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Old 15-06-2008, 04:44   #1
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Thumbs up Suggestions On Getting Into A live Aboard

Hello all! I am new to this forum, so please bear with me here. I have been pondering a live aboard for approximately a year now. I am married to a wonderful wife who would like to look into this adventure as well. A little background here, I am in the US Marines, I'm stationed at Cherry Point in NC. We found a small marina in the area that welcomes live aboards and the rates are excellent! The folks that make up the marina are awesome! I was reading these forums and just couldn't believe the horror stories from some of you folks! Anyhows, here's my master plan, please let me know what you all think and I have thick skin, so if ya need to beat me up a little bit to let me know my ideas are way off please do so. Ha!

I found a 1988 41 footer on the internet in Fl, I have been tracking it for about a year now, dunno if thats a good sign or a bad sign, we'll see though. The owner dropped it 10k in the last 8 months. Right now I'm in Iraq and there's not a whole lot I can do until I get home Sep/Oct time frame. I figure, I can get a hold of the broker for availability when the time came, then set up a showing, at the same time get with a marine surveyor to go over the vessel (it's a cruiser not a sail boat). We have never lived aboard before, however growing up on the water and owning boats and being on the water alot we both know this could work very well for us! I figure we do the showing, look at the survey then possibily stay a few nights on it at the dock before a final purchase offer / negotation is made. I want to make sure this is a very well thought out sound decision. After all this is a big ticket item! My next step would be transporting it to NC from Fl. Would it be better to cruise up by water or haul it by truck over the road? All of the planning would deffinately be in place before we even went to look at it. The vessel is in our price range, has all the options we want/need. I know you need to shop around first, but if everything checks out on it and we are completely satisfied, do you see anything wrong with going forward with a purchase straight off the first one? Thanks again for any input you all have.
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Old 15-06-2008, 05:41   #2
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There's one thing I see wrong here:

You can't spend a few nights on a boat that you don't own. The owner will most likely not let you do that. (unless he's crazy)




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Originally Posted by Freebyrdjason View Post
Hello all! I am new to this forum, so please bear with me here. I have been pondering a live aboard for approximately a year now. I am married to a wonderful wife who would like to look into this adventure as well. A little background here, I am in the US Marines, I'm stationed at Cherry Point in NC. We found a small marina in the area that welcomes live aboards and the rates are excellent! The folks that make up the marina are awesome! I was reading these forums and just couldn't believe the horror stories from some of you folks! Anyhows, here's my master plan, please let me know what you all think and I have thick skin, so if ya need to beat me up a little bit to let me know my ideas are way off please do so. Ha!

I found a 1988 41 footer on the internet in Fl, I have been tracking it for about a year now, dunno if thats a good sign or a bad sign, we'll see though. The owner dropped it 10k in the last 8 months. Right now I'm in Iraq and there's not a whole lot I can do until I get home Sep/Oct time frame. I figure, I can get a hold of the broker for availability when the time came, then set up a showing, at the same time get with a marine surveyor to go over the vessel (it's a cruiser not a sail boat). We have never lived aboard before, however growing up on the water and owning boats and being on the water alot we both know this could work very well for us! I figure we do the showing, look at the survey then possibily stay a few nights on it at the dock before a final purchase offer / negotation is made. I want to make sure this is a very well thought out sound decision. After all this is a big ticket item! My next step would be transporting it to NC from Fl. Would it be better to cruise up by water or haul it by truck over the road? All of the planning would deffinately be in place before we even went to look at it. The vessel is in our price range, has all the options we want/need. I know you need to shop around first, but if everything checks out on it and we are completely satisfied, do you see anything wrong with going forward with a purchase straight off the first one? Thanks again for any input you all have.
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Old 15-06-2008, 06:37   #3
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Freebyrd... I am right there with ya except that I am in the beginning of my year-long search... I just wanted to wish you luck in the process, and I would be interested to know how the whole purchase progresses, so please continue posting. Incidently, I am praying for you and your wife, and I truly appreciate the sacrifices you and your wife are making for my freedom. Blessings.
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Old 15-06-2008, 07:02   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssullivan View Post
There's one thing I see wrong here:

You can't spend a few nights on a boat that you don't own. The owner will most likely not let you do that. (unless he's crazy)
Sully, after dropping the price 10K the owner might entertain the idea don't you think? ESPECIALLY for a Marine.

