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Old 07-07-2019, 01:10 PM   #1
chuckschultz15
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Moving to Gainesville area

Hi, I am going to be moving to Gainesville in one year and want to do some serious spearfishing on the weekends. I have all the gear for free dive spearfishing (have done it in Hawaii, and Cabo) and read the PADI free diver manual several times. I am also going to take the FII course. I will likely live in Gainesville for 1-2 years. I am interested in owning a boat while I am there that can get me to some excellent spearing without breaking the bank. I was thinking somewhere in the range of 20 ft. or so. Would a walk around or center console be more practical? Also, how far out do you need to get for decent opportunities on the gulf side vs. Atlantic?

My other thought was to just find a good group of guys who are down there more permanently and try to split gas/expenses with them instead of owning the boat myself......but something about having my own boat just seems nice......


Thanks
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:59 PM   #2
Diverboy067
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Re: Moving to Gainesville area

Have a boat, have to have insurance and a tow vehicle. Then gas plus maintenance and a 20' boat gets really small, really fast, can't get to much of the good stuff except for perfect weather windows......much cheaper and easier to have friends with a boat if you live a couple hours from the coast.
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Old 07-08-2019, 04:56 AM   #3
Eibwen
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Re: Moving to Gainesville area

Gulf side you have to run 20+ miles to get to 50+ft of depth. Your better bet is develop your network on east coast. Gets deeper much quicker so a small boat makes more possible. Good luck and enjoy your stay in FL
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Old 07-08-2019, 06:45 PM   #4
heybuddies
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Re: Moving to Gainesville area

I've lived in FL my entire life and owned boats for 25+ years. For what it's worth, if you have to buy a boat and a reliable truck to tow it, by the time you pay for everything - boat/motor/trailer maintenance and gas - you are probably better off networking if you will only be here for a few years.

There is a saying that the best day of owning a boat is the day you sell it. I obviously don't agree but the point being that many people underestimate the work and money to own one (unless you are buying new under warranty).

My two cents:
1. Get dive certified so others can trust your commitment to safety.
2. Meet some folks on the forums. When you get an invitation, take extra care to be a great mate. Show up at the dock early. Bring ice and drinks for others, pull up the anchor all day, clean the boat, and pay more than your fair share of fuel. Remember how much you are saving on a truck payment, boat payment, and a lot of gas on both.
3. Boat owners are good people who will help you catch a ride with their friends, IF you earn it.
4. Try to get into a spearfishing club in the area of your network. If you do 1-3 above, you will get in and find plenty of rides with experienced spearos.

Remember there are a lot of people who don't have boats. Be respectful, helpful and generous and you will stand out from a lot of others who will not get invited back.

Good luck!
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:34 PM   #5
chuckschultz15
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Re: Moving to Gainesville area

I appreciate all the good advice. At this point I have a Ram 1500 to tow with and am no stranger to basic mechanical maintenance. I do think it’d be nice to meet some folks to go with if I can—and one little voice on my shoulder is definitely telling me that. I just prefer not to have to wait around on an invite rather than organizing things myself + being able to invite friends and family to visit and being able to take them out.

I’m selling my motorcycle, a few guns and my wood/shop tools this summer in prep for my move and then if I decide to go ahead with it I’ll scan craigslist for something suitable up north here this winter.. I’m hoping by being patient and waiting for the off season I can get a screaming deal on something 10-15 years old, stored indoors, low use, etc etc. Then use it for a few years and sell it at peak time in a hotter market and not lose much.
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Old 07-09-2019, 01:29 PM   #6
grey2112
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Re: Moving to Gainesville area

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diverboy067 View Post
Have a boat, have to have insurance and a tow vehicle. Then gas plus maintenance and a 20' boat gets really small, really fast, can't get to much of the good stuff except for perfect weather windows......much cheaper and easier to have friends with a boat if you live a couple hours from the coast.
Brian speaks truth here. You can ask on this site or on Tampa Bay Spearfishing Facebook page and if you bring ice, gas, water/beer, a good attitude, and aren't a douche then you'll find people who will be glad to have you on board.
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Old 07-10-2019, 03:45 PM   #7
Diverboy067
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Re: Moving to Gainesville area

I wanted to expand on this so I didn't come across as a rude or crass member. I was born in FL and lived in Gainesville for a number of years, so I have a pretty good handle on boat usage in the area. A 20-21' boat is perfect for up there, but my suggestion is to get a boat that you can take skiing, take cruises up and down the St John or Suwannee River and still dive off of. If going to the east coast, Crescent Beach is usually the closest coast and there is no diving there to be had that I know of. We went out of Daytona a few times, but it was to a wreck in 90' as there wasn't much else over there. Unfortunately, the gulf stream moves further away from the FL coast around Jupiter and the good, close in diving goes with it. Yes, there is stuff out there to dive, but a 20-21' boat is not a suitable boat to reach those destinations on alot of days. To the west, you have Cedar Key.....never dove there, but my experience is shallow for many miles and a 20-21' boat is not a suitable boat to reach the good diving grounds on a regular basis, but you will find weather windows where you can do it.

