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Old 23-11-2016, 12:23   #16
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

We have been living aboard for several years. Lived in the DC area before that. No matter where I lived on land it seemed like I was driving an hour or more to get to work. I moved and then my job would move. I am an IT contractor. If you are downtown and close to your job I would say stay there.
If you want to live on a boat find a job that is close to where you can have a boat. I looked for years to find a marina close to downtown that was workable and reasonable for liveaboards with no luck. Either too shallow, too expense, or too crappy.

Also winter in the DC area can be very cold and sometimes very snowy. We got 50" of snow in two week several years ago. I would not recommend it for living aboard. As someone else said the docks are dangerous and they have to turn the water on the docks off to keep the pipes from freezing. That means you have to lug your water on an icy dock. If you are on the Potomac it does freeze sometimes which means more issues for your vessel.

We lived at HHN last summer then sailed to the Virgin Islands when it started getting too cold. When I had to go downtown it took 70-90 minutes most of the time to get there. Fortunately I didn't have to do it very often.

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Old 23-11-2016, 12:23   #17
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

Hi!
My husband and I are starting our second year as liveaboards in Annapolis.
I strongly recommend hiring an excellent surveyor since boats are high maintenance. Ask lots of questions! Factor in slip, water, and power fees if not included. I agree with the prior comments that the lifestyle is work, much more than condo or home ownership. Have you ever adjusted the lines on your condo during high winds?
But also consider that it is a phenomenal way to live. We have a terrific view, wonderful neighbors, and a constant vacation home on which we explore the Chesapeake.
Good luck!
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Old 23-11-2016, 14:37   #18
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

Don't buy your liveaboard as a boat, but view it as an Alternative to a condo. Go over to the Gang plank marina and talk to the marina manager what the future status is for liveaboards at the marina due the major renovation happening there. If aok for "some time", then find out about liveaboard boats there that are for sale. Why? You won't get a liveaboard slip otherwise.

You will love the lifestyle and the location.
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Old 23-11-2016, 15:08   #19
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

Thanks everyone. Really appreciate the advice.
I was a bit unrealistic with my commute expectations.
Fairfax Yacht Clubs have slips for sale I can afford -- but with my practice, 40-60 minute commute to various parts of VA and DC is a bit unacceptable.

I will talk to Gangplank marina people and see what the future looks like - seems like that is my best bet.

National harbor seems to be a bit 'sneakaboard,' but I keep reading that its almost uninhabitable.

Rhapsody,
I have a pickup truck and several motorcycles. Storage for some of the vehicles lined up. I just have to minimize commute time.

My friend out in California is advising me to buy whatever boat for sale at a liveaboard slip, then worry about changing out the boat to get one I want.
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Old 24-11-2016, 06:37   #20
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

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Originally Posted by Rhapsody-NS27 View Post
dwkfym

You've mentioned an issue with commuting to the city and I have to ask, is it just because you don't like it or do you not have a car? Or, is there another issue with it. For the most part, if you're going to be living around or outside of DC, you might as well expect at least 1 to 1.5hrs to get anywhere.
I agree with Rhapsody. An hour commute is fairly good for DC. As others have noted you better consider winter conditions, not only heating your boat but snow removal, water supply, and dock conditions. When I lived there long ago a 1/4" of snow paralyzed the region and getting anywhere in 2 hours was an accomplishment. Of course, using your motorcycle is those conditions is a bad idea. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Old 24-11-2016, 17:31   #21
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

I spent several days at the Capitol Yacht Club two years ago and it was full of liveaboards. So was the Gangplank Marina. Both are on the Washington Channel and within easy walking distance to the subway, restaurants and a grocery store (Safeway). And the fish market.

Things may have changed but it's worth calling them to check.

That said, it gets pretty cold in DC in the wintertime and most boats have minimum insulation.