Freebyrd - I would ask.
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Old 15-06-2008, 07:53   #5
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I have a friend who says one should not buy a boat without spending a night on board, Just to have a chance to run the systems and make sure everything runs for more than the short time of a survey. I can see that some sellers would be reluctant. I think if I were buying I would offer say 100 or 200 bucks just to show I wasn't trying to get out of paying a hotel bill. Make this offer, if I buy the boat I don't pay, if I don't buy the boat I do. It probably wouldn't be fair to use the head/holding tank if the seller has it empty and sweet smelling. But if is in use why not, give him the price of a pump out.
By the way the friend I mentioned earlier spent a night on the boat he was looking at after a couple of hours run time the generator overheated and shut down. He bought the boat anyway but the seller had to fix the problem first.
It is a buyers market! I am selling my Camano 31 right now I wouldnt think twice about letting a serious prospect spend a night on board at the dock.
In any case it is a big decision maybe you should think of chartering a similar for a week or so as a first step.
Thanks for your service to our Country! Stay safe!
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Old 15-06-2008, 08:18   #6
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Originally Posted by psteele235 View Post
Sully, after dropping the price 10K the owner might entertain the idea don't you think? ESPECIALLY for a Marine.

Freebyrd - I would ask.
I'm not sure what a Marine vs. an architect, vs a delivery captain, vs whatever the prospective buyer does for a living would have to do with it.

I'd still have to say you'd be crazy to let every looker in the world stay on your boat while it's for sale, even if they paid $100 to do it.

Remember... I just sold the Gulfstar last fall. I sold it without a broker. I've seen what's out there... every idiot in the world wants to look at your boat, come see what a "big boat looks like", waste your time "talking boats" etc... Narrowing down all the "lookers" from the serious buyers is quite a huge amount of work.

We even had one large family come aboard for a showing that spent about 2 hours. They hung around, chatted, etc... When the time came to leave, one of the kids let it slip that the dad wasn't even buying a boat. He just thought it would be "fun" to go and see a big boat before their family dinner party they were headed to. So... half a day of cleaning and 2 hours of our time talking to these morons, just for their entertainment. These are the kind of people who represent a good 80% of the "lookers" out there.

I still seriously doubt any seller would allow a buyer to sleep on the boat (possibly breaking things, stealing it, etc...). You'd have to be nuts to expose yourself to that kind of potential for damage/theft.



As much as everyone on here keeps saying "it's buyer's market", you're only right if you are talking about the riff raff of boats for sale. The good boats are very much *not* in a buyer's market. In particular, Canadians are gobbling them up at an enormous rate.

My Catalac had several other parties trying to buy it when I bought it. I know of a few of those other parties personally. I beat them to the punch by putting the 10% deposit down the day I looked at it and pushing the deal through like mad. Only the riff raff boats are really a buyer's market. The good deals will always take some work on the part of the buyer to get the sale done.


My Gulfstar sold in just 4 mos after putting her on the market. Why?

It was a good boat, in good condition for a fair price. (Canadians bought her as well) The only reason it didn't sell sooner was that I took it off the market for someone who was working on some creative financing that fell through. That took it off the market for 1 of the 4 mos she was on the market.

