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Old 09-03-2015, 08:09   #16
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Transit marina fees can be quite high but long term, annual or seasonal, fees can be quite reasonable in a lot of places. I have had quotes from different areas in Florida (West coast and panhandle areas) for $8-$9 a foot on an annual and $10-$11 on a seasonal. $12-$13 on a monthly. So for a 30' boat would run him $240-$400 a month depending on length of stay. Some marinas include WIFI in this cost, but I have no idea how reliable it is. I'm sure he can find prices in that range in a wide variety of places. If he were to just sit in a marina as a live aboard, which would also kick the fuel cost out of the equation or make it minimal if he were just out for a spin occasionally, it could be done, if he's just interested in being a live aboard and not necessarily a cruiser. But to cruise a power boat, especially a gas engine power boat, and pay transit marina fees, I don't see that. A few years back we had a gas engine 24' power boat and just the cost of running it for a weekend was so high we unloaded it pretty fast. Here is where the sailor in me wants to suggest taking a big bite out of that fuel budget by employing wind power, but I know it's not for everyone.

I also think $10-20K for a decent liveaboard power boat in that size range with working/reliable engine(s) is going to take a lot of patience and tenacity or an incredible stroke of luck to find. Not saying they don't exist, but they're not growing on trees.

I wish the OP every good fortune with his dream, but I think some modifications to the general plan are in order to make it a reality.
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:14   #17
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Thank you all for your input! This is exactly what I wanted to hear before we make any permanent decisions.

It seems I have three major problems after reading the posts:
  1. Need a bigger initial budget in order to purchase a boat, as financing a used boat will not be feasible.
    • To solve initial budget, we could wait an extra year(or 2) to increase our initial savings from 12000 to 18500-22000?
  2. Will need to supply my own internet, or find an alternative solution as marina internet is not up to par with our needs
  • Wide Area Wifi onboard the boat or Bike to a local library/coffee shop with internet?
3. A $1700/m budget will not support a marina to marina lifestyle
    • What type of budget would people here suggest is needed?
---------------------------------------------------------------------
@a64pilot "Average transient Marina fee is what $2 bucks a ft per night?"
  • We were basing our budget largely on seasonal slip rates I see on many site. Excluding harbors like Chicago and Key west, I see a lot of marina's have monthly rates around $12-$19/foot/month (Plus various fees). What are these rates and how do the differ from your quote? E.g., The Bristol Marina - Charleston, SC - Slip Rentals and Rates
    • Note we wish to stay put in a single marina for 3-4 month periods, and then leave to go to the next one.
@Ex-Calif "Ex-Calif"
  • What type of budget would you think we would need, please note that most months we will be moving the boat very little, however we do plan to make the loop in full once per year so fuel will definitely need to be a consideration.
@Eoghan_Roe "What if they converted their motor yacht to electric."
  • Is this common? What type of work is required to do such a thing. I have looked into electric outboards to use in addition to normal engines but they seem to small and too expensive to be worth it?
@belizesailor "By "great loop", I assume you mean the USA waterways loop?"
@Mike OReilly "My guess, after reading your list of need and wants, is that you really haven't spent much time on a boat, let alone living and cruising on one"
  • Why do you say that? I have not lived on a boat yet, you are correct there. I always thought my list was trim because I easily adapt lol.

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Old 09-03-2015, 08:44   #18
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Originally Posted by ShaktiGurl View Post
Why stay in a marina every day just to work? Get a good cell plan and use a mobile hot spot for work. LTE is much better than any marina wifi I have used. I use my cell plan for working aboard from a mooring and when traveling up and down the FL coast. I am a high data user so I need a 20-30GB plan but depending on the nature of the work, you may get by with less. Just go anchor when you need to work and travel when you don't. Hit the marina once or twice a month. Will save a lot of money.
Nice one Shakti... nice to know I'm not a lone voice in the wilderness..
If they wanted to buy a house they would not be here.. and would not have to put up with folk telling em its a better investment.. else they'd be at a realty site..:biggrin :
And.. the cell phone plan works a treat.. got my little doo-dah and just get a SIM for whichever country I'm in and instant HS internet.. well.. faster than anything on offer publicly.. and safer
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:07   #19
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

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Originally Posted by ShaktiGurl View Post
Why stay in a marina every day just to work? Get a good cell plan and use a mobile hot spot for work. LTE is much better than any marina wifi I have used. I use my cell plan for working aboard from a mooring and when traveling up and down the FL coast. I am a high data user so I need a 20-30GB plan but depending on the nature of the work, you may get by with less. Just go anchor when you need to work and travel when you don't. Hit the marina once or twice a month. Will save a lot of money.
I agree. You'll swap a $200-250 cost for a $2000 one.

