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Old 22-11-2016, 15:50   #1
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Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

Hi, I think this is my first post on this forum.

I'm a 31yo single, bachelor professional living in the Washington D.C. area. I've always wanted to try the liveaboard lifestyle. I never needed much. I've spent 3 years living out of a warehouse office when I ran a business. Right now, I live in a tiny 120sqft room with shared living room with 5 other roommates in an old rowhome.

I'm not new to boats either. When I lived in Florida, I had a montgomery 17. I sailed the pants off of her. But I had dry storage and trailered it every time I sailed, as I had a big 1500 sqft warehouse.

I was about to pull the trigger on a condo, but with the new president, possible federal hiring freeze, I'm not even sure how the real estate market will pan out for the near term future. Besides, if I spend less than 900 dollars a month in rent, its not really worth it for me to buy a condo. (I currently spend over 1200 a month in rent and utilities) I did the math, and even with monthly bottom service, I should be saving money.

So I've been thinking more and more about trying this lifestyle out. A few questions loom in my head.

1. Will I lose time available to focus on my career? I'm trying to grow a solo practice while working a contract job in my field. I am not particularly busy, but I do have random months where I am slammed with work. Since I've never had to keep a boat in the water, I do not know how much work it'll take. I do already have a hobby (motorcycles and motorcycle racing) that takes up a good 2-3 days out of the month. (storage isn't an issue, as I lined up garage storage from my friend)

2. Does living on a boat in the winter really suck?

3. Maybe Washington D.C. is not the right place to do this. The most I spent on a sailboat was a week on my friends Westsail out in San Diego. I imagine it isn't that breathtaking living on the water in my area. Besides, we have storms and less predictable weather, and it rains a lot more.

4. Are there even liveaboard marinas available in the area? I want to live in the Virginia side if possible, and I really want to stay close to the city. I don't want to be communiting for more than 25 minutes (with no traffic) to get into DC to go to work.

5. And most of all I'm concerned I'll run into major issues I have not thought of yet that will make me regret my decision.

Any and all input on helping me making this decision is appreciated. If I did it, I'd purchase this winter and start living on the sailboat by this spring.

Thanks!
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Old 22-11-2016, 16:48   #2
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

I'm not familiar with the area but a quick google search came up with several marinas that allow liveaboards. However, I'm not sure how great an area this is for sailing. Personally I'd look at trawlers. Much more comfortable for a liveaboard & if you want to go anywhere in that area I have a feeling you'll be doing a lot of motoring. I kind of doubt you'll end up saving any money doing this after purchase, refit, maintenance, insurance & slip fee but it sure sounds like an adventure.
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Old 22-11-2016, 16:56   #3
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

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5. And most of all I'm concerned I'll run into major issues I have not thought of yet that will make me regret my decision.
Major issues can be somewhat avoided by buying a boat in good condition. Buy a boat that needs a lot of work & you will be starting with major issues. With both sailboats & trawlers rotten deck cores are a big problem that you don't want to get stuck with. A bad motor is another. You haven't mentioned your budget which would be helpful. If it's too low it might still be doable but you'll struggle right from the start. Either way a good survey & engine inspection are a must.
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Old 22-11-2016, 17:25   #4
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

Here's a recent thread.

Live aboard slip near Washington DC

No liveaboard marinas available 25 minutes from DC. Depending on where you work, you are looking at a 50 minute drive to work and 90 minute drive home.

We are making the move to Herrington Harbor April 1 2017. We were out on the dock yesterday and it was 45 degrees and blowing and it was stinking cold. We'll be moving south next winter and back in the spring.

Cheers, RickG
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Old 22-11-2016, 17:41   #5
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

I work just south of DC. I think there's a marina in Alexandria that MIGHT allow a liveaboard, but aside from that, you're looking at Maryland along the Chesapeake. From where I live (an hour away from work) still takes me 1.5hrs to get to my boat just south of Annapolis. There are liveaboards around different areas but you'll have to call around one that would accept a liveaboard.
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Old 22-11-2016, 17:47   #6
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

It sounds like you're trying to save money, and this might do it, but it will be short lived.

Where do you want to be in five years? Twenty years? What do you want to be doing? Then plan for it.

My advice to land people is to take a job in a big city and live in poverty, save every cent, and buy a nice house in a zero growth area in ten years and retire. Hard to do if you get caught up in the city lifestyle of spending.

