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Old 26-03-2014, 12:29   #1
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Am I being irresponsible?

I went through a horrible and sudden divorce more than a year ago that left me the 33 year old single mother of a 6 year old boy with virtually no ties to any particular region. We live in Raleigh, NC, but I've been contemplating returning to my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida and buying a sailboat to live aboard. (Jacksonville-Just because I miss the water and weather and know the area)

I have been sailing a lot when younger, but I've never learned myself.

Am I being crazy? I've done some research on boats, living aboard, sailing lessons, and what's available in that area. I would still need to go to a day job everyday, so I'd have to stay in a marina.

I've been called selfish and irresponsible for considering "subjecting" my son to that type of life. I'm looking at it as a unique experience to shed material things and develop a richer quality of life than we would have as apartment dwellers. Am I being unrealistic?

In the meantime, I'm enjoying reading through other posts on this forum.

Thanks,

Ali
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Old 26-03-2014, 12:35   #2
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Do it , your son will love for doing it !
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Old 26-03-2014, 12:36   #3
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

I think you have the perfect mindset. F@$k those people that say you are being selfish. That is a stupid, uninformed opinion that simply demonstrates they are small minded and not willing to think about anything that is not fed to them on the TV each night.

There are a number of books, blog posts and magazine articles by kids that were raised on boats. From what I recall they are all happy, well adjusted people who are generally stand out from their piers in their intelligence and composure.
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Old 26-03-2014, 13:01   #4
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

There is quite a bit of info out there about cruising and sailing with kids. I've seen a few blogs of people out cruising and showing what experiences their kids have done in many different places. Many people might be against it because it isn't commonly accepted or considered "normal". So long as the boat is sound, safe, clean and maintained, it could be a good experience for your son. It also allows you and your son to know what you can live with (or without) as compared to living on land due to the limitations of space aboard.

Just like anything else boat related, research will help along the way.
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Old 26-03-2014, 13:23   #5
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Children need love, guidance, a protective parent, a parent who will open their eyes to the world and to be there for them. If you don't provide those things and more to a child then you most certainly are irresponsible and selfish. If you can't give them those things on a boat I highly doubt you can give them those things just because you are in a big house or apartment. It's not where you raise them but rather how you raise them.
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Old 26-03-2014, 13:41   #6
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

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. She earned money by scrubbing decks, polishing metal, or babysitting small children on other boats. She wasn't able to have an extensive wardrobe, a million possessions, or every gadget on the planet because we didn't have room for it, but somehow she never seemed to be bored. We lived aboard for several years. My husband was in the Navy so she and I were alone to take care of the boat for months at a time. We were living in Long Beach after San Diego and she got a job in the summers out on Catalina Island at Two Harbors working the ice cream shop, or wherever they needed her. They housed the kids there in a dorm type situation. We sailed out on the weekends and anchored in the harbor so we could visit her. I remember these as some wonderful years, and she does too.

To this day she is a boat/beach/water loving woman (almost 43 years old now). She doesn't have an "entitled" bone in her body. She is one of the hardest working people I know, isn't afraid to roll her sleeves up and is happy with little in small spaces. This has served her well as she is now also a single mother with two kids. I think she formed that stalwart character, in large part, during those years we spent aboard.

It's a healthy life and there is a lot that a kid can learn from it that will serve them well in life in general. I say go for it and best of luck to you and your son. But be prepared for that day when he shows up and tells you he is setting sail on his own.
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Old 26-03-2014, 13:42   #7
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

I think growing up in a boat would be more enriching than living on the land. Make sure you teach your son all the seamanship that you will be learning. Make it a family project to become two sailors. Then when you ex starts bothering you- set sail ! That will drive him crazy.
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Old 26-03-2014, 13:43   #8
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AliRodrigues View Post

Am I being crazy? I've done some research on boats, living aboard, sailing lessons, and what's available in that area. I would still need to go to a day job everyday, so I'd have to stay in a marina.

I've been called selfish and irresponsible for considering "subjecting" my son to that type of life. I'm looking at it as a unique experience to shed material things and develop a richer quality of life than we would have as apartment dwellers. Am I being unrealistic?

Research on boat maintenance might also be useful, if you haven't focused on that yet. You might find living aboard to be "a richer quality of life" -- or you may find it's a series of overwhelming maintenance chores compared to apartment living. Your call on whether that might be attractive, too.

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Old 26-03-2014, 13:44   #9
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

I'm going to take a guess here, but suspect that people here on a boat forum aren't to have an issue with someone living on a boat.
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Old 26-03-2014, 13:49   #10
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

You will have the sailing community which will likely be a lot more than you would find in a housing tract or apartment.

Get the child into swimming classes. Life jackets are important, but I am not sure what exactly to recommend. A life jacket can be quite hot in the summer. Maybe you should consider some place else besides Florida.
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Old 26-03-2014, 13:58   #11
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Boating is actually quite safe, at least that seems to be the opinion of many when compared with some other activities, like driving a car. The most dangerous is falling overboard while underway; however, there are now electronic devices the two of you can wear that will sound an alarm and direct you back to the spot where the crew went overboard. Having a tether from crew member to a part of the boat away from the edge, from the edge of the life line (the railing), also helps. There are also devices that alarm if one goes off the dock and into the water.
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Old 26-03-2014, 13:59   #12
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

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. I know he's only 6 but if he thinks he helped convince you to live aboard it will change how he looks at what you are doing and may be more enthusiastic about it.

Just be careful with his school. I vaguely recall someone on here saying that their kid got sent home from school with a flyer for a homeless shelter once the school found out they were living on a boat.
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Old 26-03-2014, 14:01   #13
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

If I had a kid, I would much rather him grow up on a boat in today's society
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Old 26-03-2014, 14:02   #14
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Re: Am I being irresponsible?

Thank you so, so, so much for your responses. I feel much better have insight from people who have either tried living, or at least know people who have lived like this.

Boat maintenance is something I know nothing about. When I read about other people doing so much themselves, I think it's amazing, but often wonder how exactly they learned those skills.
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Old 26-03-2014, 14:03   #15
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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. She earned money by scrubbing decks, polishing metal, or babysitting small children on other boats. She wasn't able to have an extensive wardrobe, a million possessions, or every gadget on the planet because we didn't have room for it, but somehow she never seemed to be bored. We lived aboard for several years. My husband was in the Navy so she and I were alone to take care of the boat for months at a time. We were living in Long Beach after San Diego and she got a job in the summers out on Catalina Island at Two Harbors working the ice cream shop, or wherever they needed her. They housed the kids there in a dorm type situation. We sailed out on the weekends and anchored in the harbor so we could visit her. I remember these as some wonderful years, and she does too.

To this day she is a boat/beach/water loving woman (almost 43 years old now). She doesn't have an "entitled" bone in her body. She is one of the hardest working people I know, isn't afraid to roll her sleeves up and is happy with little in small spaces. This has served her well as she is now also a single mother with two kids. I think she formed that stalwart character, in large part, during those years we spent aboard.

It's a healthy life and there is a lot that a kid can learn from it that will serve them well in life in general. I say go for it and best of luck to you and your son. But be prepared for that day when he shows up and tells you he is setting sail on his own.
To raise a child into that kind of adult is as successful as a parent can be and that's exactly the kind of person I'm hoping he will become.
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