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jsj248
01-24-2015, 05:32 PM
Hey OHB,
I'm from the old forums.. I was told by many it was crazy and fool-hearted to do the ICW in a 8x30 foot houseboat. I shut up because, I believe in listening to advice but frankly, those who said, you can do it with no problem, were , in fact, RIGHT and I am sitting in Marathon proving them correct.

More IMPORTANT is the discrimination here in the keys against houseboats and I've now made it my charge to chip away at this. I dare anyone on this forum to call the Marathon Marina (Who is the primary contact for houseboat.org) or Bourdines Marina and tell them you would like some winter dockage for your small 8x30 houseboat!!! I double dog dare you to tell them you will pay up front the three months plus give them a 5000.00 security deposit so they know your not a derelict boater like I did. I made reservations at the Marathon Marina with Judy in November and as soon as she found out I had a houseboat, I was fully denied access and to this day my deposit (left in November) has not been returned. YES- I have hired an attorney and YES we are chipping at this but I was already 7 days away when I was technically evicted for having a cruiser that looks like a houseboat!!! I say cruiser because it was custom built for the ICW and clearly did very well. I used to own a sail boat and pulled 3 out of the mud along the ICW! Maybe this is an issue that a group of like-minded house boaters should look into? I have the money and resources to hit this on a local level but what if I didn't? When did houseboats become "NOT WELCOME"?? Is my money less green? Are they afraid I won't use their dryers and hang my Calvins on the upper deck? Are they jealous, I have enough room to entertain 12 hooter girls on the upper deck.....??? If you doubt what I have to say, go to active captain, dial in Burdines or Marathon Marina (not the municipal one) and tell them you need a dock for a month. Let me know how that works for you. Sorry I'm a bit irritated but my title did say I'm here to shake things up!!!ps- At this late date-try to get reservations for a "small" houseboat anywhere in the Marathon area??? Just giving ya'll all something to really think about !!
BTW- The boat is coast guard approved, insured by Boat US and I am a boating instructor along with being with the USCG Aux.

Amelia
01-24-2015, 09:02 PM
Yikes, jsj! What a disappointment. No wonder you're annoyed! I hope you and your lawyer manage to make a few waves around there, because if we ever get that far, it will be fine to learn that you prepared a way for us.

jsj248
01-25-2015, 09:11 AM
Thank you for the support and once the anger diminishes and I feel like a human again, I intend to create as much controversy as I can so this does not happen to others. I fully understand the history and how the hippie community occupied numerous houseboats in Key West. Even Hemmingway mentioned this in two of his books. After they were thrown out of Key West or forced to move into a Marina with sewage removal (I agree with that), Some disagreed and moved down the keys until they went broke and then left their "houseboats" to the city to deal with.

My argument is that was in the 1980's. My boat is fully functional as a navigable vessel, fully powered and will do 15 knots, fully instrumented with GPS/electronics, FULLY INSURED BY BOAT US, certified by the USCG and I was even willing to hand them a $5000.00 security to smooth things over. I will keep the forum up to date. The other thing that really frosts me is that HOUSEBOAT.ORG recommended the Marathon Marina along with Active Captain and this marina will NOT even consider taking a square pocket cruiser. Wikipedia actually defines both houseboats and pocket cruisers. Maybe that should be stated somewhere ?

Thanks for your support and if it was not for the forums, I would never have succeeded in the successful trip down the ICW. Stay well

OLD HOUSEBOATER
01-25-2015, 10:03 AM
Marinas do not turn down a paying customer lightly. Experience plays an immense part in the way current business is conducted. Most Marinas operate under the premise that they can approve or deny accommodation to anyone at their discretion. Past experience and prejudice against houseboats as low class/no pay customers, may be driving their thinking.They may not like the look of your boat, yada yada yada.

You appear to have some skill sets the average operator is not equipped with.

If you have insurance for those waters it indicates that your boat has capabilities beyond the normal Gibson, Nautaline Etc. I assume your boat "UFab" is pontoon based. I also have to assume that it is not a stock houseboat and has been custom built by you or others to specifications beyond the normal"stock" houseboat.

Please give us details of what makes your boat suitable for these waters. How is the structure above the deck different from the normal Lake Boat" configuration? Please post a picture.

You indicate you are insured by BOAT US. Do you have a waver for the Keys area?

The Keys area remains a challenging area for house boats and the boater with average skill sets. Most houseboats are not built for use in unprotected waters and most insurers won't insure them for use in those areas. Likewise the "average" boater does not posses the skill sets you have to safely navigate these waters in this type craft. The fact that you are in the area indicates that you know when to go and when not to.

