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Old 07-23-2013, 04:57 PM   #1
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boat in salt water- me 8 hours away...

So...my wife and I are seriously considering relocating our 45 down to the St. Pete area. I got our insurance quote today and it is very manageable.
One item I'd like some input from is related to issues/problems/etc that may come up if we do this. I.E., the boat will be in salt water 24/7 down in St. Pete and we will be 7-8 hours away by car. My parents have a place down there and they go back and forth between there and Atlanta so my dad is in town now and again (moreso in upcoming winter months than summer) but they are not accustomed to larger boats.
So the question is....for those that are in a similar situation where your boat is in salt water when you are gone for extended periods, what issues/problems have you encountered and what have you found works best to keep your boat in good condition and protected in your absence and what problems have you mostly encountered? I have the option of a covered slip or uncovered. I would love to be in a covered slip but it is more $$$ than the uncovered. Plus, the covered dock has older docks and I am not certain if they are hurricane rated given their age. Flip side of that is covered slip means no potential issues of leaks developing and interior damage if I am gone for a while so I guess it is a toss up.
Insight from those who have kept a boat in this manner is appreciated. I already PM'd Moonstruck (seemingly the king of keeping a boat far away from home!) who gave some good insight but thought I'd see what others here have to say.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:28 PM   #2
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A couple of things to consider. Make friends with the dock master, he can be a big help in keeping an eye on things and a person to be able to call. If that wont work, hire someone to keep an eye on things. If you are not going to keep the air on shut your through hills, this also keeps them working. If you can get a covered slip do it, it helps protect from the sun and like you said if you have a leak it will not be a problem while you are gone. Have a hurricane contingency plan to haul out or move to a suitable spot, a covered slip is not recommended with the wind and tidal shifts.
I have done this for 12 years in Ruskin Florida, if you would like to talk, give me a number and I can all you.
Hope that helps.
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:49 PM   #3
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We're doing exactly that right now. Our house is just north of Atlanta and our boat is in Punta Gorda; an 8 hour drive. We've been making the trip every other week or so for long weekends; and we've managed to do 2 full weeks since we've had it there as well.

So far, it hasn't been an issue. We've made friends with the liveaboards and dockmaster; and I'm sure if there was ever a serious issue I would get a call from someone. The problem is I find myself always wondering if I missed something when I leave the boat. Am I tied up well, did I turn up the AC, has a breaker blown again... etc. My previous boat was always 10 minutes away and I could stop in whenever I felt like it. Can't do that anymore. Checklists help but I still wonder what's going on down there. And, I find myself checking the weather 3 or 4 times a day.

That said, we absolutely love it down there and are learning so much. It's the type of boating I want to do now; not confined to a landlocked lake. So, I do what I have to do.
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:14 PM   #4
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That a good point, have a good comprehensive shut down and cast off check list. I have a two page shut down list that helps me remember everything, even if I am out only for 1 day.
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Old 07-23-2013, 09:36 PM   #5
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Bluesky- I sent you a PM regarding Atlanta.

So I assume you long distance boaters keep your HVAC turned off in your absence, yes? Ever have an issue with mold, etc when you return to the boat? Do you do anything different than when you are close to home? I am assuming shut all sea cocks, damp rid in the cabins, tie off the lines extra good, top of the batteries, give the neighbors your # and key to the boat with the dockmaster and hope for the best. Oh- and add another 5-6 coats of varnish to the teak to last season's 7 coats!
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Old 07-23-2013, 10:23 PM   #6
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I'm 4 hours from my boat, and leave it for 3-4 months during the winter.

During the summer I leave one of the power ventilators on 24x7, that way the boat is not musty.

I have an alarm system. It monitors...

shore power
battery voltage
inverter output power
high bilge water (two sensors)
cabin temperature
engine room temperature.

If anything goes into alarm it sends me a text and e-mail. When the alarm clears it sends another text and e-mail.

Communication is via a cradlepoint router that uses a cellular mifi as its primary link and the KVH VSAT terminal backing that up.

