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Vacation to Destin, FL

Familyjetboat

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Sorry if this is the wrong forum section. Mods please move if need be.

We are vacationing from Tennessee in Destin, FL October 5th - 12th. Bringing our new to us 2014 AR240. We have only had it 4 months. We are keeping it docked at a marina located about a 5 minute walk from our condo. Just a few questions.

1. Is there anything I need to do to make sure I'm legal to operate the boat in the bay and open ocean? I have all of the necessary safety items. I'm mainly concerned with registration. I'm registered in Tennessee. Do I need to be registered in any way in Florida? Is there suck a thing as temporary registration I need to worry about?

2. We are trailering down. Tennessee does not require trailers to be registered or tagged. Florida does. Will Florida honor Tennessee's laws?

3. I'm a little nervous about leaving my boat at the marina all week. Mainly because its usually on a trailer in my driveway where I feel it's safe. What precautions should I take to give myself peace of mind that it wont sink or get stolen while there? We are not new boaters, but we have never used a wet slip at a marina before.

4. Anyone have suggestions on where we should go, do or see while there? Crab Island is already on the list.

Bryan
 

Seadeals

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1. As long as your Tennessee registration is current, you can operate in other states.
2. SC only requires a trailer license plate if more than 2500 lbs (empty). I have had it in many states without issue. If pulled over, explain the TN license requirements and most would probably not make an issue. You could always voluntarily license it if it really bothers you”. DMV insanity!
3. Is it a covered slip? I have left mine in for a full week many times. I always keep it covered overnight, keep the bilge pump on and have also hooked up the batteryminder if shore power is available and I know I ran the music a long time. I also alternate batteries with my setup. Spray the pumps down good (Boeshield, Fluid Film, Corrosion X) before putting it in the water and grease the steering and bucket cables at the seal as extra protection. Moor it well with tidy lines.
4. Sorry I can’t say as Destin is still on my “Future Destin(ations)” list. Others will chime in.
 

Familyjetboat

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1. As long as your Tennessee registration is current, you can operate in other states.
2. SC only requires a trailer license plate if more than 2500 lbs (empty). I have had it in many states without issue. If pulled over, explain the TN license requirements and most would probably not make an issue. You could always voluntarily license it if it really bothers you”. DMV insanity!
3. Is it a covered slip? I have left mine in for a full week many times. I always keep it covered overnight, keep the bilge pump on and have also hooked up the batteryminder if shore power is available and I know I ran the music a long time. I also alternate batteries with my setup. Spray the pumps down good (Boeshield, Fluid Film, Corrosion X) before putting it in the water and grease the steering and bucket cables at the seal as extra protection. Moor it well with tidy lines.
4. Sorry I can’t say as Destin is still on my “Future Destin(ations)” list. Others will chime in.
Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the peace of mind.
 

2kwik4u

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There are a couple threads on here that have covered Destin pretty well. I have an exceptionally hard time finding thread on this site through the built in search. I have to go to google and use the "site search" function. This article is aimed at people marketing to google, but has the technical info of a site search in it. Basically just add "site:jetboaters.net" to the end of your normal google search, and Google will only return pages from this site.

https://jetboaters.net/threads/crab-island-destin-fl.22371/
https://jetboaters.net/threads/headed-to-destin-in-july-looking-for-advice-and-tips.21977/
https://jetboaters.net/threads/where-is-the-best-launch-in-destin-fl.16328/

With all that said, my Wife and I are starting on the planning stages of hitting Destin next summer/spring. Not sure we have a spot decided on just yet though. Still gathering the info, and looking at schedules and such.
 

Familyjetboat

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Can anyone give advise on how long of an anchor line we may need? I currently have 2 anchors on board. I believe 1 is 30-40ft, 1 is 100ft. Will they be adequate?
 

Dean P

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Can anyone give advise on how long of an anchor line we may need? I currently have 2 anchors on board. I believe 1 is 30-40ft, 1 is 100ft. Will they be adequate?
Use your long line for the front and the other for the back. Use Danforth type anchor with 6' of chain (for both) and you'll be good.
 

Dixie Highway

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My best advice is to prepare yourself for boating in “less than beautiful” conditions when you get home from there. It really is a boating paradise with miles of ICW to explore (complete with nearly empty white sand beaches), restaurants and attractions accessible by boat, and some of the clearest and nicest water in the U.S. You’re rarely anchoring in more than 10’ of water so 100’ of rode and 6’ chain is sufficient. I used a Fortress FX7 on my 21’ and never dragged the anchor while using it. My second best advice would be to just remain mindful of a few things...

1. Tides. Destin/Pensacola have pretty mild tides, but they do swing about +- 1.5 feet. This will also change the current direction , especially at places like Crab Island that are just inside an inlet channel.

2. Idiots in rental pontoons. There really should be SOME kind of test to rent a 24’ boat with 15 people relying on a captain that probably shouldn’t be piloting an automobile let alone a boat.

3. Have fun!!! We have been vacationing here annually for the last 6 years, this being our first with the boat. We have generally been ready to come home by day 8-9, but this year we extended 1 day. We had such an amazing time with the boat we just didn’t want to leave. Bring a big cooler, there are little “ice shacks” everywhere, you can get 32# of ice for like $3.
 

ToddW850

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@Familyjetboat you will be coming to Destin at a great time. Water and weather still good and crowds are gone.

What marina are you docking at? I work for the Sheriffs Office here and I'll be on nightshift in October. I will keep extra eyes on your boat.

As far as to do on the boat, here are some things.

Crab Island in green and East Jetty (Finger Jetty) in yellow. You already know about Crab Island. The Finger Jetty offers some awesome snorkeling. It's unbelievable during high tide (clear water). Just be VERY careful not to go around the tip of this Jetty. Tide is very strong here and will take you. You know when you're getting close because you can feel it.

