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New to Tampa (and boat ownership)

Old 07-31-2020, 11:30 AM
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Default New to Tampa (and boat ownership)

Hi all,
Apologies in advance for asking really stupid questions. I recently moved down to Tampa and am looking to learn as much as I can in the next few months before I buy a boat. We live on a canal that goes out to Old Tampa Bay just north of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Kind of near Dana Shores if you are familiar with that area.

Anyways, I've been boating my entire life but it's been at the Lake of the Ozarks and other fresh water lakes. I've rented a couple boats in the Tampa area and we've cruised around the bay no problem even with a small 19 foot bowrider. We have a Yamaha waverunner that gets us around on calm days and we'll hit up Whiskey Joe's or a small beach from time to time but are looking to add a boat.

My biggest question is how big of a boat do I need in order to be able to go from where I am down to Anna Marie Island or Sarasota? The boat that I would like to get is the Regal 26 OBX but I want to make sure that a deck boat of that size can handle that kind of trip before I put that much money into a boat. Most of our boating will be cruising around the bay and anchoring out to have some beers with friends and the occasional skiing/wake boarding/wake skating but I'd like to be able to head down to Anna Marie for a weekend getaway and rent a boat slip there and stay at the marriott. We also have friends in Sarasota that it would be nice to see by boat.

Am I way off here? Do I need something over 30 feet to handle that kind of trip? Where can I safely get to using the ICW? I'm sorry for being a complete moron but salt water is a completely different beast from the lake and I would really appreciate any guidance you all can give me.
Old 07-31-2020, 11:42 AM
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you left out the most important detail, budget? I would take the power squadron class.
Old 07-31-2020, 11:46 AM
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That boat will get you around the bay just fine. The bay can be a washing machine at times though, so there may be days you will not want to make that long run from north Tampa Bay all the way down to Anna Maria. I would recommend putting some time in to learn the weather patterns in the area, and how the bay reacts to different wind conditions. Also, different parts of the bay may have different sea conditions depending on the weather and wind direction (e.g. may be nice and calm north Tampa Bay, but then once get by the Skyway it could be snotty.) Time on the water and experience helps with all of this as well.
Old 07-31-2020, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CRC353 View Post
That boat will get you around the bay just fine. The bay can be a washing machine at times though, so there may be days you will not want to make that long run from north Tampa Bay all the way down to Anna Maria. I would recommend putting some time in to learn the weather patterns in the area, and how the bay reacts to different wind conditions. Also, different parts of the bay may have different sea conditions depending on the weather and wind direction (e.g. may be nice and calm north Tampa Bay, but then once get by the Skyway it could be snotty.) Time on the water and experience helps with all of this as well.
So you think on a weekend with limited wind it would be capable of getting from north tampa bay down to anna marie island? The majority of our time will be spent near home but I just want a boat that is at least capable of a long ride to explore other parts of the gulf coast if the conditions are reasonable.

@wpbth I'm in sales so budget is going to fluctuate depending on which deals close and which deals don't. Just secured the money for expanding our dock and adding a boat lift. Most likely the budget will be $100k. Could get up to about $150k or as low as $40k if things fall through. My dream would be the 33 SAV from regal or something similar but no way is my fiance letting me spend that kind of money on a boat even if all my deals that are in flight close this year.
Old 07-31-2020, 12:24 PM
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Never hurts to go bigger, if you have the space and budget. With that said, on a nice day you can make that run in a skiff. I've ran my old 22 foot bay boat all over the bay, up and down the west coast of Florida, out 30 miles offshore, and all the way down to keys from here. It is all about knowing your boat, knowing how handle the boat, knowing how to read the various weather and marine forecast, and most importantly knowing when to not go out.
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Old 07-31-2020, 12:32 PM
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^^^^ wise words
Old 07-31-2020, 03:38 PM
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You wanna Joy ride and play get the biggest boat you can afford.

The bay is either a place to run shallow or stay in deep water. It gets rough and their ain't a place to enjoy the water north of the Gandy bridge for cruising. The water quality sucks most of the year in the upper bay where your located.

I personally wouldn't stick my toe in the water inside of the Skyway bridge in the summer time.

Take a peek at the creeks that feed Dana Shores. Look at the run off of millions of people draining into the upper bay.

Old 07-31-2020, 04:57 PM
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You will be fine. I used to regularly run a 17 Mako from downtown Tampa to the Skyway. Yeah, sometimes we got tossed around a bit, but always made it home. Now I am not saying that boat was ideal for that type of run, but it was doable. Running to Anna Maria in a 26’ boat is totally safe and comfortable as long as you watch weather. Hell, we regularly fish 50+ miles offshore in my 25’ CC.

I think that size boat is a good all around size. Big enough to be reasonably comfortable, small enough for water sports and ease of handling. I would consider looking at some of the more saltwater oriented dual consoles as I feel they are a little better quality and capability compared the cruiser brands like Regal,Monterey... etc.
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:22 PM
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Jay Hawk,

Take your time, look at what your neighbors have and what they do! A Regal is a nice vessel in the right place at the right time. My experience with Tampa Bay is "think of popcorn machine". Beyond the Skyway it can go from a popcorn machine to a HEAVY DUTY MASHINE MACHINE. The ability to pick your weather window is VERY important here.
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Old 07-31-2020, 11:22 PM
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We take our 24' bay boat all over Tampa Bay. We're based in Bradenton and have taken it up the Hillsborough River, out to Beer Can Island, up to Caladesi, out to Egmont Key. As long as the weather is decent, that size boat will get around just fine.
Old 08-01-2020, 06:11 AM
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To echo everyone else I've spent time in Tampa Bay when you could comfortably run in a Jon Boat and I've been in Tampa Bay getting my butt kicked in a 61' Viking. A 26' will be fine to get you down here to Sarasota/Anna Maria plenty of days throughout the year. Assuming you're prudent and pick your days the biggest concern will be continuing to watch the weather as the day goes on. Depending on the time of year you can wake up and cross the bay in the morning when it's oil-slick calm, but by the time you try to head home in the afternoon it can kick up (whether that's afternoon thunderstorms, incoming cold fronts, or even just the strong afternoon seabreeze) and make it a long, bumpy ride.

