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Boat Storage In Florida

By Little Gidding - Published January 07, 2006 - Viewed 690 times


From Dave:

You mentioned that you've left Little Gidding in dry storage in Florida for extended periods. Can you tell me where you leave her? What is the expense? How secure is she from hurricanes? We are leaving from Texas to go cruising and would like to be able to return home periodically without having to make the trip back across the Gulf.

Hi Dave,

Last summer and the summer before we stored our boat at the Indiantown Marina (phone 772-597-2455, e-mail IndiantownMarina@juno.com). It's on the Okeechobee Waterway about 10 miles east of Lk Okeechobee. It's a popular place for long term storage because: it's located inland and therefore not affected by storm surge; do-yourself-work is permitted on vessels in its working yard (this is becoming a rarity in Florida); and its rates are reasonable, by Florida standards. There are two other boat storage facilities in Florida with which we are familiar that meet these same criteria: Green Cove Springs Marina on the St. Johns River south of Jacksonville (phone 904-284-1811, e-mail gcsm00@yahoo.com); and Glades Boat Storage on the Okeechobee Waterway about 10 miles west of Lake Okeechobee (863-983-3040). All three are in demand and sometimes have waiting lists to get in.

In terms of access for the marinas on the Okeechobee Waterway, the controlling height on the waterway is the 49' raised railway bridge at Port Mayaca. A mast as high as 55' can pass through if the boat is heeled over by the weight of water-filled barrels, a service provided by a fellow named Billy who operates out of the Indiantown Marina. Taller-rigged sailboats can only reach Glades from the west or Indiantown from the east unless their masts are unstepped.

You had best contact the boat yard directly for its rates. We believe they have gone up since we were there last year. In addition to paying for the haul and launch and for dry storage, you will be charged for blocking, jack stand rental, moving the boat into the working yard (if you want to do any work on it), and reblocking. There's a surcharge for being in the working yard. It all adds up.

Is it secure from hurricanes? Well, everything is relative. To put things in context, Florida is by far the most hurricane prone state in the Union; over one-third of all hurricanes that have made a North American landfall in the past century have targeted the sunshine state. Having said that, Indiantown was blessed until recently and had a record of virtually no storm damage to its boats. Then it had two direct hits by hurricanes in 2004 and a big wallop by Wilma last year (the two years that, coincidentally, Little Gidding happened to be stored there). Twenty-two boats were knocked down in 2004 and 33 in 2005. The total number of boats stored there last year was 525, so if you're a betting man, the odds might not look all that bad -- only 6% of the boats were affected. We'll leave that up to you (and your insurance company) to decide.

Hope this helps. Please contact us again if you need any more information or have additional questions.

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