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Old 19-06-2008, 18:54   #1
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The Liveaboard Setup

After years living aboard, I'm running into a little issue:

I need to be in my current location for some work. This is land work which requires a commute 3 days a week (my wife is doing this). I am chartering or possibly doing something else... still narrowing that down.

So we are out at anchor since docks are out of our price range in the summer up here (plus you are lucky to even find one due to demand).

I am having some trouble finding the rhythm. We are having trouble keeping the car at a place we can land the dinghy. Where we are keeping it now, we can't land the dinghy. We can't park at the public dock, where we can land the dinghy.

Some towns are set up well. This town and anchorage isn't.

So you liveboards out there:

How are you set up? Car? Work? Dinghy dock? Docked?

Does anyone have any stories of how they are set up they can share?

What do you do for work? Is it boat-centric or land based?

Looking forward to hearing if there are better ways out there... we don't want to pay for things other than principal on the boat. That's more than enough!

PS: What prompted this is my wife getting busted (lol) for taking a shower at a marina this evening and me getting busted picking her up.
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Old 19-06-2008, 19:09   #2
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G'day, Join a yacht club ?

Regards Bill Goodward
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Old 19-06-2008, 19:25   #3
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Sean, Best I can offer is to find a place nearby to where you land the dinghy and see if you can make arrangements to park your vehicle in a public lot somewhere. If a slip won't work how about a mooring. They are cheaper and usually have dinghy and shower facilities. as for showers etc. there is alway the local YMCA if nearby but why not shower on the boat and find someplace to fill water jugs each day to replenish the tank. We just always find dockage somewhere that won't break the bank.
A private dock, or a job at a marina that will provide dockage. Just a few suggestions. BTW, where did you purchase the boat? WE had a friend in Ruskin with a Catalac that sold it.
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Old 19-06-2008, 19:27   #4
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Sean, the problem is you have too much tide. Geography is the problem. Rocky coast lines with large tides are just too much to overcome. Of course there is no place to dock the dinghy close to the car!
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Old 19-06-2008, 19:40   #5
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My wife and I live aboard in a marina on the central east coast of FL. It's not cheap, but it is fairly nice. My wife's commute is 6 miles and mine is about 22. There is a rustic commercial boat yard/bait shop down the way that would probably let someone park a car, but I doubt they have shower facilities. Maybe you could find something like that. My marina has some seasonal help working a second shift running the fuel dock. It's an older couple and I believe they might live aboard. I'd angle towards making a deal with a marina or boat yard to get free or reduced dockage in exchange for your services in one way or another. Maybe you could at least negotiate parking and dinghy docking for some minor services.
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Old 19-06-2008, 19:54   #6
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Some times you just have to bite the bullet and spend the money... I know it hurts because you think that for every month we have to pay in a marina, we're losing funds for a month out cruising, and your right.
But there has to be a trade off, of what you gain to what you spend.
We've been out for about 5 years now, and have faced all sorts of problems..
and what we've found to be the easiest, is to research the marinas and find one that is close to what we need, and still be within what we feel is justafiable for expence.
You may find that in a marina, you come closer to options you wouldnt have otherwise.. We've started doing repairs on canvus, and recently brite work that at anchor would not be avalable..
And the addition to the normal funds, is more than paying our Marina fees.
We also let the marinas know that we are cruisers and wont be staying more than 3 to 4 months.. this benifits us as we can negotiate the price for the time stayed in full in advance.. In the marina we're at right now, I saved a couple hundred by paying up front for the 4 months.
We also belong to a Yacht Club so between the marina stays, we'll hang out at some yacht club somewhere for a couple weeks..
And you never know whats going to happen..
Last year we pulled into a marina and they had no empty slips, but after talking to the Yacht dealer next to the marina, we not only got a slip but paid for it by washing down a few boats each week.. Took the wife and I about 6 hours to wash down the all the boats each week...not a bad deal...
At another marina, the wife worked part time in the store to cover the fees..
We still have a fair amount in our savings but if we dont have to spend it, all the better........
If your intent is to stay anchored out.. joining a Yacht Club in the area can benifit and give you some place to keep the ding.
Another Idea that we've done is to join a gym in the area...You can keep the car there and use the showers...
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Old 20-06-2008, 06:21   #7
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My story is a little dated, but 13 years ago I found myself in Key West on my boat alone, my partner had decided to bail out and head home. I was trying to find work and needed to land the dinghy regularly, which can be a real issue in KW. We had invested in a good dinghy, which along with the outboard were probably worth more than the 26' sailboat I was on. Almost everyday I met someone with a stolen dinghy story, one afternoon I pulled up to the little public dock I was using and met a guy holding a piece of severed 3/8" chain in his hand and a sad vacant look in his eye. Somebody cut the chain and snatched the dink on him between going to work in the morning and coming back to check on it at lunch.

I was desperate not to lose the dinghy, I wouldn't have been able to replace it. I was asking everyone I met where I could tie it up safely while going to town and looking for work. Finally, I met a woman on a houseboat who started letting me tie up next to it. It turned out to be a good, safe place for the dinghy, and the woman is still with me today.