If you just want a boat as a floating place to live and don't want to cruise, you might look into a houseboat. These have the most efficient use of space.
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Old 24-11-2016, 19:35   #22
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

dwkfym,

I lived aboard for 20 years at Capital Yacht Club and at Gangplank. Great communities and wonderful for DC downtown work and nearby northern VA.

I have a boat in a marina nearby where I've been engaged in a refit rebuild nightmare.

That said, redevelopment of the DC waterfront has resulted in limited live aboard options in the area.

I agree with advice previously given: Buy a boat in a slip at Gangplank. Least complicated option. You won't lose your money when you are done. Somebody else will buy it. Don't dilly if you find one for sale. No new live aboard slips will be allowed. Buying a boat in a l've aboard slip is your only option.

Capital Yacht Club is next door, but you have to bring your own boat, pay a several thousand $ membership fee...then wait for a slip to open up which will go to most senior member. Awesome club, great people, terrific amenities.

Tantallon in nearby Fort Washington, MD reportedly has slips, but is in some kind of transition. Rough, and requires an ugly commute, although far shorter than anything else. It would be doable.

Lives boards are not legal, but somewhat tolerated under the radar in Virginia in Alexadria at a marina whose name I can't recall. A doable commute, maybe even by bus.

Beyond these marinas the commutes are intolerable not so much the distance, but the traffic. It will take many hours from your life. And unless your job provides parking, the garage costs are stunning.

Some commuter transportation will be available in suburbs but you will drive your car to get to launch points...

I'm surprised some of the current live aboards in the local marinas haven't piped up.

If you can land at Gangplank or CYC, you will never regret it. If you do, you should give up boats.

Good luck!
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Old 24-11-2016, 20:13   #23
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

Bellhaven Marina is the one in VA I couldn't put a name on with my aging brain.

Gangplank is going through an extensive renovation, but I don't know what amenities will be included, or current slip costs.

You can google routes and details for these marinas. While there are several other DC metro marinas, these are the liveaboards.

Except ... National Harbor, where the new MGM casino is located also has liveaboards. A big annual fee and $$ slip fees to boot. This is located near Tantallon, but closer to DC, with best access to freeway to get to northern VA or DC.
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Old 25-11-2016, 21:10   #24
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

My husband and I owned a house in DC for 13 years and loved our short 15 minute commutes to work. We enjoy sailing and living aboard our boat on the west coast now. If you're not already dreaming about the boating you'll do --spending time away from that practice you're building and your other job-- then don't even think about it in DC. Spend your time building your business. JMO.
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Old 05-12-2016, 20:14   #25
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

How is sailing in the upper potomac? Like woodbridge area.

I am thinking instead, of continued renting at a cheaper place -- use down payment for a home instead to buy a condo slip, or buy 60% of it (whatever enough to leave just enough balance on the mortgage to easily cover with slip rental at below market rate, if need be)

Then I can spend the rest of the money on a boat. That way I can still go sailing, maintain my current lifestyle. I'd pay extra in maintenance.. I expect at least 100-150 a month on top of mortgage on the slip.

I don't know, gears still turning in my head
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Old 12-12-2016, 19:51   #26
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

I rented a live aboard in Baltimore in the harbor to see if I liked it. I was on a 39' holiday mansion house boat. While it was big the space was laid out stupid.

I hated that watching tv in the salon you could barely interact with the people in the galley because there were 2 steps down and the ceiling dropped off breaking line of sight. My marina

I'm moving on a 32' sailboat now. Way smaller but has everything I like. Interaction while watching tv and cooking, separate sleeping area. I'm just laying it out to my preference. And I shrink wrapped it this weekend so it holds heat. Highly recommended!!!! Winters on a boat in this area are drafty!

Necessity for me is parking and year round water!!!!!! I pay half as much as some marinas in my area and most of them you have to fill your holding tank in the winter... seriously. In 24" of snow you're gonna come out from below and fill your holding tank and put the hose back?? Forget that!!!

