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Old 01-19-2014, 07:07 AM
Location: Miami, Florida
22 posts, read 145,619 times
Reputation: 15


There is this guy who has a custom built house boat moored about a half mile off the Marathon Keys shore. It's basically a platoon boat with a framed wood house on top of it. It's been there forever and he even rents it out. I asked a bunch of questions and he says it's perfectly legal and safe. According to him, the coast guard and local gov have no issue. He says it has a tag and he has never had problem with the law, pirates, theft or vandals. He says it's in 3 feet of water and it gets so dark out there you can't see your hand in front of your face. He also said he get's good cell phone reception.

Looking at pictures of his setup it is pretty primitive and it reminds me of the movie Water World. The idea of kayaking out to it with water and supplies and spending a few nights really interests me.. but more interested on the setup.

Anyways, I'm not boater, but how is this possible and how does it work?

Does he pay anybody or anything to moor? Is he just anchored?

Is he protected by the law from crime and theft? Emergency rescue?

Can he be fined if one day it sinks or somebody sets it on fire?

If this is legal, I'd love to do this.. but who decides if and how long it can remain on the water?

Can I build my own floating platform and have it towed out even if it has no motor? does it require a permit or tag? Any chance he is illegally there but nobody enforces the law?

Last edited by cyberpine; 01-19-2014 at 07:44 AM..
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:34 PM
159 posts, read 274,262 times
Reputation: 136
He's probably anchored out...and its perfectly legal so long as he calls himself a "cruiser in transit" and is anchored away from any official mooring field and is in state coastal waters. Florida allows unlimited anchoring so long as you follow all the other rules. You know, current registration and aren't caught dumping overboard, passes his periodic boarding by the USCG or FL FWC (thugs)

How this guy handles his waste water tank is interesting to me. If his boat goes aground, spills fuel oil or waste, or sinks...he's in big trouble, but good luck finding him. He'll disappear into Louisiana, Tennessee, or the Caribbean like so many other Florida scoff-laws.

If he's renting out his boat on sites like AirBNB, then there may be some municipalities that will go after him, short term rentals may be limited in some areas (not sure)...especially since I doubt he's paying bed taxes. And the state will want sales tax but I doubt this guy is declaring his income on the houseboat unless the service he uses for bookings collects the tax for him up front.

Lots of people park and rent their houseboats in marinas...very few do it anchored out. With sites like AirBNB and Craigslist, I think this is going to be a growing area of concern/regulation in particularly crowded and sensitive areas like the keys. Hotel lobby will be aiming for guys like this with both barrels...they pay sales and bed taxes.
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