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Old 03-21-2018, 07:57 AM   #1
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Say no to marinas?

Can anyone give me advice on living aboard without a marina. Cruising Florida to the Keys.
Thanks
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Old 03-21-2018, 10:28 AM   #2
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Are you still working or retired? Just depends on how much inconvenience you want to put up with. Tied to a dock you will have power to operate many of the convenience things, lights, frig, battery charger, 110v outlets. Also will have water readily available, garbage service, and probably a pump out service for the holding tank.

If you are going to be anchored out you will need a way to keep all the power going (solar?) and a way to replenish your fresh water. You will need to pull anchor and go to a pump out station when needed (weekly ?). You will be rowing ashore all the time to do laundry, buy groceries, go shopping, empty garbage, rain or shine.

We live full time on our boat but only stay at a marina in the winter months, the rest of the time we are on the move. So in the summer we need to run the generator every day, run the water maker weekly, find a place to stay at least overnight every 2 weeks so we can empty garbage, empty the holding tank, and buy provisions. I don't feel we should take advantage of all the amenities a marina offers unless we are staying at least over night.
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Old 03-21-2018, 10:54 AM   #3
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I'm not retired but I'm a professor and all my classes are online. I'm 48. The boat I'm looking at is a 32 island gypsy with solor panels but no water maker. It has a gen but needs work. The frig is DC and propane stove. I figure AC is an issue and moisture build up. Aka mold?
Thank you very much for your input. I'm learning every day.
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Old 03-21-2018, 11:01 AM   #4
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I’d be very unlikely to do that for security reasons. And I’m not all that security minded.
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Old 03-21-2018, 11:51 AM   #5
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Can you explain the security issue?
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:05 PM   #6
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If you're going to be living aboard full time, a few things come to mind....

1. Electricity. Running your engine to generate power isn't sustainable, so your alternatives are (a) a generator, (b) solar, (c) wind, or (d) shore power. Can you live with running the gen-set every day? Will you be able to easily store the fuel for it? Will you annoy your neighbors by doing so? Is your boat's superstructure amenable to fitting solar cells? How about a wind generator? Both sustainable energy sources have lots of great choices in the marketplace, but may not be especially suited to any given vessel OR an individual's power needs.

You'll want to assess your average daily power needs, assess your storage battery bank capacity, and plan accordingly. Can you get away with pure solar? Possibly...it depends upon what you have aboard. All LED lighting helps enormously. A modern, efficient fridge-freezer with a swing compressor draws far less power than older equipment found on virtually all our boats. The previous owner installed a sub-woofer on our boat...what a power-sucker! Air conditioning? That's going to draw a ton of power. Will you need to pay for a slip a couple of nights each week to plug in? Do the math.

2. Water. Will you be installing a reverse osmosis water maker? What's your storage capacity? What are your water usage habits? Do you require a daily shower (or two)? How do you wash your dishes? Does your head flush with fresh water or salt? Will you be doing your laundry aboard or ashore? Which leads us directly to...

3. Wastewater. Both gray water (sink and shower, possibly laundry) and black water (toilet). Most areas nowadays are zero discharge areas, meaning you need a tank for your gray water. How much waste water will you generate? What sort of tank capacity do you have? You won't ever be able to pump black water overboard in your area, so you'll have to pump out ashore.

4. Connectivity. As a professor teaching distance education, you need a dependable high-speed data connection. Will you be relying solely upon your 3G/4G/LTE data plan? How much do you plan on tapping into fixed wifi hotspots? There are a variety of on-board solutions for antennas and "bridges" that amplify both cellular and wifi signals, greatly extending your ability to maintain connectivity without having to plug in at a dock. So you'll be setting up a wireless network on your boat if you employ such a system. Lots of good systems are available. Kicking it up a notch, there are a variety of satellite-based systems out there. Some have frighteningly expensive equipment, some have outrageously-priced data plans. Do your homework. Oh, what's the plan for receiving/forwarding mail? How about package delivery?

