Float Your Vacation Home
just opened my property tax bill. Yikes!
You've heard about Florida's sky-high property
taxes? Alas, it's true. Tallahassee even called a
special session to try to lower property taxes.
State legislators (Motto: You shake the trees--We
rake the leaves) don't get much practice lowering
taxes so they're not very good at it.
don’t know about you, but it seems that this year
the cost of living has flown off the charts. It's
not only higher property taxes and insurance rates,
it's the electric bill and the weekly trip to the
grocery store where the bottom line on the register
receipt looks like the national debt.
Even the airlines are rubbing salt into our
checkbook wounds. When you try to book a flight with
your frequent flyer miles, they tell you there are
no seats available. ("But, sir, I'm calling for
reservations two years from now.")
It's the high property taxes that rankle the most.
Which brings me to the point of this essay.
The best home deal in the state of Florida is
probably a boat.
Think about it. Liveaboard boat owners don't pay
property taxes. They pay a monthly fee to the marina
to keep the boat in the slip and to stay hooked up
to fresh water and electric. That's just about it.
Please promise me you will not tell our elected
officials. If you do, sure as shooting they will
raise taxes on boats and marine services. Does
anybody remember the disastrous consequences of the
Richard and Suzy Koths live in Michigan but their
second home is a 42-foot boat in Florida. They keep
Final Sea-Lection with the Southwest Florida
Yachts charter fleet and live on it when they visit.
When the Koths retire, they'll already have their
winter home at a marina where the water never
freezes. Putting their vessel in the charter fleet
even helps pay for their home away from home.
Liveaboard vessels also make great vacation rental
homes for a week or so. They are certainly a lot
less expensive than those resorts where every meal
comes with a big bill and a wait person who seems to
like to say "great choice" and "awesome."
You'll keep reaching deep to tip the pool boy and
pay for the beach cabana and kids' activities. And
don't forget the extras you discover on the final
bill which they slip under your door while you're
There is no pool boy to tip on a charter boat. You
can cook aboard, fish, read or putt-putt the dinghy
over to a deserted key so the kids can hunt for
treasure. If you feel like it, you can put out a
line, catch a fish and cook it for dinner.
But the biggest advantage to living aboard and
vacationing aboard may be the fact that every day
your vessel brings you at least two of the
essentials of a satisfying life – rest and
relaxation. Some would add another of life's
essentials – romance – to this list.
Come to think of it, when you're on a boat two more
necessities of life, sleep and sustenance, seem more
satisfying than ever. Even peanut butter and jelly
sandwiches taste especially good when you and yours
are up on the fly bridge with wind and smiles on