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Old 30-01-2014, 10:07   #1
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How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Hello all,

So, I'm back to looking for a Live Aboard Sailboat.

As a few of you know I turned down a 38 footer that would be a great size.

However I've come across sales adds boasting: This boat is a 36', So you can live on board in California legally!

I've also found a Marina in Clear lake Texas that required 34'!

So, I find myself attrcted to a number of 30-33 foot boats that have plenty of tight space for me to be happy. I'm quite partial to the S2 9.2c Center cockpit boat. Which is only 29'11".

At the same time I've also discovered that a few Marinas measure by a loose standard such as the added length of a dingy crane or Swim platform. Thus making it "possible" to overtake the restriction with literal "add-ons". (Bow sprit anyone?) lol

So, my question, How strict are these restrictions throughout the U.S.? I have yet to find my boat. It might find me in Seattle, or maybe Maine? I don't know yet. I simply don't want to buy a spacious 32 footer and find myself unable to get a live aboard slip.

Thanks
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Old 30-01-2014, 10:18   #2
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

In our marina in Philadelphia we have about 45 live aboards from a 22' to 60' no restrictions. Never heard of a size restrictions on boats- at least here on the east coast.
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Old 30-01-2014, 10:19   #3
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

I have been living aboard for more than a decade. My first boat was a 34 Hunter. Currently, I am on a Hudson Force 50. I am not aware of any laws related to the size of a boat to live aboard. I have seen people living on very small boats. A marina may make a rule about it, but it is not a law and the same rule is not going to be applied at every marina.

If you want to be a live aboard, what you need to do is make certain the boat you are buying looks like it is a fully functional boat and does not look derelict. They always want a photo of the boat. Next, you need to present yourself as a person who is not living at the low end of the social spectrum. A marina does not want someone who is one step up from homelessness. They want sailors who love sailing. As such, it is best to make your first contact with a marina in person, with a nice large photo of the boat that you can leave with them.
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Old 30-01-2014, 10:20   #4
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Sounds like you need more of a plan before your purchase.

The plan is more important than the boat.
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Old 30-01-2014, 10:24   #5
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Some marinas have only a certain number of slips designated for liveaboard use. Maybe the restrictions you are referring to are based on what the availability is? I too have never heard of a government or a marina restricting what size boat one can live on..
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Old 30-01-2014, 10:42   #6
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Me either. I lived aboard a 45' cutter for 9 years in the '80s. The smallest liveaboard boat in our marina was a couple living on a 25' Pearson Ariel.
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Old 30-01-2014, 10:47   #7
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Well, it bizarrely is a law in the great state of california. No live aboard less than 34' (in a marina). No more than 10% of the marina can be live aboard. Extra fee generally for liveaboards. So in my marina, a legal liveaboard would pay over $1K per month for the slip.

Which is insane.
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Old 30-01-2014, 10:50   #8
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

In California, there is generally a size limitation. Plus the number of liveaboards in a marina is set by the state at 10%, though loosely enforced. Each marina sets its own minimum size. Some are firm, some not so much. Generally 35-36' meets most minimum length standards. Think I heard of one with a 40' minimum standard.

Overall many marinas, maybe more then 50%, set 30' as the minimum. Others want to see a 34' to 36' foot minimum. Generally a nice looking boat thats a foot or two smaller can sometimes be ok.

So it varies, depending on where you are in Cali. The big thing is is the boat and yourself presentable. That goes a long way to getting a liveaboard slip... Really depending if the harbormaster likes you or not is a biggy. It sometimes helps being blonde But not always

Slips in the SF bay area are running about $500-$600 with liveaboard fee for a 35' boat. More in the high rent districts. Finding a liveaboard slip can be interesting as turnover is low...
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Old 30-01-2014, 10:56   #9
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

This limit is no different than a housing development setting minimum house sizes. Most of the times these are set by municipalities that own marinas. Less often, the marina itself. So far this seems to be a west coast thing. What isn't west coast only is the shrinking dockage available for living aboard. There remains a large faction wanting to eliminate it. So the way to really maintain it is to make sure the vessels and the tenants meet certain standards. Now, might a harbormaster stretch the rules a bit for someone? Yes, but. The but is whether other boat owners decide to create a ruckus. So best just to find in advance what marinas interest you and their limits.
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Old 30-01-2014, 11:05   #10
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

My suggestion would be:
Find an area where there's water, that you could transfer to or get a new job.
Find a marina in that area that would allow you to live aboard. This may take some time!
Find a boat that suits your needs & budget.

Some times a in-person meeting may determine whether or not you get the dockage. Green Cove Springs, south of Jacksonville, is cheap & allows liveaboards while working on the boat. Don't forget to ask about living aboard while "on the hard" at prospect marinas.
Good Luck!
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Old 30-01-2014, 11:10   #11
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Now I don't live in CA, I have passed through a number of times, and most folks seem to be moderately normal, I don't understand how they come to have such crazy laws on the books, that kind of law comes from a petition and voter referendum. Then when things get so restrictive you can't stand it anymore, then you leave.
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Old 30-01-2014, 11:22   #12
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Sounds like it's really a California thing then. That is okay with me. I never really fell into the Hollywood dream relm. I still look there, because my boat may be there waiting for me. However my second goal (after making sure I was sea worthy) would be getting out of there.

I am a 6'2" Blond hair, Hazel eyed, pale kid of 43 years (I am often mistaken for 34ish). I have paid off my debts, and been saving money for a number of years. So, once I sell my Modular home I'll have no ties to where I end up.

It sounds like Marinas are treated like Mobile home parks. If the home is well kept and the park is clean? They are "allowed" to continue using there Constitutional right to use their own property as they see fit. However if they start to get slum lordy, or allow to many beat up homes to accumulate in the park the city/state/county starts trying to shut them down ("for the good of the people").

My modular has always been well kept, but I can't say the same for all my neighbors.

As for my boat? It'll be my pride and joy! I can fix anything, I even built tiny "superboat" 505s for a while. Always fixed and fixed up my own cars/trucks. Pretty sure I can fix nearly anything a boat could throw at me. So making one look wonderful shouldn't be much trouble.

I hope to have enough $$ to live a few months onboard while I hunt for a job. Assuming I don't find one before getting on the boat. I'm pretty talented though. I'm sure I can find something just about anywhere I go.

Thanks all! Good info.
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Old 30-01-2014, 11:33   #13
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
Now I don't live in CA, I have passed through a number of times, and most folks seem to be moderately normal, I don't understand how they come to have such crazy laws on the books, that kind of law comes from a petition and voter referendum. Then when things get so restrictive you can't stand it anymore, then you leave.
Just the government trying to protect us from our selfs. Actually most laws in Cali are not by referendum. That's only one path to a new law. One of many here it seems..

Oddly enough the land owning folks, be it a house or condo, tend to look down on the poor retched live aboards. Lots O that in Cali. Not to even mention anchor outs...
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Old 30-01-2014, 11:57   #14
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Get the job first.

Boats are easier to find, and to move.
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Old 30-01-2014, 11:59   #15
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Re: How strict are Live Aboard LOA restrictions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancefish View Post
I've also found a Marina in Clear lake Texas that required 34'!
What Marina is that? Almost any marina in Clear Lake will allow you to live aboard on any size boat. Southshore harbor does not allow any live aboards, but the rest you should be OK. I know of at least 4 marinas in Clear Lake that have 27' live aboards.
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