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Old 11-11-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
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Tampa-South live aboard marinas?

Been awhile since I've been on the forum, but things are finally starting to gel.
Looks like we'll be moving down to Florida from Mass in the Feb/Mar timeframe.
As soon as our house sells, we'll be in the market for our next boat, likely to be a 43-44' trawler.
We'd like to take a swing at living aboard for awhile, and am looking for suggestions on marinas on Florida's West coast. I know that some marinas don't take live-aboards, so thought I'd start my search here...

Tia,

Jim
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:46 PM   #2
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Take a look at this one in Bradenton. I like it.

Gulf Coast Resort Marina | Bradenton FL | Twin Dolphin Marina
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:20 PM   #3
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Here's one at St. Pete that I like very much.

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Old 11-12-2013, 05:37 AM   #4
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Thanks Moonstruck...we will definitely check those out. We'll be renting an apartment down there until our home in Mass sells, so we'll have some time to poke around...can't wait for this adventure to begin.

Jim
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:46 AM   #5
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We currently reside at Twin Dolphins on the Manatee river, the first one Moonstruck mentioned. It's very nice with good access to all the good cruising in and around Tampa Bay as well as south.

We were 2 years at Loggerhead located in South St. Petersburg. There are going through some construction currently, but it is a nice facility and has probably one of the cheapest covered slips around.

Riveria Dunes and Regatta Pointe also on the Manatee River are excellent choices. If you like floating docks Regatta Pointe & Loggerhead have none, Riveria Dunes has all floating, and Twin Dolphins has mostly floating. All allow live aboards and I can say from experience Twin Dolphins has an active and social live aboard community, but probably so do the others with the exception of Loggerhead which does not have very many slips and most are currently vacant probably due to the construction.

If you had asked this question 5 years ago you would not have been able to get into any of these marinas and probably would have been put on a 2 year waiting list. I believe all have slips available.

The marinas around downtown St. Pete would require a several mile cruise to join the ICW. The marinas on the Manatee river are all located about 5 miles from the ICW but I think the cruise on the wide Manatee is more interesting than dodging commercial traffic getting to the ICW from the downtown St. Pete marinas. Just my opinion.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:09 AM   #6
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Thanks Tim...great info. So much to learn, and so different from NH where we kept our last trawler. We were on the Piscataqua River, which frequently ran over 6knts of current, and there was no such thing as a covered slip, and ALL docks were floating, given the 8-11' tides.

Are covered slips worth it? Are floating docks really a requirement?

Needless to say, Southern boating is quite a bit different.

Jim
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:33 AM   #7
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Aside from the recent murders there, based on "my own" personal experiences I would not recommend the South StPete's Logge r head marina. They do have reasonable covered slips as Tim indicated but some might not like the fact that the back of the slips is essentially the embankment for the highway directly above. There are lots of slips available though, it was empty two years ago and it's still empty.

The wife & I really liked St Petes municipal but the two tiered pricing for non-residents puts it well out of reach for us.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:47 AM   #8
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Loggerhead Marina in St. Petersburg definitely has a few live aboards (I've seen them personally) although their website suggests they do not permit them.

I've been spoiled with floating docks. I live an hour plus away and cannot readily check my lines. Floating docks offer peace of mind. Covered slips are definitely worth the added expense--much cooler and easier on the boat. Only drawback is the noise and bird droppings.

You are correct about southern boating. Here in the Florida west coast, you really have to watch the shallows. It is quite easy to run aground if you venture of the ICW and have a 4+ draft. My northern friends always joke that you can walk 3 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico--continental shelves is an unfamiliar concept for me! Boating North of Tarpon Springs is interesting. The waters are shallow and rocks are plentiful. Last year, I boated off Hernando Beach and will never return. I was always afraid of slamming into a rock with my modest 3' 3" draft.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:53 AM   #9
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Aside from the recent murders there, based on "my own" personal experiences I would not recommend the South StPete's Logge r head marina. They do have reasonable covered slips as Tim indicated but some might not like the fact that the back of the slips is essentially the embankment for the highway directly above. There are lots of slips available though, it was empty two years ago and it's still empty.

The wife & I really liked St Petes municipal but the two tiered pricing for non-residents puts it well out of reach for us.
Good point about Loggerhead Marina but it does offer good protection. Rates are very reasonable although the covered slips are limited in availability. Unfortunately though, they are building condos on site and there is a lot of construction going on.

The murder you mention was a friend of the owner. I believe he was a caretaker of their boat--very sad. It was not a case of someone wandering on site.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:10 AM   #10
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Jim, you won't have to deal with 6 kt currents anywhere in FL.
Covered slips are great and we were in one at Loggerhead. But it's not the only consideration and we left Loggerhead mostly to just try something new.

My wife won't stay at a marina without floating docks, but many folks are happy with fixed docks.

If you want to stay in or around St Pete there are other choices not mentioned here, have fun looking.

Incidentally, I never felt not safe at Loggerhead however it is located in a not so good area and there is no gated entrances.
The water entrance to Loggerhead requires passage under a I-275 bridge with 20' clearance, thus no sail boats.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:33 PM   #11
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Jim, you won't have to deal with 6 kt currents anywhere in FL.
Covered slips are great and we were in one at Loggerhead. But it's not the only consideration and we left Loggerhead mostly to just try something new.

