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Thread: Here to shake things up a bit

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Unhappy Here to shake things up a bit

    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.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    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.

  3. #3
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    Thank you

    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

  4. #4
    Super Moderator OLD HOUSEBOATER's Avatar
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    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?
    Last edited by OLD HOUSEBOATER; 01-25-2015 at 10:45 PM.
    The fries are cold so we gave you extra.

  5. #5
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    Could not agree more with OHB

    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

  6. #6
    Super Moderator OLD HOUSEBOATER's Avatar
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    Keep us upto date on your situation.
    Last edited by OLD HOUSEBOATER; 01-26-2015 at 09:45 AM.
    The fries are cold so we gave you extra.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Stmbtwle's Avatar
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    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.
    She's a tired old barge but she's paid for... http://s71.beta.photobucket.com/user...24993.pbw.html

  8. #8
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    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.

  9. #9
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    Subscribed to this thread.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    You could always just buy your own Marina, at this link:

    http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/18682...wy-Marathon-FL

    :-)

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