Good boats/deals are never a "buyer's market" no matter how much the prospective buyers might hope it is.
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Old 15-06-2008, 09:02   #7
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First off, thank for being there.. I did a few years myself back in the late 60s and early 70s......
What ever choice you make, good or bad, dosent have to last the rest of your life.
if the boat is sound and has an atractive look to it, (in your eyes) and you feel its justafiable, then buy it and move aboard.....
Living on a boat can either be the romantic life you dreamed about or it can be a life in hell.. You know that for where you are now... its what you make of it.
For you, I think the lifestyle will be an easy change as its "your home" and you've been living out-of a duffle bag and almost anything with the word "HOME" attached will be a welcome change.
My bit of advice, be you take it or not, is to keep your wife happy and make sure the boat fits her needs and wants. Remember, "If moma aint happy, aint nobody happy"
And you can always change, because what you find now might not fit your needs in a couple years, sell what you have and move on.
I mean change boats, not wives.........
Our first boat, was kept for only 2 years before we moved to another..And we've gone through 4 in the last 12 years... this boat, we live on now, we've had for 5 years and are pleased, but who knows.
For us, we love being on the water, and we move around alot, only staying in one place for a few months and then we move on.
Good luck in your ventures, and again, Thanks....
Randy
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Old 15-06-2008, 10:20   #8
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Find a tough surveyor who has surveyed this make and model several times before. He could cost twice as much as another and be a very good investment. If he says run, don't ask where. If he says buy, do it. There is no chance that a perfect boat will stay on the market very long. And vice versa.
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Old 15-06-2008, 15:19   #9
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Hello all! I just got in from work. I appreciate all of your responses. Thank you for your support of what we are doing over here, that means alot! About the vessel and my ideas of what I want to do, all I can do is wait everything out until I get home or at least close to it and start the serious leg work of it all. It seems to me the serious part of my whole idea of putting this dream into a reality is the staying a few nights aboard. I would absolutely offer a dollar amount to do that. I really like stevensc's idea of paying if I don't buy and not paying if I do buy. I will deffinately keep everyone informed of this process regardless of the turn out. Cheers!
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Old 15-06-2008, 17:55   #10
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I think if someone has paid for a survey and has a deposit down, I would let him stay on board for a night or two.

Even our small boat I asked for 2 days of sea trials. 6 hours each day. We motored 4 hours and sailed the rest, doing sail changes and trying out all the equipment.

The owner came out on day one and let us go on day two by ourselves.
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Old 15-06-2008, 18:41   #11
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I barely know anything, but this is what I do know ...
  1. You should plan on being present at the survey. You will learn so much from a good surveyor & he only writes down half of what he says. I still keep thinking back on conversations with the surveyor & can't imagine how clueless this whole boat process (let alone LIVEABOARD) would be without that experience. Also, find a surveyor on referral from your new buddies at the marina (not through a broker) & look for someone that wants to be on the boat all day. The survey for this boat took all morning waaaaayyyyy into the afternoon, which pissed off the seller's broker, but who cares - there was lots to learn. And this boat was 'turnkey'!
  2. The closer the boat is to your slip the better off you are. This boat only had to move a wee bit down the coast & man was it a pain getting her to her slip. Also, bend over backwards to make that trip with the new boat - you might hire a captain or have a more experienced friend in charge - but it is amazing boat bonding to deliver her home.
  3. The military - esp. Department of the Navy - has many EXCELLENT marinas so cheap it would cause riots on the forum if we started talking slip fees. Find one, find out when the purge their list (probably done annually in January), get on the list. MWR marinas don't hate liveaboards like fancy-smancy marinas do either - major plus.
  4. Lots of boats I've seen have been on the market a year. This boat I'm on was! The owner priced it too high at first being unrealistic as most sellers are. I don't know for sure, but I think the serious selling season is Feb-May ... after that you might as well hold on to the boat & enjoy her yourself through the summer.
  5. Getting an 1988 is great. Don't go much older than that though, because you will find that your insurance company may not insure anything older than 20 years. Liveaboards SHOULD have insurance, without a doubt. If you're in a military slip, chances are they require it. I think USAA's insurance goes through another party so you don't really get a good discount there.
  6. Size matters. You haven't talked much about your experience - but 41' seems huuuugggeee to me. I actually can't imagine more than this beautiful 34' I'm in ... a boat is a lot to handle & the pre-purchase advice I've ever read (which turned out to be 100% true) said get the smallest possible boat you can fit on.
  7. Tell wifey to start downsizing her closet & preparing for liveaboard life now. It is not easy. Worth it, but not easy on a woman who requires many many clothes & such. One has to be glamorous at the marina, you know.
  8. Read all the boat & liveaboard blogs you can find. There is even a thread (http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...oat-12128.html) but do google searches for the specific type of boat you plan to live on.
  9. Fall/winter really? I know your timeline works like that but the last thing I'd want is to live on a boat in an area that gets cold as the seasons change. But I'm not much into cold of any kind
I learned most of this reading a few books, reading every post on every forum & about 5% experience Thankfully I was so informed with all the research that the experiences have all been amazing.

Happy to answer more specific qs, esp about the military marinas, through the e-mail message feature on the board if needed.

