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Old 09-08-2018, 23:17   #1
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Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

Just as the title says, I am seeking advice as I am a prospective live aboard.

Before I jump into my questions, I should point out a few things about myself first:

1.) I am looking at being homeless within the next few weeks. The boat and living aboard thing is in part my solution for the time being. Or maybe this is the life I've always dreamed of and didn't realize it until now. Incidentally, I am going to be 40 in a couple of weeks, so happy birthday to me!

2.) I AM working - I have a job, but as life has a tendency of doing, I had a few curve balls thrown my way. Among others, I got into a relationship that cost me everything. If that isn't enough, there's the fact that I tried to change careers without any real safety net and sure enough, I got wiped out due to lack of guidance from peers and management. I wasn't rich or anything prior, but I had some savings that, had I lost a job or something happened, I would have been able to at least stay afloat for a couple of months. Also, the jobs that I have been getting lately don't pay as much as the career field I used to be in.

3.) I have no prior experience with boats. I DO know name brands and have, to the best of my abilities in this situation, done some research.

4.) To my previous point about money, I don't have a lot currently, but the boats I have been looking at are within my price range. The marina is within my budget as well - at least slip rental seems to be within my budget. The boats are located in the marina that I am considering living at and, in fact, the marina owns the boats through repossession/abandonment of some kind.

5.) The marina has facilities to do laundry and take showers. Parking appears to be included in the slip fees, as well.

6.) There are two boats that I am considering: the first is a 26' Columbia sail boat - it's in rather excellent condition considering its age However, I am rather on the tall side and that particular boat is a bit cramped. The other is what I think is a 30' + Sea Ray. The Sea Ray interior happens to be rather nicely kept; however, it does appear to have been a live aboard previously. Also, one of the engines apparently doesn't turn on. Since I would primarily be using the boat as a residence, do I necessarily have a problem by not fixing or replacing the engine right away?

Now to my questions:

1.) As far as live aboard in general, as I pointed out above, I am working a full-time job and it would be a distance from the marina. Assuming all the systems on the prospective boat work, would I be able to keep a fridge (either if the boat came equipped with it or if I brought one aboard) and have food in it so I can eat and so on? Or, would I be looking at a lifestyle of having to eat out 3 meals a day? I tend to get rather hot during the night when I sleep and tend to use a fan while sleeping: would I be able to do this living aboard? This mostly applies to the warmer months.

2.) In the case of a live-aboard, does the marina supply electrical so that you can run appliances and lighting, etc... or is that done strictly off of whatever power is made available by the boat? I see a lot of boats with the yellow cords that seem to attach somewhere on the dock or the slip. Are those connected to the marina electrical supply? (They're the large gauge cables with the three large prongs.)

3.) Is there a preference in the vessel type itself? I.E. sailboat vs. powered boat?

4.) Other than slip fees, are there any other costs I should be aware of? I have looked at the marina website and don't see anything other than slip fees. There's nothing about taxes, there's no yacht club so club membership dues wouldn't apply here. I don't know if they would apply in any other situation, either. What about renter's insurance? I don't see it as being a requirement for the marina. Is that because it's assumed or am I free to elect to, or not to have it?

5.) How frequently do I do bottom cleaning and maintenance to the boat itself?

I have a few more questions, but for now, these are my main questions.
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Old 10-08-2018, 00:44   #2
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

Marina fees depend on the marina. Some do not allow liveaboard, some ask a supplement or will meter your electricity and water, and for others it’s just the same price and conditions as for non-liveaboards. Most marinas will require the boat to be insured.

You should tell,us where in the world you are. In places with bad winters the water to the docks might get cut off for imstance. Most boats are very incomfortable to live on in winter, even in tempered climates. It may be a constant fight against, humidity, mold, and cold. But people do it evywhere, even in Alaska.

Since you mention yellow power cords I’ll assume you’re in North America (socal?). That is indeed 110 V going to the boats from which you can run household appliances and cook, etc. Again, it may be metered, depending on the marina, and the price can be very high compared to a normal home, especially with heating in winter or A/C in summer.

If you ever intend to sail out, given your budget, I’d go for a sailboat. But if all you want to do is to live at the dock then a powerboat will give you more comfort for the slip fee.

