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Old 08-17-2015, 10:11 AM   #1
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Docking in Florida or Louisiana?

As I'm evolving along in my quest for a boat one of the decisions is whether to keep it in Louisiana or in Florida. I'd like to do at least 1 Bahamas trip each year for a month or so. If I'd dock it in Florida that would make that trip much easier and open up the Atlantic ICW for exploring.
Question: St. Johns River, is the only access to the ICW near Jacksonville or is there access further south? How difficult/busy is the ICW from Jacksonville down? And where is the best place to jump off to the Bahamas?
Any tax consequences if the boat is in Florida most of the year?
Thanks.
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:30 AM   #2
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Question: St. Johns River, is the only access to the ICW near Jacksonville or is there access further south? How difficult/busy is the ICW from Jacksonville down? And where is the best place to jump off to the Bahamas?
There is access to the ICW all up and down the Florida coast. There is not much commercial traffic like tows on the ICW south of Jax. Mostly recreational boating. But from West Palm Beach south, there is a lot of recreational traffic, specially on weekends. The St. Johns river is nice because it is mostly fresh water but if you stay at Green Cove Springs, it is quite a trip to the ICW.

The best jumping off points to the Bahamas are much south of Jacksonville. Anywhere from Fort Pierce to Miami is a good jump off point. I would suggest keeping you boat at Indiantown.
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:41 AM   #3
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Assuming, from reading your user name, you are from Louisiana. If you kept the boat in Florida you will have to allow for several maintenance trips to keep her in ready to go status. We kept a sportfisher dockside at a home my parents owned near Key West. It worked out well but my father was there many times a year to keep up with maintenance...and to enjoy the getaway also. It was moved away from one storm and weathered another during the 4 or 5 years it was there so that was not a great concern. It certainly did not get used nearly as much compared to being docked at Pecan I.
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:44 AM   #4
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I don't believe there is any access to the St Johns South of Jax.

I'm not aware of any tax issues with an out of State boat with a valid and up to date registration from their home State.

If you're looking for protected dockage (hurricane) then maybe think the Okeechobee waterway. There are several good spots/dockage/yards along the waterway that are at least as if not more protected than many places on the St Johns. Being in the middle of the State you can cruise either Coast, and the Atlantic outlet is in Stuart, 250 miles South of Jax and much closer to good jump off spots to the Bahamas and 87 miles direct to West End.

Best place to jump off depends on where you're going. Miami-Bimini is the closest at 50 miles, Abaco's by way of West End on Grand Bahama from Palm Beach or Ft Lauderdale is 70 miles +-. Exuma's are further South but you have to cross and clear somewhere.

You can jump off from anywhere in Florida, these are the closest with Customs Offices.

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Old 08-17-2015, 11:06 AM   #5
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If you buy the boat in Florida and keep the boat in Florida then sales tax is due at 6%.
If you buy elsewhere and move then boat to Florida after less than six months of ownership, tax is due to Florida, but you get a credit for tax paid elsewhere. If you have owned the boat for more then six months and you move it to Florida then no tax is due. There are no yearly personal property taxes on boats in Florida.
A trip to the Bahamas once a month is a good plan but hard to carry out. If the wind is anywhere from a northerly direction you will not be able to cross the Gulf Stream. In the winter boaters will give themselves a window of three to seven days to plan a departure as a northerly comes through about every 10 to 14 days.
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Old 08-17-2015, 11:47 AM   #6
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First I'm retired so timing and frequent trips from Louisiana to Florida aren't as much of a problem especially if I can keep the drive to one day. I appreciate the tips and advice.
Looks like it would be about 1200 miles to run the boat from Louisiana to west coast Florida so that would be a long expensive trip each year. That's why I'm thinking of docking on Florida west coast. I would probably do the Bahamas for a few years then move back to Louisiana.
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:22 PM   #7
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Just keep it in Port Fourchon!
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:28 PM   #8
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Just keep it in Port Fourchon!
Probably cheaper to dock it in south Florida.
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:31 PM   #9
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Really? That place is a dump! There's a pretty empty marina in the back of Old Fourchon
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Old 08-17-2015, 12:40 PM   #10
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One thing to look into before you make your decision is the insurance. Insurance in Florida is very expensive. I think in La in may be much cheaper. You would need to check with some possible insurance Companies.
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:08 PM   #11
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Really? That place is a dump! There's a pretty empty marina in the back of Old Fourchon
I was only somewhat joking. I know the price of "camps" with a dock was ridiculous last year. Don't even mention Grand Isle! And yes, it is a dump but it is the best dump we have...well almost.
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:14 PM   #12
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Boats over 30 years old are considered antiques in FL and cost about $10 annually for registration.
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:15 PM   #13
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The camps are beautiful. I wish I could buy one and make it worth my time. I was just saying keep it at a marina in Fourchon, not an all out camp.
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:33 PM   #14
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Fourchon Marina- $10/ft/mo with water and 50amp svc...not unreasonable!

Pirate's Cove (grand Isle)- $36,000 to buy open 36ft slip.

Last time I checked North Shore of Lake P. slips were in the $10/ft plus electric.

I can't compare with South Florida as we kept the Bertram at our dock. When we would fish the Hemingway Tourney it was kept a couple of nights at Oceanside which cost not much less than our fuel burn for a day...might be a little exaggeration... but not much.
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