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Old 08-01-2015, 10:06   #1
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Costs to Live Aboard

I am pondering moving to Texas, Florida, or somewhere else warm and getting a live aboard. I have searched the internet trying to find out what it truly costs to do this since living on a boat has different costs vise living in a house or apartment. You don't have to pay the state to register your house every year for example.

So my question to you all is, what are the expenses associated with a live aboard? I have found a few and don't need those costs.

What I know and can easily find out by calling a marina:
Monthly dockage fee: varies by length and marina
Live aboard fee: varies by marina
Electric: varies with usage

What I don't know:
Insurance costs
Coast guard fees (needed for fresh water living?)
Registration fees
Yearly hull cleaning estimates
Am I missing any other required things?

If anyone can share their costs with me I would greatly appreciate it. For comparison, assume a 35' boat with 600HP.

Thank you for your help. I greatly appreciate it.
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:28   #2
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

Not to over simplify...

Add to your living expenses, add a few hundred to live aboard and you have your budget.

Your electric and internet and slip fees and food all remain the same... just paying a marina instead of the electric company directly.

For me and every I know, it is even money. The slip costs less than my rent but I spend more on food (i food shop everyday since i dont have a big fridge / freezer) and eat out more often and pay for laundry and a PO box etc. The little things add up to about the same amount as I save from rent.

-steve
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Old 08-01-2015, 10:58   #3
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

First, a hard reality check. Depending on demand for slips, especially liveaboard slips, you'll be spending time on two waiting lists. First for a slip for the boat. Depending on location, more or less years. Only then can you apply for liveaboard status. Typically liveboard populations are restricted to a percentage of the total number of slips available. Again, depending upon location, you'll be waiting - assuming you're approved - for more or less years...

Living aboard on the hook may be done more quickly, but requires a different skill set. Good luck.
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:23   #4
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

I am looking to move in 1.5 - 2 years. I am planning ahead as much as possible now. As far as space, I called a well known place in Florida yesterday and they had plenty of availabilities. I asked and they said space wasn't normally an issue. They weren't empty or anything, but had a couple. Is Texas different?
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:25   #5
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

"What I know and can easily find out by calling a marina:
Monthly dockage fee: varies by length and marina
Live aboard fee: varies by marina
Electric: varies with usage

What I don't know:
Insurance costs
Coast guard fees (needed for fresh water living?)
Registration fees
Yearly hull cleaning estimates
Am I missing any other required things?"


We have been living aboard in San Diego for over 4-years but are thinking about moving to SW Florida (Cape Coral or Charlotte Harbor) and just did a careful cost analysis:

$750 for our 40' slip in San Diego (SD) (no live aboard fee)
$730 for slip in Charlotte Harbor (CH) ($580 for slip and $150 for liveaboard fee)

$50/month SD electric (metered)
$30/month CH electric (fixed cost) + $5 if AC is used

$50/month for bottom cleaner in SD
?? bottom cleaning in CH

$1420 Insurance in San Diego $0 deductible for any damage
$3200 for identical coverage with same company in SW Florida. The Florida policy also has a 5% deductible for named storms.

$825/year property tax on boat in SD
$500/year property tax in Charlotte county, Florida

USCG documented boat (no annual fee) so there is no registration fee in either state

$4/week propane in San Diego
$?? In CH


Another “liveaboard” consideration is the availability of Cable TV and Internet access. We have neither at our high-end “Resort Marina” in San Diego. There is no cable to carry the signal to the marina – it ends on the causeway leading to Harbor Island.

$70/month for an ATT Hotspot device that allows unlimited data (Internet/WEB) access on their 4GLTE network. I usually see 15- 20 Mbs download speeds.

We use only cell phones for telephone access since the marina has no hardwired lines to the docks.

Another “liveaboard” consideration is minor issue with auto insurance. We have a 25-year old classic car that I have restored. I have put 8x the retail value of the car into the restoration (dumb but fun). We can not get a “declared value” or “classic car” insurance policy because it has to be stored in a closed, locked garage which is not available at the marina.

Many liveaboard boats have one or more shore side storage units. We have a 10’ x 10’ x 10’ unit, about 2-miles from the marina, where we keep long term stuff we only need occasionally. We have a 4’ x 8’ x 8’ marina storage locker for bicycles, tools, boat parts, and other stuff we use frequently.

$139/month for big storage
$60/month for marina locker

We also pay $20/month for a post office mail box because the marina does not want 1st class mail being delivered to their office for all their live aboard tenants.

On Sunday Jan 4 I sent an e-mail to seven marinas in Cape Coral and Charlotte Harbor. I provided information about us (retired long term cruisers and live aboard), our boat (including beautiful picture), our financial situation (very strong), and our desire to live aboard.

