Much to learn, but plenty of time. Do you plan on working ashore and living in a marina? Do you have a job that can be done flexibly? Are you independently wealthy? (Darn - me neither).
What kind of boats are you drawn to? There are so many beautiful styles and designs. Discover what your style is. If you're going to live aboard, find one that makes your heart skip a beat every time you walk up to it on the dock
There are good boats for every budget
. You can find something for 20k or 200k. If you have the cheese, more power to you, get into something on the upper end. But if resources are limited, you can find some great boats at a reasonable price
. Keep in mind that maintenance
will be a fairly consistent and large chunk of your budget
I'm sure there are several threads that will give you an idea of all the items to consider on your budget. It goes without saying but each person's budget is unique. Some can live on $1,000/mo, while others might burn through $5,000/mo. Point is to get an idea of all the variables, and then build in some contingencies.
Finding a marina can be a challenge in California
. Sometimes you can find a deal where the slip comes with the boat. Sometimes you have to get on a list.
Get more specific on some of your questions and the information will flow.