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Old 28-08-2013, 20:03   #1
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Before you Start Laughing ... or Crying

Experienced boater living aboard a 46' ACMY in Florida. Great marina, great friends, work for myself. So today I get a job offer. In Detroit. It's a really, really good job ... but it's Detroit. I've lived in NYC, so I realize it's flipping cold up there. Is it possible to live aboard in Detroit? Asking about feasibility and logistics. Are there marinas that are equipped and allow year-round live-aboards? I'm pretty hardy, the boat is able to make the trip, but the ability to take the boat will play a big part in the decision. The other choices are to leave it in Florida and visit on the holidays, move it to Baltimore or somewhere on the Mississippi or (gulp) sell it and buy again when I'm ready to leave Detroit in a couple of years. The money's excellent and I'm putting two kids through college, so very tempting. It'd be a lot easier to swallow if I can live aboard up there. Any advice from you Michiganders?
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Old 28-08-2013, 20:36   #2
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I work in Detroit and am planning to retire and live aboard in Florida. One of us may be nuts.

1. Detroit is not as bad as you probably heard
2. Detroit is not very good
3. I have heard of year round live aboards up here but I don't know the details. But it gets really cold and winter is really long.
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Old 28-08-2013, 20:38   #3
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Re: Before you start laughing ... or crying

Re nuts .. I'm pretty certain it's me!

Thanks for the input. Quick -- somebody slap me!
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Old 28-08-2013, 20:41   #4
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Re: Before you start laughing ... or crying

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Originally Posted by themediadoctor View Post
Re nuts .. I'm pretty certain it's me!

Thanks for the input. Quick -- somebody slap me!
Was it just the slap or would you like a whipping and beating with it ?
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Old 29-08-2013, 04:53   #5
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Re: Before you start laughing ... or crying

Former Michigander here: There are some year-round liveaboards in marinas in the Detroit area. Winters are challenging, ice will no longer just be something you find in your rum drink. If you decide to go for it there are some new terms that will come into your vocabulary, like "bubblers" (to keep the ice from forming around your hull/the dock pilings) and "condensation" (the real enemy and cause of much mold and heartache) and maybe "shrink wrap." You obviously need a way to keep the boat warm, and many places turn off their shoreside water during the cold seasons. The up sides: gorgeous fresh water is very kind to boat systems; no hurricanes (!!!) and spectacular summers. A few blog links from people who endure winter, to peruse if you're so inclined: The Monkey's Fist: Collecting Cruisers' Perspectives: Living Aboard in Winter
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Old 29-08-2013, 05:51   #6
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Re: Before you Start Laughing ... or Crying

Another transplanted Yankee here.... If the job is really only a couple years, I would not sell your boat. Assuming it's a boat you want to keep long-ish term anyway. If you were planning on getting rid of the boat in the next couple years, then that might change things. Maybe you would consider selling it now.

My advice would be to leave the boat in FL (or sell it depending on the above), and get an inexpensive apt/condo while you are working there. I'm not an accountant, but there may be some tax advantages to working away from your primary residence as well. I did this last year. Transportation to and from your primary residence is deductable. Also, would it be possible to negotiate a per diem (non-taxable income) to cover some of your living expenses? They are asking your move to Detroit after all.

Just a few thoughts.

Scott
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Old 29-08-2013, 07:20   #7
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Re: Before you Start Laughing ... or Crying

Scott, you're the voice of reason. I really hate that! The boat's spacious, solid and low-hours, and I bought it very well. But when I look at keeping it in the water for three years while renting up there, the smartest thing would be to sell now, bank the savings on dockage/maintenance and buy again when I'm done. Dammit!

Thanks guys. Good stuff and much appreciated.
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Old 29-08-2013, 07:28   #8
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Re: Before you Start Laughing ... or Crying

Another option would be to haul out on the hard, while at work in Detroit. They make that wrap that practically vacuum seals your boat. Then reopen it when you come back. I don't know if there is a place for you to do that, that is viable, just a thought.
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Old 29-08-2013, 08:07   #9
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Re: Before you Start Laughing ... or Crying

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Another option would be to haul out on the hard, while at work in Detroit. They make that wrap that practically vacuum seals your boat. Then reopen it when you come back. I don't know if there is a place for you to do that, that is viable, just a thought.
If you were to follow the above suggestion, do expect that there would be "sitting boat" problems. It seems like there always are. I think you know what your options are, now, it's just coming to grips with them takes a while.

Good luck with it.

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Old 29-08-2013, 08:17   #10
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Re: Before you Start Laughing ... or Crying

If I were to leave her sit for a couple of years, I think I would clean everything out, insure nothing organic is left aboard, all valves open, water/fuel tanks empty, etc...
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Old 29-08-2013, 10:12   #11
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Can't speak for whether they offer it in Detroit or not but we're oin the west end of Lake Ontario and a few marinas here offer liveaboard in the winter. I think they throw a bubbler in the water and shrink-wrap you. A friend did/does it and said it was actually very comfortable - between the shrink-wrapping and the inevitable snowpile you'll shovel off the pier, you get decent insulation and cover from wind. One cool bonus: walk ten feet and you can go ice skating!
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Old 29-08-2013, 11:56   #12
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Re: Before you Start Laughing ... or Crying

What about living aboard in the winter ashore? and bubble wrapped etc - or inside a shed!

Never been to Detroit of course.........
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Old 29-08-2013, 12:01   #13
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Re: Before you Start Laughing ... or Crying

Ive been to Detroit( used to work in the auto industry) ( Beruit of the North ) winters in a boat , have you lost your friggin mind!!

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Old 29-08-2013, 12:45   #14
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Houses are free in Detroit. Why would you want to live aboard? Leave the boat inFL and spend what you would otherwise be spending on rent on Airtran tickets, every weekend. No lose situation.
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Old 29-08-2013, 12:55   #15
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Re: Before you Start Laughing ... or Crying

D'ohhh. I didn't think of that. I did look up slip prices and a lot of them are insane ... the dockuminiums are more than I paid for my first house and even some of the rentals are $10-15,000 -- for the summer season. Not paying that would certainly buy some air tickets and whatever security devices I'm going to need up there.

Thanks for the thought.
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