Two responded NO liveaboards
One responded we would love to have you but the marina entrance is only 3' 6" deep
Two did not respond at all
Two said "Yes we'd be glad to have you liveaboard - let us know what we can do to help"
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:35   #6
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadrider77 View Post
I am looking to move in 1.5 - 2 years. I am planning ahead as much as possible now. As far as space, I called a well known place in Florida yesterday and they had plenty of availabilities. I asked and they said space wasn't normally an issue. They weren't empty or anything, but had a couple. Is Texas different?

No, it's location. I pay $311 a month for a 50' slip in Panama City fl., City Marina, and you can move in tomorrow. There is a live aboard fee, I think about $100 or so.
Other Marina's around there run about $100 or more cheaper.
I think South Fl is a completely different thing however.
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:39   #7
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

There's a flip side to the food equation. What I mean is, when I lived at a marina in SoCal, it was a 1/4 mile walk down the dock to the parking lot. And from there, a 10-15min drive to restaurants or the grocery store. So jumping in the car on an impulse for dinner happened less frequently. Especially if it involved a hike up to the marina showers first, on top of all that. Thus one may tend to eat in, or with friends more, depending on logistics/circumstances.

Also, when living aboard, your shopping habits are definitely different, because before buying something, you literally ask yourself "where will I stow this", & thus "do I really need it".
Such helps to defer a bit of the other costs of living aboard.
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:41   #8
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

I forgot about the PO Box. Thanks. As far as fees, I called Regata Point in Sarasota, FL. For your boat, it would be $480+$165 live aboard = $645+electric. It includes cable and wifi internet. They don't have onsite storage except the dock box.
I think I am leaning towards TX now. Low or no live aboard fees and monthly fees of $160 for a 40'.
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:42   #9
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

"Also, when living aboard, your shopping habits are definitely different, because before buying something, you literally ask yourself "where will I stow this", & thus "do I really need it". Such helps to defer a bit of the other costs of living aboard."

Can I have you come over and talk to my wife/personal shopper/chef?

She still shops like at the shore side house. My dedicated workshop is now storage for canned goods. The aft sail locker is now dedicated to produce because it is dark and cool. The quarterberth is used for other food products.

I am afraid she did not get your message. But, I do eat very well, which is why I am 30 pounds overweight.
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:44   #10
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

The shopping and eating thing will definitely change for me. I will miss my 7cf chest freezer. It is always full.
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Old 08-01-2015, 11:55   #11
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

You will pay a yearly registration fee in FL, CG registered or not. It's not much though, but it is the nickel and dime stuff like that that blows budgets.

From what I can gather, you will spend about the same on land in an Apt. as you will in a Marina on a boat. Different costs maybe and Apt costs can vary hugely based on how big / how nice and location, just like a boat, but if your a Champagne and Caviar person on land, you will be on water too.

I've been digging through all the threads on this for the last year or two, do a search. Beside anchors, the "how much does it cost" is about the most prolific.
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:00   #12
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

Panhandle of Fl, Al, MS, Tx. will all I think on average be much cheaper than S Fl.
Maybe even by half?
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:07   #13
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

"$500/year property tax in Charlotte county, Florida"
Maybe in that county but Florida itself, and most Florida counties, have no personal property tax on motor vehicles, including boats. The state has some funny ideas about collecting sales tax--even if you bought it elsewhere years ago, unless you can prove you paid all the appropriate taxes back then.

"USCG documented boat (no annual fee) so there is no registration fee in either state" And if there's a motor on it, as the OP has, Florida still will require a registration fee for the boat AND any motorized dink, although there is a break for "antiques" over 30 years old with their original engine.


You may find insurance issues in any state that has a hurricane season, i.e. requirements for moving or storage or coverage being extremely expensive, or unavailable, during hurricane season. And the cost of dockage in SE Florida will be very much higher than the rest of the state. Much more so if you plan to use the boat, and want dockage anywhere near an ocean inlet. Otherwise, you may be up a canal or river with a "no wake" zone an hour long.
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Old 08-01-2015, 12:16   #14
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

Living aboard truly is cheap. In Toronto I was paying $1700/month for a 1 bedroom apartment, decided to move aboard and was I ever happy I did. All of a sudden I was living downtown for $425/month in the summer and about $700/month in the winter.
The extra costs I had wouldn't even affect you. Except insurance. My insurance company charges $500/year for live aboard insurance.
In Toronto you need extra electricity for heat, about $400 to shrink wrap and about $1600 for ice eaters. But that's about it.

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Old 08-01-2015, 14:00   #15
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Re: Costs to Live Aboard

You mentioned insurance. I figured I would give my company (Allstate) a call for a quote. They don't do insurance for live aboards. May I ask who you use?
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