You don’t need to maintain the boat or repair it if you’re not going to sail, except for your internal plumbing, electricity, and occasionally to keep it waterproof. Ideally keep it on fresh water, unless it would freeze over in winter. Make sure you buy a boat that is sound to begin with and has properly working refrigeration and other systems.

Living aboard is not for everybody and not necessarily a substantial saving. Make sure it’s worth the inconveniences.
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Old 10-08-2018, 01:03   #3
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

I've snipped and replied in BOLD:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalCruiser View Post
Just as the title says, I am seeking advice as I am a prospective live aboard.


6.) There are two boats that I am considering: the first is a 26' Columbia sail boat - it's in rather excellent condition considering its age However, I am rather on the tall side and that particular boat is a bit cramped. The other is what I think is a 30' + Sea Ray. The Sea Ray interior happens to be rather nicely kept; however, it does appear to have been a live aboard previously. Also, one of the engines apparently doesn't turn on. Since I would primarily be using the boat as a residence, do I necessarily have a problem by not fixing or replacing the engine right away?

If you cannot stand up, you will be miserable. You need that in order to have a real live-aboard experience that won't be a nightmare.

Now to my questions:

1.) As far as live aboard in general, as I pointed out above, I am working a full-time job and it would be a distance from the marina. Assuming all the systems on the prospective boat work, would I be able to keep a fridge (either if the boat came equipped with it or if I brought one aboard) and have food in it so I can eat and so on? Or, would I be looking at a lifestyle of having to eat out 3 meals a day? I tend to get rather hot during the night when I sleep and tend to use a fan while sleeping: would I be able to do this living aboard? This mostly applies to the warmer months.

Yes, to the refrigerator. Also yes too cooking. I presume the marina has power available at your slip. Your constraints will be size. What unit will fit into the space you have available?

As to a fan (or even a small air conditioner) both are possible.


2.) In the case of a live-aboard, does the marina supply electrical so that you can run appliances and lighting, etc... or is that done strictly off of whatever power is made available by the boat? I see a lot of boats with the yellow cords that seem to attach somewhere on the dock or the slip. Are those connected to the marina electrical supply? (They're the large gauge cables with the three large prongs.)

Yes, usually the marina has same. Often there is a fee. Check.
Yellow cords for your size boat will be 30A. That's 30 amps. That means that you will be constrained by how much power you can use. It should be fine.


3.) Is there a preference in the vessel type itself? I.E. sailboat vs. powered boat?

I like power boats. That's because I live on one and there's plenty of space for me and my stuff. I love being able to sit down and see out.

4.) Other than slip fees, are there any other costs I should be aware of? I have looked at the marina website and don't see anything other than slip fees. There's nothing about taxes, there's no yacht club so club membership dues wouldn't apply here. I don't know if they would apply in any other situation, either. What about renter's insurance? I don't see it as being a requirement for the marina. Is that because it's assumed or am I free to elect to, or not to have it?

You'll probably have to have boat insurance. Check with the marina. ALSO be very certain they allow folks to live aboard. Some places don't like that. There are often higher costs for you living aboard. IF it's allowed.

And get that in writing.

None of these inquiries should be done on the phone. Go yourself and inquire in person. Don't forget you get one chance to make a good first impression.


5.) How frequently do I do bottom cleaning and maintenance to the boat itself?

I pay for mine to be scraped every month. That's a diver who comes to the boat and scrapes off the hull and running gear. Cost varies. $1.50 per foot.

BUT, shortly I will have to haul out and have the bottom done. That will be two or three coats of bottom paint ($250 per gallon/per coat) AND extra at the waterline. $$$$$

I've been saving up for a bottom job.



I have a few more questions, but for now, these are my main questions.
SoCalCruiser... if I may be so bold? You might also check out a few books at the library. I've written many articles for the new-to-be boater. You may find my website of use too. Check it out.

This article would be a good place to start:
Janice142 article Dreamer to Boater: Books

I can tell you without a doubt that I LOVE MY LIFE. Boating is such a wonderful world... Here's my home:

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Old 10-08-2018, 01:27   #4
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

Quote:
Originally Posted by janice142 View Post
I've snipped and replied in BOLD:



SoCalCruiser... if I may be so bold? You might also check out a few books at the library. I've written many articles for the new-to-be boater. You may find my website of use too. Check it out.

