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The realities of Liveaboard Life

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  • The realities of Liveaboard Life

    Here are the realities of liveaboard Life.

    PLEASE add to this list

    1. Living aboard is NOT cheaper than living on land. It really isn’t. Yes you can buy a $5,000 27’ sail boat and live on it, but that is not the same as an apartment. That is camping. The reality is that many of us have as much or more dollars and recurring costs wrapped up in our floating homes than a similar land based home. The only financial advantage of living aboard is that it is cheaper than living in a Waterfront home.

    2. Boats are smaller than a home. The home my wife and I own(d) was 2600 square feet plus another thousand square feet for a garage. My boat is 47 feet X 15 feet with a 8 foot X 14 foot pilothouse. That equals 817 square feet. That is a HUGE difference.

    3. Boats require more work than a land bassed house. I could literally go a year or more without Needing to do any work on my land based house. That is just not the case with my boat.

    4. You WILL come in contact with human feces. Boats have complex sewage systems, and I will guarantee that YOU will have to work on these systems.

    5. You WILL have to haul your groceries further than you ever imagined in all kinds of weather. As a comaprison park your car two blocks from your house for a while and see what it’s like.

    6. You WILL see things on a boat that you nevber would at a land based home. Right here in the harbor I see Sea Otters and Seals every day.

    7. You WILL have a sense of community that you cannot get in a land based home. At a land based home you wave at your neighbor in passing. You might talk over the backyard fence. Just walking down the dock today I had several meaningful conversations with my neighbors.

    8. You can move and not move. I am four dock lines from moving my home at any given moment. I am planning on moving soon to travel with the seasons. One of my dock neighbors today told me he is setting sail for the Alutians this summer. Another told me just today that he is setting out on a world cruise. when he retires next year.

    What are YOUR Realities of liveaboard life???
    Kevin Sanders
    Bayliner 4788 Seward, Alaska
    Map where I am right now
    https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

  • #2
    You will have to have some sort of Phoo plan. I’m lucky, for a fee a guy comes every Friday and pumps out my boat.

    You will need a water plan. Water disruptions are way more common on a boat.

    You will Most likely need a heat plan for winter. The amount of available electricity is rarely enough to heat a boat in winter.

    You will most likely need an internet plan, odds are no high speed cable to your boat.

    you will most likely need to be on a wait list for years to get live a board status.

    You will most likely need a storage plan as space is now at a premium.

    You will spend less time cleaning. More time repairing.

    you will have no yard work. You will have the occasional haul out.

    you can move effortlessly if you don’t like your neighbor.

    Your next hotel room will seem huge.

    you will need fewer hotel rooms as you can now just take your house with you on many vacations.



    Azzurra
    Seattle, WA
    Ocean Alexander 54

    Comment


    • #3
      ”your next hotel room will seem huge” That is too funny!!!
      Kevin Sanders
      Bayliner 4788 Seward, Alaska
      Map where I am right now
      https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

      Comment


      • #4
        The best thing about living aboard, theBEST reality is living at the harbor! I love the sights and sounds and yes smells of a real working harbor!
        Kevin Sanders
        Bayliner 4788 Seward, Alaska
        Map where I am right now
        https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

        Comment


        • #5
          I like the activity. There is always something happening.
          Azzurra
          Seattle, WA
          Ocean Alexander 54

          Comment


          • #6
            Comfort is what you choose in a boat. My 1942, 83x17, not counting open decks and flying bridge, boat is about 2000 sq ft. It also gives a much better ride in swells, has higher hull speed, and plenty of room. I don't have to come in contact with human feces because I use Incinolets. I only deal with dry grey ash. Yeah, you have a longer walk with groceries and supplies, but laundry is on board. I don't have neighbors whining about dandelions, crabgrass, or leaving my trash can near the street, and I don't have to listen to screaming kids. No grass to cut weekly, trees to trim, no moss on the roof, no gutters to clean, and no doorbell. It's quiet. Even if I don't get underweigh I have a feeling of freedom that no house has. Because I hate living in a house, I don't find the maintenance greater aboard a wood boat than the house maintenance and chores. My father, a marine chief engineer, once told me "a house is like a prison sentence". He was so right!
            Since I have a private dock, there are no neighbors. Almost the same as at anchor. I make my own water year round and I give water to a few friends in need who are most of my contacts along with a buddy with a sawmill (handy for a wood boat), the fuel dock guys and the occasional store clerk. It's a quiet life and I love it.
            My boat is my hobby. I used to have a yard and still have the tools to make maintenance fast and easy.
            Everyday day on the water is different, always scenic, sometimes uncomfortable, but the good days make it all worthwhile.

