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Old 12-21-2008, 03:51 AM
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Lazy_Iguana
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Default Re: Florida Guys Question

Actually what you see is Watson Island on the left - no houses are there just the Miami Yacht Club (which is the three docks at the top) and the Miami Outboard Club (which is the dock on the bottom). Some people do live on board boats at the Miami Yacht Club, but most are just moored there.

The houses are on Palm and Hibiscus Island. Star Island is close, but not in the photo.

Some of the boats at anchor are well maintained and lived on, some are well maintained and not lived on, some are commercial shrimp boats, some are abandoned, some are hobo bots, and some are almost ready to sink.

The rich people living nearby every so often complain to the city, and because they have money the city commission listens to them. So the commission bitches at the police to "do something" and the police do something. They will put stickers on the abandoned boats and harass people living on boats. They have even in the past cut moorings when boats leave. But the moorings are either replaced later or people just use anchors which can be pulled up.

But nothing is really accomplished. The city of Miami has 0 interest in pulling boats. The city would have to pay to have them pulled, then pay to have them stored. And when the owners went to a lawyer the city would then have to pay to put the boats back in the water. The ones that would go unclaimed are for the most part not worth enough to make pulling them worthwhile.

Now you can not just drop anchor anywhere. In the above photo it has been an anchorage for a long time. It is not part of a channel, although it is close to the ICW and Malloy Channel. It is supposed to be for vessels in transit - but over the years it just became what it is. Also I think it was listed on a chart at some time as a designated anchorage. So there is not a lot the city can do. They know it.

But you can not just drop anchor anywhere. You have to select your location. You can not impede navigation obviously. And some areas have police that are quicker to harass than other areas. Sure you can be there - but you will get boarded several times a day (at each shift change) and you will collect orange violation stickers. You can fight the violations in court and win - but then you have to go to court, which is a hassle.

But yea - there are places you can live "for free".

If you take up residence at the Watson Island anchorage, I suggest you join the Miami Yacht Club. They have hot showers for members. And a bar. And if you want to pull up to the club dock you can take on fresh water. There is no pump out, but a major cut is close by so you are not from the 3 mile line. Or you can get a type I head that uses an electric current to mostly treat waste. Plenty of people on boats with no facilities frequent the area, and whatever they discharge is not treated at all.

Yacht club members can also apply for dock space with shore power that is as cheap as it gets for the area. Membership is not super expensive either - this is not really a country club type club where if your boat is worth only $1 million you are poor.