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Old 21-11-2008, 14:49   #1
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Living Aboard during the week (a few questions)

I may be getting a job about 70 miles from home - near the Potomac river in Virginia. I've been thinking about getting a boat - preferably in the 27 to 28 foot range - and was thinking of killing two birds with one stone: i.e. living aboard during the week.

So I've got a couple of fundamental questions. I did a little searching in this forum but couldn't find an answer (sorry if I'm going over old ground). How does one normally go about showering? I've seen a few boats with a shower setup in the head compartment. How practical is this? And I assume there's a weekly procedure for pumping out the head and waste water, refilling fresh water, etc. How much of a chore is this? Or do marinas normally provide shower facilities?

I think I've got an idea of how it would be to cook, stay warm and stay entertained. Anything else I might be missing?

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 21-11-2008, 14:57   #2
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Most marinas have shower facilities. Some states allow shower water pumped over, but you need a sump for this. A hose for refilling the watertank. Someboats are able to hook the hose directly to the tank. One thing about showering on the boat. Keep it dry TO AVOID MOLD, and don't let it run to the bilge.....STINKY
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Old 21-11-2008, 16:20   #3
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Most marinas provide shower and restroom facilities, and many even provide BBQ grills and other cool features.

Most marinas where I am allow Liveaboards, but you have to have permission and pay extra each month. As far as I know, there is quite a waiting list to live aboard your boat in SoCal. But it varies from marina to marina, and city to city, so way over there on the left coast your set up might be totally different.

Our harbor has many free pumpout stations where you can pump your holding tanks from the bathroom, etc. But one needs to understand that often times these pumping stations are broke and need to be repaired, leaving you with no other option but to call a pump-out barge to come over and pump you out. Not a big deal, but the charges do add up.

Depending on the boat you choose, you might have hookups for Cable TV, phone, and water. Mine does, although I do not use them as I only visit my boat for about a week at a time, every two months. (Sad I know, but the boat is in SoCal and I am in a very cold Colorado.)

For warmth, a small space heater does wonders for a boat, and even my spacious main cabin is warm within a few minutes of turning it on. Same thing for the AC.

One other suggestion, when I worked in LA and could not afford an apartment and did not want to commute to San Diego, I simply slept in my office and joined a gym for my daily shower and shave. You could apply the same principal to living on a boat. Wake up early, hit the gym for a workout, then shower and shave for work. I was in the best shape of my life when I had to do that for 6 months. Even though I ate out every meal.

Good luck with what you decide.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 21-11-2008, 16:23   #4
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First, you need to find a marina in the area of interest which Allows winter liveaboards. This will likely not be a problem but some areas don't allow it so be forewarned before you start focusing on the wrong stuff like buying a boat with no place to park it.
Obviously, you will need a marina where fresh water is not shut off for winter and there is a portable pump out wagon. Don't underestimate electrical demand for the heat you'll need.
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Old 21-11-2008, 19:28   #5
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Mow

For months at a time, I often work 70 miles away from my home; and when I do, I stay on my 32' CC Oday. I drive in on Monday mornings and go home on Friday afternoons (if I dont go sailing on the weekend)

Things Ive learned:

1. Dont assume that you will be considered a live a board; and dont volunteer that you consider yourself a live a board. The marina info package should define what constitutes a live a board. Each marina generally has different rules; some consider 4 continuous nights a live a board, and some 7 continuous nights. Once you find a marina that shows promise then you may want to clarify that you will be staying aboard 4 nights a week.

2. Use the marina facilities for showering and the toilet. Trust me, its too big of a hassle otherwise, and too damn smelly.

3. There is a danger of turning your boat into a homestead and it becomes too big a deal to go sailing. Keep your boat ship shape.

4. My boat has two Aqua Air reverse cycle A/C units (heat pumps). Its cheaper and more efficient to buy one of the small 1000 - 1500 watt electric heaters. I use the heat pump in the aft cabin at night where I sleep, and in the morning I turn the small heater on in the salon. It keeps things toasty.

5. I generally try to prepare breakfast on board. (get a small microwave) I start the coffee maker and then go shower. There is nothing I enjoy better then returning to the smell of fresh brewed coffee. If the weather is nice, I eat breakfast in the cockpit and thank God for giving me the opportunity to share this peacefully quiet and wonderful world.

6. I then get in my truck and hurl myself into the insane Houston rush hour traffic.


One night my darling came up and stayed a couple of nights. As we snuggled in the berth I said, "I love you".

