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Old 26-03-2014, 17:44   #31
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Your son will be the envy of his classmates & friends and for good reason. Kids adjust extremely well to new experiences since they aren't held back by what society considers "normal". You should be commended for being a parent who has the guts to be willing to give their child such a life experience.

As others have said, as long as the boat is clean and safe, how can anyone think that it is inferior to living in a small apartment??

I come from a family of 7 kids. Wasn't an option for us, but had it been... Wow! I would have loved it!
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Old 26-03-2014, 18:01   #32
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

jax has a great liveaboard community in the ortega river area. most of the folks i met there were very supportive and easy to get along with. there is a school and groceries withing walking distance. also people there that can help with your boat. good luck.
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Old 26-03-2014, 18:08   #33
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

We met a young couple with two young children at our marina in NC some years ago. Their two kids were 6 and 9 at the time. The couple had spent 2 years living at a marina in Maryland before they left for the Caribbean for 2 years.
They stayed for two weeks and our kids and theirs became fast friends very quickly.

I have never met 2 more socially adjusted children in my life as a parent. The parents said it was because of the experience they received, growing up in their formative years at Manrina's, and having to adapt to changing friends and circumstances all the time.

I have always been envious of them and wish we had been able to offer our children the same opportunity.

Go for it, you will never regret it.
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Old 26-03-2014, 18:46   #34
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

I'm amazed and even more encouraged by this new possibility after reading these responses. To answer a couple of questions-my husband lives in South America and hasn't been back in the U.S. for well over a year. My son and I are on our own. Even at that, I emailed my ex and told him I was thinking about moving us to live on a sailboat in Florida and responded that it sounded amazing. I have very little family support anyhow, so my son and I are mostly in this world alone no matter what our future holds.

I'm trying (hard) to keep my son from becoming more into electronics than what's outside. We actually up and moved to rural North Brazil at one point and lived on a farm in the Amazon. Being open minded is something that my son is used to and I do think he'll love the water. Thank you all again for your amazing input. I've just spent an hour putting sailing books into my kindle and can't wait to start learning. I'm hoping to make this happen before fall!
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Old 26-03-2014, 19:20   #35
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Baby steps-remember baby steps first. I would even look if you could rent first. You'll never know what type of boat you want until you get there. Spend time hanging out with you son at the local boatyard and marinas. I know a couple of people up here who got boats given to them by showing up and talking with the owners. Don't know what Florida is like, haven't been down there for about 8 years now.
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Old 26-03-2014, 19:35   #36
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

So you're asking a cruising community what they think about living aboard a sailboat?!?! Ha. Yes, do it. But here's what I can offer. I'm a single woman. I bought my own boat a little over a year ago. It can be intimidating. My son is almost 30 and has his own life, so there's no child in the picture, but yours is young so consider that you're doing this on your own till he gets older. It might take a while, but do your research and understand what you're getting into before you buy a boat. Ask lots of questions. It's not enough that a surveyor looks over your boat --- you really need to know what you're looking at yourself. So find one that is solid that maybe needs some upgrades, but don't think you need something huge or that substitutes for a mini apartment. Get something you can afford AND will have extra money to put into maintenance each year. Boats degrade fast. The marine environment is harsh. Try to do things yourself even if they take longer; you'll get to know the systems and have spare parts, whenever needed. Try not to immediately get someone else to help you. As to whether it's selfish to do this to your son, you are his parent and the only one who can make the best decisions for him. As long as you have a safe place for him to live, can provide him with food, will drill into him the safety aspects of walking the docks, make sure he's always using a PFD when he's on a boat, advise him to not go onto other people's boats without your knowledge, etc., etc., etc., then you have done everything in your power to be a good mother. Tell those rude people to.....well, mind their own business.
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Old 26-03-2014, 22:17   #37
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Maybe at Easter vacation time, take your son with you and drive down to jax and check out the scene. Chat with folks. See how it feels to both of you. Have it in the back of your mind that if you *happen to see* a boat that is available and feels right to you, that you will be in a position to move quickly on it.

