A few weeks ago we decided we really wanted to get to the Bahamas (Exumas) early next year and extend our time in the islands to five months vs three. The best way to do that is start sooner or start from farther south. Having lived in the Cocoa, Florida area for three years in the 70s, we knew we could handle the heat (Sea breeze + beach + pool + A/C). We also wanted to do some recce on neighborhoods and such, since we will likely end up in this part of Florida.
We made a reservation at a marina we really like. Yay!
- Problem one — we knew this — the nearest haulout facility that would accept transients for haulout in a hurricane situation is 15 miles ( 2 hrs) away.
- Problem two — we didn’t know this — visiting boaters no longer are allowed to use the condo pool.
- Problem three — the insurance company wanted a pre-paid haulout contract for hurricanes — no one we talked to in Florida will do that.
So we found an hurricane shelter marina with a pool and haulout facility on site. Yay!
- Problem one — they wanted to be named as an insured on our policy.
- Problem two — they required us to sign up to an open-ended agreement for boat preparation and movement in a hurricane situation to cover us not leaving the marina when they asked us to. (They can’t demand it, see below.)
- Problem three — no boat work allowed in the slip. ?!?!?!
So we re-read our insurance policy and talked to our very good broker. Not so yay!
- Problem one — staying in Florida would likely more than double our insurance premium.
- Problem two — our insurer explicitly will not insure marinas or boat yards.
- Problem three — we could lose some very important policy features by having to find another insurer.
So we looked up Florida law on the limits on marinas in event of tropical systems and discovered the law passed in 1994 and upheld in two appeals only prevents the marina from forcing you out in the event of a hurricane. The only limit it places on what they can charge one for not leaving is “reasonable.” There are still cases in adjudication from storms 3 & 4 years past.
So we said something unrepeatable to ourselves and called the dockmaster at Brunswick Landing Marina in Georgia. (We have stayed there four times.) This facility is considered a hurricane hole as much as there can be such a thing. She didn’t think there was room left. I said we’d take the manger. She said email us the details. A few hours later her associate emailed us. “Come on, we’ll see you soon.
So we will summer there. It’s north of Cumberland Island; our policy covers us north of there without modification and has since we switched to this company. It’s actually the one place we would be willing to travel from without hauling the boat if no storms were looming.
We aren’t sure what the implications of all this are for our plan to live in Florida and keep Brilliant Star there… pfui!