Being a blow boater I can't really comment on the fuel issue but I'd think a small trawler might be frugal enough on diesel that it could be made manageable.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:14   #20
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I agree. You'll swap a $200-250 cost for a $2000 one.

Being a blow boater I can't really comment on the fuel issue but I'd think a small trawler might be frugal enough on diesel that it could be made manageable.
Well.. if they're using it for earning (cell) I'd figure that they'd work the cost into their overheads.. assuming they're savvy.. which I do..
For example the way the euro's going it won't be long before I switch back to using the £ to maintain my income balance against my expense's.

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Old 09-03-2015, 09:24   #21
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Just my two cents.

Save up to pay cash for the boat. Work two jobs? Skip the marina as much as possible. Get a diesel engine in your boat. Use cell tower wifi with a mobile hotspot. Big battery bank so you can anchor out for days without running your engine - solar panels too would be nice.

Sounds to me that you two know how to live small and are good candidates for your plan. Being on the Great Loop you can always stop somewhere and get temp jobs if needed.

I'm in the camp that says you can do it.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:30   #22
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

I'm going to swag about $2,500 just to have a little cushion, if you have a decent "oh crap" fund, then you can get by with less each month and draw on the fund for un-expected emergencies. Decent boat with a fresh bottom, should go two years easy without any real planned maintenance, have to do oil changes, filter, etc of course.
Yes if you stay for a couple of months each time then you can get the lower non-transient rate. But if you sit in one place for three months, it will take years to do the great loop, unless you go long legs each move, and then why do that, how about confine your thought to just the ICW?

Trawler would be the best idea, but as there are many more sailboats for sale than trawlers, I'd look into a sailboat, even if you have no plan on sailing the thing, it's probably a lot cheaper to buy and fuel cost is way less than a power boat. I burn 1 GPH and cover about 7 Nautical miles in that hour and I think that's about typical for a 40' sailboat, 36' maybe 3/4 of that fuel burn and around 6 kts, low 30's, half the fuel burn and maybe 5 kts.
40' Sailboat, motoring, expect to burn 8 gallons a day in fuel and travel 50 miles, MY maybe twice the mileage and 5 times the fuel? Where you want to travel, a whole lot of it you can't or shouldn't be on plane, beside planing burns an enormous amount of fuel compared to a sailboat putt - putting along, but I freely admit, it's exhilarating, just expensive.
But think, 50 miles a day is a long day, and you have to have 10 long days to only go 500 miles. Short route of the great loop I think is 5000 miles, that's 100 long days travelling. Going to be tough to do that and sit in a Marina for three months at a time.
If I did this right, to do the great loop on the short route, you will have to be travelling 1/3 of the time, there will be times due to maintenance or weather that you can't travel.

I think a lot of people end up in sailboats based on the finances, they are simply cheaper to buy and operate than powerboats
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Old 09-03-2015, 10:15   #23
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

It will be tight but doable. You may need to lower your expectations a little. We have a 42ft trawler and are working on the Loop spending less than $1700 a month absent traveling to my part time land job. We mostly anchor when on the boat and search hard for good monthly rates when we need to leave the boat. $300 - $400 a month is usually available. Higher on the east coast. Higher if you need fancy surroundings, pools ect. We are currently at Columbus MS. Very nice with pump out at the dock. Good WiFi. Courtesy car. Very nice staff. No pool. It has been COLD but that is no fault of the marina. We are going to go back up to Kentucky lake when it warms up.

I think you would be more likely to get enough boat either with a sail boat or a house boat. I think a sail boat makes the most sense. It may be hard to find a sailboat with a separate shower stall in your price range. I would be inclined to take the mast off and store it. Some will say that a sailboat needs the mast up or the motion will be miserable but on the rivers and smaller lakes that is not a factor. If a house boat you will need to be VERY careful about crossing some of the sounds on the E. coast, each of the Great Lakes and when working your way around the Gulf coast. With patience and a conservative watch on the weather I believe it is possible. If a house boat I would look hard for a diesel powered one. But, diesel or gas you HAVE to travel as slow displacement speeds. Like 5 knots. 9 knots will burn way more than twice as much fuel. Also if gas powered the engine(s) must be new enough that they are fuel injected. Carburetors are not very efficient at low power settings.