Return to NC and get your ducks lined up. And then go for it! There seems to be no external reason you have mentioned not to. Can you work in FL? Need exams for license updating?

Best luck to you and the lad.

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Old 26-03-2014, 23:52   #38
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

I'm a female sailboat owner. I have always lived a rather unconventional lifestyle and got used to not having the approval of "conventional types" a long time ago. I've owned businesses inland for 25 years so I live in the loft/warehouse I converted and unfortunately (for now) spend much more time off than on the boat. I have made some beloved friends at the marinas that are constantly educating me on all the complicated stuff (which is a lot). There will always be so much to learn to do. I am eternally grateful for their help and support because they are the ones that make this dream possible.

I wish I could have raised my daughter on a sailboat. I firmly believe that travel is the best education. I always made sure that my daughter was exposed to and thus able to deal with people from all walks of life. The confidence she got from international traveling and even sailboat racing with me especially in high school and college played a part in her being able to hold her own in any situation (even with intimidatingly powerful people).

Your son will meet inspiring and amazing people who will help shape his life. The coast is a wonderful place to raise a child. If you're anything like me, most land people just won't "get" you anyway. You really become even closer to nature living on a sailboat and there's nothing like the way a boat rocks you to sleep at night.

You sound like an adventurous person. Only you know in your heart what is best. Life is too short to have regrets.
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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
I agree with @newt about looking into renting first. It will get you down there and into the loop so you can take your time and find the perfect boat to spend your hard earned money on. Pay close attention to the survey when you do buy. The insurance company will make you fix everything before you can even get insurance - a challenge in itself for a single woman and required by most marinas.

Since buying the boat, I've had a few scary days, but overall I am so ecstatic and infinitely proud that I pulled this off. Please feel free to PM me anytime.
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Old 27-03-2014, 06:13   #39
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Maybe this is a "two-hop" move: first to a short term apartment in a likely area so you can shop for boats, marinas, schools, etc... then then to the boat/marina as that all comes together.

Small boys can sometimes get into places that need fixing much better than anyone else could. Consider gradually give him chores and tasks that help him grown into a sense of responsibility for certain parts of or functions on the boat. This would be "grow your own" crew.

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Old 27-03-2014, 07:15   #40
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldragbaggers View Post
We moved aboard a boat when our daughter was twleve or thirteen years old. The first 6 months we spent living in an anchorage in San Diego Bay while waiting for a slip to become available in the Navy marina. I remember my daughter and the other kids who lived in the anchorage out buzzing around in their dinghies going from boat to boat to play here or eat there. They were adventurous, self sufficient and they were engaged in wholesome fun, all the while learning.
+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherocks83 View Post
I would have loved to have been raised on a boat. I even recall desperately trying to convince my parents to do just that.
The one thing I would do first is take him sailing and see if he even likes it. Then make the decision "with" him about living aboard.
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Quote:
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If I had a kid, I would much rather him grow up on a boat in today's society
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Make it a package deal, the live-aboard boat, and a small simple sailing dinghy. He will be hooked for life!!!! I think it would be wonderful for him. Best of Luck, _____Grant.
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Your son will be the envy of his classmates & friends and for good reason.
I flippin' flappin Guaranty this will be true!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohYes View Post
I wish I could have raised my daughter on a sailboat. I firmly believe that travel is the best education. Your son will meet inspiring and amazing people who will help shape his life. The coast is a wonderful place to raise a child.
+++

Ali,

Welcome to CF... Way too many great posts to quote... Redacted points above...

Think Nike... Just Do It!... Albeit one step at a time, and smartly with a bunch of help that will definitely be there...

I like all else here... will spend way too much time helping... It's what we do... We're sailors... a different breed.... All you gotta do is ask...
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Old 27-03-2014, 07:21   #41
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I agree with everyone here, plus I am in a sorta, kinda, not really but close to the same situation. Was engaged, and it ended in the parking lot at Home Depot. Really thinking of moving to Texas temporarily and driving a tanker truck on the oil rigs.