            Comment


            • #7
              My wife and I have lived aboard for over ten years now, and I must disagree with some of your points. I think the expense of living aboard is relative. We started on a 43' Marine Trader and have moved up to a custom 70' yacht. We live on fresh water on the TN river, so our maintenance costs are probably a third of what those that live in salt water locations spend. Our new to us boat was a little less than a similar aged home in our area. We stay at a beautiful marina with water and wifi included. Our electric bill runs about $100 per month in the winter, and half that in the summer. Our slip fee is $200 a month. There is a do-it yourself boat yard about 2 miles away if needed for haul out. Bottom jobs easily last 5 years or more in these clean waters. Each slip has a fitting for a portable pump-out cart that the marina supplies for free. Most use a Pura-San or Lectra-san system to avoid pumping out all together. We do have a long walk to/from the parking lot, but the marina provides plenty of carts or you can use your own. We view the walk as good exercise and it gives a chance to stop and chat with our neighbors. Before buying this boat we had several long discussions about whether we wanted to move back into a house. The answer was always the same, NO we are not ready to move back. We do have a small storage space in town that runs $100 a month. Before moving aboard we lived on a 20 acre farm and while we enjoyed our time there, I cannot see going back to all of the work a place like that requires. It is definitely true that your possessions own you not the other way around...

              Comment


              • #8
                I just wanted to preface my input with the disqualifier statement that I am currently building or rather renovating my boat into a small houseboat. So I am not a "live aboard" just yet.

                1). That said I looked into local marinas and one just up the road from me is a total of $421.00 a month ($12 a foot plus $150). Half of the $150 is electric, the rest is sewage pumping, water, and a parking space, etc.
                Compared to $900 a month that I pay now in rent that's MUCH better than land based prices.

                Now after six months the price drops to $10 a foot.

                But the moment that my electromagnetic power generator is up, I will not be utilizing their power. They told me that this will drop $75 of the bill. Then my monthly rent becomes $351. Almost a third of what I'm currently paying.

                I'm sure everyone and each region has different financial experiences, but I know for a fact that I will be able to live much cheaper on Aquatica than on land.

                Once Aquatica has the rainwater harvesting system operational I won't need a marine. I'll be paying a parking fee for my vehicle and living off the hook in a back mangrove estuary. That will drop my bills to almost nothing.

                2). My boat is much smaller than many of the vessels others live on. While Aquatica will wind up being 24+ feet the living space is 19 feet long, by 8+ feet wide, by 8 feet tall. I don't know the footage, but I look forward to downsizing and getting clutter and crap out of my life.

                3). I'm expecting to have to put in more basic work, but with a land based home you have to deal with issues like lawn and garden/exterior maintenance, noisy or nosy neighbors, power outages, insects and pests, etc. So if you are referencing a house being maintained then yes, perhaps a boat is more expensive. But taking into account home repairs and issues plus hurricanes in Florida.

                I can move a houseboat away from a storm. Storm damage can be very expensive to a terrestrial dwelling.

                4). Actually I built a very nice composting toilet. I'm not worried about waste or sewage systems. My system is clean, odor free, and simple to operate, and to maintain.

                5). The marina is not a long walk from the jeep to the slip. When I'm living off the hook groceries will be brought by kayak right to my stern deck and the main door into the boat. So transporting stuff will actually be closer than getting out from where I park and walk to my front door now.

                6). In my neck of the water it is manatees, dolphins, and sea turtles. I love having wildlife as neighbors.

                7). Once I'm off the hook I won't have too many neighbors other than animals. But I like animals so it's something I'm looking forward to.

                8). Planning to spend some time in the Caribbean once I get the rest of my build and needs done.

                9). Looking forward to much greater freedom in my life.