You seem to be in a situation where you are challenging their system. If you make your point, GOOD FOR YOU.

However to use your success as a blanket example that stock houseboats are OK for the area is NOT a sound Idea. Other less equipped and skilled boaters could get in harm's way.


BTW Who were you in the old forum?

jsj248
01-25-2015, 05:26 PM
The boat in question is pontoon based with the third 15 foot pontoon in the rear. I believe, the key to what makes this vessel so stable is the third pontoon acting like a keel. We house the fresh water (apx60 gal), fuel (apx 70 gal) and the motor apx 500 pounds in the center toon. Without question, this has given the vessel a sailboat effect and greatly enhanced it's stability. In addition, the front is welded and stabilized for those times, a rough wave or a sport fishing boat wake crashes in on you.

I quickly learned 3 major things, which I was also taught when I started taking pilot lessons. WEATHER-WEATHER-WEATHER !!!! If your winds are going to be above 10 mph, you simply do not move. I had very little problem with "heavy" water since I always played by the weather rules.

I have run the inside of the ICW which does not include any blue water. The bays are wide but when you have a perfect weather window, they are also like glass. The only time I had to run out into the Atlantic was a half mile from the VACA cut to the colony inlet and again, due to nice weather, it was like glass.

NOW AND MOST IMPORTANT...I totally agree with you that a larger HB with a wide beam and enormous windage would present a problem to any marina. My vessel is relatively small 8x30 feet and looks just like a square camper on pontoons. In no way am I suggesting that running a HB around the keys is for the in-experienced since there are sooo many shallow areas and fluky weather, but my beef is with two marinas that flat out refused dockage because it looked like a houseboat. A lot of this came from the early 80's when the drug/hippie/free living movement came to Key west but we are now 35 past that and some "pocket cruisers" like me are well funded, well educated, and well experienced.

I am strictly battling the Marinas in question for their failure to give due notification that houseboat looking vessels which are NOT WELCOME and even though they took a deposit (Which, in some cases constitutes a contract), I was refused entry. Bottom line, I don't want this to happen to another person in the boating community which has a boat or pocket cruiser that looks like a HB. Being at many of the national shows in Kentucky, those folks are too good to be put in this situation. THANK YOU

OLD HOUSEBOATER
01-25-2015, 11:50 PM
Keep us upto date on your situation.

Stmbtwle
01-26-2015, 06:29 AM
As much as I hate it I have to understand the marinas' viewpoint. Florida is full of homeless (or nearly so) who in search of a warm place to live have simply run out of road. Some manage to buy an old boat (sailboats seem to be popular but any boat will do), hang a motor on it and move aboard. Eventually they run out of money and abandon the boat, and WHEN it sinks it becomes an expensive problem for someone. One fellow I knew even DIED on his boat.

That said, if you have a running boat and you obviously have the resources, I think the marina is making a mistake. If I were in that business I think I'd prefer a well-kept houseboat over a derelict sailboat any time, but some are interested in attracting the big bucks boats and are worried about image.

Wish you the best with your lawsuit.

jsj248
01-27-2015, 08:41 AM
Thanks Stmbtwle,
I have often followed you and OHB throughout the years. You hit the problem right on the head. It's funny you mentioned sailboats because I contacted Bud&Marys Marina and they repeated to me exactly what you said. Almost word for word!!! They hate most sail boaters because they dink in at night and steal water which is a high priced commodity in the keys. They have gone as far as using a camera and then prosecuting those they can identify. They also said they would glady accept me since I clearly have insurance and resources to pay dockage. That was a real spirit boost. My big beef with the Marathon Marina is that I was willing to pay for the 3-4 months upfront and even leave a 5K deposit. My lawyers though is they may have overbooked like airlines do??? Time will tell and I will keep you up to date. THANK YOU for your responses and good work throughout the years.

BananaTom
01-27-2015, 01:33 PM
Subscribed to this thread.

BananaTom
01-27-2015, 01:38 PM
You could always just buy your own Marina, at this link:

http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/18682240/59073-Overseas-Hwy-Marathon-FL

:-)

Tony B
01-29-2015, 09:16 AM
I could certainly understand why they didn't wouldn't want you in there. What I don't understand is why they are not refunding your money.