I guess the moral of the story is keep being friendly and asking around the town. It's not usually a great feeling having to ask for help, but when you do people will normally respond.
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Old 20-06-2008, 06:35   #8
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Back when,,
Go to the flotilla by rat key and start shouting that "THATS MY DINGHY YOU #^$@#@&s IM CALLING TH COPS!!" by the time you had the cell phone out they were profusly aplogizing and saying "we Found it" you could then take your pick of several recently Found Dinghys! Once ( closer to twenty not 13) we made a beutifull dink out of paper 'mache, sure enough, one day unlocked was all it took, i can only imagine the look on that dirtbags face when halfway to christmas tree it turned back to soggy news paper

Back to the topic.
I got a job with a barge setting pileings after a few months of it i knew every dock in Key West. never had a problem with place for dink since.
I never ever keep mine at pblic dock thats the first place they look!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishspearit View Post
My story is a little dated, but 13 years ago I found myself in Key West on my boat alone, my partner had decided to bail out and head home. I was trying to find work and needed to land the dinghy regularly, which can be a real issue in KW. We had invested in a good dinghy, which along with the outboard were probably worth more than the 26' sailboat I was on. Almost everyday I met someone with a stolen dinghy story, one afternoon I pulled up to the little public dock I was using and met a guy holding a piece of severed 3/8" chain in his hand and a sad vacant look in his eye. Somebody cut the chain and snatched the dink on him between going to work in the morning and coming back to check on it at lunch.

I was desperate not to lose the dinghy, I wouldn't have been able to replace it. I was asking everyone I met where I could tie it up safely while going to town and looking for work. Finally, I met a woman on a houseboat who started letting me tie up next to it. It turned out to be a good, safe place for the dinghy, and the woman is still with me today.

I guess the moral of the story is keep being friendly and asking around the town. It's not usually a great feeling having to ask for help, but when you do people will normally respond.
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Old 20-06-2008, 08:41   #9
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Originally Posted by keyspc View Post
Once ( closer to twenty not 13) we made a beutifull dink out of paper 'mache, sure enough, one day unlocked was all it took, i can only imagine the look on that dirtbags face when halfway to christmas tree it turned back to soggy news paper
Great one!!
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Old 20-06-2008, 08:51   #10
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Sean,

Possibly, your wife could try to find someone to carpool with. Pick her up for a share of gas money? Might be more welcome these days than in the past. Otherwise, try making friends among the more friendly waterfront property owners. You never know which one might be willing to let you park on their property, maybe even get showers out of it.
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Old 21-06-2008, 05:20   #11
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My wife and I live aboard in a marina on the central east coast of FL. It's not cheap, but it is fairly nice. My wife's commute is 6 miles and mine is about 22. There is a rustic commercial boat yard/bait shop down the way that would probably let someone park a car, but I doubt they have shower facilities. Maybe .
Where's the commercial yard in Merritt Island? I live there and keep my boat in a Melbourne Marina.
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Old 21-06-2008, 06:49   #12
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Sean, you might find some overlooked nook or cranny exploring with your dinghy; perhaps up a creek if there are any. It could be possible to set up a mooring for the dinghy a few feet from shore and rig a retrieval system.
Otherwise, try approaching a boatyard for a place to tie the dinghy if the marina is too pricy. I had a boatyard who helped me once and I tied the dinghy there for more than a year.
I once lived almost a year in a marina and hated it; but bit the bullet in order to do just what you are trying to do. I got a cheap rate by taking a slip with no power.
Go to the local pub and tell your tale; you might find a sympathetic ear.
If there are fishermen, they might help you.
Sometimes, a boat in a slip, lobster boat or a floating bar/restaurant will let you tie the dinghy to them.
An ad in craigslist is worth a shot.
As to showering; get one of those black bags you hang in the sun.
This is a familiar problem, I wish you luck and my best advice is get the hell out of America, anchoring out has become a logistical nightmare.
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Old 21-06-2008, 06:56   #13
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Thank you, everyone.

Your ideas have helped me to think through the problem anew and from some new angles. For now, I'll try to work something out with a marina for dingy dockage. We have a great anchorage, so we will probably stay put here this summer.

Little Boat: A special thanks... good ideas. I only wish we had sun to warm a shower bag! ha ha ha. Haven't seen the sun yet this week. It's been nothing but fog and 65 degrees at the absolutely peak of mid-day heat. ha ha

If we weren't making good money up here, I'd be gone in a heartbeat. I really like the idea of a dinghy mooring (temporary) with retrieval line. I hadn't been thinking like that.

I am looking at moving the installation of our wood stove up a bit, so we can use it to heat bathing water and generally get rid of the cold damp.

Thanks again for all the ideas. Very good ones!
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Old 21-06-2008, 06:57   #14
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Where's the commercial yard in Merritt Island? I live there and keep my boat in a Melbourne Marina.
Maybe calling it a commercial yard is stretching it, but they do commercial and private work (or at least allow it to be done). It's the yard at the east end of the barge canal. There are no docks and no basin, but it's a yard that is full of boats. I frequently go by there kayaking or cruising and they always seem to have something going on. They just recently finished what appeared to be a major overhaul on a modular floating work/dock system that looks like it's used for bridge construction. There are a few private boats drug up on shore going through refit including one really neat catamaran. The front end of the yard by the road is trailer boat storage and a bait shop.
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Old 21-06-2008, 07:17   #15
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Sean, a retrieval line can go to a little anchor in the shallows, (you can get good use of those rubber clam boots!) or to a tree with a chained padlock if you're worried about thieves. Scallop the stern anchor rode with heavy bungee, (sew or whip U's of bungee to the line) and you can stretch the painter into the shallows. You can do the same next to the town dock and not tie to it; but the harbourmaster might give you some crap.
Again, good luck as it aint easy; landlubbers will treat you like a bum and its demoralizing.
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