First of all, here is my definition of a "Plan".
A Plan is a sequential list of events
that probably ain't gonna happen.
Whatever you figure out, be aware that it very likely will have a different outcome and a different road to get there than what you initially envision. You are 17? A LOT of stuff is gonna happen that will totally blindside you, catch you by surprise. It's just the way stuff happens. Flexibility and preparedness for the winds of change and just plain old crazy bad or good luck will get you through.
The gun thing... you may have a hard time with the handgun until you are 21. Laws and stuff. Not saying it's fair, but it is what it is.
The Left Coast might not be the best place for you. If you don't mind getting your hands and in fact the rest of you very very dirty, you might want to check out the Gulf Coast
. There are opportunities for a fresh young body willing to be worked like a sled dog, and you might eventually find yourself sailing as an ordinary on a crew boat or supply boat or tug or something. Put in your time, buy the books
, jump through the hoops and get a license
. Then the money
gets better, and if you live cheap
you could be buying
a boat in short order. You would probably have to wait until you turn 18 to get hired, though. I might have recommended fishing
30 years ago but it just ain't the same any more. I remember making well over $100/day back when a beer
was 50 cents and the minimum wage was on the south side of $2/hr and I had money
to throw away when I was 17, and unfortunately that is basically what I did with most of it. But the money just isn't in fishing
any more except for short periods in various fisheries that come and go, make a few men
wealthy, a few more dead, and a lot of woulda coulda stories when the resource gets depleted or expenses or regulations
change the picture.
Whatever you do, figure on living really really cheap
. A likeminded roommate is good. One who has a different philosophy on consumption
and expenses is worse than living alone. Living at home? Can work but remember yoru folks are no longer obligated to house you when you are legally an adult so you might have to make yourself valuable in some way. Save save save. Car? Forget it. New clothes? Salvation Army has cheap stuff in your size if not your color or style. Serious. Beer
? Not if you are serious about saving for your first boat. Cigarettes? Sure... spend $10/day, $3k/year for the privelege of getting emphysema and cancer. SAVE. When you get a few thousand together, don't let it go to your head
. SAVE. Watch for a good deal and don't let your enthusiasm cloud your judgement. You might find a fixer upper for a few hundred and it might be worth your while or it might not. You might find your perfect liveaboard
for $10k 4 or 5 years from now. You don't want to only have $9k saved, and have to scurry around for not only the other grand, but the other 4 or 5 you will need immediately to keep it float-worthy if not seaworthy
, get insurance
, a slip, stuff like that. If you can't swing a deal that looks perfect, don't lose sleep over it. Just keep saving. Something good will happen sooner or later. My present boat I bought for $2,000 and I moved aboard immediately, and went sailing two days later. Gotta have cash at hand, and be aware.
Another definition for you: "Luck". Luck is when opportunity meets preparedness. If you are not prepared to sieze and opportunity, then it will come and go and do you no good, only frustrate and sadden you. Preparedness without opportunity is also a sucky thing. Truth is, the opportunities will be there but you have to be informed and stay informed and seek them out.