When I had a motor home, I would call RV parks ahead of time to make reservations. They almost always asked the age of the RV. Back then, most parks didn't want anyone older than about 20 years or so.
When it came to marina reservations, I cant think of any marina that didn't ask the size, draft and type of boat. etc.
Anyway, I'm glad you found a place to stay and I am sure you will eventually get your money back.

pirate
02-01-2015, 11:30 AM
I agree with OHB, most Houseboats are not suited for those waters, a few coastal's and the Rockwell Hatteras Whitcraft 40 ft version looks like a cruiser will work on non storm days 4 or 5 fters. I had a guy emailing me and calling, he had a 43 ft Nautaline had nearly sunk twice and ran aground 3 times. 5 ft seas nearly got him. He left from Decatur Al and was going to DC. You are right about the marinas and even other boaters just do not like houseboats. Gibson will be building a looper special with a trawler bow and water tight hatches.

The thing here is the fact that they took your deposit and you showed them you were not derelict. I would have been glad to have you if I was down there. I think just the bad advertising will hurt them quite a bit. Get on the loopers forum and active captain on the Internet.

Who were you on the old forum? Like OHB I would like to know also.

jsj248
02-07-2015, 08:53 AM
Thank you again for the support. I believe my old name on the old forum was either jsj248 or jsjnr. I was in the process of building the custom boat I took down he entire AICW. I gained a great bit of knowledge from the forums and I am very appreciative for all the contributors. I am currently a boating instructor and if there is one MAJOR area which needs far more attention then others, it would be wind/weather. I now consider myself a beginner practicing weather predictor. Having the added windage of a HB and the lack of bow thrusters, wind and weather play THE MOST important part of my 1000+ mile trip. Of course, we all know that having a schedule is deadly! I spent many an extra days waiting for the weather to change and winds to lessen. He who does not, is simply a fool!!!! The AICW is very doable with a smaller HB. My vessel is 8 x 35 feet and not only is it very navigable, but it is very comfortable to live in for a few months. It is an excellent vessel since it only draws 33 inches of water (Bottom of prop) and I can run the inside all the way to the keys. Yes, there are bays and sounds you need run across, but if you wait for a good weather window, it's like running on glass. The only variable you can not control is being waked from behind by a sport fishing boat. Most cruisers call and make a slow pass but I have found the majority of sport fishing boats simply blow right past you creating some havoc with their wake.

Bamby
02-16-2015, 07:45 AM
The boat in question is pontoon based with the third 15 foot pontoon in the rear. I believe, the key to what makes this vessel so stable is the third pontoon acting like a keel. We house the fresh water (apx60 gal), fuel (apx 70 gal) and the motor apx 500 pounds in the center toon. Without question, this has given the vessel a sailboat effect and greatly enhanced it's stability. In addition, the front is welded and stabilized for those times, a rough wave or a sport fishing boat wake crashes in on you.

I've read and reread all these posts and the ones on the other thread you started and still am left wondering exactly what kind or style of boat you're referring to, sure would be nice to see an actual photo of it.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-PgKSUHKG4XI/VOCsZ8obdqI/AAAAAAAAC8g/p0FgsXKwY84/s800/100_6192.JPG

Is the boat pictured above yours by any chance? I'm aware of the fact that a old member here built this one with the intent of floating her south. Last I heard they were on the Chesapeake Bay awaiting good weather to navigate south, only never to be heard from again.

jsj248
02-16-2015, 10:43 AM
That's her before the upper helm and all the painting. I posted this issue to help others who may find themselves,s in the spot I found myself. My mother always said to stand up for what you believe is not right. Unfortunately, this critique has created to much adverse results and I will simply fade away. I was removed from active captain, my posts and responses were deleted from the cruiser net and despite my objectivity regarding all boats, the responses became very offensive. I believe OHB is the moderator and I would like to request my thread to be removed. Just know, no mal-intent was intended. I wanted to indicate, especially to the houseboat crowd, you will NOT be welcomed at many marina's in the keys. Check first and send them a picture every time. THANK YOU

OLD HOUSEBOATER
02-16-2015, 04:20 PM
jsj248

I am asking you to reconsider deleting your thread. In my mind it has value. The information in it is valid. Wether the reader agrees or disagrees, there is NO misinformation in any of the posts.

If however you still want it deleted let me know.

OHB

Fork-lift-king
02-16-2015, 04:47 PM
Hang in there 248, The truth needs to be told. If they can't take it screwem!

BananaTom
02-17-2015, 06:54 AM
jsj248

I am asking you to reconsider deleting your thread. In my mind it has value. The information in it is valid. Wether the reader agrees or disagrees, there is NO misinformation in any of the posts.

OHB

^^^^ What he said, stay around. Please

Bamby
02-17-2015, 04:21 PM
I thought it had to be you and I'm glad to see you safely made it down there. As to the problems you're encountering at the marinas a person would think they could a least provide a reasonable explanation for their stance whether either or both parties like it or not. It would seem reasonable temporary allowances should been allowed and your money refunded back to you in a kind courteous manner.