This article would be a good place to start:
Janice142 article Dreamer to Boater: Books

I can tell you without a doubt that I LOVE MY LIFE. Boating is such a wonderful world... Here's my home:

Nice live aboard...
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Old 10-08-2018, 02:00   #5
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, SoCal.


I agree with all of the (excellent) replies to date.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:35   #6
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

See comments in blue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalCruiser View Post

6.) There are two boats that I am considering: the first is a 26' Columbia sail boat - it's in rather excellent condition considering its age However, I am rather on the tall side and that particular boat is a bit cramped. The other is what I think is a 30' + Sea Ray. The Sea Ray interior happens to be rather nicely kept; however, it does appear to have been a live aboard previously. Also, one of the engines apparently doesn't turn on. Since I would primarily be using the boat as a residence, do I necessarily have a problem by not fixing or replacing the engine right away?

Living in a cramped interior will get old real fast. Living in a cave might get old real fast, too, depending on your preferences.

You might not need to repair/replace an engine immediately, especially if you're not focused on using the unit as a boat... BUT you will likely need to be able to move it periodically (see "pump-out" below) and twin-engine boats usually aren't all that easy to move in close quarters on only one engine.


Now to my questions:

1.) As far as live aboard in general, as I pointed out above, I am working a full-time job and it would be a distance from the marina. Assuming all the systems on the prospective boat work, would I be able to keep a fridge (either if the boat came equipped with it or if I brought one aboard) and have food in it so I can eat and so on? Or, would I be looking at a lifestyle of having to eat out 3 meals a day? I tend to get rather hot during the night when I sleep and tend to use a fan while sleeping: would I be able to do this living aboard? This mostly applies to the warmer months.

Just choose a boat with onboard refrigeration and cooking facilities, and with air conditioning.

2.) In the case of a live-aboard, does the marina supply electrical so that you can run appliances and lighting, etc... or is that done strictly off of whatever power is made available by the boat? I see a lot of boats with the yellow cords that seem to attach somewhere on the dock or the slip. Are those connected to the marina electrical supply? (They're the large gauge cables with the three large prongs.)

Depends. The yellow cords are connections to shorepower. Some marinas include the cost of electricity; some provide individually metered connections. Ask.

3.) Is there a preference in the vessel type itself? I.E. sailboat vs. powered boat?

Depends on your preferences. Most sailboats and Sea Ray Sundancers have you living in a cave, if you can stand that. There are other boats with raised saloons and so forth, so you could actually see life going on around you from inside the boat.

4.) Other than slip fees, are there any other costs I should be aware of? I have looked at the marina website and don't see anything other than slip fees. There's nothing about taxes, there's no yacht club so club membership dues wouldn't apply here. I don't know if they would apply in any other situation, either. What about renter's insurance? I don't see it as being a requirement for the marina. Is that because it's assumed or am I free to elect to, or not to have it?

Depends, but you'll need insurance, even if only liability; the marina will likely mandate that. Your lender, if you finance, will likely require full coverage.

Some marinas don't even allow liveaboards; ask. You'll also need periodic sanitary pump-outs... which means either you go to the pump-out station or it comes to you... and that depends on the marina's facilities. Ask.


5.) How frequently do I do bottom cleaning and maintenance to the boat itself?

Bottom cleaning is periodic, but I'm not familiar with the waters there so cant't predict how often it'd be necessary. FWIW, we haul/powerwash once/year AND I try to move the boat once/week.

The rest of boat maintenance is "every day." Sometimes only something minor, sometimes more of a project. Some, like with engines, service is periodic based on usage hours OR end of season, whichever comes first.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:35   #7
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalCruiser View Post
Just as the title says, I am seeking advice as I am a prospective live aboard.

Before I jump into my questions, I should point out a few things about myself first:

1.) I am looking at being homeless within the next few weeks. The boat and living aboard thing is in part my solution for the time being. Or maybe this is the life I've always dreamed of and didn't realize it until now. Incidentally, I am going to be 40 in a couple of weeks, so happy birthday to me!

2.) I AM working - I have a job, but as life has a tendency of doing, I had a few curve balls thrown my way. Among others, I got into a relationship that cost me everything. If that isn't enough, there's the fact that I tried to change careers without any real safety net and sure enough, I got wiped out due to lack of guidance from peers and management. I wasn't rich or anything prior, but I had some savings that, had I lost a job or something happened, I would have been able to at least stay afloat for a couple of months. Also, the jobs that I have been getting lately don't pay as much as the career field I used to be in.

