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Old 18-02-2011, 04:23   #1
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Liveaboard - Realistic View

Hey guys. So just trying to get a Idea of how realistic I am being when it comes to living aboard in a couple years, especially when it comes to money.

So for a livaboard on a 28-32 size boat living single, always anchoring or mooring, catching rainwater when I can for the tanks, using solar panels(and maybe a towing generator), fishing often, and always buying local produce what is a reasonable idea for a month to month cost? Just for comparison usually I spend under $100 a month on food as it is. I also hope to between now and when I get a boat have acquired skills like fiberglass repair, diesel engine repair, sowing machine use. Willing to make cuts to live cheaply simply because honestly Id like to work as little as possible . Also had planned to have enough money put away to self insure. Basically hoping that if I spend 13k on a boat I have 13k put away to buy another if need be haha.

Also like I mentioned looking or a 28-32 ft boat. Would like it to be blue water capable. Have a list I compiled of boats from others lists, and talking but at the moment for some reason I feel drawn to pearson triton or a Columbia. Any thoughts? Thanks a ton guys.

Oh start ASA training 101-107 next month .
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Old 18-02-2011, 04:49   #2
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Sounds like you have done your research and have a good plan. If you can avoid consumerist yacht temptations, like lots of electronics, and your boat is in good condition, you can live very cheaply on board. I don't see any major flaws in what you are proposing. If you are frugal now, you can continue to be, even more so with no rent/phone/gas/electric/property tax ...
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Old 18-02-2011, 06:36   #3
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Sounds a plan... and its achievable.... the important thing is that back-up kitty...
Flying by the seat of ones pants is all very well.. but in my experience it can lead to the occassional crash....
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Old 18-02-2011, 07:05   #4
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No doubt, your plan can work. I would suggest that you don't take the move as a dramatic shift, but that you make a plan to move aboard with some time at the dock to manage and stabalize your independance before you release the teathers and live on the hook. Most of those living aboard and off the dock find the options of having a refrig/freezer the most taxing on their 12VDC system. Any choices that dimenish your need for electricity will be to your advantage.....LED anchor light, good natural ventilation, etc. as well as choosing locations that will not require heating or cooling your cabin. There are also important decisions to be made regarding your choice of anchorages, access to dinghy docks, water, provisioning, laundry, employment. Good luck and remember, there's no need to achieve all your goals in one step.
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Old 18-02-2011, 07:13   #5
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I don't know how much you are spending on the ASA training. You want to be putting away as much as you can for the conversion. You will get experience once you have a boat. Have that kitty...it's not just for buying another boat, or even just for repairs. It's for day to day living ie: going to the Dentist when you break a tooth and a million other things that can happen.
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Old 18-02-2011, 07:25   #6
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I lived aboard a 30' boat from 1979-1983 (when I was in my early 30's).
I worked on and off and spent about 50% of the time in marinas and 50% cruising and anchoring. I lived on practically nothing. I had many really great friends and must say that those were some of the best years of my life (so far).
So my advice is definately go for it. Looks like you have a good idea about what you want in a boat. There are lots of strong and sea worthy little boats to choose from in your price range. The one thing that you cannot afford to sacrifice if you are to be happy living aboard is standing headroom. If you can't stand up straight without bumping your head it will become a bad situation quickly.
Best of luck.
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Old 18-02-2011, 07:27   #7
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I don't think it's unrealistic, though it may be hard to guess how much you'll actually need per month.

There are some "commercial" style anchorages that give you a place for your car, dinghy dock, they handle pumps out, etc which are also a good choice. There you'd have laundry, water, internet and so on for maybe $100 a month.

I think CaptForce's suggestion of moving aboard first, living a dock life is a great one. It's what I'm doing while I prep my boat up for more independence as fast as my income will allow. In the mean time I'm learning a lot about my boat and my needs aboard.
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Old 18-02-2011, 08:55   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stuborndancer View Post
Hey guys. So just trying to get a Idea of how realistic I am being when it comes to living aboard in a couple years, especially when it comes to money.
Quote:
Originally Posted by stuborndancer View Post

So for a livaboard on a 28-32 size boat living single, always anchoring or mooring, catching rainwater when I can for the tanks, using solar panels(and maybe a towing generator), fishing often, and always buying local produce what is a reasonable idea for a month to month cost? .

I, too, thought about living "on the hook" and prepared my finance thoughts around that. Then I started looking at the practicality of it.
1. It is lonely on the hook. This may not be a problem for you and I could live with it some time, but I need interaction to keep sharp.

2. Exercise on board gets boring, I like to walk. Rowing back and forth to shore to walk would just give me another excuse not to do it.

3. Leaving the boat for a night ashore with friends would be a big deal.

4. Bringing friends aboard for a nignt afloat would be a big deal.

5. Provisioning is a big deal.

6. Gas is a big deal.

7. Water is a big deal.

8. Electricity is a big deal.

9. Not everywhere leaves a boat on the hook alone (Try staying in one place in Florida for any length of time). And you CAN'T do it in Georgia. (Some do get away with it but they are flying under the radar and can get kicked any time.)

