Warning: reading this article about fun boating times in warm climates while your boat is winterized and you are hunkered down in snow and cold may be expensive, as you plan your escape. Whether it is living vicariously or actually planning a future warmer climate winter, we hope you enjoy anyway. 

winter boating
Bahamas anyone? From South Florida, the Bahamas are but 60 miles away. 

At this time of year there are two kinds of boaters from in and around the Chesapeake. There are oh so many who are dreaming and maybe even planning trips on their boat when the world warms up. There are also the smaller group, who are using their boat in the warm waters of South Florida. 

Maybe you have a boat you can live on for a while? Maybe you need to rent a condo for the season and keep your boat nearby? Doing so, you would join thousands of your Bay boating friends. In the Jupiter, FL, area alone, there are over 50 Annapolis-based boating couples, enjoying sunshine and warm boating weather while their Bay home sits empty and cold. 

With this in mind, let me present to you the top 10 reasons to get yourself and your boat to South Florida for the winter.   

winter boating
Snow shovel or sand shovel? It really is your choice. 

10. No winterization needed. If your boat is on the Chesapeake, you have already made peace with the pink and purple stuff (antifreeze). Sure, by August you won’t taste the pink stuff in your onboard water tank, but why use it in the first place?  
9. No land storage contracts. Your boat may be propped up on spindly jack stands or a trailer with a slightly forlorn look… Boats were made to float and float they should!  

8. No shrink wrapping. The cost of shrink wrapping can probably pay a month’s slip fee in South Florida. Besides, as good as it is at covering your boat for the harsh winter weather, where does that stuff go year after year? Surely the hidden environmentalist in you can claim: “No more shrink wrap, we’re headed south!” 

7. Maybe a fun ICW trip? As has been documented in the pages of PropTalk in great detail, an ICW trip can be so much fun. It is even more fun when compared to crawling around an engine room to winterize or struggling with a ladder to check your baby out in the yard on a cold February day. Where was that ladder anyway?  

winter boating
Get yourself to south Florida for the winter - no winterization needed!

6. Bahamas anyone? From South Florida the Bahamas are but 60 miles away. The allure of a quiet anchorage, surrounded by crystal clear blue-green water that is about 80 degrees, is almost more than one can stand. The colder it is on the Bay, the more you want the Bahamas. 

5. No snow and snow shoveling. Our mild December brought us to a very cold January. This winter has delivered plenty of snow already, and we could see more before Mother Nature sounds the “all clear.” Snow shoveling is no fun and a documented health hazard. So, snow shovel or sand shovel? It really is your choice. 

4. No frozen pipes. Did you get caught in that last cold snap? Being in South Florida can’t guarantee your pipes back home won’t freeze. However, supported by a local margarita, you may not care. And I can assure you, they won’t freeze in South Florida.   

3. Lunch at your favorite waterfront restaurant. In South Florida, everybody wants to go have a meal or happy hour by boat. The savvy local restaurateurs are all too happy to make you and your boat comfortable for a visit. What could be more perfect?

winter boating
Group lunchtime raft up off the ICW in Hobe Sound, FL.  

2. Bikini beach (well actually it is called “thong beach,” but this is a family publication). There are miles of sandy beaches or sandbars that become a communal gathering place in season. You can take your boat and anchor close to shore or just nudge up on a bar or sandy beach with hundreds of your closest friends. No need to bring your own music. There is always some guy with a sound system with more horsepower than his engines.   

1. And the top reason to get your boat to Florida for the winter: You can get a head start on your goal of 100 days a year on your boat and log them at the SpinSheet Century Club challenge! 

By Mike Pitchford