3.) I have no prior experience with boats. I DO know name brands and have, to the best of my abilities in this situation, done some research.

4.) To my previous point about money, I don't have a lot currently, but the boats I have been looking at are within my price range. The marina is within my budget as well - at least slip rental seems to be within my budget. The boats are located in the marina that I am considering living at and, in fact, the marina owns the boats through repossession/abandonment of some kind.

5.) The marina has facilities to do laundry and take showers. Parking appears to be included in the slip fees, as well.

6.) There are two boats that I am considering: the first is a 26' Columbia sail boat - it's in rather excellent condition considering its age However, I am rather on the tall side and that particular boat is a bit cramped. The other is what I think is a 30' + Sea Ray. The Sea Ray interior happens to be rather nicely kept; however, it does appear to have been a live aboard previously. Also, one of the engines apparently doesn't turn on. Since I would primarily be using the boat as a residence, do I necessarily have a problem by not fixing or replacing the engine right away?

Now to my questions:

1.) As far as live aboard in general, as I pointed out above, I am working a full-time job and it would be a distance from the marina. Assuming all the systems on the prospective boat work, would I be able to keep a fridge (either if the boat came equipped with it or if I brought one aboard) and have food in it so I can eat and so on? Or, would I be looking at a lifestyle of having to eat out 3 meals a day? I tend to get rather hot during the night when I sleep and tend to use a fan while sleeping: would I be able to do this living aboard? This mostly applies to the warmer months.

2.) In the case of a live-aboard, does the marina supply electrical so that you can run appliances and lighting, etc... or is that done strictly off of whatever power is made available by the boat? I see a lot of boats with the yellow cords that seem to attach somewhere on the dock or the slip. Are those connected to the marina electrical supply? (They're the large gauge cables with the three large prongs.)

3.) Is there a preference in the vessel type itself? I.E. sailboat vs. powered boat?

4.) Other than slip fees, are there any other costs I should be aware of? I have looked at the marina website and don't see anything other than slip fees. There's nothing about taxes, there's no yacht club so club membership dues wouldn't apply here. I don't know if they would apply in any other situation, either. What about renter's insurance? I don't see it as being a requirement for the marina. Is that because it's assumed or am I free to elect to, or not to have it?

5.) How frequently do I do bottom cleaning and maintenance to the boat itself?

I have a few more questions, but for now, these are my main questions.
your screen name implies that you live in southern calififornia where liveaboard slips are few and far between and not cheap. you've gotten most of the advice i'd give but I would emphasize that a marina will require insurance and to be named an additional insured and a liveaboard permit, normally issued by the harbor patrol, will require an inspection annually to make sure the boat can move under it's own power, complies with marine head requirements and is not a derelict somebody choses to keep from being homeless. good luck.
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:48   #8
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

Very sorry to hear about your situation, in particular the relationship that stung.

Have you considered the RV option?

That or renting and roommates?

Boats can be expensive and some of those expenses pop up QUICK and have to be addressed. The reside in a hostile and corrosive environment.

If your goal is “cheap living” while you build up your nest egg again then there may be better ways to achieve this.

Best of luck and if you have to choose from the two of consider the Sea Ray ;-)
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:11   #9
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

Its amazing how little you really need to be comfortable and happy. Some good questions have been asked of you already. Power from the Marina is a question to ask them. Bottom cleaning of the boat will depend on the local conditions there and what it has been painted with. If you can snorkel and don't mind getting wet, you can clean it yourself. Do consider bot insurance just in case even if you stay dockside. Probably run an average of 100 month. Power or sail is a personal preference. Personally I'd take sail, you probably would get more boat for your money. If you like to learn, watch as many videos and read as much as you can stand. Tons of info out there. You might find the lifestyle really fits !
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:25   #10
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

Well, sounds like a slumlord marina, leasing repo'd boats and if they own them they carry the insurance. Floating apartments!

I would not mess with the Sea Ray, might live in it but wouldn't begin to think of making repairs. (That's from having problems with a transmission on a 50' Sun Dancer)

Since time is of the essence, move on to one of these for shelter.