Only use marinas on a monthly basis. Often it only takes 5 or six days at the daily rate to pay for a month. Anchor as much as possible. This will require some form of cell internet plan. As others have noted the 4G LTE is much faster than any marina WiFi I have used.

Good luck. If you manage to do it you will be glad you did.

PS. I agree with most of what A64 pilot said. We seldom move more than 30 miles a day. If you followed the seasons on the East Coast intra coastal waterway you could leave the mast up an a sail boat the whole time and that would save some money. On the other hand we love the river systems and the highlight for me so far was the Trent Severn waterway in Canada.
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Old 09-03-2015, 15:37   #24
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

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@Mike OReilly "My guess, after reading your list of need and wants, is that you really haven't spent much time on a boat, let alone living and cruising on one"
  • Why do you say that? I have not lived on a boat yet, you are correct there. I always thought my list was trim because I easily adapt lol.

Mainly b/c your "need and musts" seem more focused around having a nice apartment than anything to do with the actual boaty parts of the boat. Not knocking you, I just think you should try and gain some experience living and travelling on a cruising boat first. You'll likely discover a whole of things about the life that will help you focus on what you really need and want.
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Old 09-03-2015, 15:50   #25
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Mainly b/c your "need and musts" seem more focused around having a nice apartment than anything to do with the actual boaty parts of the boat. Not knocking you, I just think you should try and gain some experience living and travelling on a cruising boat first. You'll likely discover a whole of things about the life that will help you focus on what you really need and want.
I think he's after a floating RV more than the 'I'm Popeye the Sailor Man' T-Shirt..
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Old 09-03-2015, 15:57   #26
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I think he's after a floating RV more than the 'I'm Popeye the Sailor Man' T-Shirt..
Can I get a shirt like that?
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Old 09-03-2015, 16:46   #27
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

So many good suggestions and Idea's. Luckily for me, I have relative'd who are seasonal live aboard's, Ill see what I can do about stealing a few weeks on their boat.
Sounds like 4g wifi will be necessary, even if im lucky enough to find a marina with good internet. I've started monitoring my bandwidth usage to see what I will need.

@a64pilot Thank you for the math on the GreatLoop, I will need to take a closer look at travel time for sure. Would you think starting in the great lakes in the spring and then ending in the great lakes fall the following year be a more reasonable time table (Turning it into a 2 year trip), or does that still seem rushed. 50 days a year seems like a big hike still? Are most people who do the great loop always on the go?

@darylat8750 From your experience, when anchoring, Cell and LTE coverage is available? I may sound like im pounding internet into the ground, but the wife and I have work from home day jobs that require internet.

@everyone else, Thank you for the comments again, this is definitely the feedback we need so we can better plan and make better decisions. We will certainly wait longer to ensure we can pay cash for the boat and have a decent O'S&!T fund before we start.
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Old 09-03-2015, 17:12   #28
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Sorry, never done the great loop myself, but boat speed is slower than you might think.
I was on the delivery of our boat in Miami right by some river walk, we were tooling along at cruising speed, when I realized a lady "powerwalking" was going faster then we were and I realized I had like 4 more days to get this thing all the way around the State and back up to the panhandle at walking speed. You make good time on a sailboat on a passage because your travelling 24/7, but I believe your pretty much restricted to daylight hours on the great loop and that includes weighing anchor and setting anchor and likely have to stop often because the next anchorage you can't make before sunset.

Read a little part of a book the other day about someone enjoying sailing and think they were making real good time today, wind was just right, then they get passed by a Butterfly

Somebody got the link to the video of the Brit doing the ICW?
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Old 09-03-2015, 18:02   #29
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

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@Ex-Calif "Ex-Calif"
  • What type of budget would you think we would need, please note that most months we will be moving the boat very little, however we do plan to make the loop in full once per year so fuel will definitely need to be a consideration.
- I reckon everyone's budget is different. I think $1,700 is doable but you will be camping not enjoying a marina lifestyle. Living on the hook has other issues. Like the need for a lot more solar or a generator to run equipment. This means a "better" boat.