How about a detour on your way back north that may have plenty of berthing opportunities. It's the Lake Okeechobee waterway, I've read a little on it on the web and would love to somehow be in the position to float it from the golf to the Atlantic or vice versea someday.

jsj248
02-17-2015, 04:43 PM
Thank you guys! I posted my previous post on several boards and got creamed!! Everything from "quit whining and buy a sailboat" to "we don't want any cardboard boats here" to "If you only own a houseboat, you deserve what you get"..... Kinda left a bad impression and I felt pretty rejected until you stepped forward...Again thanks. I'm dam proud of house boaters and their pursuits. YES, there are a few which are dead broke and take advantage of everything they can BUT so do some sail boaters and power boaters. After attending the National show several times, I find house boaters to pursue good times and happiness! A lot of other boaters are trying to cross oceans, or the great loop but when did we start discriminating based on the look of our boat? I ran down the ICW from Northeast, MD to Marathon. I was not reckless, I took NO risks, and in the process, I found my shallow draft "Canadian built" pontoons to be the exact vessel which is BEST suited for the AICW! Now, let me clearly denote this is NOT a blue water boat and I have no intention of doing the great loop where a much greater freeboard is needed. On the other hand, it is perfect for doing the inside AICW especially through Georgia where I seen 3 feet of water. Banana and OHB, I will stay around. Funny, this is the only board I feel welcomed! The other great disappointment was being removed from active captain? I placed an honest review, and in return, had my username/password removed? Despite that. I still recommend them as a good resource for AICW boaters..... Heading North to Miami for a bit. Take care-be safe and thank U!!!More important-"seek contentment"!

pirate
02-25-2015, 12:19 PM
That's her before the upper helm and all the painting. I posted this issue to help others who may find themselves,s in the spot I found myself. My mother always said to stand up for what you believe is not right. Unfortunately, this critique has created to much adverse results and I will simply fade away. I was removed from active captain, my posts and responses were deleted from the cruiser net and despite my objectivity regarding all boats, the responses became very offensive. I believe OHB is the moderator and I would like to request my thread to be removed. Just know, no mal-intent was intended. I wanted to indicate, especially to the houseboat crowd, you will NOT be welcomed at many marina's in the keys. Check first and send them a picture every time. THANK YOU

I hope as Admin and moderator that you will leave this post intact, I answered but it seems to have gone in cyberspace. I think you should stick to your guns due to them taking your deposit. You reserved a service you did not get which is a breach of contract as you did not misrepresent anything.

jsj248
02-28-2015, 10:36 AM
I had to hire a lawyer by the name of Patrick Stevens. Although they have now sent my deposit back, they are sticking to their ability to pick and choose who and what type of vessels they want in their marina. Although I believe in businesses having the ability to be selective, I also believe it should be done in an ethical and timely manner. At any point during my adventure down the ICW, if I had the least thought that my houseboat looking boat would present a problem, I never would have sent a deposit and simply found another marina. Finding another Marina during peak season is the problem. During my whole trip down, I was always greeted with kindness, curiosity, and the "WOW" factor! When I showed up at one marina, after the dock hand gave me a bottle of wine (It's their customary thing) he asked if some of the other boaters can come on board and take a look. As you can imagine, that made me real proud! As it turns out I ended up in what I feel is probably the nicest marina in Marathon. By the grace of god, they took me in and now I am like family to them. They love the look of the boat and they said the two yellow chairs on top, make the boat look like a postcard. They even asked me to return next year which my deposit is already left! Being a hardened fire/medic, I guess Karma does exist!!! THANKS

Tony B
02-28-2015, 01:34 PM
.......I guess Karma does exist!!! THANKS

Maybe your Karma could run over the other marina's dogma?

Anyway, I'm sure next time you will tell a marina in advance that you have a houseboat.
I'm surprised that they didn't ask you in advance what type of boat you had. Just about every marina has always asked me length, beam, draft, make and year.
Oh, well. Glad you got your deposit back.

BananaTom
03-02-2015, 07:41 AM
As it turns out I ended up in what I feel is probably the nicest marina in Marathon.

Then it sounds like it worked out better than you planned. Congrats!!!

Amelia
03-02-2015, 09:51 AM
I love stories with happy endings! Glad you found a marina in Marathon with an appreciation for your craftsmanship. Any chance you'll be back up by Elizabeth City? We know a nice town dock in Edenton that's free for two nights... and supper isn't far away!
How about posting photos of the latest improvements?
Cheers!
mimi