best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

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rhalterassoc
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Location: Eastern North Carolina

best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by rhalterassoc »

I've been boating all my life but the Keys and salt water are new to me. I'll be in northern Keys (Largo to Islamorada) in winter months soon - will have an oceanside slip that allows up to 21ft. Most boats here are 20' or 21' center consoles but those guys really only fish. I will fish a bit but also need some comfort for use in day trip exploring, restaurant hopping, and even active water sports (skiing or tubing) on the low wind days, so don't want to limit myself to the center console limited seating comfort. Something like a deck boat doesn't seem practical in the 10+ knot wind days. Any conchs have advice? Thanks in advance.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by Taylor Larimore »

rhalterassoc wrote:I've been boating all my life but the Keys and salt water are new to me. I'll be in northern Keys (Largo to Islamorada) in winter months soon - will have an oceanside slip that allows up to 21ft. Most boats here are 20' or 21' center consoles but those guys really only fish. I will fish a bit but also need some comfort for use in day trip exploring, restaurant hopping, and even active water sports (skiing or tubing) on the low wind days, so don't want to limit myself to the center console limited seating comfort. Something like a deck boat doesn't seem practical in the 10+ knot wind days. Any conchs have advice? Thanks in advance.
rhalterassoc:

Come to the Miami Boat Show starting tomorrow:

http://www.miamiboatshow.com/

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
pennywise
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by pennywise »

rhalterassoc wrote:I've been boating all my life but the Keys and salt water are new to me. I'll be in northern Keys (Largo to Islamorada) in winter months soon - will have an oceanside slip that allows up to 21ft. Most boats here are 20' or 21' center consoles but those guys really only fish. I will fish a bit but also need some comfort for use in day trip exploring, restaurant hopping, and even active water sports (skiing or tubing) on the low wind days, so don't want to limit myself to the center console limited seating comfort. Something like a deck boat doesn't seem practical in the 10+ knot wind days. Any conchs have advice? Thanks in advance.
You have a hard limit on size due to your slip capacity so you need to factor in that you can't go bigger than 20-21' regardless of what you want to do. We live in Miami and have a 24' Pursuit with a cuddy cabin. We know this area quite well for diving mostly and for what you're talking about you should easily find something that will work for your goals in the 20 foot range, although you aren't going to do much if any offfshore running other than on those perfect flat calm days. You probably won't be venturing far past the ICW/outer reef line and there's plenty to amuse yourself with between shore and the best diving/fishing areas like French and Molasses Reef and the shipwrecks near there. For skiing and tubing you're going to be sticking to shallow inshore areas and if you are in Key Largo ocean side you can play very happily in Pennekamp park or a little south around Rodriguez Key . Going toward Islamorada you can use Tavernier Creek to have access to gulf or ocean options and again, plenty of areas to find calm water.

Do be aware that your seasonal wind factor is going to apply; winter boating season doesn't bring nearly as many of those nice 10 knots-or-less days in the Keys or SoFla in general. And depending on your fortitude you may or may not find the water chilly. As a long time SoFla boater my personal standard for comfort is that I don't want to notice a temperature difference when I slip off my boat into the water, so about 80 is a nice water temp for me and that ain't happening till well into the summer boating season, your mileage may vary of course :wink: .

You can start getting a feel for conditions, if you haven't already, by using the NDBC website. That will give you a sense of what conditions are like over your seasonal options. It's your pick as to what buoy readings to follow. I usually go with Fowey lighthouse because the equipment is generally up and running and it's the only oceanfront read out till the lower keys stations. Here's that link:

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=fwyf1

You also didn't specify if you will be gulf side or ocean side-gulf tends to be a bit more protected but you'll get a bigger impact from winter fronts that push from the north and blow across toward the gulf side of the upper Keys. You will also want to consider that depending on where you are, the transit time to get from gulf to ocean or vice versa will be a consideration. If you're running through Adams Cut you will have a long no wake/slow zone and if you're doing Tavernier creek another slow zone although not as extended as AC.

Hope this helps and welcome to boater's paradise!
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prudent
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

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Topic moved to Personal Consumer Issues.
SouthernCPA
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by SouthernCPA »

I'd go center console. I don't live in the keys, but I live on the Gulf. I have a 22 foot center console that has seating options on the transom and in the bow above the fishboxes. I take the seats out when I fish with a few guys, put them back in when the females are joining us for a cruise/ride to restaurants. I also prefer the leaning post configuration for driving a center console. It's much more confortable driving while standing/leaning than it is sitting, IMO.

Salt water boating and freshwater boating are very different. I would stay away from a deck boat and stick to a deeper V center console. The V will help when the wind and conditions get snotty. I know experienced guys down there that run Bay boats, but I'm not sure I'd recommend that to a saltwater newbie. The lower gunnels on those and the flatter bow profile can get quite scary when conditions get nasty.
foursix
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by foursix »

I'll preface this by saying that this decision is totally a personal preference one....but I vote center console.

I live in S. Florida and have owned 4 boats, all CC's and never once has the CC configuration limited me on a harbor, dinner, drink cruise etc.

In fact, the shine of a harbor cruise wears off very quickly...very boring for me. I only use my boats for fishing anymore as it seems the cruisers aren't that interested anymore.
silentfaith
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by silentfaith »

get the key largo ,,it is wide and strong.
chmcnm
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by chmcnm »

We spent a week at Marathon this past summer. Loved it. You could definitely tell a difference between the ocean side and Gulf side. We rented a pontoon boat and a center console. My vote would be a center console and I'm not sure if 21' would be enough. Depends on what you want to do and far out you want to go.
Wricha
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by Wricha »

Center console 100% or cuddy if you plan some weekend trips. Everglades, Pursuit, Boston Whaler, Grandy all well built boats on expensive side. A step down but decent Sea Hunt.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by Taylor Larimore »

rhalterassoc

There are boats for sale everywhere in the Keys. It would be an advantage to have a reputable dealer nearby to advise you and guarantee his product.

Don't be in a hurry for this important decision.

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle
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snowshoes
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by snowshoes »

I'd suggest the impound lot on Overseas Hwy. @ MM54 in Marathon, alantic side, you'll see it.
Last edited by snowshoes on Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Topic Author
rhalterassoc
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:34 am
Location: Eastern North Carolina

Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by rhalterassoc »

I very much appreciate all the replies and help. Thanks. Now all I need is a lot of coin.
Riverstwo
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Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by Riverstwo »

Personally, I would buy a boat on the upper Chesapeake (fresh water) a couple years old, that hasn't been subjected to the harshness of saltwater, and so you pay less for a nice quality boat that hasn't had a chance to get gunked up. Judge Yachts, Parker, Maritime Skiff, all nice center consoles.
Topic Author
rhalterassoc
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:34 am
Location: Eastern North Carolina

Re: best type boat for FL Keys - need help from conchs

Post by rhalterassoc »

Chesapeake idea interests me.

Anyone know how a Key Largo compares? One for sale local to me:
https://eastnc.craigslist.org/boa/6020755730.html
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