I'd say live in your row house till spring. Get a cheap boat and try it for the summer. If you make it through summer you might make it into fall, and then see what happens.

Boating is a hobby, or a lifestyle. It is not a residence unless one of those others.
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Old 22-11-2016, 17:48   #7
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

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We are making the move to Herrington Harbor April 1 2017. We were out on the dock yesterday and it was 45 degrees and blowing and it was stinking cold. We'll be moving south next winter and back in the spring.

Cheers, RickG
Welcome neighbor. Well, sort of. My boat is at a nearby marina across from HHN (not as expensive). HHN is a nice spot though. I'm sure anyone would enjoy their time there.
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Old 23-11-2016, 08:44   #8
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

Thanks everyone. My budget is basically what I have saved for a down payment. 30k, but I'd like to spend 10k and be done with it.

The proximity to the city is going to be a bit of an issue for me. I will start calling around all of the marinas.
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Old 23-11-2016, 09:01   #9
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

The live aboard lifestyle is so seductive that if one try's it, they rarely go back to shoreside. Your budget is a little light for a full time live aboard IMO. Now that I am stuck on land due to health issues, I still scheme ways to try and get back to living aboard having spent many years afloat, both power and sail.
The order of amenities for me/us is a good hot shower, toilet that works 100% of the time, comfortable bunk large enough for two and playtime, sound hull and no rot. Nice to haves but not required... engine room access, newer sails, no soft spots in your deck, quiet neighbors, serviceable electronics and electrical system.
Good luck with your search and hope you join a great lifestyle and fraternity. Remember, the cruising community is mainly 1/4 mile wide and thousands of miles long! Cheers, Phil
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Old 23-11-2016, 09:04   #10
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

We live aboard year round in the Pacific Northwest. If buying and living on a boat is not a compulsion or a passion, honestly, I would pass.

There are so many times during the winter that I don't want to walk 3/10's of a mile along the dock to my car on icy wind blown docks. I don't want to tote fresh water to the boat in heavy jerry jugs because they have turned off the water due to freezing temps. I don't want to walk the dog in a gale and almost get blown off the dock.

But then I sit in my cabin, with the stove warming me, surrounded by but protected from the elements by this boat. I go to sleep rocked by the same gales that just terrified me while walking the dog.

It may be and probably is cheaper than buying a condo. But it is work, it is being more aware of your surroundings than land based life. Vigilance is necessary. I wouldn't trade it, but easy????? No.
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Old 23-11-2016, 09:13   #11
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

I do feel a compulsion and a passion about it. I just don't want to make an impulsive decision that will ruin me financially! Our winters here aren't that bad, by the way. Its still the 'south.'

I definitely think I can get by with something under 32 feet, although I definitely see what Cpt. Phil means.

I think the biggest hurdle is availability of liveaboard marinas nearby. I'll keep looking, and be on the hunt for a boat that is already on a slip. I've expanded my search to include powerboats too.

How are the storms and such around the area?
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Old 23-11-2016, 09:23   #12
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

I've worked through the DC are marinas this summer and fall. All I found close by that would take a liveaboard was Tantallon (with depth challenges). Deale, MD was the closest option. However, since then IGY took over National Harbor. Please post any updates!

Cheers, RickG
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Old 23-11-2016, 09:40   #13
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

Lived aboard my Westsail 32 at Annapolis City Marina for three years, commuting to Joint Base Andrews every day. Slip fees were about $6K/year, utilities were covered, drive was 45 minutes to an hour. If you're going into the city, add extra time (Dillons does run a bus service from Naptown). Had to rent a storage unit for extra stuff, as well. Considered Herrington but got mixed reviews from fellow office liveaboards about them. All for what it's worth...
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Old 23-11-2016, 10:25   #14
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Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

There is also a private commuter bus service from Annapolis to DC. I have friends who do it and love it. Air conditioned, wifi, and you get to tell your boss you can't work late because if you miss the bus you can't get home.

Annapolis is a fun place to live. More laid back than D.C. And five minute motor to some of the best sailing on the bay.
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Old 23-11-2016, 11:07   #15
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Re: Liveaboard - time to pull the trigger? - Washington DC area

dwkfym
For marinas, try looking at areas around Deale, Edgewater, Galesville, up to the Magothy River.


There are boats available for sale, even some not listed anywhere. I think my marina has a Sabre, but not sure off hand what size. But it doesn't hurt to call/visit the marinas to ask about boats and liveaboard opportunities.


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.
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