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Old 26-01-2014, 11:18   #1
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A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

We are a family of four (2 children ages 8 and 10) who enjoyed boat ownership and coastal cruising of the Great Lakes a handful of years back. We have since lived and been homeowners in Stuart, FL. We are now considering adopting the liveaboard lifestyle, remaining in Stuart, and would very much appreciate the advice and ability to ask questions of someone who has actually done this. Questions such as budget estimates, marina advice, hard lessons learned, etc. Anybody out there willing to help somebody in making this transition? I know my wife would especially appreciate the female perspective. Somebody from the same locale would also be fabulous!
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Old 26-01-2014, 11:42   #2
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

We're a family of four but our children are younger (4 and 1). We left the United States about a year and a half ago and are headed to the South Pacific in a couple of months. We have a website with my blog and hers (individually), so feel free to check that out. Rebel Heart - The Saga of the Rebel Heart

Honestly I think most of the challenges are just parenting and life challenges. There is a lot of boat work and a lot of parenting work, but not really much that's simply because of having kids on the boat.
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Old 26-01-2014, 12:21   #3
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

We are a similar family of four; however are children, raised aboard from infancy to adults, are now out of the nest.
We found the following worked well for us:

Our children kept school and community ties ,- we cruised for summers & holidays.
It was important for them to have their own, but small, private cabin space.
They had encouraged skills in navigating & operating their boat.
They were led to develop water safety skilsl related to swimming and small boat operating,- kayaks, wind-surfers, dinghy sailing, etc.

We lived a five different marinas while they were aboard. The best had a grassy play area; other boat kids; and a child friendly neighborhood.

The best, yet unforseen, consequence of raising our children aboard was a close communication with quick and candid resolution of problems. There are few walls and doors to shut!
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Old 27-01-2014, 11:20   #4
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

Being a live aboard is warmer climates is easier than cold climates. A lot depends on the boat, slip, and the marina. The boat has to approve by your wife and she has the final final say. The boat should be big and comfortable enough for 4 so that each has their own area/space. The slip is equally as important as the boat as the potential danger is walking to/from the boat, getting on/off the boat and the slip and docks should be protect as they do move. The marina should have restroom, laundry, and close accommodations.

Many marinas do not allow live aboard so will looking for the boat also look at marinas. When at the marinas be sure to talk the live a boards as they are a great source of help and information. There are many past discussion and the Women forum has some also.

At this time you need to start shedding our dirt belonging, look at boats and marinas.
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Old 28-01-2014, 11:01   #5
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

We moved aboard with our son a year ago and its been a great experience. In the beginning you have to keep an open mind and know that its a mental game 95% of the time.

The transition did cause my wife and I a bit of hardship but we understood this beforehand. We talked it out and learned from it. I remember yelling a lot if water came in the boat, now I react much calmer. Its was all NEW to us so it took some time to adjust.

Some changes were fantastic, we can spend more time with our son. Teaching him on the boat has been very rewarding.
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Old 15-02-2014, 14:39   #6
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

Thanks for all of the shared insight! What have you found your maintenance expenses have averaged per month while tucked away in a marina?
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Old 15-02-2014, 15:56   #7
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

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Originally Posted by kaadkins View Post
Thanks for all of the shared insight! What have you found your maintenance expenses have averaged per month while tucked away in a marina?
Depends entirely on the boat you're maintaining. A good ballpark is 10% of the boat's purchase price in annual maintenance.

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Old 15-02-2014, 16:29   #8
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Depends entirely on the boat you're maintaining. A good ballpark is 10% of the boat's purchase price in annual maintenance.

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There has to only applicable to a narrow price / age range of boats. Do new 400K boats really cost $40K a year in maintenance?
Will I spend $8K a year on the 36 ft 10 yr old boat I'm buying?
The threads of "how much do you spend a year cruising" don't support this.
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Old 15-02-2014, 17:14   #9
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
There has to only applicable to a narrow price / age range of boats. Do new 400K boats really cost $40K a year in maintenance?
Will I spend $8K a year on the 36 ft 10 yr old boat I'm buying?
The threads of "how much do you spend a year cruising" don't support this.
I never understand where this nonsense of 10 % came from, I'm owned one brand new sailboat in my life and it never cost 10% per year or anything like that.

Dave
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Old 15-02-2014, 17:25   #10
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

kaadkins – maintenance expense will vary widely depending on the boat/gear, what your approach to maintenance is, and who does the work. Embrace DIY, never pay retail price and being creative goes a long way to spending less – if that’s important.
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Old 15-02-2014, 18:36   #11
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

It depends if you want to look at reported costs or anticipated costs.

The problem with boats is that it's very easy to "forget" a few expenses when reporting costs.

I've used a figure of 25%p.a. of the good condition value of the boat as an approximation of the total cost of ownership and find it to be a good indicator for planning purposes.

I include depreciation, cost of capital, some insurance, maintenance and some upgrades/replacements/etc. but not marina/mooring costs in this. DIY is assumed!

As an example a new boat may have very low maintenance and upgrade costs but the depreciation, capital cost and insurance may be very high.

I'm assuming that the boat will need to be replaced after 3/5/10... years.
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Old 15-02-2014, 19:52   #12
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

I like most of the nuggets of wisdom I've found here. Just curious as to the fact that, no one seems to include the learning curve in maintenance expense. Knowing ones limitations and the vessel's abilities and limitations, would go along way toward not over stressing components and wallets. Just saying. Forgive this newby for stating the obvious as I'm guilty of adrenaline addiction, which can get expensive..!
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Old 15-02-2014, 22:20   #13
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I never understand where this nonsense of 10 % came from, I'm owned one brand new sailboat in my life and it never cost 10% per year or anything like that.

Dave
How long did you own it for?

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Old 15-02-2014, 22:22   #14
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
There has to only applicable to a narrow price / age range of boats. Do new 400K boats really cost $40K a year in maintenance?
Will I spend $8K a year on the 36 ft 10 yr old boat I'm buying?
The threads of "how much do you spend a year cruising" don't support this.
It's a ballpark that gives someone a rough idea. And yeah a half million dollar boat could easily rack up that yard bill if you put it through its paces.

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Old 18-02-2014, 04:58   #15
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Re: A family's transition to the liveaboard lifestyle

I know we are not in the same local but we did set out 3 years ago and took our two sons with us.
If we can help in any way with advice just let us know.
Have a look at our website which will give you the background and an idea of what we have been doing.
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