Considering the Gulf Coast region

Discussion in 'Gulf Coast' started by FootballFan, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Hello All,

    Our boat is currently on a Lake in Texas, learning alot about it but we are starting to feel the limits of a contained body of water.

    The plan has been to wind up on salt water at some point - starting to consider it sooner rather than later.

    We have spent time cruising in south florida, cheasapeake, and Maine (bareboat charters). Love them all - but just too far from home at this stage with work responsibilities. That brings me to the topic.

    Geographically, the FL panhandle over to AL looks good - we can be in Mobile or Pensacola with a 1 hour flight. Have spent time on land in both areas - but never on the water.

    First - any comments, resources, etc about boating in the area are very welcome.

    Second, I plan to visit the area over the next few months to look at marinas and facilities.

    What locations should I visit? I have looked at Orange Beach area online, looks interesting, Not sure about FL locations I should look at.

    Not sure where to start, but was hoping to get some input from this group. I am sure this will be the first of many questions - thank you in advance for any input.
     
  2. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    This one is a slam dunk for me.........I think there are 3 key points to consider:

    First, get out a map and take a look at the Apalachicola FL to Orange Beach area. Next look at the passes or access points to the Gulf. There aren't many where you can dock in protected water but still have reasonable access to the Gulf......From Panama City to Pensacola there are 3. If you are a boater, it then does little good to be somewhere on a bay where you have a 15-20 mile run to get to open water.

    Then, if you look at the entire cost in NW Fla, you will see a number of barrier islands protecting the bays and lagoons from the sea. That is important for 2 reasons. Areas with barrier islands have a measure oif protection from storm surges and wind, but on a tangible front, the barrier island means you can go somewhere and enjoy the boat nearly every day of the year. If you have heavy seas or southern winds getting out of a pass or just being in the Gulf is either uncomfortable or worse, dangerous, it is very easy to run inside the barrier islands and stay in calm water protected from sea winds. A secondary benefit of the barrier islands is that you can anchor in protected water inside the island and walk across to the gulf. Depending upon the depths, the barrier islands are pretty much like the Caribbean since t he water is clear and easy to anchor in.

    Finally, where you keep your boat and who is going to take care of it for you gets to be a complicated issue because the various marinas all have different reputations for care, cleanliness and service provided.



    Back to your map............We made the decision to be in Panama City Beach basically because the boating there is better than anywhere else on the coast. We don't fish but use the boat as a get away vehicle. We have a barrier island that is long and narrow so we have any number of anchorages all within a few miles of the marina. If we go out into the Gulf, the marina we use is a, 8-10 minute from from the ship channel and open water. We are 3 hours from Apalachicola and "the forgotten coast", and 5 hours from Pensacola to the west. I keep my boat at the local Sea Ray dealer who has 24 hour security and 9 full time mechanics on staff year round. Getting something fixed from a bilge pump replacement to a haul-out is as simple as phone call. The marina does have a tried and tested hurricane plan for both dry stack and wet slip customers. We also have a new airport with service by several carriers. This is a tourist destination so the summers do get busy, but not nearly as busy as Destin, a small town that long ago outgrew its infrastructure.

    As I think about this, there are a lot of other variables one has to take into consideration. I know the NW Florida coast pretty well, so ask any questions and I'll try to help you get the answers.
     
  3. Red Stripe

    Red Stripe Member

    312
    Nov 6, 2006
    East Coast
    N/A
    N/A
    A good read for you might be the 11.22 Active Captain newsletter, found on their site, running though what Gulf Coast cruising is like West of Pensacola.
     
  4. spfortjohn

    spfortjohn New Member

    640
    Jul 31, 2011
    Orange Beach, AL
    2014 219FS Keywest CC
    F200 Yamaha Outboard
    We have a condo in Orange Beach and keep our boat at Romar Harbor marina, it is right across the bayou from our condo. If I were flying in and wanting to stay on the boat I would look at Barbara's marina It is a new marina on the intercoastal and is very nice and they can keep a very large boat inside out of the water. Great protection from the storms and very nice facility. A couple of other forum members are at that marina. If I did not have the condo and were just keeping a boat it would be the place for me. PM me if you want any more info and I will give you my phone number. We love it here.
     
  5. dontworrybehappy

    dontworrybehappy Member

    57
    Jun 9, 2011
    orange beach , alabama/ madison, ms
    2005 sea ray 420 db 6cta cummins diesels
    6cta cummins diesels
    If you have your own plane, then the Wharf is the place to be in Orange Beach. A short 10 minutes from Jack Edwards airport. We do this every other weekend, and leave our Cruisers in the water year round. Much to do at the Wharf, Restaurants, entertainment, shops, activities, and great floating docks.

    Barber is a high quality marina, but it is quiet and virtually nothing to do, and land locked for other restaurants. The Wharf is a hurricane hole, if there is a storm, boats flock to this location.

    We boat to Pensacola, the gulf, and a few hot spots like Robinson Island and Fort McRee for outings.
     
  6. docofthebay

    docofthebay New Member

    461
    Sep 10, 2009
    Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay Alabama
    1985 390 EC
    twin 3208TA Cats
    Twin disc transmissions
    Click the link below and then enter 189319 into the MLS number area.
    This is the condo complex where I have two condos and keep my boat. Each condo comes with it's own slip that is included in the monthly condo fee. This condo complex is on Mobile Bay about three miles from the pass out into the gulf and one mile from a marina with fuel. This condo is about 7 years old and originally sold for $450,000. This way you could have a nice place to stay and and good place for your boat as well.

    http://www.meyerre.com/sales/baldwin/
     
  7. spfortjohn

    spfortjohn New Member

    640
    Jul 31, 2011
    Orange Beach, AL
    2014 219FS Keywest CC
    F200 Yamaha Outboard
    I agree the wharf is nice it is just a short run from Barbars. I was thinking barbars because they can keep the 34 inside and not in the water.
     