This provides great peace of mind.
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Old 07-24-2013, 07:47 AM   #7
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when we move off the boat, we plan on installing a boat nanny. It cell and will call 3 numbers, high water, AC, DC, low temp, smoke, and movement. also alarm and light can be added. About 1,500.00. present when away, neibghor and deisel machanic, plus marine check.
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Old 07-24-2013, 09:08 AM   #8
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Keep a few oscillating fans running 24/7 in your cabins. The air movement really helps keep the boat mildew free. Less worry than leaving the air on.

The covered slip is best, but we all know how that worked out in your last Marina.

Good Luck, We are thinking of doing the same thing next Season and keeping our boat North next Summer.

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Old 07-24-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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My boat stays closed for long periods of time. I use a little dehumidifier that is about the size of a loaf of bread to prevent mildew. I have it rigged to drain into the galley sink. You might need a big house sized one or several of the small ones for your boat. I don't leave my AC running as I'm afraid the water intake might get blocked and damage the AC while I'm not there.
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:48 AM   #10
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I keep my boat in salt water 120 miles from home in a covered slip up in Olympia, WA. I have had zero problems. I too keep 2 fans running and the interior doors and cabinets open for airflow. In the dry season, (May thru October roughly) we use the boat every weekend, but the balance of the year the boat sits for extended periods of time where I may go up once every 4-6 weeks. Of course we do not get tropical storms or hurricanes, nor do we get summer thunderstorms, so how that would change my calculus I can't say.
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:32 PM   #11
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Any issues with bottom growth for those southern boats on this thread?
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Old 07-24-2013, 08:06 PM   #12
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Any issues with bottom growth for those southern boats on this thread?
Ft. Pierce, FL had a diver clean the bottom Friday. SC is not much better. Warm water equals marine growth. Just part of it.
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:15 AM   #13
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Yes, you should get on a monthly maintenance program with a diver. It will be money worth spending.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:49 AM   #14
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"Yes, you should get on a monthly maintenance program with a diver. It will be money worth spending."

I know a lot of people do this but I don't understand why. With modern bottom paints I can go close to two years before I call in a diver. My experience is limited to South Florida, maybe it's different elsewhere.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:58 AM   #15
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Yes, you should get on a monthly maintenance program with a diver. It will be money worth spending.
Can't say as I understand why anyone would spend money on a diver when it is so easy to dive the bottom yourself, and you can see what is there rather than depending on someone else to see it. Beginning diver certification classes are plentiful and inexpensive (just a few times of paying for someone else to do it and you have broken even). I use a long hose from the regulator and just lay the tank on the back of the boat, or in the dinghy.

Not to mention that it is also fun. :-)
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:26 AM   #16
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Interesting perspective!
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:17 AM   #17
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Solar powered vents will keep interior air exchange ongoing.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:21 AM   #18
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With modern bottom paints I can go close to two years before I call in a diver.
I can go only 6 weeks and San Diego water is a lot cooler than southern Florida. What kind of bottom paint do you use?
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:13 AM   #19
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Walt around here any of the high end paints with biocide should last better than a year. I like Interlux products but Pettit makes good paint as well. I think around here Micron 66 is the most popular ablative and Trinidad is the most popular hard paint. I always use an ablative so the paint doesn't build up.

The hard part is getting the prop to stay clean. Prop Speed is working for me.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:51 AM   #20
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I pretty much second all that has been said. I have my wooden boat in a covered slip in Madiera Beach,not far from St. Pete. I am in NY about 4 1/2 months from June to Oct. Prior to leaving the boat, I change the oil and filter, flush the seawater side and winterize with antifreeze just as I did when the boat was kept in NY (prevents rust in the exhaust manifolds and elbows). I drain the fresh water tanks as well. I shut all the seacocks, place notes at the helm should things need to be started in an emergency. I add an 1800 gpm , 120v, rule sensor pump, plugged in dockside and not on the boats electrical system, to the bilge should anything happen to the 12v system controlling the other bilge pumps. I have a diver maintain the bottom on a monthly basis ( he reports on the condition of everything, especially the zincs). Being undercover lets me leave all the portholes open as well as the windows (just cracked open) in the pilothouse for ventilation. So far all has been fine for the last 2 years.
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