Why might someone want to live aboard their boat in Florida?
Florida is a fantastic place to live. There is so much to do, so much to see, and the work opportunities are abundant. Florida may have a reputation for being a weird state, but that’s all talk. Florida is very safe, it has strict laws with impressive transparency. Florida is an open book, if that’s something that appeals to you, maybe that alone is a good reason to move there. If you are looking for a financial incentive, consider this. Florida has zero income tax. That’s right – 0% income tax. If you are someone making $50k a year, you may lose anywhere from $5k-$15k from that in taxes every year. In Florida, you would keep all of that. Moving there is like getting an immediate raise. It is also important to consider this when you are factoring in your budget for a marina slip. You will have far more disposable income, so you may be surprised how much more you have to spend on a high-quality marina slip in a prime location.
What are some things to consider when living aboard your boat in Florida?
Not everything in Florida is sunshine and rainbows. A lot of it is, but not everything. Florida is very hot, which is great. Florida is also very humid, which you might not enjoy as much. A lot of Florida is swampland, which when combined with the humid air, offers the perfect climate for mosquitos and other insects. If this is something that will bother you, maybe Florida isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you are living along the coast very close to the city there are going to be far fewer insects. Not none, but less.
Additionally, depending on where you live in Florida you may find the party culture uncomfortable. Miami can be crazy. It is a playground for the young, drunk, and wealthy. If this isn’t a problem for you, great! Maybe you are young, drunk, and wealthy yourself. If, on the other hand, you have left your partying and binge drinking behind you this may become rather grating over time. If you are trying to avoid this kind of nightlife, its a good idea to stick to Tampa Bay rather than Miami Beach. Despite what you might think, Tampa is far more relaxed.
The weather has been touched on briefly, day to day you have nothing to worry about. Bugs are annoying but not necessarily a big problem. What can be a big problem is the storms. Florida bears the brunt of a lot of tropical storms, tornados, hurricanes, twisters, cyclones, whatever you want to call them. A lot of them hit Florida. It isn’t uncommon for people to evacuate yearly for safer waters. This is typically a metaphor for ordinary folk. For people who live aboard their boat, this is literal. You may genuinely need to weigh anchor and sail for safer waters. Heading up the coast to New York in a hurry is a pain. It can also be very expensive.
If everything mentioned above has left you still wanting to live in Florida, perhaps it even made you more excited, then its time to pick where you might like to live. Choosing a Marina is not as much of a commitment as renting an apartment, leases can be far shorter and much more flexible. But, this normally comes at a price. You will be able to get a much better deal by committing to a longer lease. So, doing your best to make sure you pick the best marina for you the first time around is very important. It could end up saving you a small fortune in the long run. This next section is here to help you do just that.
What should I be looking for in my marina?
Your marina needs to work for you. How much your money will get you varies from place to place. Do you want to live as close to Miami as possible? Great. But you may only be able to afford the most basic marina. This is a marina with little to no added amenities, electricity and water may not even be included. Here are some things you might not have considered that you need, but that you might miss once you are without them.
Washing and drying facilities
If you are living on your boat, unless its a mega-yacht, chances are you don’t have a washer or dryer. This means having to rely on a laundromat. Which is fine, of course. But, when you consider you likely don’t have a car can become a real pain. You will need to do laundry at a minimum once or twice a week. Having to take a bus across town with all your dirty clothes is going to be tedious at best. That’s why choosing a marina with good washing and drying facilities is so important. It can save you a lot of headaches. And a lot of money, as the machines are typically free. They won’t be free in a laundromat, that’s for sure.
Being stuck on a boat is some people’s idea of heaven. But, it isn’t heaven for your body. People need to move around as much as possible. This is good for both mental and physical wellbeing. Having to go across town to find a decent gym is inconvenient, some marinas will have a gym and swimming pool included on the premises. This isn’t a necessity, just something that you might want to consider when choosing between two otherwise equal marinas.
Power and water hookups
Not all marinas come with power and water hookups. You will not only want but need access to both of these things if you plan to be there long term. If power and water are not included in your lease, you will need to discuss how much extra these will be. The cost of power especially can start to add up over the year. It is just something to consider when comparing multiple locations.
