Article by JFA Yacht & Ship Consultant Mark Outlaw
If being on the water is a big part of your retirement dreams, here are some practical tips to consider:
Plan Your Mission & Mind Your Budget
Your yachting lifestyle will depend on your personal vision and portfolio. Do you want to live aboard full time? If that’s your vision, but you would like to keep cash flowing, a creative idea is to VRBO your home and/or pick up a self-managed day charters in whatever ports you visit. Alternatively, should you only want to cruise seasonally. You can offset the cost of ownership with a managed charter program for your yacht while you are not using it.
Consider the Season
Find out from your insurance company what type of hurricane coverage your boat has and plan trips with the hurricane belt in mind. Depending on that coverage, you may need to be north of a given latitude starting on or about June 1st through November. The dates and latitude are variable by insurance company.
Look at the charter calendars and pay attention to the pricing. The higher prices will reflect the busy season and that’s with good reason- it’s usually the best weather and peak season for snowbirds who go north in the spring and south in the fall. If weather is important to you, keep in mind you’ll be competing for marina space. If crowded waterways, ramps, and docks will bother you, think about switching it up so your trips are timed when it’s not so busy – like in the summer (but that involves special hurricane insurance).
Time your arrivals
When planning your trips, time your arrivals based on how much distance you can cover on a given day. Ex: If the average speed of your sailboat is 6 knots, take that into consideration and then account for where you’ll be. Are you going to go offshore or run the intracoastal? The intracoastal will take more time as you will go slow a lot and will have no wake zones and bridges. If you go offshore, you’ll need to worry about the weather. The second you get on a boat; time loses all relevance; you must do what the sea allows and what the weather permits. Keep this in mind when planning your trips and add extra time on the back end just in case the trip takes longer to complete.
Consider a Circuit
There’s groups and associations that map a course, prepare boaters, and have people leave at the same time. “The Salty Dog Sailing Association” has folks leave from the Long Island Sound area to Norfolk, and then from Norfolk to the Bahamas. Another group is “The Great Loop Cruisers Association of Boaters.” With their program, you travel the Great Loop almost exclusively up the Intracoastal. Both the Salty Dog Association and the Great Loop Cruisers have 4-5 days of safety briefings, a weather briefing, and a group of vetted technicians dedicated to the marina where everyone meets. This way, you can get your boat all tuned up so it’s safe and ready to go before you depart. Some people feel more comfortable traveling with a big group. However, keep in mind the groups do tend to drift apart once at sea, unless you’ve deliberately agreed to stay together. There are many circuits –a quick google search will bring up lots of options and ideas for courses you may want to take. Some of the best dates for travel are already mapped out by the groups.
At JFA, we specialize in making people’s yachting dreams a reality. Reach out to learn more about how to prepare and plan for your retirement on the water.
Mark Outlaw is a founding member of the JFA Yacht & Ship Team, serves as CIO, and continues to enjoy working with his clients as a veteran yacht consultant. Looking for an expert yacht consultant who is an innovative expert who value’s integrity, superior service, and authentic relationships? Contact Mark Outlaw today at 561-319-7004 or at firstname.lastname@example.org