She replied, "I love you too".
I said "Huh?'
she said, "I said I love you too",
I said, "Oh that. I was talking to my boat!"
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Old 22-11-2008, 03:50   #6
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You might consider joining the YMCA or the like for showers and a good workout. We joined just for the workout.
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Old 22-11-2008, 04:25   #7
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What part of the Potomac are you looking at? I am near Fredericksburg. Many dont allow live aboard. but dont ask dont tell, but those would lack a shower anyway. My insurance guy told me as long as I had a home also that I was not living aboard, but preparing for a trip! I would find one that had shore facilities. I know that is a pain walking to the head, There are few with pump outs and fewer that will come to you to pump out. A smaller boat will be cheaper to keep.
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Old 22-11-2008, 07:58   #8
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I said, "Oh that. I was talking to my boat!"

We might have a badsanta with us here, but that reply qualifies you as a badman, but I understand completely!
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Old 22-11-2008, 08:14   #9
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Thanks to everyone who answered. If I get the position then I'll be in the Dahlgren area working on a Navy contract. There are several marinas in the area but I haven't contacted them for details yet (this idea is still in its infancy).

I don't know if I'll have access to govt. workout facilities but this would be ideal whether I've got a boat or not. I enjoy working out and as a civilian contractor i've used military workout facilities in the past. They tend to be pretty decent.

Living on a boat is an enticing idea and sort of takes the sting out of having to live away from home during the week. From what you guys have said I think the idea could have potential.



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Originally Posted by Badsanta View Post
What part of the Potomac are you looking at? I am near Fredericksburg. Many dont allow live aboard. but dont ask dont tell, but those would lack a shower anyway. My insurance guy told me as long as I had a home also that I was not living aboard, but preparing for a trip! I would find one that had shore facilities. I know that is a pain walking to the head, There are few with pump outs and fewer that will come to you to pump out. A smaller boat will be cheaper to keep.
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Old 22-11-2008, 08:31   #10
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There are several around Dahlgren. I don't get upstream much as I avoid the firing range. But I hear it all the time. WOW some Huge ordinance going off.

badsanta = nice guy, just dont other me on my lunch break!
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Old 22-11-2008, 12:59   #11
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Badsanta,

I kind of thought that. I hope you understand I was just funning with the name!
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Old 22-11-2008, 15:40   #12
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A few years ago I worked at PAX River on a gov contract and I did exactly what you are contemplating. I went up with the boat around mid November and by early January I took the boat home to Va Beach and moved back into a hotel.
Fresh water was turned off, pumpout was an issue and maintaining a constant bearable temp was a bigger issue. The boat just wasn't setup for living aboard in winter conditions.
If I had stuck it out there would have only been a few more weeks of miserable weather but it was miserable.
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Old 26-11-2008, 22:25   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassAckwards View Post
...snip
6. I then get in my truck and hurl myself into the insane Houston rush hour traffic.
One night my darling came up and stayed a couple of nights. As we snuggled in the berth I said, "I love you".
She replied, "I love you too".
I said "Huh?'
she said, "I said I love you too",
I said, "Oh that. I was talking to my boat!"
reminds me of my trucker friend who used to live aboard on a mooring nearby(when not driving trucks), he once asked how did i know he was back onboard,

"oh i can always tell when you and your girlfriend are onboard by the way the hf whip aerial shakes"

cheers
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Old 26-11-2008, 23:27   #14
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reminds me of my trucker friend who used to live aboard on a mooring nearby(when not driving trucks), he once asked how did i know he was back onboard,

"oh i can always tell when you and your girlfriend are onboard by the way the hf whip aerial shakes"

cheers

Love it.
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Old 03-12-2008, 15:05   #15
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Thanks for the info and thanks to all who responded. I did get the job at Dahlgren. I'm less inclined now to attempt a live-aboard but i'll still do some investigating. There appear to be quite a few marinas in the area up and down the Potomac.

Sure would be nice putting $10k a year into a boat rather than in an apartment even if it meant a spartan lifestyle during the week.



Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentOption View Post
A few years ago I worked at PAX River on a gov contract and I did exactly what you are contemplating. I went up with the boat around mid November and by early January I took the boat home to Va Beach and moved back into a hotel.
Fresh water was turned off, pumpout was an issue and maintaining a constant bearable temp was a bigger issue. The boat just wasn't setup for living aboard in winter conditions.
If I had stuck it out there would have only been a few more weeks of miserable weather but it was miserable.
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