Not all marinas will come with wifi, those that do may not have particularly good wifi. But, bad wifi is better than no wifi. Of course, you can set up a connection yourself with a satellite router. But this isn’t always ideal. If you do manage to find a marina to provides wifi, even if it isn’t free, this should put it at the front of the running. If you are planning on working from your boat, doing so without wifi might not be ideal or even possible.
Having good security is important. If you are living aboard your boat that is likely where everything you own is. Boats are not the hardest to break in to. Someone who is determined could be in and out of your boat in 5 minutes with everything of value. That’s why choosing a marina that’s gated, has CCTV, and even has 24/7 security is not only ideal but advised.
The best liveaboard marinas in Florida
Finding the best Marina for you will depend on a lot of things, many of them were touched on above. But for the most part, it is two things. Location and price. Just like when buying a house, location is everything. Here are some of the best liveaboard marinas in Florida sorted by location. Hopefully, at least one or more of them will be what you are looking for.
The marinas are listed first by location and then by the quality. The higher up the list the marina is the better it is, not the more expensive it is. Of course, it is up for you to decide which of the marinas is best for you. If you are looking for the most job prospects, the closer to Miami the better. Finding something in South Florida is far easier than finding something in the north. You will quickly notice that when it comes to the north, your options are very limited. North Central Florida for example only has the Sea Hag Marina, in Steinhatchee, in its entire segment. Whereas there are about 20 choices for the south. There is nothing wrong with choosing to live in the north, it just doesn’t afford as many opportunities as the south does.
North West Florida
- Bay Point Marina in Panama City Beach
- Panama City Marina in Panama City
North Central Florida
- Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee
North East Florida
- Fernandina Harbor Marina in Fernandina Beach
- Mandarin Holiday Marina in Jacksonville
- Ortega Villa Yacht Club Marina in Jacksonville
Central East Florida
- Eau Gallie Yacht Basin in Melbourne
- Fort Pierce City Marina in Fort Pierce
- Halifax Harbor Marina in Daytona Beach
- Harbortown Marina in Merrit Island
- Melbourne Harbor Marina in Melbourne
- New Smyrna City Marina in New Smyrna Beach
- Titusville Municipal Marina in Titusville
- Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce
- Vero Beach Municipal Marina Vero Beach
- Astor Bridge Marina in Astor
- Green Cove Springs Marina in Green Cove Springs
- Monroe Harbour Marina in Sanford
- Sanford Boat Works and Marina in Sanford
Central West Florida
- Blind Pass Marina in Saint Pete Beach
- Gulfport Municipal Marina in Gulfport
- Harborage Marina in Saint Petersburg
- Longboat Key Marina in Bradenton
- Pasadena Marina in Saint Petersburg
- Regatta Pointe Marina in Bradenton
- Riviera Dunes Marina in Palmetto
- Saint Petersburg Municipal Marina in Saint Pete
- Twin Dolphin Marina in Bradenton
South West Florida
- Burnt Store Marina in Punta Gorda
- Calusa Island Marina in Goodland
- Fort Myers City Yacht Basin in Fort Myers
- Legacy Harbour Marina in Fort Myers
- Marco Island Marina in Marco Island
- Marinatown Yacht Harbour in North Fort Myers
- Old Cover Marina in Naples
- Port of the Islands Marina in Naples
- Snook Bight Marina in Fort Myers Beach
South East Florida
- Boot Key Harbour City Marina in Marathon
- Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove Miami
- Hollywood Marina in Hollywood
- Harbour Town Marina in Dania
- Lauderdale Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale
- Marina Bay Resort in Fort Lauderdale
- Miami Beach Marina in Miami Beach
- Palm Harbour Marina in West Palm Beach
- Royale Palm Yacht Basin in Dania Beach
Hopefully, one of the above marinas has what you are looking for. A definitive answer for the best marina in Florida is very hard to answer. You could even argue that it is impossible. What is perfect for you might not be perfect for someone else. It depends so much on your budget and needs. If you are free to live wherever you choose because you work from home; then you are in luck. Some of the more northern marinas are a lot cheaper and far quieter. They offer a much more relaxed pace of life. Conversely, though, they don’t offer as many opportunities for work or play. There is more to do on South Beach than there is in the north. That’s for sure.
Remember, if water and power aren’t included in the lease you need to get an estimate before you choose a place. It may look cheaper but in the end, winds up being far more expensive when all the extra bills come in to play.