- On the move - You can "annualize" many of the costs, like fuel and food. Then there are variable costs like marina fees and boat repairs. Add it all up and divide by 365. Then you divide the 5,000 miles by 365 and get 13+ miles per day. Then you divide by boat speed of say 4 knots and 3+ hours of travel per day. Add an hour each end to get underway and dock +3 hours of personal time and add 1 hour a day to "take care of the boat" - So 9 hours a day. Then add in 8 hours of work - if that's what you need so 17 hours a day then you can sleep for 7.

- Internet - My kid consistently blew through his $100/mo data plan. So I cancelled his contract and now he gets unlimited data and domestic phone for $45. He bitches when he gets throttled back around the 3rd week of every month but I am saving over $100 a month.

This following post by Daryl is a good one...

I agree with the sailboat idea due to more efficient hull, diesel engine and lower operating cost.

You trade off a pilothouse up (probably) separate "workstations" but as you don't care about the rig and sails so much you may be able to find a cheaper boat or bigger one for the price. It needs a low time reliable diesel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by darylat8750 View Post
It will be tight but doable. You may need to lower your expectations a little. We have a 42ft trawler and are working on the Loop spending less than $1700 a month absent traveling to my part time land job. We mostly anchor when on the boat and search hard for good monthly rates when we need to leave the boat. $300 - $400 a month is usually available. Higher on the east coast. Higher if you need fancy surroundings, pools ect. We are currently at Columbus MS. Very nice with pump out at the dock. Good WiFi. Courtesy car. Very nice staff. No pool. It has been COLD but that is no fault of the marina. We are going to go back up to Kentucky lake when it warms up.

I think you would be more likely to get enough boat either with a sail boat or a house boat. I think a sail boat makes the most sense. It may be hard to find a sailboat with a separate shower stall in your price range. I would be inclined to take the mast off and store it. Some will say that a sailboat needs the mast up or the motion will be miserable but on the rivers and smaller lakes that is not a factor. If a house boat you will need to be VERY careful about crossing some of the sounds on the E. coast, each of the Great Lakes and when working your way around the Gulf coast. With patience and a conservative watch on the weather I believe it is possible. If a house boat I would look hard for a diesel powered one. But, diesel or gas you HAVE to travel as slow displacement speeds. Like 5 knots. 9 knots will burn way more than twice as much fuel. Also if gas powered the engine(s) must be new enough that they are fuel injected. Carburetors are not very efficient at low power settings.

Only use marinas on a monthly basis. Often it only takes 5 or six days at the daily rate to pay for a month. Anchor as much as possible. This will require some form of cell internet plan. As others have noted the 4G LTE is much faster than any marina WiFi I have used.

Good luck. If you manage to do it you will be glad you did.

PS. I agree with most of what A64 pilot said. We seldom move more than 30 miles a day. If you followed the seasons on the East Coast intra coastal waterway you could leave the mast up an a sail boat the whole time and that would save some money. On the other hand we love the river systems and the highlight for me so far was the Trent Severn waterway in Canada.
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Old 09-03-2015, 19:26   #30
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

I think that spending the first summer in the Great Lakes, South for the winter, north along the east coast for the hurricane season then south again for the winter then start north early spring and follow warm weather to the Great Lakes again would be good timing. The only issue that I see with this plan is that many of the boats that are available in your price range are in FL. I think that a sail boat will be less expensive and more capable from a weather / sea state point of view than a house boat but a house boat will be more like a small apt. from a living standpoint. If you lean towards a house boat the river system and places like Kentucky Lake have a lot of them on the market. Starting your adventure in that area would be reasonable also.
If you get a sail boat I would strongly suggest that you have a canvas enclosure for the cockpit. When it is 50 degrees and raining it will be a comfortable, usable space.

Most folks that have tried more than one provider seem to think that Verizon has the best data coverage on the Mississippi and East. Join Active Captain before you decide. Active Captain is crowd sourced and has great data on anchorages, marinas and most other stuff you will be interested in. Including cell service available at most anchorages, WiFi at marinas ect. We use Verizon and don't plan anchorages based on coverage but are seldom without. Cell service in Canada will be an issue that you will need to investigate. We bought a cheap phone and local service while there.

We bought our boat about 5 years ago. Have been to "The Mexican Rivera". Spent a couple of years in and around Isla Mujeres near Cancun. Crossed the Gulf to Ft. Meyers and started the Loop from there. We are now on year 3 of a 1 year plan to do the Loop. Some of the extra time is do to family issues, work and luck. But most of it is that it's too much fun to turn it into a race.
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