5. Climate control. Can you get by without air conditioning in your area? Plenty have done so, and continue to do so, but it's a serious issue in that part of the world. Conversely, you'll also need to heat your boat sometimes. By the way, you mention moisture control...that's a huge consideration. Enduring the cold months by using sweaters will leave your boat damp and moldy. You'll need a thoughtfully-designed scheme to ventilate and dehumidify your vessel during both the heating season and cooling season. In the winter, you will need to bring in dry, cold outside air, warm it (absorbing moisture), and send it outside. In the summer, you need to dehumidify and ventilate the heck out of the boat. A big part of moisture control is limiting the sources of moisture. For example, cooking with propane is super convenient but it dumps enormous amounts of water vapor into your boat. Does your shower ventilate well? Just the amount of moisture that one person exhales in a few hours is more than enough to have rivulets of water running down the inside of a sealed-up boat.

6. Activities of daily living. Lumping together such things as dishwashing, laundry, garbage storage and disposal, fridge/freezer capacity, dry food storage, clothing storage, entertainment (media), etc. Some folks have full laundry equipment aboard. Some have dishwashers. Some have garbage compactors. Of course, you can do without all of this stuff...what's the plan for accumulating stinky garbage in the hot Florida summers? Do you plan on recycling? How often will you need to replenish your supply of fresh produce? What's your plan for transportation while ashore? Will you carry a bicycle? What's the plan for moving supplies and waste between the boat and shore? Will you rely on tying up and dock carts for this or will you ferry with your dinghy? How will you get exercise and maintain physical fitness?

Lastly, I'm aware that Florida in particular has a history of controversial local regulations regarding folks anchoring out and living aboard in many areas. I'm not at all current on this stuff, but it's something to look into.

I lived aboard a sailboat for years, but was in a marina. I'm looking forward to hearing how your plan evolves!
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:33 PM   #7
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...3. Wastewater. Both gray water (sink and shower, possibly laundry) and black water (toilet). Most areas nowadays are zero discharge areas, meaning you need a tank for your gray water. How much waste water will you generate? What sort of tank capacity do you have? You won't ever be able to pump black water overboard in your area, so you'll have to pump out ashore...!
Correction: Most areas are not zero discharge zones and the ones that are, there are no federal regulations for the containment of gray water. I don’t know about fresh water inland lakes or Canada but that’s not where the op will be cruising.
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:56 PM   #8
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Iíd be very unlikely to do that for security reasons. And Iím not all that security minded.
Let's assume you are anchored out. Couple of guys motor up, break into your boat, alarm goes off, not caring what damage they do, you see them on the boat, they will be gone before you get there.
At a dock same thing might happen but you generally have neighbors as a deterrent.
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Old 03-21-2018, 02:16 PM   #9
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Free weekly pumpouts in the Keys, just register and a boat comes to your boat at anchor. PO-Keys.com

Greywater is not an issue except in rare areas.

Water is difficult to come by without special considerations, Marathon sells it for 5 cents a gallon. But unless you go to a marina, finding water can be an issue and you need to lug it back.

Not many really wind safe anchorages sourh of Key Largo, so if not tucked in someolace be prepared to relocate as weather changes or endure a few days of rough winds from New Years till April.

The Keys are not as boarer friendly as I had hoped. Winter weather, crowding, and full marinas make it tough, unless you lock in an annual slip someplace... then I bet its great.
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Old 03-21-2018, 02:29 PM   #10
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Let's assume you are anchored out. Couple of guys motor up, break into your boat, alarm goes off, not caring what damage they do, you see them on the boat, they will be gone before you get there.
At a dock same thing might happen but you generally have neighbors as a deterrent.
How is this different from what could happen anytime you leave your boat in any location? Is the answer to never leave your boat or to never anchor? Or both.....?
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Old 03-21-2018, 03:25 PM   #11
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How is this different from what could happen anytime you leave your boat in any location? Is the answer to never leave your boat or to never anchor? Or both.....?
If tied up at a dock, other boater will keep an eye on your boat. anchored out, I doubt if they will, during the normal day, keep much of an eye on your boat.

