Working with sailboat and deeper draft boat customers for nearly 21 years I am still amazed today that agents advertise and create listings for sailboat water-front homes and have no idea what that really means.
This is quite scary for the sailor who depends on draft and bridge height limitations when choosing a home for their craft. Just because a home or piece of vacant land advertises sailboat water doesn’t mean it is.
Here is a true life story and then I will cut to the chase. Back in 2005 at the height of the real estate bubble a realtor sold a piece of vacant land in Pirate Harbor to a true sailboat person. The buyers had faith in the listing and agent and paid an extraordinary price of $450,000 for an undeveloped piece of land. Later they discovered that the canal depths averaged 6 feet or more but the exit through the estuary had 3 feet on average and at times the “so called” channel would be nearly dry on a northeasterly, full moon or other naturally occurring weather condition. They were flabbergasted about this discovery and of course, never utilized the property for the intended purpose.
The simplest way to be sure you know what your buying is interview your real estate agent and see what they really know to start with. With or without an agent you can pull up the property of interest in the county tax assessors office website. For Charlotte County Florida go to www.ccapprasier.com Type in the address and pull up the aerial view. From there you can zoom in. Light colored sand areas will show up easily in the water. Deeper water is always dark in color and shades of tan requires further investigation. To be sure try and determine the route to the deepest open water where you would set sail. Sometimes there are prohibitive shallow spots for deeper craft even if your canal depth is fine behind the house.
There are many neighborhoods that will have less of a concern mainly in Punta Gorda. However, some PG neighborhoods have shallow areas that you should know about.
Port Charlotte and Englewood you must be very careful! There are lots of canal homes that have very little water at low tide.
One other point regarding sailboat homes. Real estate agents will advertise a sailboat waterfront home if there are NO BRIDGES. Sounds ridiculous but that is the case in SW Florida. With that said, this advertising can be false. Sailboats generally don’t float in 3 feet of water! On the topic of bridges there are very few bridges that will allow clearance for any substantial mast height. Two bridges are more forgiving and they are the RT. 41 bridge and the RT. 75 bridge over the Peace River. The RT. 75 bridge has water depth concerns with a winding channel.