 03-17-2012
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Re: Liveaboard in Key West?

Check Safe Harbor Marina in Stock Island. My has his Pearson 36-2 there and is $650 a month live aboard. Very eclectic funky place and there's the Hogfish Bar and grill at the top of the dock Just fabulous. He'll be there till the end of April and the we will be moving the boat north for the summer.
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post #5 of 31 Old 03-17-2012
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Re: Liveaboard in Key West?

A friend of mine bought a 28' sailboat on Marathon and lived aboard for several months this winter. The boat was at a marina down Coco Plum Drive, at the end of Ave I and the slip cost @ $450/month (likely + electric). I can't find a web page for that marina or club but there are a bunch of places down there.
Florida Keys Marinas - Marathon Marina, Key Largo Marinas, Key West Marinas
It ain't no Key West but KW is only a long day sail from Marathon. You can anchor in KW. It gets pretty darn hot down there at times. You may find you miss some of the cold, foggy days.
Good luck.

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post #6 of 31 Old 03-17-2012
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Re: Liveaboard in Key West?

Pretty darned hot in Key West is about 90-degrees, but keep in mind that most of the time the humidity is relatively low. I've been there in June and July and the hottest days were in the mid 80s--I loved it! I've always found it interesting when folks from Maryland talk about how hot and humid Florida is, when most of them have never been there in mid summer. In Baltimore, mid August usually brings temperatures from the upper 90s to low 100s, with equal humidity numbers. I've never encountered those conditions along Florida's east coast, and especially in the lower keys. And, when winter arrives here, which is just 5 months after spring arrives, everyone is scrambling to put the boat on the hard and have it winterized. There ain't no winter in Key West!

Stock Island is a lot less expensive, and if you're willing to do some on-site searching you can sometimes find a private dock for a lot less. You just have to be ready to do some extensive legwork, but they can be found.

There's some great locations where you can anchor up safely, and if you don't have a high demand for electricity or water, these locations are quite secluded, and safe from most weather conditions shy of a full blown hurricane. Mule Key Basin is just west of Key West on the west side of the Northwest Channel. Been there several times, fairly deep water, and completely surrounded by flats. Even in a 30 knot breeze the water is pretty flat.

Getting in and out of Garrison Bight may be a stretch. Some pretty tight turns, plus a couple bridges, and during peak tidal flows the current between the bridge pilings can be treacherous. Flemming Key Bridge only has a vertical clearance of 18 feet and a very narrow opening. During a hard, outgoing tide the water resembles a waterfall beneath the bridge.

There is a deepwater channel around Flemming Key that will get you into Garrison Bight, but I don't remember if the Palm Avenue Bridge is a draw bridge or not. If my memory serves me correctly, this was a fixed bridge the last time I was there.

As for hurricanes, Key West tends to be one of those locations that is often skirted. If you look back through the hurricane archives you'll find some solid information on this. Keep in mind, however, that if one does hit Key West, there's really no great hurricane hole to duck into other than Garrison Bight, and it will be jammed solid with other boats if there's a bad one on the way.

Good Luck, and I envy your retirement plans.

Gary
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post #7 of 31 Old 03-18-2012
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Re: Liveaboard in Key West?

I LOVE Key West. That being said, I think if I were going to live in the Keys I would give Marathon a try - active cruisers' community, moorings (cheaper), and a great location (far enough south to stay WARM).

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post #8 of 31 Old 03-18-2012
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Re: Liveaboard in Key West?

I agree, Marathon, at least for those of us that have surpassed our 60th birthday, is a much better choice. Lots of great restaurants, Tiki bars, protected anchorage inside Boot Key Harbor, and the price is lower than Key West by a wide margin. However, it's still not cheap. In comparison to many locations along the shores of Chesapeake Bay, the cost of mooring and slip rents is much higher at Marathon. And, even in this economy, for some unexplained reason, the cost seems to be increasing.

Good Luck,

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post #9 of 31 Old 04-05-2012
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Liveaboard in Key West?

So I'm actually IN Key West now so I wanted to add to my previous comment. A SLIP in Key West is pretty pricey, but you can get a mooring from the city in Garrison Bight for about $300/month. From the gate-protected dinghy dock it is a bit more than a mile to Old Town and about the same distance to supermarkets, etc. in the other direction. Bus stop is right by the dinghy dock, and buses run about an hour apart.

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post #10 of 31 Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Liveaboard in Key West?

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Originally Posted by Jane.Joy View Post
So I'm actually IN Key West now so I wanted to add to my previous comment. A SLIP in Key West is pretty pricey, but you can get a mooring from the city in Garrison Bight for about $300/month. From the gate-protected dinghy dock it is a bit more than a mile to Old Town and about the same distance to supermarkets, etc. in the other direction. Bus stop is right by the dinghy dock, and buses run about an hour apart.
The mooring ball rental in Marathon and Key West are the same on a month by month basis, $300. The Key West dinghy ride is a bit long although you can dinghy right downtown and there's a free dinghy dock there. To go shopping dinghy past the Garrison Bight dinghy dock to a small creek which is almost across the street from the local Winn-Dixie and Home Depot. Lots to see and do in Key West.
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