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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!
My husband and I are planning on leaving Ohio and moving to Florida, probably Marathon, Ft. Lauderdale, wherever we can get a dock or mooring really in that vicinity. We currently own a Cat 25 and an Oday 27 and are going to sell both and buy something like an Oday 37 or something similar (I would prefer something between 40-42). We have found quite a few potential boats but haven't secured anything just yet. Our ultimate goal is to start a chartering business. We will both get our 6 pack licenses down there, we've been building sea time but on lakes obviously since we are in Ohio. This probably sounds like a crazy dream (what everyone tells me) and we may just lose everything but life is about taking chances right!? Anyways, I have some questions that I was hoping people could answer who live aboard their sailboats. (We are living aboard to save money) obviously without specifics about our boat or where we will be I know they can't he answered completely but I just would like input and any ideas.
I know insurance depends on year and condition of the boat, our sailing experience, and where it will be located. But does anyone have advice for good companies they have used?
We will be taking our 2 cars down with us to be able to go to work (we will have to have at least part time jobs to pay for everything when we get down there) but if we are docked at a marina, is it likely they will allow us to park our cars there? If we end up mooring for some time any ideas where we could park?
Any other advice or tips is welcomed. We've been developing a list and planning things out and are hoping to make this happen. We are leaving good paying jobs to try to live our dream. I know living aboard can be rough with lack of space, heat, insects, etc. We've been to Florida many times and just both love the ocean and sailing and want to make our own business eventually.
 

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I dont know about southern florida, but in the pan handle plenty of people live aboard in the marinas and park there cars in the marina parking lot. One thing to note is that all marinas I have seen have a strict “no live aboard” policy. But there are always live aboards in these marinas. I think its just who you know, how clean and nice you keep your boat, etc.. that will get you the pass. They dont want vagrants living in floating dumps. I believe there are also some local laws against live aboards, so most of the live aboards call themselves transients. I’d have all that worked out before you get there.

As far as your chartering plan. I know people who have done similar. It can be done. You would want to be in a marina that is close to the tourist areas. I dont see any charters running out of the marinas that are deep in the bayous away from hotels and resorts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah our first marina will be mostly to obtain our sail time and get our licenses and then get on a wait list for a better spot (since I've heard people often wait years to get into a marina they want).
Thanks for the tip though. We stayed at some marinas where there were clearly liveaboards (people we spoke with) so I didn't realize that there were laws against that!
 

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Tell us more about the type of Charter business. My initial thought is Catamaran vs. O'day 37 or other mono.

Couple of reasons. More room for living aboard, and more passenger capacity ($) for sunset cruises ( BYOB)
If you make it an " inspected" vessel and eventually get masters licenses you could likely carry more paying passengers.

Sell one of the the small boats, bank the money, keep the good paying jobs a little longer. Save for the right boat. in the meantime, Bring the other boat to florida and use it for live aboard vacations there and getting sea time and researching your business.

In the alternative, just sell everything and go, and figure it out along the way. ;-) " We may never pass this way again"
 

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Good on ya! Go for it!

I live in Tampa an have been to the keys enough times to know that in some ways it's like another country down there. I'm sure you've given this a lot of thought, I'll throw a couple things out intended to stimulate additional planning or validate what you've already thought of.
-What kind of charters and who are your customers? Half day party cruises, multiday trips to surrounding sights? My (purely anecdotal) observation is that most charters down there are dive boats, fishing, and party boats. Have you visualized your niche?, and who is operating in it now?
-Who are your customers? Are you the 'destination?' or an excursion? How will convenience of travel impact your business plan? Would locating closer to a major air hub better serve your customers?
-As others have alluded to, there is no shortage of boats in the keys occupied by liveaboards who's dreams devolved into something less. "vagrants living in floating dumps" is not an exaggeration. Not to suggest that you risk that outcome, but those people have created obstacles to the plan you've described.
-What experience do have in hospitality? You'd be inviting strangers into your home who are paying for and expecting a certain level of service. There are challenges there that I personally would not want to deal with. @capta could provide great insight on this, having run that type of charter extensively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hello sorry I haven't been on in some time we have been sorting out other life issues.
Currently I am a restaurant manager, so somewhat a hospitality type of job. I have to pretend to be nice at people yelling at me all the time :) I like to keep a clean store and focus on guest service all day. Different from on a boat but I'd say kind of the same idea.
My husband wants to try to do excursions say to the Bahamas. The area we will need to keep our boat is going to be expensive for sure and will take some time to even get into, I've been discussing this with him. We can't fish for crap, lol so that's out of the question. Maybe sunset cruises with drinks would be a good thing for us too. I'm definitely well aware of the possibility of us ending up as those "vagrants in floating dumps" but thats why we will have "normal jobs" to start. Me and him currently make 120,000 a year together. So we'd be giving up a lot and starting over in Florida, with the chartering company being the ultimate goal but we know it may not work out. If anyone knows of any good liveaboard marinas are biscayne bay area please let me know. I've looked at Dinner Key which looks great but I've read they have a huge wait list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tell us more about the type of Charter business. My initial thought is Catamaran vs. O'day 37 or other mono.

Couple of reasons. More room for living aboard, and more passenger capacity ($) for sunset cruises ( BYOB)
If you make it an " inspected" vessel and eventually get masters licenses you could likely carry more passengers
I definitely agree a cat would be nicer, but probably out of our budget. But yes we will work towards our masters licenses after the 6 pack
 

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If you do not have it get AquaMap application for iPhone and Android.
Then enable the ActiveCaptain feature and download the database.
Then you will be able to see all marinas, on charts, with user reviews.
That will help narrow down the list.
 
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