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Thread: Houseboat in Salt Water in Florida

  1. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Lawrence Ks
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    7
    Yes I agree OHB, the river trip would not be my first expidition lol
    I would take the boat out and run its through its paces for a few years here in Kansas as well as I could for a few years before ever thinking of taking on a river or the Gulf. That way im knowledgeable of my craft and know its limitations.

    Was also thinking more boat like hull then pontoon style or low deck "flat bottom" hulls. But thank you GoVols
    Plus I think aluminum pontoons in saltwater all day everyday I would have corrosion problems left right.

  2. #12
    Member
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    Jul 2012
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    94
    We've had our 50' Gibson in the salt in the Keys and in Stuart. No issues, we stay on top of maintenance.

    We're now looking at moving up. If you're still in the market send me a message. Happy to share war stories.

  3. #13
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Location
    Pensacola, Florida
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    1,266
    FYI: Mimoo purchased a nice Trawler in Marco Island, and brought it home to Pensacola.

  4. #14
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2016
    Location
    Leesburg, Georgia
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    18
    Back in the early 80's (81 or 82-old mind ain't too sharp anymore), I helped take a 65' Aluminum hulled HB from Naples, Florida to Key West via the ICW shallow water route. Took 5 days (anchored at sunset) to get down taking the long route. Average water depth was about 6' and the HB drafted approx 4' (stern drive). We would have jumped off and run straight across Florida Bay to Marathon but the weather just would not allow it. It rained on us for 2 solid days though and we kicked up a lot of mud in places. Over all, it was a great trip with very little problems. We docked it at NAS Boca Chica marina (he was retired Navy) and the owner stayed there till the next summer and then retraced his route back up to Naples. I'm just glad I wasn't paying the fuel bill and it really was a fun, relaxing, trip.

  5. #15
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
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    Pensacola, Florida
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    1,266
    Quote Originally Posted by Truckerbill View Post
    Back in the early 80's (81 or 82-old mind ain't too sharp anymore), I helped take a 65' Aluminum hulled HB from Naples, Florida to Key West via the ICW shallow water route. Took 5 days (anchored at sunset) to get down taking the long route. Average water depth was about 6' and the HB drafted approx 4' (stern drive). We would have jumped off and run straight across Florida Bay to Marathon but the weather just would not allow it. It rained on us for 2 solid days though and we kicked up a lot of mud in places. Over all, it was a great trip with very little problems. We docked it at NAS Boca Chica marina (he was retired Navy) and the owner stayed there till the next summer and then retraced his route back up to Naples. I'm just glad I wasn't paying the fuel bill and it really was a fun, relaxing, trip.
    Sounds like a great Trip!!!

    PS: Welcome Aboard!!!

  6. #16
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Leesburg, Georgia
    Posts
    18
    It was a great trip. Got to see my first Sawfish close up! Been here a while, just never could post till now. I was stationed at Key West for almost 9 years and have seen more than a few House Boats make the trip down the Keys. Unfortunately, many wind up staying and then going down hill fast due to the harsh Sun and weather conditions. For years, there was an area in Key West that was "home" for these Houseboats, known as Houseboat Row. When coming off Stock Island onto Key West, turn toward the beach (left) and they were on the left. Most of these were old derelicts that marina's no longer allowed to dock. Some were cobbled together from old hulls and were just disasters waiting to happen. Last time I was in Key West, the county (Monroe) was getting rid of them. Now Houseboat Row is in Garrison Bight and totally different Houseboats are docked there (actually, most are purposely built floating homes with a few traditional Houseboats sprinkled in). As far as I know, there is only one marina in the Lower Keys capable of hauling out a large Houseboat and it is on Stock Island (Oceanside Marina I think the name is). As far as getting out on the Atlantic side of the Keys with a traditional flat-bottomed Houseboat, Summer is the time to do that. Weather during the summer tends to be a good bit better and the Sea's are usually fairly flat. Winter time usually brings in 15 to 20 knot winds consistently and lumpy seas. I don't think I have ever seen a Houseboat travel up or down the Keys on the "outside", always on the Florida Bay (or the North side). Up to date charts, a good sounder, and sharp eyes are needed to make the trip. Markers are there most of the time but know how to navigate well because storms do move them from time to time. Lobster/Crab bouy's are everywhere during seasons and you have to watch out for them. Commercial Fishermen down there don't care if they block the channel with them and FWC, while technically neutral, will side with them more than not. Try not to hit the traps because they will tear the snot out of an outdrive. Safe-Haven's are plenty if a Houseboater gets caught out in weather. Plenty of islands to hide behind and most bridges are high enough for houseboats to get under and through. Keep track of the tides at all times. We got stranded for 8 hours like that. Even on the Florida Bay side of the Keys, the waves can get up. I've seen 6' seas when the winds got up. One thing I can say about boating down there is, the FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission), the Coast Guard, and the Monroe County Marine Patrol (Sheriff) were all good about allowing a float plan to be filed and checking up on the boaters. Cell Phone coverage was pretty good most of the time also. So, this is just some first-hand knowledge from way back that may be of some help to someone planning a trip down. Most Marina's will allow short term dockage of Houseboats but plan on staying on the hook if you spend much time in the Keys. There are not many slips that will accommodate a 100' Houseboat down there (or even anything over 60'). Keep plenty of fuel in reserve also. You will need to keep power up and running all the time. Summer time means HOT and that means running AC units to not only keep down the temp but also the humidity. Winter time, well, expect heat also. Average temps are still in the 80's during the days and cool nights. A lot of boats run Solar Panels to help generate enough juice to run things but I think a genset runs most of the time also. So, if you wanna make that trip, it's great fun, a great experience, and I did say "FUN"!

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