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Old 12-12-2006, 18:58   #1
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Liveaboard - Pros & Cons

Hello to the whole community.

I'm a newbie to this site. Currently, I live in southern California, and I'm considering living aboard. I started sailing about a year and a half ago, and I absolutely love it. After searching through several very informative threads, I decided to post my own. What I'd really like to know is a rapid-fire list of "pros & cons" as to living aboard, straight from the people who know. The pros already in my own mind are many, and worthy (e.g. Getting to sail whenever I want. Being on and around the water constantly. What ocean air and scenery does for the soul. Somewhat affordable living that's very close to the beach in Los Angeles, etc...)

What worries me however are the cons - the one's that I don't know, and the one's that I underestimate. (e.g. how big of a deal is it having to walk to the use the marina facilities on a chilly February morning? What kind of average maintenance costs can I expect to incur on a yearly basis in addition to my note, insurance and slip fees? Am I going to fall into the trap of never taking the boat out to sail once I actually live on it? Am I going to become that "creepy boat guy" who turned into a hermit once he started living aboard?)

I understand that it's a lifestyle adjustment, but I mean, it must be worth it to many people if they're doing it, right? Keep in mind that I'm single, hetero (btw, I only mention that because it begs the question of how women might respond to dating a guy that lives on a boat), and have no kids, and I also don't own a boat yet...though I do have my eye on an early '70s 43' Columbia. So, any insight as to the reputation of that model would help a great deal as well.

I understand that's a lot of info, and probably covers quite a few topics, but any advice at all is greatly appreciated...
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Old 12-12-2006, 19:41   #2
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Quote:
So, any insight as to the reputation of that model would help a great deal as well.
It won't make you better or worse than you already are. The cons are in your own mind, but so are the pluses. How bad is it to walk on a cold February morning? I can be pretty cold but then it depends on how you feel about it and how cold it gets. I've been cold in -100 F wind chill and the coldest I ever was was just 35 F. The numbers don't tell the whole story. That is the point I would like to make.

Boats come in a lot of shapes and sizes and the people that love them are the same way. Some things you just have to figure out. There isn't one answer that works for everyone or even does nit work for everyone.

Boats costs I do know. It costs a lot more than you think until you own a boat and then it costs even more. It's not the cheapest lifestyle, but neither is living in Manhattan.

If you like to sail then there are a lot of friends here. We are all very different but we agree on that. It's the point we start at.

Quote:
I do have my eye on an early '70s 43' Columbia.
For a first boat I don't think I would choose it. What I said about boat costs more than doubles when the boat is more than 25 years old. For love like this you need a very deep set of pockets. It goes beyond a lot of hard work. Don't ever stretch yourself beyond your means for a boat. The one you can afford might just make you happy.
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Old 12-12-2006, 20:17   #3
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Aloha Matthew,
All of what Paul says is true. I was a single liveaboard for a few years and it only turned off the women who didn't like the water. They would not have been my choice even if I lived in an apartment.
Living aboard on an anchor in a free anchorage area can be cheap but not if you have a lot of boat maintenance. If you want to come home by just walking down a pier and then stepping aboard you are going to have slip fees that might be high in your area. The bigger the boat the higher the slip fees.
Insurance and loans will be harder to get for an older boat. Check with a few insurance companies first before settling on an older boat.
If you intend to stay single you are looking at a way too large boat in my opinion. 32 to 36 on deck in fiberglass with a cutter rig and aft cockpit to my point of view is ideal for a single or couple. You could then afford to buy something newer and in sail away condition and your fees would be lower. It would also be easier to get underway when you want to sail single handed.
Hope all our personal opinions help and you choose the liveaboard lifestyle. No more lawn maintenance for certain but there are many other activities to keep you occupied.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 13-12-2006, 01:40   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Venable
“... The pros already in my own mind are many, and worthy e.g. Getting to sail whenever I want ...”
Many live-aboarders actually sail less than they did prior to moving aboard.
Once your boat becomes your home, you accumulate stuff, and keep it handy for use (not stowed for sea), and etc. These “homey” touches, have to be put right, prior to departing the dock, hence many live-aboards don’t bother with spur of the moment daysails. Maggie & I didn’t (once docked for the summer).
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Old 13-12-2006, 02:13   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay
Many live-aboarders actually sail less than they did prior to moving aboard.
Once your boat becomes your home, you accumulate stuff, and keep it handy for use (not stowed for sea), and etc. These “homey” touches, have to be put right, prior to departing the dock, hence many live-aboards don’t bother with spur of the moment daysails. Maggie & I didn’t (once docked for the summer).