                Erik

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Capt.Tim View Post
                  My wife and I have lived aboard for over ten years now, and I must disagree with some of your points. I think the expense of living aboard is relative. We started on a 43' Marine Trader and have moved up to a custom 70' yacht. We live on fresh water on the TN river, so our maintenance costs are probably a third of what those that live in salt water locations spend. Our new to us boat was a little less than a similar aged home in our area. We stay at a beautiful marina with water and wifi included. Our electric bill runs about $100 per month in the winter, and half that in the summer. Our slip fee is $200 a month. There is a do-it yourself boat yard about 2 miles away if needed for haul out. Bottom jobs easily last 5 years or more in these clean waters. Each slip has a fitting for a portable pump-out cart that the marina supplies for free. Most use a Pura-San or Lectra-san system to avoid pumping out all together. We do have a long walk to/from the parking lot, but the marina provides plenty of carts or you can use your own. We view the walk as good exercise and it gives a chance to stop and chat with our neighbors. Before buying this boat we had several long discussions about whether we wanted to move back into a house. The answer was always the same, NO we are not ready to move back. We do have a small storage space in town that runs $100 a month. Before moving aboard we lived on a 20 acre farm and while we enjoyed our time there, I cannot see going back to all of the work a place like that requires. It is definitely true that your possessions own you not the other way around...
                  Welcome aboard! You are correct in that liveaboard life varies based on location, and it sounds like you have found a prime location!
                  Kevin Sanders
                  Bayliner 4788 Seward, Alaska
                  Map where I am right now
                  https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Capt.Tim View Post
                    My wife and I have lived aboard for over ten years now, and I must disagree with some of your points. I think the expense of living aboard is relative. We started on a 43' Marine Trader and have moved up to a custom 70' yacht. We live on fresh water on the TN river, so our maintenance costs are probably a third of what those that live in salt water locations spend. Our new to us boat was a little less than a similar aged home in our area. We stay at a beautiful marina with water and wifi included. Our electric bill runs about $100 per month in the winter, and half that in the summer. Our slip fee is $200 a month. There is a do-it yourself boat yard about 2 miles away if needed for haul out. Bottom jobs easily last 5 years or more in these clean waters. Each slip has a fitting for a portable pump-out cart that the marina supplies for free. Most use a Pura-San or Lectra-san system to avoid pumping out all together. We do have a long walk to/from the parking lot, but the marina provides plenty of carts or you can use your own. We view the walk as good exercise and it gives a chance to stop and chat with our neighbors. Before buying this boat we had several long discussions about whether we wanted to move back into a house. The answer was always the same, NO we are not ready to move back. We do have a small storage space in town that runs $100 a month. Before moving aboard we lived on a 20 acre farm and while we enjoyed our time there, I cannot see going back to all of the work a place like that requires. It is definitely true that your possessions own you not the other way around...
                    What river or lake are you on?
                    What marina?
                    I'm starting to research that area for our future.

                    John
                    John Shade
                    1986 Marinette 39 Sedan
                    twin 454 Crusaders 350 HP
                    Ohio & Muskingum Rivers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Our liveaboard is a bit different than most. It is about 100 days each year. Our season is short in Northern Michigan and Canada where we boat.
                      We have no dock. Our season starts when we launch. We leave for an anchorage about 6 miles from the marina. It is our start anchorage and stop anchorage at the end of the season while we wait for our haul out.
                      We leave for Canada at the first good weather.
                      We never dock overnight. The last time was 13 years ago when we brought our present boat up from Ohio.
                      We are lucky enough to boat in water good enough to drink and we do. We fill out tank in selected places in open water. We have boated this for over 50 years now and the water is still good. We do now filter it but it really isn't necessary.
                      We only hit a dock when we need a pumpout or supplies.
                      We have several favorite anchor spots that are protected from all weather. We are actually more comfortable at anchor than at a dock in rough weather. And we have been in some bad weather.
                      We have a dog and a cat aboard. The cat if very happy on the boat. I think he likes it better than anywhere else because he can go outside. Every evening he goes on the front deck and just watches.
                      The dog of course has to go ashore 3 or 4 times a day. He is good. Goes ashore, does his thing, and comes back to the tender.
                      We tow the tender which is a 16.5 Sea Nymph with a 90 hp Evinrude Etec. We do a lot of fishing in that boat.
                      We have solar power which almost provides all our power needs. In Aug. and Sept. as the days get shorter you can see the difference. We use the genny a bit more then.
                      We have satellite tv using an RV in motion dish. It works very well.
                      Our boat is a 3870 Bayliner. For us it is very comfortable. We could easily go full time and be comfortable.
                      Our season is short but its all boating. We are lucky to be in a beautiful area with some mountains, not high but lots of anchorages that are well protected. We average about 550 miles each season.
                      We are never in a hurry and usually travel on one engine. We burn about 150 to 160 gallons of diesel a year including the genny. Close to twice that in the tender. So I think you could classify our boating as being pretty cheap. That is until we pay for heated winter storage.
                      As there is very limited places for supplies, we carry a lot with us. Our boat is pretty heavy in the water when we leave in the spring. Not so much in the fall returning. I also carry a lot of tools and spare parts. We are the second owners of our boat and it has been pretty trouble free. Just little stuff. I am usually able to fix it on the water. I make a list of anything needed during the summer. I get what I need as soon as we get back and try to have it ready for the water before we leave Michigan for the winter. At my age I never know when our season may be the last and I don't like to leave anything undone.
                      I change the oil at anchor and burn the used oil as fuel. Even Cummins agrees with this. Just for the record we have Hino's.
                      Doug

                      Comment


                      • ksanders
                        ksanders commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Welcome aboard Doug!!!! Thanks for describing your summer home!!

