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Old 07-07-2014, 11:50   #1
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Soon to Liveaboard, need Advice on Mail/Car

Hi. What brought me to this point of wanting to go aboard for good is the beginnings of a divorce. I am 40, I have a pretty good office job in Tampa, Fla. I spent most of my free time shoreline fishing, etc. I am very outdoorsy.
Anyway, this past weekend I moved out and am currently at a motel going week to week on rent. I was looking at campers on craigslist then remembered my childhood aboard a sailboat. My family had a 21' and we spent summer vacations on that thing until I was about 8. Anyway, I am thinking since I am so close to Tampa Bay that maybe I will outfit a small sailboat and live aboard it for a while.
My only questions is where would I park a car and what can I set up for mailing address? P.O. Box? I know I can rent a slip somewhere but the whole point of this venture is to save money that can be redirected to visiting my daughter more in Michigan. Does anyone else here dingy it to shore to go to work every day?
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:57   #2
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

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Originally Posted by mikestewart395 View Post
Hi. What brought me to this point of wanting to go aboard for good is the beginnings of a divorce. I am 40, I have a pretty good office job in Tampa, Fla. I spent most of my free time shoreline fishing, etc. I am very outdoorsy.
Anyway, this past weekend I moved out and am currently at a motel going week to week on rent. I was looking at campers on craigslist then remembered my childhood aboard a sailboat. My family had a 21' and we spent summer vacations on that thing until I was about 8. Anyway, I am thinking since I am so close to Tampa Bay that maybe I will outfit a small sailboat and live aboard it for a while.
My only questions is where would I park a car and what can I set up for mailing address? P.O. Box? I know I can rent a slip somewhere but the whole point of this venture is to save money that can be redirected to visiting my daughter more in Michigan. Does anyone else here dingy it to shore to go to work every day?
For a mailing address, it is best to use someone else's as you will also require a resident address. The home of relative or even your ex-wife will do, if you are on good terms with her.

Taking a dingy to shore has several issues. Physical exertion and sweating for starters, the possibility of getting wet and smelling like seawater at work for the bonus, and the coup-de-gras is having to PAY for dockage for your dingy while you are at work.

In that part of the country you have other options, including trailer homes, house boats, and better yet purchase of a water-front home for investment and income - last time I was in that region, real estate was pretty depressed and great bargains were available for those who could root them out.
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:58   #3
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

Investing in a property isn't an option, I don't have the money for that. And I am wanting to go liveaboard, not a Mobile Home. Funds are limited in my exodus. My idea is to go aboard a small boat at first then leap frog to bigger boats as time goes on until I actually have a nice comfortable boat.

Smelling of sea water, I understand. I think I will look into slip prices around here. Being Tampa it will be over priced for sure.
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Old 07-07-2014, 13:14   #4
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

Welcome to CF, Mike.

This link to previous threads about liveaboard marinas near Tampa might help you get started on your search.

Best wishes.
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Old 07-07-2014, 13:45   #5
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

That link was very helpful, thank you. In case anyone from Florida is reading this I work near Tampa Bay Downs Racetrack. Dunedin/Clearwater is very close, so any Basic marina there would be awesome.
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Old 07-07-2014, 13:52   #6
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

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Investing in a property isn't an option, I don't have the money for that. And I am wanting to go liveaboard, not a Mobile Home. Funds are limited in my exodus. My idea is to go aboard a small boat at first then leap frog to bigger boats as time goes on until I actually have a nice comfortable boat.

Smelling of sea water, I understand. I think I will look into slip prices around here. Being Tampa it will be over priced for sure.
Not to discourage you or your plan, but I'd like to point out some possible flaws in your logic:

1) If you have money for a boat and a slip or mooring payment, you have money to buy a house. That house can be converted to a rental property very quickly - in as little as a month or two with good planning and good execution

2) Leapfrogging, as you've expressed it, will be very costly. Unless you consistently buy very well and sell very well, you will lose money on every trade up. Also, you'll quickly become discouraged if you immediately try to liveaboard a boat smaller than 30'.

3) If you're going to live in a marina, you might as well live in a trailer home, apartment, or small home unless you really love the marina lifestyle, or are just really really dedicated to the boating portion of this adventure.

4) If that's the case, then you really should mentally delete or at least fade the part about "saving money to visit your daughter in michigan" , as it is rare that a person is able to live more cheaply on a boat than on land - certainly not enough more cheaply to afford much traveling of that sort.
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Old 07-07-2014, 13:57   #7
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

only reason to live on a boat instead of land is because you like boating more than land living and can only chose to do one
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Old 07-07-2014, 14:08   #8
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

If your purpose is to save money, you should look for a studio apartment over living in a marina. From my brief research in your area, that would be about the same as slip fees + liveaboard fees. Then you will be saving yourself insurance and maintenance.
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Old 07-07-2014, 14:57   #9
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

Holy smokes. I'm in flames. My goodness, a little encouragement. Credit will not allow me to get a loan to buy a house. I know I can live in a trailer park but I came to the Liveaboard forums asking for help about living on a boat. My family and I vacationed on our sailboat for months at a time, I know what I am in for. As for the size of the boat, I work 6 days a week, 12 hour shifts. Basically the boat will hold my food/clothes and bed to sleep in. My current house is 1100 a month rent, 130 elect., 35 water, 65 internet. I doubt a marina charges more than that. So yes I would be saving money living aboard I'm sure. I'll research the net some more, thanks anyway .
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Old 07-07-2014, 15:10   #10
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

Didn't like the answers I see.

