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Old 18-09-2010, 06:59   #1
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Living Aboard in British Columbia

Hello, I'm very interested in living aboard, have been for most of my life. I'm still a about a year away from it but I can't stop thinking ahead. :-) I have around 100K dedicated for this so far.


It's my understanding the marina situation in Greater Vancouver for liveaboards is pretty bleak. Unless you feel like waiting anywhere from now -> eternity.

I'm wondering what the situation is like in other areas. Relocating is an option for me, my only real requirement is it has to be within commuting distance of civilization so I can pursue employment. I'm plumbing apprentice and once finished I should be able to find work just about anywhere near it.

I'm guessing somewhere on the Island is the only real option. But I'm curious if anyone knows anything about the Sunshine Coast, or Bowen Island, or any place really.
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Old 18-09-2010, 07:52   #2
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Schow.

Good luck /w finding live-aboard accommodations, within striking distance of work. At least you’ve got a very good start on a more than adequate budget; and you're getting a good trade.
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Old 18-09-2010, 08:19   #3
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I don't know what it's like now with the economy the way it is, but a few years ago there were a lot of big construction projects in the Gulf Islands and up both coasts such as Poet's Cove resort in Bedwell Harbour, where they were having a hard time getting skilled workers. It would seem that you would be ideally suited to travel to such construction sites and have your accommodations taken care of too.
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Old 18-09-2010, 08:27   #4
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places like vancouver are very difficult to get into for moorage let alone liveaboard but shouldnt be too difficult to find somewhere on the island
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Old 24-09-2010, 14:16   #5
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have you considered an anchoring lifestyle?

it's really not so bad - two weeks in False Creek, two weeks out. you have to generate your own electricity and row your own fuel, but you can't beat the price.
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Old 24-09-2010, 14:22   #6
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have you considered an anchoring lifestyle?

it's really not so bad - two weeks in False Creek, two weeks out. you have to generate your own electricity and row your own fuel, but you can't beat the price.
I thought you couldn't anchor in False Creek anymore? Where would you drop there? Where can you tie up a dinghy?
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Old 24-09-2010, 14:35   #7
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Its the 2 weeks away thats the problem for people working or going to school,it should be 90 days(for a nominal fee) with extensions provided when necesary.If the boat is compliant there should be no problem.A permanent area needs to be provided in the Lower mainland for people to live aboard,with dinghy dock and facilities. Wether they are a vessel in transit or a resident of this fine province,we are a maritime community that should support this unique lifestyle choice.When I last drove over Cambie bridge about 2 weeks ago I saw lots of boats anchored there still.
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Old 24-09-2010, 14:39   #8
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Anchoring in False Creek - Blueways has all the details about anchoring permits.

There are dinghy docks at Monk McQueens restaurant and on the south side of the Cambie bridge. You can also dock at Granville Island for a couple of hours at a time... there's a few other places, but the legality is questionable.
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Old 24-09-2010, 19:12   #9
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have you considered an anchoring lifestyle?

it's really not so bad - two weeks in False Creek, two weeks out. you have to generate your own electricity and row your own fuel, but you can't beat the price.
It is something I would definitely consider. If you don't mind me asking, where do you generally spend the two weeks out? Is it still within shot of the city?

My biggest concern would probably be security.
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Old 24-09-2010, 23:12   #10
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I spent about half of last year in False Creek with very few hassles from the police - at least, up until the Olympics, at which point they cracked down hard. Apparently there was a case in court against the city regarding anchoring in the Creek, but the guy lost the case and the police started enforcing the bylaw again. Did you know that it's the only bylaw of it's type in all of Canada, and it's a Vancouver-specific addendum to the Canada Shipping Act that lets them do it?

As for security, I rowed an old dinghy to shore every day, and left it locked to the dinghy dock for days at a time. There were a few times that I had troubles, coming home to a dinghy with obvious signs of abuse - attempts to force the lock, etc - but mostly it was a non-issue. I didn't bother locking my sailboat after the first couple of months - you just get to know your neighbors and look out for each other.

After they booted us all out I spent the winter anchored off of Kits Beach - not so bad most of the time, but it got quite rough during the February northwesterlies. I would just drag my dinghy up the beach, nobody really bothered with it during the winter. Come summertime the lifeguards were a little more strict about anchoring 400m off shore, etc. The row was good exercise.