                      • shade2u2
                        shade2u2 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Good to see your post Doug. I hope you and Mona are doing well.
                        John

                    • #12
                      Still putting one foot in front of the other John. Just a little slower.
                      Doug

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        All good points. but there is another side:

                        1) Boats are not well insulated. During the winter, depending on where you live, keeping warm is a challenge.
                        2) It is no fun being woke up with your boat filling full of smoke from your neighbors running their engines at the dock.
                        3) For everyone else, the marina is a Recreational Area and their boats Recreational Vehicles. When they come down they don't think about you living on board, having to go to bed early to get up early for work or being so loud that you can't hear your TV at high volume.
                        4) Fishing season, again item 3 above, they come down at O-Dark Thirty to go fishing. They are excited and are loud. It is impossible to sleep since there is no insulation to deaden the sound.
                        5) During the winter, you are trapped inside the boat. It isn't like a house where you have a shop to go do projects in. More like living in a cave.
                        6) Lack of storage and refrigerator space means you spend most weekends running errands.
                        7) Most docks don't provide more than 30 amp power. My boat could easily pull 90 if allowed. That means you are constantly playing the 30 amp Two Step.
                        8) Projects, projects often require downing systems and tearing up the boat. This is fine if you have a home to go to or the project is only for a day or less. But when it becomes more, it can be very difficult.
                        9) Looky Lou's, I can't tell you the number of times we have been sitting down to dinner and then notice someone is almost coming into the boat to look because they like your boat. How about I come over to your house and walk up to the windows and press my face against the glass to check it out.
                        10) During the winter, at least in our marina, they turn the water off when ever we get freezing weather for more than a couple of days. This last winter we were without water for 7 weeks. That meant lugging jugs of water down the icy dock to put in the boat. We already ration in the winter because they don't or should I say rarely tell us they are going to turn it off. They did turn it on a couple of times to allow us to fill up, again without notice. Thank god for neighbors running down the dock announcing the water was on for the next two hours and my wife being home as this was a workweek day.
                        11) When we get exceptionally cold weather, which is not unusual, because we are at the mouth of a river with fresh water, the marina freezes over. That means that the pump out guy can't get to you and you can't get to the pump out. Even if you could, chances are they have turned it off to protect the pipes. Spend way too many days during the winter in hotels because of this.


                        Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good things about living on board. Just that we often forget about the other side of the living on board.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Papa Charlie: Good post. I agree 100%. It's not always champagne and roses. Far from it. But for me (and I'm sure most of us on here) the pros outnumber the cons.

                          Btw, number 9 on your list is very true. Sometimes I feel like a zoo animal attraction! People do that a lot!
                          Jason
                          2005 Silverton 35 Motoryacht
                          T-385 Crusaders


                          Kohler 7.5 generator

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            For me Seaweed is more than just a place to live. She is home.

                            Of course she is drafty as all get out. I am so fortunate to have her. Seaweed runs, she keeps the world at bay.
                            On a reduced budget I can live, and live well. No place else could I manage so well and be as happy.

                            I cannot imagine life any place else.
                            All the negatives happen to me too. I felt a real affinity for the gripes about projects. Every project entails the boat becoming chaotic. If I need something as simple as a hinge, that means moving a lot of gear in order to get to the container with hinges. Ditto "odd" screws (though I do have some in a kit)

                            And when I need something inevitably the terms "dig out" or "move" or "unpack" come into play. Even though I have a lot of gear accessible, not everything is. For instance, today I wanted to add two small eye-bolts to my shelves. The standard drill is easy. One hole drilled. The angle drill though? That one is in a locker and at present (broken arm) I cannot get it out/replace it. So only one eye-bolt is installed.

                            No, of course this is not critical. However i suspect someone with a larger boat might have both drills in the same locker/storage space.

                            I am fortunate. Even when things are not great, it is hard to complain. After all, I'm living on a boat in Florida. Truly, life does not get much better. I am blessed.

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