BUT, your boat, your valuables. You make your decision.
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Old 03-21-2018, 03:26 PM   #12
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Full time at a marina is not that costly. Check out Municipal marinas around the state or mooring fields like Boot Key Harbor.
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Old 03-21-2018, 03:56 PM   #13
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Living anchored out is way too much like camping with no people around. I don’t camp. If it’s your thing, great. One thing I have not seen mentioned is socialization. Think of living on the hook like living on a deserted island.
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:04 PM   #14
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Living anchored out is way too much like camping with no people around. I don’t camp. If it’s your thing, great.
.
We don't camp either but have lived on the hook for a couple of years
You do know that other people also anchor out and you are allowed to talk to them right?
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One thing I have not seen mentioned is socialization. Think of living on the hook like living on a deserted island.
Fantastic.
People pay thousands of dollars a night for that experience and we get it for free.

I couldn't imagine living in a marina.
Would be like living in suburbia but worse.
Probably more like living in a caravan park.

Oh and never had an issue with security, but I'm guessing its different here (-;
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:30 PM   #15
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Living anchored out is way too much like camping with no people around. I donít camp. If itís your thing, great. One thing I have not seen mentioned is socialization. Think of living on the hook like living on a deserted island.
Wifey B: I don't either. Actually neither hubby nor I have ever camped. We have discussed trying it one night sometime perhaps. Can you get air conditioning for tents?
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:32 PM   #16
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Wifey B: I don't either. Actually neither hubby nor I have ever camped. We have discussed trying it one night sometime perhaps. Can you get air conditioning for tents?
Yes, it is possible the put A/C in your tent but then, you need a generator too.
Just go get a room at the Red Roof in. Same effect.
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:38 PM   #17
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Wifey B: I don't either. Actually neither hubby nor I have ever camped. We have discussed trying it one night sometime perhaps. Can you get air conditioning for tents?
Yes, you can. And it was not uncommon when dry camping in the desert to see a wall tent with a portable a/c from Kmart and the hose sticking out the door, now the exhaust ports are sewn into the tent. Everyone else in an RV has a portable generator and in a tent you will be listening to them all night anyway, so why not run your own and sleep cool? Besides, without a generator, how will you run the TV for the Big Game, tent or otherwise?

During holiday weekends in the California desert at the good riding/playing locations it is common for small towns to spring up for a few days, filled with RVs, tents, dirtbikes, quads, buggies, rails, side-by-sides etc. No hotels out there and no water either, just sand and rock. You bring what you have to make yourself a home: if all you have is a tent, you make the best of it. Usually, though, Mom and Dad are in the RV and the kids are in the tent.
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Old 03-21-2018, 04:42 PM   #18
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Yes, it is possible the put A/C in your tent but then, you need a generator too.
Just go get a room at the Red Roof in. Same effect.
Wifey B: Red Roof Inn?

I just found the Bushtec Adventure on Cabela's. That with an AC and generator and toilet and holding tank and shower and satellite tv and internet and phone and water might be ok.

I say we've never camped out but we did spend the night on the beach once. No tent. Just the moon and stars and us and Champagne. That was nice. We've actually slept under a cabana on our patio once. We may get around to spending a night in a tent someday although seems that most who camp today go far beyond that with fancy RV's and such.
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Old 03-21-2018, 05:32 PM   #19
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Best camping is in a Holiday Inn Express.
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Old 03-21-2018, 05:51 PM   #20
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Wifey B: I don't either. Actually neither hubby nor I have ever camped. We have discussed trying it one night sometime perhaps. Can you get air conditioning for tents?
Yes you can, it`s called "glamping". One example here is Taronga and its associated Western Plains Zoos,where you can camp in luxury.
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