Also utilities and water included!! Get that! Wifi you can figure out yourself (I use t-mobile) unlimited Hulu, Netflix, pandora and Spotify... mail... PO Box. Bathrooms/gym my marina doesn't have. But for 3600 less a year I could have multiple gym memberships.

Try renting a boat for a year and figure out your necessity / wants before buying a boat they're not something you can "just sell if you get tired of it"
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Old 14-12-2016, 05:08   #27
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

From a recently "experienced" DC live-aboard and commuter...some facts:

Any marina leasing federal land cannot "legally" allow live-aboards - so there is risk (sneak-aboard) if someone offers live-aboard conditions.

Tantallon: We lived there for 2 years (2014-2016) with a large (5ft draft) sailing yacht. It has management challenges but we were comfortable there. They keep the water on during winter and there would be parking space to store your trailer and bikes (outside). The commute up Hwy 210 and across the Wilson Bridge (495) is the traffic jam (morning and evenings). Driving before 6 AM and 3 PM were best but commute to Springfield for me was about 35 minutes (when there are no wrecks). When it snows - don't drive! Sailing advantages - none (for our large vessel)! The draft into Swan Creek is 5ft at high tide. We scrubbed going in. Smaller vessel - perhaps better. Sailing in the Potomac - not the best...none for a vessel our size.

We moved to Herrington Harbour South - Love it! Pool, beach, hotel...resort-like. Yes, the commute is now an hour plus ...but the environment is worth it. Advantages: On the Bay...sailing is awesome...HHS is a sheltered harbor. There are draw-backs. Water gets shut off for winter but they have ground hydrants with a "long" hose for filling tanks at the docks close to shore. Hand-full of live-aboards actually stick it out for the winter here. Love the staff! Deli, bar and restaurant on site.

Herrington Harbour North: Same company as HHS - same rules. Nice place and same leisure amenities plus full service boat yard...but more "business like" than "resort-ish." Also has fantastic staff!

National Harbor: We looked at (and talked to) - busy place...no parking for slip holders - that was our turn-off.

James Creek: Nice folks! They offered an affordable option...but my research showed they "lease" their property from the USG.

Hope this helps.

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Old 14-12-2016, 05:28   #28
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

TMT2, thanks for responding. Our research confirms what you found. We are moving from Arlington to Herrington Harbor North in Deale and have our slip starting April 1.

Cheers, RickG
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Old 14-12-2016, 05:54   #29
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

FWIW, we've always preferred HHN over HHS... and I think I remember there's a park-and-ride option not too far from HHN... Some of my preference is just personal, but factors are less pool congestion, on-site boatyard, more space, generally quieter atmosphere... and I've never had good food service from Mango's (food OK, the few times it was presented hot). Another is that it's an easier/closer drive from our home (if we had to drive there), whereas out and around to HHS for us is over the hill and through the woods; that probably wouldn't eimpact others all that much.

For OP: Sometimes better to work the commute issue first, then decide on marina afterwards. Depends on where in/near DC you need to end up, since Metro (rail and bus), commuter buses, and even Amtrak can offer various drop-off/pick-up options. For example, might be easier to get to exactly where you want to be via Amtrak from downtown Baltimore, or from Annapolis area park-and-ride via the Dillon commuter buses... or sometimes a combination (Dillon + Metro to Pentagon, for example)... and so forth. Anyway, once you pinpoint destination and choose likely options to get there... the best marina options may become clearer.

Another FWIW, hard for me to imagine wanting to be way up the Potomac or even way up the Patapsco -- given freedom to choose -- when the Bay is so close... but then I also understand folks gotta do what folks gotta do.

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Old 15-12-2016, 05:27   #30
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
FWIW, we've always preferred HHN over HHS... and I think I remember there's a park-and-ride option not too far from HHN... -Chris
I know there's one Park and Ride just off MD4 when you get off at MD258 heading towards Deale/Bristol. Pass by there every time I go to visit the boat so not aware of anything closer. Hope that helps.
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