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    • Displeasure with Southwest Florida Cruising Expense

      Cap’n Parky expresses his unhappiness that many cruisers are feeling, not only in Southwest Florida, but all along our Southeast coasts as marinas and other coastal retailers boost their prices to reflect the improving economy and the rising costs of maintenance. However, Cap’n Parky tempers his remarks by stating one of the primary reason that so many choose to live south of Orlando.

      Well for the first time in nine years of cruising I finally made it to South West Florida, very quickly realizing two unpleasant facts:

      1) The cost of staying at marinas is roughly twice (and sometimes thrice) what it is on the East Coast ICW. They have all kinds of hidden charges – liveaboard fees, up front deposits said to be “returnable”, high electricity charges, extra cost for “amenities”, insurance and the like.
      2) No matter where you go you are likely to run aground, sometimes even inside the marina! So having SeaTow or BoatsUS insurance is a must. Cruising therefore is much more stressful than say in Chesapeake Bay.

      But of course it is true that winter temperatures are much higher than anywhere north of Orlando.
      Cap’n Parky

      Another cruisers speaks:

      We’ve been cruising to Mangrove Marina for many years; the rates WERE reasonable, dockmates were (and still are) very friendly, and the location is excellent.
      NOW, we find rates have gone up after we made reservations, electric is no longer included in the dock rate (they now charge $85/month for 30 amp electric), a swimming pool is only partly completed and is best for mosquito farmers, the “food truck” hasn’t been opened at all since we’ve been here, income seems to be not used at all for maintenance and improvements, parking space has been reduced, and the bathroom/showers haven’t been cleaned in the past few days.
      Ardelle Pearsall

      Comments from Cruisers (4)

      1. Bruce Longman -  February 21, 2016 - 11:16 pm

        I recently contracted for the install of a swim platform on my 33′ Bertram, along with servicing of several thru hull valves. The selected FMB marine facility, came highly recommended by a fellow cruise club member, but it failed to inform its crew that there was more than one operation to be done on our boat. When confronted with my concerns over the lack of internal communication, the response was “that is the way we operate”. I pulled the job and have since had the service work done “off the beach”.

        A word of caution…Spell out in writing exactly what you want to be done, item by item. If you are not knowledgeable of your boat’s mechanicals, hire a pro to put in writing that which you want to be addressed – examined, repaired, or replaced. The minimal cost to have an experienced boat person evaluate your problem is well worth the few dollars for the inspection. And you have recourse after the job is completed.

        Been there, paid the $$, and are more aware of being taken.

        Reply to Bruce
      2. Nyla Deputy -  February 19, 2016 - 4:07 pm

        Cap’n Parky; most of the people in southwest Florida, who live here and own a boat, keep it on a lift in their back yard or keep it on a trailer in their back yard. Most boats here are under 26 ft and are trailerable. There are no restrictions on keeping boats at your house unless you live in a gated community. The lack of restrictions on boats in the backyard makes it so almost everybody has one. There are thousands of miles of backyard canals here and lots of public boat ramps and that is all the locals need.

        For the boats that are not trailerable, most of them are docked at their community dock in the gated community where they live. Few of the gated communities rent slips to the public. So the only way a public marina with boat slips can make money is from winter snowbirds because locals don’t need a marina. The marinas don’t have repair services like they do in the Chesapeake because mechanics ride around in a van or tow a cargo trailer and go to boat owners home to work on the boat, just like any other service tech that you call to work on something at your house. When we want fuel we get it from a gas station on the highway or have a truck come to the house. It is a different kind of boating here. The locals don’t support the marinas. Snowbirds support the marinas. And when you stop supporting the public marinas, with your $$$ there won’t be any and you will not have any place to keep your boat when you come here. You are the one who needs them. Local’s don’t use them.

        Reply to Nyla
      3. Dick Mills -  February 19, 2016 - 2:51 pm

        I fear that this is part of a trend. With so many boomers retiring, any and all facilities that cater to retired people are overcrowded. Higher prices and poorer service are natural byproducts of a seller’s market.

        This is my 11th year in Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL. For the past three years the mooring field fills quicker and the waiting lists get longer than the year before. This year, all the marinas in Marathon are also fully booked.

        If this trend continues, mooring balls,and slips, and places to anchor will be available only to those who stay there year-round.

        And the complaints of us boaters are small compared to those who must drive cars on Florida highways. The famous Captain Jack, here in BKH is now 94. He says that when he first came to Marathon, 50 years ago, that he could play softball on US-1 and finish the game before a car went past.
        I’m afraid that there are too many people on this planet.

        Reply to Dick
      4. Jim Healy -  February 19, 2016 - 2:10 pm

        If y’all think SW Florida is expensive, don’t even consider Long Island Sound, New England and the Maine coast.

        Reply to Jim
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