You may find that living aboard a boat at 40 is a lot different than what you remember from when you were 8.
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Old 07-07-2014, 15:40   #11
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

Hi Mike! If you want to live on a sailboat DO IT! My boyfriend has a 30 ft Cheoy Lee and currently lives on his. I just bought a 30 ft Hunter a few months ago and I am planning on moving aboard as soon as possible! WHY? To save money! I am tired of paying outlandish prices for rent, power, water, cable, gas etc. I am on my boat EVERY day and every weekend anyway - so why not just live on it? He has a P.O. Box and uses the marina's address. (or use a friend's)

Like I said my b/f and I both have 30 footers. However there is a big difference in the space. His has a 8.9 beam and mine 10.2 - WOW! you wouldn't believe the difference it makes. We can't pass each other in his without one ending up on the other one's lap. In mine we can pass and not be anywhere near each other. (I guess that's why we take mine out everytime for the past month lol.) So find a boat you will be comfortable on. Not too big, not too small. You will know.

If you are set on living on a boat - I'd make the transition slowly and after you are at a marina for a few months, you can decide then if you want to venture further. For me, I will stay in a marina until I decide to cruise (not work) and then I will consider living on the hook. If you are in a marina - you can park your car there. The only bothersome things I can see about living on a boat is laundry and rain. Read this book and it will give you a great sense of what each is like: "Leap Of Faith: Quit Your Job and Live on a Boat" $2.99 Amazon Kindle - Great Read!!! - and of course you don't HAVE to quit your job lol. (Also read his new book: Poop, Booze and Bikinis ($.99)- it WILL make you laugh)

Look around for a deal - there are lots of people that really really want and need to get of their boats. You can find a deal if you have time to look around - if not, find a good one and make it home.

Another good book is Capt'n Fatty Goodlander's "Buy, Outfit and Sail a Boat" Great info.

I'd do it in a heartbeat if I were you. If you don't know how to sail - learn! It will make it triple or quadruple (or better) worth living on a sailboat. My motto is "work, sail, work, sail". Seriously.

Don't be too bummed about what other people say on here. Simply find out or ask if THEY live on a boat or ever have lived on a boat. There will be your answer.

DO read those books - especially the first one. It will answer lots of your questions and doubts.

Wishing you the best! And yes - you WILL save money!! DO IT!!

Take care!
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Old 07-07-2014, 16:05   #12
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

BTW - Mike most of us here are all for you to "do it", but you asked ...................
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Old 07-07-2014, 16:05   #13
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I'm really surprised about the negative answers. But then again seems like the majority of people on this forum have a budget for 5 grand a month minimum. In Tampa you will probably have to pay for a dinghy dock but you're working full time and it's nice to know that your dinghy will be secure, you can get water, get rid of your trash and have parking. As far as legal address goes the cheapest way is to use a frends residence for your driver's license and get a PO Box for your mail. Or for about 20 bucks a month you can get a " mailbox " from a company that will accept ups and you can use for your legal address.
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Old 07-07-2014, 16:15   #14
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Thumbs up Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikestewart395 View Post
Holy smokes. I'm in flames. My goodness, a little encouragement. Credit will not allow me to get a loan to buy a house. I know I can live in a trailer park but I came to the Liveaboard forums asking for help about living on a boat. My family and I vacationed on our sailboat for months at a time, I know what I am in for. As for the size of the boat, I work 6 days a week, 12 hour shifts. Basically the boat will hold my food/clothes and bed to sleep in. My current house is 1100 a month rent, 130 elect., 35 water, 65 internet. I doubt a marina charges more than that. So yes I would be saving money living aboard I'm sure. I'll research the net some more, thanks anyway .
Ignore the grumbling old men and look into yourself...there are Plenty of inexpensive boats out there and lots of people do it on the cheap. No all of us need expensive catamarans.....
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Old 07-07-2014, 17:07   #15
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Re: Soon to Liveaboard, need advice on mail/car

Yes, sorry, it's just that sometimes people come on with unrealistic ideas about liveaboard lifestyles and costs.

To answer your questions, there are many kinds of liveaboard. A lot of marina's don't allow it. Some marina's look the other way if you are quiet, responsible, and generally helpful to have around (sometimes called "Sneakaboard". Others absolutely forbid it and enforce that.

So to answer your question about cars and mail, it get's complicated because of that - the answer depends on what kind of liveaboard you plan to be.

Living on the hook is tough for many reasons, including discomfort - especially on small boats with few amenities, lack of shore access, lack of places to park your car, and so on.

There are a lot of people who come up with creative solutions to these problems, but you should be aware that many are just a bit above being a vagabond. That is not to say there is anything wrong with wanting to be a vagabond, but it's helpful to be clear in conversation about exactly what we are talking about.

If you are a long-term resident in a proper liveaboard Marina, that marina becomes your address and provides you with a parking lot - possibly for an additional fee, but not always. They also provide hot showers and running water, electricity, and pumpout services for your holding tanks

If you are on the hook, hanging out in some public access bay, it is quite the opposite. You have no legal address. There is nowhere to park a car. There is nowhere to park your dinghy. Sometimes people will row into the weeds and chain their rowboat or canoe to a tree, then take a bicycle that is chained to another tree after tromping through some abandoned lot to reach the road.

And then there are all the variations in between. Sneakaboard, transient resident, monthly resident, and so on - every arrangement is different.

If you are merely trying to save money, there are simpler ways to do it.

If you want to enjoy your bachelor life by getting closer to the water and getting in some boat time, then there is no better way to do it - as long as you're realistic about the tradeoffs.

I move through many different phases in my life. For that reason, I maintain my "permanent residence" at my parent's home, even though I have not been there in 12 years. I have had a range of residence types including condos, camping sites, hotel rooms, and sneakaboard slips in that time, but to keep life simple I don't own a car - I rent when I need one - and I maintain a single permanent residence, even when my current living arrangement allows for me to have a "real" address and a place to keep a car.
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