There's lots about it in my blog, check out the link below.
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Old 29-09-2010, 09:46   #11
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Don't want to hijack this thread, but I've been following it as I'm in the same boat (pun here - I don't know the OP ha ha). I was going to start a new thread, but it seemed appropriate to add it here for both of our benefits. Correct me if that is a bad idea and I'll move it.

I'm thinking of getting a slip in Victoria and taking the ferry. Regardless, being from Winnipeg, I'm wondering how I will fare in the winter? I've heard of machines to make bubbles (??) in the water around the boat but I'm not really sure if I need that, or what to expect when living on the boat in the winter months. Can anyone give me a better idea of weather in Victoria and Vancouver through winter and what I will need to be able to live on board without feeling like I'm camping in a soggy, cold camper? Thanks!
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Old 29-09-2010, 10:10   #12
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Don't want to hijack this thread, but I've been following it as I'm in the same boat (pun here - I don't know the OP ha ha). I was going to start a new thread, but it seemed appropriate to add it here for both of our benefits. Correct me if that is a bad idea and I'll move it.

I'm thinking of getting a slip in Victoria and taking the ferry. Regardless, being from Winnipeg, I'm wondering how I will fare in the winter? I've heard of machines to make bubbles (??) in the water around the boat but I'm not really sure if I need that, or what to expect when living on the boat in the winter months. Can anyone give me a better idea of weather in Victoria and Vancouver through winter and what I will need to be able to live on board without feeling like I'm camping in a soggy, cold camper? Thanks!
Victoria is a great place to live aboard and the water doesn't freeze. I lived aboard in the Sidney area last winter and it was great. Occasionally some frost on deck but that was the worst of it. Victoria's weather is vastly better then Vancouver's and North Saanich is better again. Official live aboard marinas aren't that common although "staying aboard" isn't uncommon at most marinas. Marina Park Marina in N.Saanich is a live aboard complete with on dock pumpouts. The only one I believe. From there you can actually walk to the ferry dock. In Victoria there is the West Bay Marina which is also an official live aboard. It is very close to down town being on the west side of Victoria's harbour. There are live aboards in the harbour marina as well but I'm not sure it's an "official" live aboard situation. I was at N.Saanich Marina. There were a few of us living there but not many and everyone was quiet about it since we weren't officially living there which is the situation at many. Sidney's marina seems to have many live aboards but it isn't official either. Sidney is a lovely little town.

I've been assuming by taking the ferry you meant to Vancouver? It is a long ferry ride and Victoria is a commute to the ferry. Depending on where in Vancouver you are going and how often it may not be that practical. It's also not that cheap.
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Old 29-09-2010, 11:28   #13
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As Hummingway said, you won't need a bubbler. I don't agree that the weather is better in N Saanich, but the rest of the info is good. If commuting to Vancouver you may consider going by floatplane - downtown Victoria to downtown Vancouver. The ferries dock well out of the city; a lot depends on whether you will have a car or not. I believe there are better winter rates at the public docks right in the heart of downtown Victoria - in the winter you might like to be closer to civilization as the constant gray and lack of sunshine can be depressing.
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Old 19-10-2010, 11:33   #14
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Hey Drew23,

I'm wondering how you're fairing with the living aboard in the Vancouver area, what are the logistics of getting to work (making the assumption you work on land). I am starting to formulate a plan of trying to get closer to the live aboard dream. Given the nature of my work it'd likely have to be in downtown Vancouver. Having just been out there I kind of know some of the logistics, but the whole legality of it escapes me. I'd love to know your experiences.
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Old 21-10-2010, 13:58   #15
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Deep6: I live aboard, but I work online, so as long as I have internet access I'm "at the office". The girlfriend is about to move aboard as well, and she also works remotely, so we'll see how that works out...

Really, the ability to successfully live aboard and work on land depends entirely on your mobility... parking or storing a car is a pain, but if you're in the sort of shape where biking a few kilometers to and from work every day, or carrying a backpack full of laundry or groceries doesn't phase you, then you'll be fine. If you're *not* in that sort of shape, I would highly, highly recommend you start getting there immediately - living aboard at anchor can be very physical! I am without question in the best shape of my life after 20 months living aboard, without having visited a gym in years.

I've been blogging my experiences since I first started, making the jump from cubicle drone to fulltime adventurer. You might enjoy that - link is below. I haven't updated in about six months, but I'll do so again soon, I promise.
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