Lots of people rave about Green Cove Springs Marina. A little south of Jacksonville. I vote "do it!"
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Old 27-03-2014, 07:46   #42
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

I spent nearly every summer of my young childhood days on the family boat going from FL to Washington DC. While we were not year round liveaboards, we did get 3 months of it. My 3 brothers and I had the greatest time and met some of the most amazing kids. As an adult who has lived aboard for 10 years of the past 15, my experience is the kids that are out with their families living on boats are still just as amazing. I don't know why that is.
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Old 27-03-2014, 08:20   #43
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AliRodrigues View Post
I'm amazed and even more encouraged by this new possibility after reading these responses. To answer a couple of questions-my husband lives in South America and hasn't been back in the U.S. for well over a year. My son and I are on our own. Even at that, I emailed my ex and told him I was thinking about moving us to live on a sailboat in Florida and responded that it sounded amazing. I have very little family support anyhow, so my son and I are mostly in this world alone no matter what our future holds.

I'm trying (hard) to keep my son from becoming more into electronics than what's outside. We actually up and moved to rural North Brazil at one point and lived on a farm in the Amazon. Being open minded is something that my son is used to and I do think he'll love the water. Thank you all again for your amazing input. I've just spent an hour putting sailing books into my kindle and can't wait to start learning. I'm hoping to make this happen before fall!
There are two people involved in this decision. You and your son. Talk to him. Discuss the possibility. Your son has been through a lot and may have been impacted by what he's been through in a divorce, a father who doesn't see him, than you realize. Discuss it all with him. Take him sailing. If he's part of the process he's far more likely to love the decision.

You need to also be open minded. If he loves "electronics" then respect and nurture that love as well. I expect your son will love both worlds.

You mentioned your kindle and starting to learn. Don't just you do that. Let him join you in that. Read the stories together.

Now I think your son could love this life. His home may be the one all the other boys want to come play at after school. But I'm also going to throw one huge cautionary message. Your son may be angry already at some of what has taken place in his life. This could be one thing on top of that. Your son may have anger he's not sharing with you. I strongly believe in counseling in such situations as divorce but even more when there is a parent who isn't in the picture anymore. The boat decision could be a normal part of that process. I would hope the boat can be part of the solution and not one more disruption to anger him. I know you're going to think, "He isn't angry. He's handled it very well." Well, I always handled things very well, but ultimately had to deal many years later with the childhood anger I'd buried under sadness.

To me, I would absolutely have been thrilled at what you're talking about doing. Ultimately as a parent it is your decision, but bringing him into it as a partner in the process can really be beneficial. He can plan and dream with you, not suddenly be told we're moving to a boat in Jacksonville.

Then in your search for where to go, what marina, you'll have the same considerations of all parents, including what school system and what specific schools.

Best of luck to you. The task of raising a son as a single mom is daunting in some ways. On the other hand, looking back I would have chosen a single mom over the situation I grew up in. My wife would have as well. It's not the "dream situation" but it sure can be better than a lot of other situations. And I would have preferred living with a loving mom as you seem to be on a boat in a peaceful calm environment any day to living in the big nice house in the nice neighborhood in the environment I grew up in.

So maybe tonight read a book about life on the water or some blogs with your son. Now that sounds like fun to me.
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Old 27-03-2014, 08:55   #44
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Looks like the "Ayes" have it! Let me point out one thing: I live in Ohio and am landlocked six months out of the year. Six months I live on my boat in the PNW. I have lived on my three acres in Ohio for 35 years. I know a few of my neighbors to say hello to but that's about it. When I am in the marina on my boat, sometimes takes me forty five minutes to an hour to just get to the parking lot. Not because it's so far, rather because of all the people I know and have to stop and talk to. It's a really great community and help is right at hand just for the asking. Also there is just something a little more mature like about the kids that I see in the marina. Okay, sorry that's maybe three things. Just take your time and as previous posts said, check it out and choose what suits you.
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Old 27-03-2014, 09:51   #45
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Selfish and Irresponsible? Well, you should just subject yourself to an expensive mortgage, feed your kid McDs, dont let him outside (it's dangerous out there), let him be comfy inside with video games.....and you two can be miserable like everyone else. I agree with most here; Do it. He will love you forever for it.
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