IMO, you need time to regroup your life, study boating, ask questions of those owners at the marina, after you get a better feel for what you need, look for a boat, probably a sail and learn to sail, you otta start with the smallest boat you can possibly live out of. For you, a power boat will be quicker to learn and as mentioned more room per foot than most sailboats.

If you go power, really consider an efficient hull and an outboard, that will be the cheapest in the long run or a small 4 banger in-outboard.

The most efficient will be long, skinny and flat, good for protected waters, nothing to get out in if there is chop on the coastline. From there the longer, wider and taller, the more operating costs, maintenance, insurance will be. Saying begin by defining a budget.

And, if that marina is doing some rent to own, forget it, don't go there. Buy conventionally, there re a thousand cheap boats out there, just know what you're buying.
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:31   #11
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

The local boating newspaper "The Log" published an article on this subject last week, start here, it will answer many of your questions.
Search Results for “Living Aboard” – The Log
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:06   #12
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

You need to begin with the basics. Marina charges; what is included or not i.e. water. electric, parking, pump outs (what goes in the toilet has to be removed), insurance requirements, included land storage such as freezers or dock boxes, laundry, toilet and shower facilities, etc.. All rules such as must boats have working propulsion, living aboard restrictions, are contractors permitted, ....
Then you can begin to look at boat prices, available space, maintainence budget and such. Can you live cheap on board? Absolutely BUT tight space including very limited storage/closets, small beds. Not a set up for the disorganized.
Finally, you will need a huricane plan. Many marinas will not let you stay if a hurricane is approaching. The sheltered ones that do will expect you to have the extra lines and anchors to secure your boat.
Lastly, address the idea that the prior owner may have just walked away. That suggests that whatever you pay may become a total loss sooner rather than later.
All that said, living aboard on a budget is great for the right people.
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Old 10-08-2018, 12:22   #13
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

The problem with moving into a boat, for someone with little or no experience, is that you can have one minor problem like an unseen hose leak, which then sinks the boat. You come home after work, only to find there are oil containment booms in the water around your slip and a note about how many thousand dollars it will cost you in environmental cleanup fees, and oh yes, please do get the wreck out of the water promptly.

*IF* you are lucky, if you have plenty of free time, yes, you can come up the learning curve pretty quickly. But it sounds like there is enough drama in your life right now. Buying a boat (for anyone anytime) can full full of surprises. Moving onto one, more so. I think you'd be rolling the dice, big time, if you jumped into this under time and money constraints.

then again, you can find out more by spending a weekend on the web reading and watching how it has or hasn't worked out for others.
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Old 10-08-2018, 21:33   #14
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pirate Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

If you know someone with property and you can trailer your boat selection to their property you could have your live aboard on the hard.
Certainly will give you a break on a rental slip. Somewhat hidden back in the woods will give you a lot of privacy. More space if you have a vehicle or want to store stuff under a tarp or in a cheap shed. Use a YMCA for showers, swimming, facilities, etc...

Just a thought...

I am seeing this happen more and more on the east coast. Folks live in those shoebox homes and have to find a space that adhere's to local zoning. A boat being stored on property is legal.

Your other option is a small RV. I would go that way. You can stay overnight in a Walmart free of charge, your transportation is built in. campsites are numerous and cheap. You can't take your boat to a jiffy lube or food shopping or even think about outrunning a major storm, flood, disaster, zombie's, etc...

I am a live aboard and love it. I can stay on the boat when she is on the hard so it works well for me. Not many places let you do that. Plus when god floods the world again I just float off the blocks and follow the ark to the islands.

Good luck
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Old 10-08-2018, 22:17   #15
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Re: Prospective Live-Aboard Seeking Advice:

Hey there, sorry about your situation.... I'm gearing up to live out of our sailboat, but it's quite big so isn't really comparable. But yes you can put whatever you have in your house in your boat, if you have the money/skills. Solar panels would be good maybe. But I was gonna agree with another poster about cheaper land options....I also lived out of our 1977 VW camper bus for the better part of a year. I really liked it, and as long as you have a nice enough outdoor area and awning, it doesn't feel cramped to me, just cosy I'd look into an RV unless you have definite plans to go sailing at some point, cause boat costs ADD UP QUICK...
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