Tag Archives: Marinas/Moorings

Dereliction Friction

EastCoastwstatsThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has an excellent (not yet fully implemented) online tool  for tracking location and essential information on derelict boats. For the Florida East Coast, when the underlying data is parsed it reveals:

  • 66% of derelict recreational boats are Florida registered, and this percentage is slightly understated because the “Registration NA” boats probably contain some number of Florida registered boats.
  • Of the derelict boats for which length data is available (87%), the median boat size (all types) is 26 feet and the mean is 27 feet (discounting an outlier). Two thirds are between 22 and 32 feet.
  • Across both registration categories sailboats account for 40%, cabin-power for 19%.
  • 75% of the 170+ derelicts are in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Brevard and Broward Counties, but…
  • In Broward County 68% of the boats identified as derelict are in slips.
  • Most of the pictures of “Registration NA” boats and many of the “FL Registered” depict hulls so old that removal would entail little legal effort.

DerelictsGraphsDerelictDistributionCaveats

  • The few commercial hulks, barges, etc were not counted.
  • The boat registration and length data is extracted from graphics files in the FWC tool by hand; there may have been a few errors.

What can we draw from this?

  • The registration data doesn’t support derelict boats being driven by out of state/foreign cruisers.
  • The size data doesn’t support derelict boats being driven by cruisers, period. Yes, we have taken over 500 and 1000 mile trips in a 23 footer (1976) and a 29 footer (1980), but what we see on the waters today is 35-45 footers. Although to be balanced, 18% of the measured derelicts are 35 feet or greater — the same percentage as boats 21 feet or less.
  • From the FWC photos, the sailboats, with few exceptions, are not equipped as long range cruisers, they look to be local boats that were either uninsured or insured and totaled, and the local owners just walked away.
  • Broward County’s slipped derelicts should be discounted when talking about anchoring issues.
  • Money for removal is more of an issue than authority for removal.

Finally (well, that apparently never happens in this debate), we don’t like looking at or being anchored near derelicts or imminent derelicts any more than any other Floridian. We don’t like them clogging up our few and far between safe anchorages. We don’t like them driving municipalities to create maritime ghettos that wipe out those few and far between safe anchorages.

We believe the data above is a reason for the latest shift to attempting to ban anchoring on the basis of defamatory accusations rather than data. It’s pretty clear from the data, cruisers don’t come to Florida to abandon their boats.

So What Does Cruising Cost? Dot Too

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Some Slips are Bare Bones

Renting a slip is a lot like renting a car. The advertised rate is much less than the price, and you have to add a lot of stuff to get the real number. And daily is the most expensive choice. [And I’ve ignored taxes.]

Most marinas have a daily rate which many will discount. The latest twist is some are only honoring their day discounts on the first day of your stay. Some have a weekly rate, and almost all have a monthly rate which may be discounted if you sign a contract.

Cost Elements Continue reading

So What Does Cruising Cost?

At the marina picnic last week, a bit of the discussion was about money (which pairs with boats like lemon juice with a paper cut). Most of it was about new stuff, broken stuff, too much stuff and other stuff. But there were a few newbies, and their questions and comments were mostly about cruising was more expensive than they expected. Whatever they expected.

Cruising costs what one lets it cost. Some keep costs down by good decision making and good discipline. Others keep costs down by sneaking into marinas/mooring fields and tying up for the night and leaving before the staff arrives in the morning. Fortunately, there are very few of these folks, but not few enough. Zero would be good.

But having listened to the discussion, I wondered what is it costing us? Not in dollars and cents – our Quicken has 29 sub accounts; we know where the money is going. But in terms of trade-offs, we hadn’t given that much thought.

After deductions for taxes and short-term savings, this is the picture:

RemovedPutting the house in rental and making it completely self supporting allowed us to reduce our budget by 15+ percent. So far renting has been a little better than break-even. If we had been able to sell it, it would have been net zero to budget since we have to buy another house eventually.

ReducedWe were able to reduce our expenses when it came to driving a car (ours or rented), and free WiFi and a masthead antenna saves us a bundle on bundled digital services. Special insurance is an artifact storing the car reducing the premiums.

UnchangedBut medical and insurance costs accounting for almost a fifth of our budget remained unchanged.

IncreasedOur fuel use (diesel, gas and propane) went way up, as did the unit prices for those things. Slip fees were a different matter. Our cost for an annual slip on the Chesapeake was high enough to reduce the budget impact of transient slip fees. But slip fee is not slip fee is not slip fee — it can be better to buy a month and leave early than go day-to-day or week-to-week — more in a coming post. [BoatUS membership helps significantly on marina fees.] Government fees, US and Bahamian, were in the round off. Cost of ownership went up because of our internal budget for wear and tear and because we found things that needed to be changed (the anchor for instance). Groceries went up because we bought pre-prepared items we wouldn’t have on land, and because we couldn’t shop sales and coupons like we used to. Dining out (of which we do less) went up because it’s more expensive the closer to water one gets whether the food is better or not.

added2If we had forgone storing household items, excess boat items such as the cushions for the aft cabin “garage,” a travel/emergency wardrobe and keeping a (paid for) car, we could have saved about 15+%. The trade on storage was what would it cost to replace particular items. In many cases the new cost less old salvage value made storage of quality items preferable since we knew from the outset this was a 3-4 year cruise. The trade between auto rentals and keeping the car was a wash. The other stuff was going to have to be stored in any case.

So after paying our taxes and increasing our short term savings, we allocated 12% less to cruising than we had to living ashore and owning a boat. So far we are ahead of budget. We spent less in the Bahamas. Because we won’t be going up to the Bay and back, we will save there as well.

But in the end, cruising costs what we let it cost.

Fernandina Harbor Marina Kudos

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We hadn’t expected to stay here. Life intervened, and we found it necessary to do so. We encountered a generosity of spirit at this marina we will be talking about for years to come. The crew there are special people.

The facility is also excellent and well maintained.

We loved the small town atmosphere with all the services one would expect in a much larger place. We could imagine living here. We will be shifting our cruising schedule to do our provisioning here in the Fernandina-Yulee area instead of Jacksonville Beach from now on.

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Change of Plans/Plans for Changes

Removing a mooring -- tight fit -- well done

Woke up to the sound of this — Backhoe is removing a mooring — tight fit — well done

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.

“Whew!

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!

Hope Town Inn and Marina and Moorings

Click First Pic for Gallery