Regal makes a fine boat, but if it were me I'd look at something a little more offshore-oriented. I imagine once you get comfortable here you'll want to spend a lot of time at the sandbars and passes out on the Gulf which are pretty long runs from where your house is and you'll be more comfortable when you inevitably get stuck in the snotty stuff coming home.
Old 08-01-2020, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Yacht Huckleberry View Post
I think that size boat is a good all around size. Big enough to be reasonably comfortable, small enough for water sports and ease of handling. I would consider looking at some of the more saltwater oriented dual consoles as I feel they are a little better quality and capability compared the cruiser brands like Regal,Monterey... etc.
Originally Posted by Absolute View Post
Jay Hawk,

Take your time, look at what your neighbors have and what they do! A Regal is a nice vessel in the right place at the right time. My experience with Tampa Bay is "think of popcorn machine". Beyond the Skyway it can go from a popcorn machine to a HEAVY DUTY MASHINE MACHINE. The ability to pick your weather window is VERY important here.
Originally Posted by SirFer View Post
Regal makes a fine boat, but if it were me I'd look at something a little more offshore-oriented. I imagine once you get comfortable here you'll want to spend a lot of time at the sandbars and passes out on the Gulf which are pretty long runs from where your house is and you'll be more comfortable when you inevitably get stuck in the snotty stuff coming home.
I really appreciate all the responses! Any recommendations on brands to check out that you all think would fit my needs better? Open to looking around. Just want room for 10+, power for water sports and a comfortable ride. Fishing isn't really very important to me as most of my fishing will be off the dock.
again, seriously appreciate the responses and I look forward to learning from this place.
Old 08-01-2020, 06:57 AM
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10 plus people and water sports plus a good dry ride is gonna put you in a 30 plus foot boat with lots of HP required.

Maybe a Tri-toon with big HP. 10 people is a lot on a boat unless it's a big one.
Old 08-01-2020, 09:18 AM
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This is great information everyone is posting. It probably never occurred to most folks on a boating site that the weather can kick up the water and make it a rough and uncomfortable trip.
Old 08-01-2020, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by SeaJay View Post
This is great information everyone is posting. It probably never occurred to most folks on a boating site that the weather can kick up the water and make it a rough and uncomfortable trip.
One would think we’re all just stating the obvious, but go anchor up at the Bulkhead on a weekend afternoon and watch all the people in flats boats, pontoon boats, and small CC’s who ran down to Sarasota or Jewfish from St. Pete or Tampa hit the open water of the bay and have an “oh s@*#” moment when they realize that the flat calm from their morning run has turned into 2-3’s.
Old 08-04-2020, 02:44 AM
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This area of Florida is heavily populated with center console style boats with outboard power. Forget your lake boat thinking and go with an outboard powered boat. More reliable, less maintenance, easier to work on, and you can run in skinnier water and beach the boat easier.
Old 08-04-2020, 03:21 AM
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Agree with everyone else about watching & learning the weather. A few years ago we took our old pontoon from the skyway to Cayo costa and back....but we have boated in the area for 20+ years. It was an awesome trip at 15knts. That being said, there are plenty of days my 35' sport fish would stay at the dock due to weather.

Make sure what ever you get is outboard powered for sure. Also, unlike lake life, those pretty cushions in a deck boat will not have a long life. The sunlight and salt water will eat them alive. Most cushions won't last more than a few years and are expensive to replace.
Old 08-05-2020, 09:17 AM
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A big boat is completely wasted in the upper bay area, if you ask me. Most of this area is flats boat / bay boat territory based on the tides and time of year.

If you have a big boat that drafts alot you'll HAVE to run south to get much use out of it and you'll be severely limited in the winter on low tide days.

Watch your tides and your wind direction. The wind can be a huge factor in magnifying or reducing a tide. It can also turn the bay into a complete mess.

If you are out on the water you'll see alot of technical and poling skiffs working the flats and the shorelines.

Please give them lots of space and use proper etiquette on the water...
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Old 08-05-2020, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by signmansez View Post
This area of Florida is heavily populated with center console style boats with outboard power. Forget your lake boat thinking and go with an outboard powered boat. More reliable, less maintenance, easier to work on, and you can run in skinnier water and beach the boat easier.
This.

You won't catch me in a bow rider during the summer when storms blow up out of nowhere.
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:19 AM
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I am going to be that guy who recommends their own boat.

Op, I was like you. I wanted a boat that could do a lot of things. My list in no particular order was to be able to cruise to restaurants,hit the sandbar, go shallow, outboard, go to Bahamas, overnight, head, get out of weather, water sports. Then I wanted some luxuries, such as windlass, bow thruster, fresh water shower. Then I wanted removable upholstery, so I did not have to have it baking in the sun.

Here is what I purchased. (Except mine has the extended long-top and is newer)


https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/201...ander-3694549/

Give it a look. 29’9” LOA

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