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Old 26-03-2015, 14:38   #1
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Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

Hello All!
I'm a young college student (soon to be a college graduate in a few months) in the Los Angeles, CA area, and I 'm in the process of looking for my own bachelor pad. Just for a little background, I am a lifeguard, swim instructor , and pool supervisor, and have done some occasional lifeguarding over on Catalina Island.
Even though I don't come from a history of boating, I love the water and boats in general, and the idea of living on a cruiser is an interesting idea, at least until I decide to start a family. While it is true I am looking for a place on a budget (and I have read on here that liveaboard status isn't necessarily cheap), the combination of my love for the water and a boat being a somewhat cheaper investment than a house right now makes it attractive and adventurous to me...I've always liked to do things differently.

So, how do I go about becoming a liveabord? My plan is to possibly acquire a vintage 60's or 70's 40' to 50' motor cruiser (such as an old Chris Craft), and try to find a slip somewhere in the L.A. area...but not Marina Del Rey or Long Beach, due to the waiting lists and possible hostility to liveaboards. Maybe down to Newport, but not past San Pedro.

Any advice or recommendations on this matter? I think it would be an interesting way to live for a while, and would sure beat any apartment or house rental until I can acquire my own property. Thanks for your help!
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Old 26-03-2015, 15:25   #2
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

Don't mean to be short with you, and you'll get as many opinions as there are members on this forum. But, a quick search will turn up lots of threads started by people asking the same questions.
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Old 26-03-2015, 21:37   #3
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

Hey my friend. Just a note wishing you good luck. I think you're exploring a smart smart decision.


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Old 27-03-2015, 03:56   #4
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

From what I have read, fuel costs for a motor cruiser can be obscene. So if you intend to cruise on a "just out of college" income a sailboat may be a better option. Unless you can work out a way to convert your motor cruiser to electric. If you do figure that one out, let me know!

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Old 27-03-2015, 05:28   #5
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

Buy the smallest boat you can accept living on, as costs rise nearly exponentially with size. If you just want something that floats and don't expect moving it, then 40-50' may be manageable, but if you want to be mobile, @ 30' is a much better target. Remember that fuel costs for big motor yacht are considerable...up to and past 40 gallons per hour with the pedal down depending on hull type.

Certainly a sailboat would be a less expensive option, if actually taking it out is a goal.

You're going to be constrained, as you know by where you can find a slip. As you'll find out, a slip for a 40' boat is going to be quite a bit more than that for a 30', and harder to find as well.

Can't help you out regarding marinas. I would probably look on Active Captain and start war-dialing marinas and gathering information. Ask each of them who else they think you should call.
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Old 27-03-2015, 05:40   #6
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pirate Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
Buy the smallest boat you can accept living on, as costs rise nearly exponentially with size.
Correction...
Buy the smallest boat the Ladies will be happy to sleep on..
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Old 27-03-2015, 05:59   #7
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

Most of the boats in the size and age you mention will be wood and could be a nightmare. A boat of this size in wood that's in really good condition will probably be expensive. Most that are not expensive will most likely need a lot of work, possibly a LOT of work. Of course like any generality there can be exceptions and you might get lucky.

Regardless, wood boats, if not constantly maintained can go downhill quickly so you will be faced with significant, ongoing maintenance that could take a good bite out of your time or really big bills at a boat yard to pay them to do it.

And to regretfully pour more cold water on your idea, any liveaboard slips I've heard of in south CA are scarce and expensive. But again you might get lucky.

And as someone else mentioned, if you actually plan to use the boat get ready to spend some significant change on fuel. A boat that size, even at slow speeds could use 5-10-15 gallons of diesel per hour. A weekend trip from LA to Catalina could set you back a few hundred dollars in fuel.
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Old 27-03-2015, 09:02   #8
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

There are liveaboard slips in the San Diego area. And I think it's a better area than LA. Look at Shelter Cove marina, Kona Kai marina, and the marinas in National City and Chula Vista.
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Old 27-03-2015, 09:15   #9
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

You need to know this: the larger the boat, the larger the problems. And large old boats have large old problems. Translation: if you want to live on a small budget don't buy big problems.

