Stay on a boat in Key West

Want to Stay on a Boat in Key West? I Don't Recommend it

“This is a boat! On the water! Don’t just stay here to save money!”

Welp, I thought it would be a good idea to stay on a boat in Key West

I had my reasons:

  1. It appealed to my sense of adventure. Floating hotel? Transformative!
  2. It appeared safe — it was tethered to a dock in a marina — or as sailers would say, she was moored there.
  3. It had two bedrooms and bathrooms so my travel companion, Joella, and I could have our own space.
  4. It was easier on the budget than a standard Key West hotel, which was going for more than $400 per night — but the boat stay was by no means inexpensive; it was just less than $400 per night.
  5. Plus it had a kitchen and access to the marina’s amenities.

I justified the Key West boat stay reservation with all these anticipated benefits.

Want to Stay on a Boat in Key West? Doubt it.

However, upon arrival, we were further than we imagined from Key West (on Stock Island), our sailboat had no sails — Joella was super bummed — and the boat smelled like a ferret cage — a dirty one in need of fresh cedar shavings. I don’t know why it smelled like that. Joella is the one with the keenest olfactory senses who really pinned the smell on unseen ferrets, but once she said it, it couldn’t smell more true and I could not stop checking the little cabinets for stowaways. Never found any varmints.

As for the no sails bit, I'm told by a friend who sailed once, that it logically would not have sails while moored in a marina. That was an embarrassing revelation, but fine, let's call it a regular 'ole boat stay then.

And finally, the galley kitchen left something to be desired. Like a second cooking pot for the pasta sauce that a'tops the boiling noodles. 

Want to stay on a boat in Florida Keys
Want to stay on a boat near Key West Florida?

This Landlubber Will Not Be Staying on a Boat in the Keys Again

I gave myself a lot of grief about the (almost) Key West boat stay.

And I'm sure the Florida boating and pirate community would too. Even the Airbnb hosts warned potential guests in the rental description with something like, “This is a boat! On the water! Don’t stay here just to save money!” Which, yeah, we did, and we had been warned, but there was no mention of the ferret aroma in the description.  It could have read, "Don't just stay on a boat near   Key West to smell ferrets!" That would have given me pause. 

I would have responded, "No thank you. I do not want to stay on a boat in Key West. Thanks for saving me the trouble."

Three days staying on a boat in the Florida Keys, just outside Key West, was especially poignant because it came on the heels of surviving tornadoes in Southwest Florida, only to face this floating hotel challenge. However, we made the most of our days in Key West, looking for manatees, decent food and Hemingway's cats.

Fine, the experience of staying on a boat outside Key West wasn't all bad.

I learned that I am a landlubber, and that realization will enable me to have better smelling vacations. Plus, I saw a man in our marina leaving his vessel with a pet rooster on a leash. That made me smile. And I also saw an iguana lounging down the dock. Last but not least, the Stock Island marina has an excellent orchid garden.

After the smelly sailboat:

We and loved our next stay in Marathon Key. Learn why Marathon Key is worth the visit.

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