10. There are some good, cheap (under $7/foot/month + $50 for electric) marinas. You just have to accept where they are and pay by the year. $281 a month for a 33' boat with electric, and they LIKE liveaboards, is not that bad. (I'll tell you about the one I found after I get into it, don't want to start a rush until then.)

For these reasons I will not be on the hook most of the time. And I'll lease the slip by the year just to have someplace with an address to come home to. BTW my budget is $1200/month until June 2012, then I get a additional stipend of $1450/month, so I'll be living high on the hog then.
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Old 18-02-2011, 09:26   #9
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I am planning on doing the same thing. The Triton is an excellent choice,look at an Islander 28' also.
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Old 18-02-2011, 09:46   #10
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Willing to make cuts to live cheaply simply because honestly Id like to work as little as possible . Also had planned to have enough money put away to self insure. Basically hoping that if I spend 13k on a boat I have 13k put away to buy another if need be haha.
You asked for realism.

What you're calling self-insured, most folks call "uninsured," which means you won't be welcome in marinas, even overnight. When you say you want "to work as little as possible" most folks will assume means "unemployed." What you're envisioning as a 28-32 foot "bluewater" liveaboard sailboat that can be purchased for 13k many folks will see as a "derelict." The fact that you're planning to take ASA courses, to many, puts you in the category of "non-sailor."

So the reality here is that, in many coastal communities where they've seen their fill of unemployed non-sailors living aboard derelicts, you will be considered a marginal person.

If it's a dose of realism you want, ask yourself about the plan you mention of collecting rainwater. The only way that's going to work is if you give up bathing, and even then you're going to need to fill frequently from municipal sources. You're not going to be able to do that in most marinas--they don't want your uninsured boat anywhere near their premises. So you're going to have to row your dink, filled with your water jugs, to land. Once you get there, you're going to experience a community that somewhat desperately wants you to move on. They don't want you tying up their dinghy docks, they don't want you pumping your head into their anchorage, and they're wary about you shoplifting in their stores. The message you will hear, over and over and over, is "Please go away."

There are many people able to live aboard simply and inexpensively. The ones who are successful at it tend to be highly skilled. Not only will they have considerable sailing and navigating abilities, they will be quite handy with every facet of repair and maintenance. There are people on this forum who are cruising the world on less than $500 per month, but they tend to have skills that you have not yet acquired. Wanting to take a diesel course in the future, or to purchase a sewing machine in the future, is a long way off from being able to rebuild a diesel or restitch a sail.

Realistically, that $13,000 you're planning to squirrel away as your self-insurance fund is probably not going to last two years. Then what? To make it at that point, you're going to need to be collecting more than rainwater.
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Old 18-02-2011, 10:15   #11
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Harsh, but true real world advice above from Bash. Although we have been living aboard with much anchoring out for many years, we typically don't remain at an anchorage location for more than a few days. At harbors where the weather allows year round opportunity for people to use boats as low income housing, there is community pressure to disallow public dinghy dock access and facilities. There still are many marinas in the SE US that do not request insurance documents and there are a number of areas that that have marinas that provide facilities for anchored or moored boats for a monthy fee. Location choices will be very important.
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Old 18-02-2011, 10:24   #12
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The OP should consider leaving "The Land of No". Set a course for a free country: Somewhere to the south. It's more fun too.
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Old 18-02-2011, 10:43   #13
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The OP should consider leaving "The Land of No"..............
This comment by daddle supports my emphasis on choosing the location. You often leave the "Land of No" just by getting away from the big population centers. For example, within Florida, it's far easier to be welcome at anchor and find shore amenities away from the highly populated resort areas and the marina expenses in the less populated areas can be half the cost of what is typical from West Palm Beach through the Keys.
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Old 18-02-2011, 10:47   #14
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At harbors where the weather allows year round opportunity for people to use boats as low income housing, there is community pressure to disallow public dinghy dock access and facilities.
That's an important observation. There's a much different attitude toward transient boats who are actually cruising than to the liveaboard anchor-out who is using the boat for low-income housing, and probably not maintaining the boat or the environment in which the boat floats.
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Old 18-02-2011, 10:59   #15
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Having done just what you're proposing, let me add several things. 1: It is very hard to find work in a place unless you spend some time there. It is very inconvenient to have a job for which you must shower and be timely when living at anchor--sometimes you have to brave horrible weather to get ashore and keep your job. 2: Lots of places allow limited-time anchoring--as long as you're just passing through, you're fine. That precludes working, of course. What we ended up doing was cruising for a few months, then sucking it up and paying for a marina while working and saving, then cruising again. Lived at anchor while working and saving once or twice, and it was tougher. Whatever you wind up doing, remember above all else to keep your boat and yourself presentable. The reason for many anchoring restrictions is because of the unsightlyness of tarp-draped, junk-filled derelicts 'owned' by loafers who paddle a half-deflated dinghy to the town dock with a broken oar and lounge about all day hoping someone will offer them a beer. If your boat is clean and tidy, and you look reasonably well-cared-for and industrious, it goes a huge way toward keeping the powers-that-be friendly toward you.
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