A boat is a great place for a single liveaboard with imagination, perseverance and flexibility. I would recommend under 40 feet, because even such a simple thing as a dockline costs significantly more for a 45-foot boat than for a 30-foot boat. An anchor for a 45-foot boat is more expensive and more difficult to manhandle, if that becomes necessary, than for a 30-foot boat.

A well-designed 30-foot sailboat is plenty roomy for one person, even roomy enough for a guest or two.

A sailboat will allow you to cruise recreationally for less cost. Fuel is expensive. Wind is free.

I don't recommend you buy anything until you try out this lifestyle. My husband and I cruised a trailerable 25-foot sailboat for five years before we decided that liveaboard was for us. It is a great lifestyle, but not for everyone. Just like a house, there is always maintenance. The costs for boat life rise just like the costs for land life.

Wishing you every success,

Larry and Katherine Harms
Aboard S/V No Boundaries
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Old 27-03-2015, 09:25   #10
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

Get the smallest boat you can tolerate. Remember that most fees are by the foot LOA, so get a short boat with a really wide beam. Aim for 30' LOA, with an 11' beam carried well aft.

Look at what's for sale in your area, check out a few in person, then buy a grampian 30, its the cheapest boat that meets your needs (under $10k). A mid 80's hunter 34 would be awesome for you (about $20k).

To practise living on a boat, spend a weekend in a small walk-in closet.
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Old 27-03-2015, 10:37   #11
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

Just to back up the other statements; I started out wanting a 40 to 45 foot sailboat. The more research I did that number lowered to 30 to 35 foot. Now I am looking at 28 foot as being the luxury number with boats in the 24 foot range being seriously considered.

As others have said, the larger the boat the larger the problems.

Research like your trying for a doctorate in boat studies. Than get a long list of boats your interested in and get aboard them.

I hear a good microbrew and a willingness to help with boat chores is the secret to being invited aboard any boat you would like to see.

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Old 27-03-2015, 10:45   #12
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

And older wooden boat will put you into the poor house. You may encounter difficulties finding a marina that will ever consider renting for an old boat.


Best of luck to you.
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Old 27-03-2015, 10:54   #13
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

1. Listen to Boatman

2. Listen to Boatman

You seem to know the areas you want to live. Go to the Marinas and see what is there. You will be surprised as to what is realistic for your needs. It's not going to be as inexpensive as you desire.

Finally, during your search, think about Boatmans suggestion.....


"Life is Good if you Keepa Smilin...."
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Old 27-03-2015, 11:00   #14
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Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

There's a lot of info missing from your post. For example, what are you studying, and what job prospects do you have lined up upon graduation? It's nice that you like the water, but that alone doesn't tell me much. I lived in LA for 10 years, and spent a lot of time around the Marina Del Rey area. San Pedro? That's a whole 'nother planet!

My advice? Don't fixate on a floating "bach pad" right now. Fixate instead on making a TON of money. Then, buy a REALLY nice boat. Whatever you want, and don't be concerned too much with MDR day sailors who think a sunny Saturday trip to Catalina is a major voyage. Like with most of Tinseltown, you'll encounter a fair share of puffy-chest nonsense fluff in the MDR area. Pay it no heed, if your heels are shiny enough.

Make some money first. Boat buying, and live aboard life, is more fun that way.

OK. One more time. Make some money first.
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Old 27-03-2015, 11:13   #15
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pirate Re: Considering Liveaboard Lifestyle... Any Guidance?

Boils down to..
1/ Your looking for cheap digs that you can double up on with play..
OR
2/ Wanna Be de Coolest Dude on Campus...
I'd go for 1/ the cosy salon with appropriate mood music and ambience..
You however may prefer your Alma Mater bopping all over the boat and pumping Acid/House/Rapcrap music and water bombing off the the top of the pilot house.. considering your start point..
Take a look on Youtube.. loadsa vid's on there from folks doing just this.. a gal in Panama.. 4 kids in Florida's sail to the Bahama's on a $1k boat..
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