Ready to Move from Lake to Ocean

The friendliest place on the web for anyone who enjoys boating.
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Veteran Member
Mar 16, 2020
United States
Vessel Name
About Time
Vessel Make
Meridian 368
I'm new to Trawler Forum. I was subscribed to Cruisers Forum which is sailboat focused, and I'm a power boater. After two years, finally found this sister site and glad to join. We have mostly been lake boaters except for a BVI charter last year. We currently own a Meridian 368 on Lake Lanier just north of Atlanta, GA. We've been boaters for a long time owning everything from a bass boat up to our current motor yacht. Thankfully, my wife loves boating as much as I do.

After one last summer on the lake this year, we plan to sell our boat here, buy a boat on the east coast US and find a marina somewhere between about Charleston and Savannah which is the closest coastline to our home. We plan to be part-time liveaboards keeping our house in the Atlanta suburbs. We're planning to mostly cruise the ICW. The Great Loop could be in our future.

In preparation, we have two hands-on boating classes and charter scheduled with Southwest Florida Yachts in May. We need to learn all of the things that we don't need to worry about on a modest sized lake like navigation, tides, currents, etc, etc.

We're really looking forward to being able to actually go somewhere with our boat. Right now it's pretty much going out for the day, anchor, swim and return to our dock or the occasional overnight. It's fun but getting old for us. There really are no destinations to speak of and certainly no transient slips at the marinas even though we could travel 20 miles to the north end of the lake. Nothing there that we can't do closer to home....anchor, swim, etc.

Looking forward to being part of this group.
Welcome to the forum!

You didn't ask for any inpur, so clearly I'll offer some (get used to that here!).

I'll offer a bit of my own experience that seems related to your situation. A couple years ago we decided to stop boating locally on the Mississippi River and moved our boat to Lake Superior. When we did this, I forced myself to reframe my thinking about the costs of boat ownership. At home, we were on the river, friends and family were a phone call away, and I could work on projects myself. If I didn't finish, I'd pop back later.

Once we moved so Superior (which is not an ocean, but feels like one sometimes) the game changed considerably. Weather changed more quickly, and the distances were dramatically longer. Help was not just a phone call away to a buddy - there wasn't even BoatUS available in many of the cruising areas. Plus the boat was 4+ hours away from home. I didn't have all the time in the world to work on projects like I was used to.

I took good care of my boat before, but my maintenance went to another level. I proactively maintained things that I thought maybe could wait another year. I bought spares and learned how to change them. I upgraded things and tightened things and sealed things and cleaned things and tracked all of it. And I paid the yard to do a bunch of things that I could have probably done on my own, but was no longer willing to put off until "someday". We also did professional training, and did several charters in the Pacific NW to gain experience on bigger waters.

Boating suddenly became much more expensive. But it honestly became much more enjoyable too. I felt a sense of ownership and a satisfaction in being prepared. We felt safer, and because of that more relaxed. Most importantly we did all of this together, so it was "our" thing rather than "my" thing, which honestly made all of the difference in the world.

Anyway, what I'm saying is Congratulations! Keep doing all the things that you're doing to learn and prepare. Be open minded, be planful, be adventurous, and above all have fun! If your experience is anything like ours, you'll never regret a minute or a dime of it.

BD, thanks for the input. I didn't ask but was certainly hoping for some input. I've done some budgeting and can already see that it's going to be much more expensive. Salt water alone will add a bunch of maintenance. Traveling around will significantly up the fuel costs compared to what we do now. Then there's transient slip fees. It adds up quickly for sure. I believe that I have a realistic view of it, but I'm expecting the experience to be worth it.

I've already started doing more of my own maintenance to begin my training. Changed my first impeller a couple weeks ago. Vacuflush toilets have become my specialty. I have already built a rather large maintenance matrix that I use for my current boat to keep track of everything. It's almost overwhelming how many things need routine maintenance on a boat, and it really hits you when it's put down on paper. We've been at this for a while on the lake. So it's just the salt water dimension that worries me.

I am concerned about my boat being 5+ hours away instead of 30 minutes away. That will take some getting used to. Hopefully we can make some friends of locals and liveaboards that can keep an eye on things for us. I'm seriously thinking that I'll get a monitoring system like Siren Marine to give me some peace of mind.

Anyway, you're not really living unless you push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Welcome aboard. Enjoy the search for your new boat.
Wifey B: We moved in 2012 from Lake Norman in NC to Paradise, otherwise known as Fort Lauderdale.

Don't be too fast to sell your Meridian. Why not use it on the coast for your first season and then figure out what you want, what it does great and where it comes up short. People often say buy less boat than you may need, get started and then move up if you need. Well, you already have that boat. There are members here who bought a boat on the coast they were going to move back and forth between the coast and Lake Norman but fell in love with coast, used it, and then moved up. :)

Budgeting will be your first huge challenge. Coastal boating is going to be much more expensive than lake boating. How much more, you'll have to figure out.

But here's the joy. The lake is great, lake boating is great, but you can only go 25 miles or so and you can go back and forth but keep seeing the same stuff. Do you realize yet how far you can go on the coast? Infinity. Not in your Meridian, but anywhere in the world is ultimately yours. Imagine the great loop and 7-9000 miles of seeing something new every mile you go. Oh what joy it is. :dance::dance::dance:
Great advice from Wifey-B. Buying a salt water cruising boat without any cruising may not get it right.
Ship the Carver to the Tennessee River - 100 miles from Atlanta - and start by cruising down to the Gulf. The knowledge gained will be invaluable if you do decide to trade boats.
You touched on it yourself and a couple of the members brought it up but I think it should be given more emphasis.

Salt Water. It is a totally different animal! I am a fresh water guy but I read this forum a lot and salt and fresh water are two different worlds. You say you know toilets, wait until yours really start to stink from dead sea animals in the water line. I have zincs on my boat that are 8 years old and look like new, until recently I didn't know there were zincs or other anodes in the engine and exhaust system. Bottom paint will be different, fresh water will be rationed, "rinsing" will be needed. The list goes on and on.

And I know nothing about salt water, this is just stuff I have gleamed from the forum. It's not bad, just different. Talk and listen at your new salt water marina.

Good Luck,

And I know nothing about salt water, this is just stuff I have gleamed from the forum. It's not bad, just different. Talk and listen at your new salt water marina.

Actually, it is bad. One of the most corrosive liquids known to man. (OK, that's an exaggeration. But it sure feels that way sometimes.)

Those chrome air horns, cleats and other fittings? Toss them. Zincs are crucial, and make sure they're actually zinc, not the fresh-water metals. High-quality (read: expensive) bottom paint and in many places, weekly bottom cleaning, become essential.

Navigation skills are required if you want to actually travel anywhere. You'll learn all about weather windows, forecasting and travelling in less-than-ideal conditions. Things like AIS, VHF and other electronics become requirements.

Of course, all these are offset by some of the best and most beautiful cruising areas, and the fact that you can, literally, go anywhere. You're not limited by the boundaries of a lake or inland waterway.
You are in for a treat. I did a lot of salt and fresh water trailer boating for years and switched to my current boat that's slipped in salt water last year. Having a blast. The east coast has amazing cruising.
Top Bottom