My wife won't stay at a marina without floating docks, but many folks are happy with fixed docks.

If you want to stay in or around St Pete there are other choices not mentioned here, have fun looking.

Incidentally, I never felt not safe at Loggerhead however it is located in a not so good area and there is no gated entrances.
The water entrance to Loggerhead requires passage under a I-275 bridge with 20' clearance, thus no sail boats.
20' sounds like it could be kind of tight...on our 34' Marine Trader Whistful, I always asked for 22 when requesting a bridge opening. I knew that was more than I needed...just didn't know how MUCH more it was Since we're looking in the 42-44' range for this boat, that could be a problem.

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Old 11-13-2013, 08:39 AM   #12
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Fishermans Cove is a favorite for those that want to be more southern .

The City Marina at FT Meyers has liveaboards , and you are right downtown , no need for a car for most entertainment.

IF you can walk home from a resturant you will not be limited to 1 beer or 1 glass of wine.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:03 PM   #13
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Another quick question regarding live aboards and this area...

What do you folks do when a hurricane is heading your way?
Obviously stow all gear etc...strip canvas...
But do you get hauled?...or just double up on lines and hope for the best?
How much damage do marinas sustain during major storms?

Jim
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:36 PM   #14
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My wife and were talking about this matter yesterday as hauling for a hurricane is covered under my boat insurance. Loggerhead claims they could store my boat in high and dry in their hurricane rated storage although they haven't seen my boat our of water and its deep hull. I made Loggerhead my permanent home yesterday and it seems quite protected compared to other marinas I've visited. If a hurricane approaches, I plan to remove all gear, adjust/check lines, and hope for the best! Having lived in Florida all my life, I'm mostly concerned about the tidal surges.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:59 PM   #15
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Another quick question regarding live aboards and this area...
What do you folks do when a hurricane is heading your way?
Obviously stow all gear etc...strip canvas...
But do you get hauled?...or just double up on lines and hope for the best?
How much damage do marinas sustain during major storms?
Jim
Really depends on the storm. The wind speeds, duration, tornadoes spawned from the event, etc. Too many variables IMO.

I've seen the aftermath of many hurricanes in Florida and some of the neighboring states. Some Marinas and their vessels came out ok, others were devastated. Even hauling out and into a "hurricane rated" storage, isn't going to guarantee your vessels survival if things go to heck in a hand basket. Take a weather event like Andrew, Katrina, or one the size and strength of the last typhoon that hit the Philippines and all bets are off.

Take anything you don't want to lose or can't replace, do what you need to do (lines/haul out...???) and hope for the best.

OD
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:23 PM   #16
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The Florida West Coast below the Panhandle doesn't get many hurricanes. In my experience the tidal surge is less that the East Coast or the Panhandle. Hurricane Charlie was a surprise in that it made an abrupt right turn crossing Little Captiva Island effectively cutting it in two. Then it went on the wreck havoc on Punta Gorda. This is not saying that it can't happen, but does so infrequently. The northwest side of the hurricane is where the tidal surge is usually the worst. Above the Franklin Lock on the Caloosahatchee is a great hurricane hole.
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:25 PM   #17
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The Florida West Coast below the Panhandle doesn't get many hurricanes. In my experience the tidal surge is less that the East Coast or the Panhandle. Hurricane Charlie was a surprise in that it made an abrupt right turn crossing Little Captiva Island effectively cutting it in two. Then it went on the wreck havoc on Punta Gorda. This is not saying that it can't happen, but does so infrequently. The northwest side of the hurricane is where the tidal surge is usually the worst. Above the Franklin Lock on the Caloosahatchee is a great hurricane hole.
Very true. We've been very fortunate in that regard.
Charlie, Francis and Jean (IIRC?) were the three that came in back to back. I worked all three of those...

Then there was the No Name Storm that hit Pinellas County out of nowhere a few years back. Not a hurricane, but it did a good bit of damage because no one saw it coming, so no one was prepared.

There was Donna back in the 60's as I recall. I was a kid back then, but I recall some damage from it.

Most everything else seems to approach from the Atlantic side from about Daytona to Dade County, or skirt us all together, resulting in some tidal surge, wind and rain...and occasionally a few tornadoes.

FWIW, it seems the Panhandle (Panama City, Pensacola and the areas from the Big bend West, seem to be in the sights more than any place else from storms coming up the Gulf.

Just my buck fiddy...

I pray our luck and good fortune holds true.

OD
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:01 PM   #18
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We keep our boat at Calusa Island Marina by Marco Island. I have a 40' sailboat with a 62' mast (looking for a trawler). They have both fixed and floating docks. The fixed are $300 and the floating docks are $375 plus metered electric. The floaters have pump outs at each well plus wi-fi. We are just 85 nautical miles from Key West for a fun week.
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Old 11-17-2013, 05:22 PM   #19
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Riviera Dunes Marina in Palmetto takes live aboards but not sail boats due to the bridge and sail boats not able to get to the marina. It has a fuel dock, pump out boat and a restaurant/bar. Adult pool and a family pool. My husband and i love it there1
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Old 11-18-2013, 06:50 AM   #20
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Folks that like their boats make Hurricane Hole reservations , way ahead of time , as it amounts to paying at least a $1000 for 6 months at a well protected dock you may never use.

Other folks simply abandon the boat to chance , and a few hope to sell it to the insurance co.
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