20190907_123915.jpg
20190907_124135.jpg

20190907_124218.jpg



Then there are a string of Islands in the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) by Fort Walton and Mary Esther. If you head that way, you will have an island all to yourself to lounge and eat.

20190907_124312.jpg

20190907_124328.jpg
Screenshot_20190907-123809_Maps.jpg


Anyway, that's a couple of things. If I can answer anymore questions let me know.
 

Seadeals

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Wow, cool posts! Now I feel like making the trip to Destin. Anyway, I did want to update one thing. I found out TN law does state to license the trailer if you are taking it out of state, so technically it is a requirement unlike SC. My dad just tagged his utility trailer to run down to GA and it was only $30.
 

Wes514

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We encountered several pods of dolphins just outside of Destin Harbor. They weren’t shy at all. Running up the ICW past Ft Walton is great too.
 

Familyjetboat

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Thank you ToddW850. That information is very helpful. I am really excited. We have never brought a boat with us that far. Hopefully I have thought of everything to make it a worry free trip.
 

wahoowah

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Can anyone give advise on how long of an anchor line we may need? I currently have 2 anchors on board. I believe 1 is 30-40ft, 1 is 100ft. Will they be adequate?
You should be good for the bay, max depth is 34 ft by the mid bay bridge and there's not much reason to anchor there even for fishing, just a bunch of catfish. You'll need longer if you plan on anchoring even a little offshore in the gulf for fishing, etc.

When you're in town try Lulu's and The Gulf, both good boat up restaurants with family friendly areas. Lulu's is a little more touristy, The Gulf a little more local crowd, though neither will be packed in October.
 

wahoowah

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My best advice is to prepare yourself for boating in “less than beautiful” conditions when you get home from there. It really is a boating paradise with miles of ICW to explore (complete with nearly empty white sand beaches), restaurants and attractions accessible by boat, and some of the clearest and nicest water in the U.S. You’re rarely anchoring in more than 10’ of water so 100’ of rode and 6’ chain is sufficient. I used a Fortress FX7 on my 21’ and never dragged the anchor while using it. My second best advice would be to just remain mindful of a few things...

1. Tides. Destin/Pensacola have pretty mild tides, but they do swing about +- 1.5 feet. This will also change the current direction , especially at places like Crab Island that are just inside an inlet channel.

2. Idiots in rental pontoons. There really should be SOME kind of test to rent a 24’ boat with 15 people relying on a captain that probably shouldn’t be piloting an automobile let alone a boat.

3. Have fun!!! We have been vacationing here annually for the last 6 years, this being our first with the boat. We have generally been ready to come home by day 8-9, but this year we extended 1 day. We had such an amazing time with the boat we just didn’t want to leave. Bring a big cooler, there are little “ice shacks” everywhere, you can get 32# of ice for like $3.
Ditto #2, especially near crab island.
 

Jdaniels

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@Familyjetboat you will be coming to Destin at a great time. Water and weather still good and crowds are gone.

What marina are you docking at? I work for the Sheriffs Office here and I'll be on nightshift in October. I will keep extra eyes on your boat.

As far as to do on the boat, here are some things.

Crab Island in green and East Jetty (Finger Jetty) in yellow. You already know about Crab Island. The Finger Jetty offers some awesome snorkeling. It's unbelievable during high tide (clear water). Just be VERY careful not to go around the tip of this Jetty. Tide is very strong here and will take you. You know when you're getting close because you can feel it.

View attachment 104694
View attachment 104695

View attachment 104696



Then there are a string of Islands in the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) by Fort Walton and Mary Esther. If you head that way, you will have an island all to yourself to lounge and eat.

View attachment 104697

View attachment 104698
View attachment 104699


Anyway, that's a couple of things. If I can answer anymore questions let me know.
Wondering about boating in the Nov/Dec time frame. My son will be going back to NAS Pensacola from Japan for Navy Air Traffic Controller Crew Training. I am considering bringing the boat with us when we go out to visit during his stay. What is your recommendation ya or nay on boating? We will most likely stay on base at the NAS. From the look of it, we can transit the bay from the Marina on base to the locations you detailed. What are the weather conditions we may experience or should expect? Your input is greatly appreciated.
 

Dixie Highway

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It probably won’t be warm enough to get in the water. Usually in the 60’s for highs in December.
 

Jdaniels

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It probably won’t be warm enough to get in the water. Usually in the 60’s for highs in December.
Thanks for the info. 60 is very mild, basically the same here in San Diego except the water here is cold year round. I will keep an eye on the weather as the time gets closer.
 

ToddW850

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Wondering about boating in the Nov/Dec time frame. My son will be going back to NAS Pensacola from Japan for Navy Air Traffic Controller Crew Training. I am considering bringing the boat with us when we go out to visit during his stay. What is your recommendation ya or nay on boating? We will most likely stay on base at the NAS. From the look of it, we can transit the bay from the Marina on base to the locations you detailed. What are the weather conditions we may experience or should expect? Your input is greatly appreciated.
I live in Destin and middle of November is the latest I've ever boated. It's usually October. You can still boat, but not too much swimming.
 

Familyjetboat

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We arrived last night. Putting the boat in the water for the week today.
 

Familyjetboat

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On a side note. Does anyone know how to disable the low depth buzzer. It buzzes for quite awhile when approaching crab island anchor spot.
 

Familyjetboat

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Nevermind. Found you can turn the buzzer off temporally. Yesterday was red flag on the beach so we spent the day on the boat. Went to Crab island and then went west on the intercoastal waterway to explore some of the islands. We attempted to go thru the pass, but the waves were pretty big at the mouth and I was not comfortable with that. So we turned around.
 

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