A dive oriented 20-21' boat is not a wise choice for Gainesville as you will not use it much for it's intended use.....I think you'll find that you will start skiing or cruising the rivers with friends just to use the boat and diving will become a once in awhile if we can get out thing. I see alot of smaller, single engine cc's with an aluminum ski tow ring over the motor and forward seating that would serve your purpose well. If you don't think you'll use the boat to ski or cruise the rivers, then I suggest you don't get a boat as it will be a huge money pit for you. A boat needs to be used regularly or things just mysteriously go bad or stop working and then end up costing more in maintenance to be fixed so you can use the boat a couple times a year. A boat used on a 2-3 times a year basis will have an astronomically high dollar per hour cost to run when compared to a boat that is used 100 or more hours a year. While you're getting settled in and deciding on a boat, network with spearfishers within a couple hour radius of you and get rides with them.

Another factor you're going to need to look at is parking. Alot of apartment/condo places don't allow boats, so you have to pay to park it somewhere. Keeping it at an apartment is not always such a good thing either....I learned to check and make sure my prop was there BEFORE I left to go to the ramp, instead of at the ramp when I went to put the plug in and realized someone stole my prop. Started taking them off after every use when I had to park somewhere other than in my driveway or beside the house.
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Old 07-10-2019, 07:43 PM   #8
chuckschultz15
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Re: Moving to Gainesville area

Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to give me an in depth perspective on the area and use of a boat there. The location specific detail is really gives me some perspective. I think you all may be right about just being a great crew member for others with proven safety training and courteous habits in regard to diving. It sounds like the boat size I'm looking at won't accomplish much diving in that area.

My current boat is a 14' jon boat with a 9.9 merc. Maybe I'll just hang on to that to explore the swamps/rivers and do some inshore fishing in the intercoastal waterways or near cedar key on a calm day. It looks like there's great inshore fishing there. I suppose I could also swap it out for an 18-20 foot center console like you mentioned--my fiancÚ would be easy to convince if there's water skiing involved
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:31 PM   #9
heybuddies
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Re: Moving to Gainesville area

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diverboy067 View Post
I wanted to expand on this so I didn't come across as a rude or crass member. I was born in FL and lived in Gainesville for a number of years, so I have a pretty good handle on boat usage in the area. A 20-21' boat is perfect for up there, but my suggestion is to get a boat that you can take skiing, take cruises up and down the St John or Suwannee River and still dive off of. If going to the east coast, Crescent Beach is usually the closest coast and there is no diving there to be had that I know of. We went out of Daytona a few times, but it was to a wreck in 90' as there wasn't much else over there. Unfortunately, the gulf stream moves further away from the FL coast around Jupiter and the good, close in diving goes with it. Yes, there is stuff out there to dive, but a 20-21' boat is not a suitable boat to reach those destinations on alot of days. To the west, you have Cedar Key.....never dove there, but my experience is shallow for many miles and a 20-21' boat is not a suitable boat to reach the good diving grounds on a regular basis, but you will find weather windows where you can do it.

A dive oriented 20-21' boat is not a wise choice for Gainesville as you will not use it much for it's intended use.....I think you'll find that you will start skiing or cruising the rivers with friends just to use the boat and diving will become a once in awhile if we can get out thing. I see alot of smaller, single engine cc's with an aluminum ski tow ring over the motor and forward seating that would serve your purpose well. If you don't think you'll use the boat to ski or cruise the rivers, then I suggest you don't get a boat as it will be a huge money pit for you. A boat needs to be used regularly or things just mysteriously go bad or stop working and then end up costing more in maintenance to be fixed so you can use the boat a couple times a year. A boat used on a 2-3 times a year basis will have an astronomically high dollar per hour cost to run when compared to a boat that is used 100 or more hours a year. While you're getting settled in and deciding on a boat, network with spearfishers within a couple hour radius of you and get rides with them.

Another factor you're going to need to look at is parking. Alot of apartment/condo places don't allow boats, so you have to pay to park it somewhere. Keeping it at an apartment is not always such a good thing either....I learned to check and make sure my prop was there BEFORE I left to go to the ramp, instead of at the ramp when I went to put the plug in and realized someone stole my prop. Started taking them off after every use when I had to park somewhere other than in my driveway or beside the house.
Diverboy067, you articulated it much better than I... All I was trying to say is it is a long tow to either coast, with a long run to dive on the Gulf. For a year or two, buying a used boat that will probably cost more than planned and using only to dive may not be worthwhile. But if it is a boat for skiing, etc., that makes a big difference.

Again, good luck with everything, Chuck. Diving is a great sport... especially in FL.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:54 PM   #10
chuckschultz15
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Re: Moving to Gainesville area

Ya heybuddies, you made great points too though about being a good mate for other people and networking. I mean half the fun of the outdoors is who you're out there with, so setting up a network and making some friends is certainly something worth focusing on as well. And thank you, I am looking at getting into diving more and exploring Fl. I've never actually lived in the south before so I'm just excited to see it all.
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