Best of luck to you.

Thank you for your service.
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Old 15-06-2008, 20:59   #12
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I barely know anything, but this is what I do know ...
Excellent stuff. Would not have guessed you barely know anything.

I especially want to second the "be present at the survey". That's SO important. On a used boat, I'd get a separate engine survey. More on that below.

On the other hand, both large boats I bought were almost 1000 miles away. I did 950 miles bringing the wood boat back, and over 900 with the second one. What a blast. But I agree, a long trip in an unknown boat has it's risks. The second one, we did the last week and a half adding water to the starboard engine every 2 hours (heat exchanger leak). But we got good at it. Ran hot water from the sink into a 5 gallon bucket and poured it in while up on plane. I scheduled 3 weeks off for the leisurely 2 week trips. Only took two for each. Back to the survey part, I got a separate engine survey. Negotiated a $10k reduction on the basis of it. So pouring water in it didn't bother me as much as it would if it had been a total surprise.

So I wouldn't limit my choices by trying for something close. But that's me.

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Old 25-06-2008, 18:44   #13
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I heartily second everything SweetSailor has to say, esp. in regards to utilizing your MWR marina resources if at all possible.

In addition ---- although this is "the" boat, don't be too wed to that --- once you are really here, you may wander down the dock to find "THE" boat two away. This has happened more times than I can count with friends, etc. Seems boats that are meant for you lead you to them in a variety of ways --- to include, perhaps, the way you are going.

Lastly --- I did an active duty tour in DS1 back in '91 (army), and a then a USAR and then State Dept contract tour for a bit more than a year with OIF and some more time with OEF --- this dream and project will give you lots of smiles and great things to occupy your mind's future eye with over there, adds richness to the day. Something for you and your wife to dream about in the future. These are all good things, and hard to go wrong with.

Lastly --- remember the boat buying process is a process during which, early on, you demonstrate that you are a serious buyer and put time. $$, and effort into it. In the end, you have the ability to walk away if it doesn't suit you. Many sellers, esp. if they have emptied the boat of personal valuables and have developed a rapport with you, will let you overnight ----or, lacking that, spend a whole day on the boat just going through it and trying things out. For us, a good rapport with not just the prior owner, but the owner before that has unlocked many mysteries and given us friends that we share our ongoing adventures with.

Lastly -- ship vs. cruise ---- for a long distance on a new boat, I am becoming more and more a fan of either (a) shipping it or (b) ensuring that you have the time to move it without a schedule, either for departure from its old slip or for your needing to arrive somewhere at a given date. I have been watching many a bad scene happen with new boats and artificial deadlines of schedules that cost a lot of $$ and heartache in the end.

Congrats, go for it, and semper fi. (Dad was a Marine, so hope you'll take that from a grunt!)
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:33   #14
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Hi all, Thank you so much for the responses. They are all noted and appreciated! I talked to the broker about this vessel, he said it absolutely would make a great live aboard for my wife and myself, (I know, it's a selling tactic). He told me the reason for the sale is because the current owner moved up to a newer boat and all and that he needs to sell her (no need for two big boats). I also asked about a nights stay over and even told him money for it wouldn't be a problem, he wasn't like no, but hell no! He said that it was for insurance reasons and all. I'm going to call him in a few months to see if she's still available, if she is then the wife and I are headed to Fl to check her out.

The wife and I been talking back and forth about this, she's all for it, however she is quite concerned about hurricanes and when I get deployed what is she going to do. she's nervous about staying at docks by herself. I told her we would deffinately have a plan on everything. Any suggestions? Also the marina is on base, so at least it's not public so to speak. I just thought I'd give a little update on all of this.

Also, because of fuel prices, we are going to have to haul her otr. I would love to cruise her home, however with a 400 gallon fuel tank and we would have to go all the way around Fl from west coast to up through the east coast, that would be very costly! Well folks I look forward to your responses.

Windsaloft, thank you very much for your support and that goes for everyone else here too. Have a good day all....
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:41   #15
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Insurance reason is a cop out. Find a boat closer to home. Kiss a lot of frogs to find the prince. Don't get emotional.

The wife will become salty and be able to handle herself in the Marina in no time.

Sweetsailor and Windsaloft provided excellent advice.
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