  8. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Thank you very much for the input. Will go a little deeper on the charts.

    We would be flying commercial.

    Are there any differences in registration/sales tax/etc cost between having the boat in AL vs FL?
     
  9. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Also, is the boating season year around? How cool does it get in the winter? Having spent time with work in Mobile, I know it gets pretty warm there during the summer months.
     
  10. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Florida has no ad-valorem taxes. As a non-resident you would pay only registration which varies by length.

    I bought my big boat in Florida and planned to leave it there so it has FL registration, but I also keep a Whaler Dauntless in the same marina in dry storage with Tennessee registration on it. So, if you store the boat where the Florida Wildlife officers can't see it in the water, you could probably keep Texas registration on it if that is cheaper.

    We have an aft enclosure so we do boat all year........I'm usually in a T-shirt in February if we leave the curtains up. The bigger problem, and about all that keeps us off the water in the winter, is the prevailing winds move around to the N-NW and can blow 25-30 kts for several days running.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012
  11. searay40dad

    searay40dad Active Member

    Oct 23, 2006
    Western KY/Panama City FL
    2001 480 Sedan Bridge w/ Novurania RIB
    660 hp CAT 3196's
    Having just moved the 480 from midwest to Panama City (same marina Frank calls home) for the winter, I'm hearing boating is year-round but you have to pick your days. We spent 8 days in PC over the Thanksgiving week and a couple days were pretty windy and a tad chilly (60's) but after things settled down, we enjoyed 4 straight 75 degree days. We'll be spending the week between Christmas and New Years on the boat and I've been told to expect mid-to-upper 60's as the norm with some days getting into the 70's...same in January with temps picking back up in February and March. Before we moved the boat down, spent several spring breaks in Gulf Shores and fished out of Destin probably 4-5 times. I do tend to believe you can boat year round but your wife's probably not going to be wearing a thong during the "winter months".

    Speaking of thongs...well, bikinis actually...we were stopped twice last week cruising around the bays. Conservation Officer the first day because we weren't displaying state registration decal/numbers and USCG the second day as part of a "courtesy safety inspection". A former USCG buddy of mine asked me if my wife was wearing a bikini either day and I said 'yep' and he smiled and said that is not uncommon to be boarded if thats the case. so, she's taking down a couple of parkas in December.

    Here are a few pics from last weeks stay if you're interested in seeing the area Frank was talking about. My first impression was pretty positive about the area. With that being said, I like any and all gulf coast areas. Its like picking between Raquel Welch and Sophia Loren...or Hillary and Pelosi if thats your druthers (as in it just really doesn't matter now does it). Tim

    IMG_0128 (2).jpg

    IMG_0132 (2).jpg

    IMG_0148 (2).jpg

    IMG_0149 (2).jpg

    IMG_0161 (2).jpg
     
  12. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Great Pictures. Thinking I will probably detour through the area after the first of the year, do some exploring.

    Thanks for all the input so far, I am sure that I will have more questions.

    A couple offered for me to contact them, I will be taking you up on those offers soon.

    Mark
     
  13. VinceR

    VinceR New Member

    356
    Aug 13, 2008
    Shreveport, LA
    boatless
    Boatless
    Wehave been at Barber Marina for three years. Our 340 is dry stored inside theirbuilding. We do not worry about the boat. Barber has a full service boat yardand excellence maintenance. Their people are very nice. The marina is remoteand quite. We love staying aboard in the marina. If we want to go to the actionwe crank up and go. The Warf is about 6 miles. There are many restaurants within 12 water miles of Barber.

    We live 400 miles from Orange Beach. We will normally fly Our Bonanza into JackEdwards.


    We hope to see you there.
     
  14. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    The concept of moving is gaining momentum. Just got our annual slip rental for the lake, decided to renew for the year but discussions with the wife were that it may very well be the last summer on the lake.

    My perception is that we pay a very high preminum for having our boat 20 minutes away from the house. Our rate is around $18 per foot, per month.

    Our decision process is to settle on an area that we want to be in, then decide whether to move this boat or sell it here and buy an upgrade on the other end. Even if we move the 340, we would probably be moving to something with a fly bridge within a year or so.

    I plan to be in the area Feb or early March, going to drive through and look at some locations.

    I appreciate all the input so far - once I have the visit dates firmed up - will check so see if anyone is around in the area.

    thanks
     
  15. Emily-Kate

    Emily-Kate New Member

    1
    Feb 1, 2014
    Gulfport MS
    400 Sedan Bridge 2000
    2 Cat 350 hp deisel
    Check out Gulfport Mississippi, we boated today(Feb1) 65 degrees with sun. Beautiful day great Marina Gulfport Small Craft Harbor
     
  16. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    I would much rather be on the water... Headed to the Miami boat show in two weeks. Will spend most of our time at the brokerage show. Tired of being on the lake.
     
  17. villain style

    villain style Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Mears Point Marina Kent Island, MD
    2006 44 DA
    QSC 8.3s
    Cummins QSC 8.3s 500HO
    Hey FootballFan - Did you ever make a purchase?? Orange Beach looks nice..
     
  18. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Yes, purchased in 2014, a few months after the last posting on this thread.

    Would up getting a fly bridge boat and keeping it in South Florida. Final decision on location wound up being the warmer weather in the winter months that south Florida provides.

    The upper Gulf Coast looks fantastic, everyone I talked to heartily endorsed it.

    Mark
     

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