this is what i consider to be the worst aspect of living aboard. here they have twilight races every wednesday but to stow everything away for a couple hours just seems all to hard. my advice also if you are living in a marina try not to buy to much stuff that you wont use once out at sea as it just clutters up your boat and you wont want to toss it away when you are ready to leave the marina either.
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Old 13-12-2006, 06:28   #6
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We liveaboard in SouthEastern Ontario Canada. Yes virginia, winter arrives. Walking to the marina head for a shower, no big deal ( just mind you watch for ice).
We do sail ( not in winter) a fair amount in the summer. To do that, we are careful about what stuff is lying around. In the winter we can leave more stuff out. The longer we do this the more inventive we become about storage that does not have to be changed to go sailing. It must be working, we took a largish wave on the beam this fall, rolled to almost 50 degrees, the only thing that moved was the unrestrained chart.
Pro's my home comes with me when I travel ( by water), Cons, it seems to cost as much to heat as my house did???.
Pros, I like the movement being afloat
More soon
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Old 13-12-2006, 07:23   #7
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Matthew,
I think the whole question is moot. To the best of my knowledge there is nowhere in the Southern California area that will allow you to legally live aboard a boat!
Bob
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Old 13-12-2006, 09:19   #8
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I think the whole question is moot. To the best of my knowledge there is nowhere in the Southern California area that will allow you to legally live aboard a boat!

Most Marinas in San Diego allow live aboard. From a survey I have done seems like they set about 10% of the slips aside for live aboard's, some marinas have more available like Kona Kai. Of course availability is another issue not to mention cost. A live aboard slip averages 15 to 18 a foot plus a live aboard fee of 150 to 200 plus utilities.

Jack
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Old 13-12-2006, 10:16   #9
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Talking Quite a few live aboards in So-Cal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wahoo Sails
Matthew,
I think the whole question is moot. To the best of my knowledge there is nowhere in the Southern California area that will allow you to legally live aboard a boat!
Bob
There are plenty of liveaboards here in So-Cal. It is VERY....VERY difficult to get into the percentage of allowable. Shelter Island Marina for instance where Niki and I live has a 10% allowable live aboards. It costs us an additional $350.00 a month, for a total of $960.00.

as for alternatives we are actually moving to a mooring this spring for our last year before cruising. This costing $200.00 a month and full allowance for live aboard. On the flip side we won't have the jacuzze or five star hotel ammenities.
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Old 13-12-2006, 11:30   #10
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Originally Posted by windthief
It costs us an additional $350.00 a month, for a total of $960.00.
Holy %*^&!!!!

I guess I'll stop complaining about the $600 bill I get every month here in Sasualito!

Bill
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Old 13-12-2006, 11:46   #11
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Yea, that is why we are going to the mooring. With all of our budget figured out to cruise the $960.00 cost is not going to work, unless we wait for 2010.
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Old 13-12-2006, 13:24   #12
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Apparently my information was wrong ... so what I'm hearing is that if young Matthew has enough money, he can move right into a live aboard slip ... right?
Bob
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Old 13-12-2006, 13:31   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windthief
It is VERY....VERY difficult to get into the percentage of allowable.
But if this gentleman would like to get a liveaboard slip Kona Kai is currently accepting apps. as well as the Chula Vista marina. It is not common for a vessel under 35 feet to get a liveaboard, and in this case size does matter, the more common size boat in this area has taken up most available slips.
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Old 13-12-2006, 13:48   #14
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Originally Posted by Matthew Venable
Hello to the whole community.
What worries me however are the cons - the one's that I don't know, and the one's that I underestimate.
I am preparing to move aboard this Spring. While living aboard generaly isn't cheap - it is cheaper than living in a house AND owning a cruising boat. I'm going back to graduate school so it was either the house or the boat that had to go.

We are going to rent our condo - partialy due to the poor real estate market, but also due to what I see as a big 'con' to living on a boat - namely the fact that you are left out of the housing market and the subsequent tax advantages and oppurtunity to build equity. Just something to consider...
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Old 13-12-2006, 15:16   #15
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Pretty lucky in Brisbane Australia, we'll be able to Anchor in the Brisbane River for nothing while Carolyn finishes up work where the pink arrow is.

We won't have the bloody truck's roaring past at 4-00 am every day either, just the rowers out practising, nice and quiet


This will allow me to get the house demolished and have a duplex [dual occupancy house] built and rented out to help pay for Diesel.

Really good Jazz club and Pub close by to this anchorage to lead us astray occasionally as well.

Dave
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