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Old 04-10-2015, 00:31   #1
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Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

We bought a boat, we thought it was a gr8 idea and deal, but am finding it difficult to relocate to a liveaboard location in the south, on the river preferred. We bought a hatteras 38dcmy, for $3000, and its sitting on lake erie in Ohio. We really want to make the loop, but are a little intimidated by the big water, and have toyed with shipping it by land to ANY warmer destination, and later when weve developed sea legs better, we can make the complete loop. Im looking for ANY help on locating to a decent affordable marina that allows year round liveaboard, so I dont have to winterize and wrap. I know about removing the flybridge, and am hating the idea of tearing apart a good boat, but it appears to be cheaper than paying a captain and gas to motor it south. I have looked into places along the tentom river, and arent finding much for options, and am not sure where else ppl with limited resources can go for the winter. We dont really know much about rising and lowering water levels, and would like to use the boat mainly as a boataminium during the winter, but not have to worry about dock lines when were back north for the summer. We are Yoopers living in the U.P. of Michigan, and love the idea of becoming Yooper Loopers, because were a little sick of snow and freezing temps well below zero. ANY help here would be greatly appreciated, thnx, Rob
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:35   #2
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

I would be more worried about what is wrong that a 38' Hatteras sold for $3000.

You are probably looking at upwards of $8-10k to ship the boat south (plus whatever it costs to remove and reinstall the flybridge). This could easily run $20k before you are done.

If the boat isn't in seaworthy condition, expect extras from a delivery crew as you pay them to get repairs done while the boat doesn't make it's way south.

Assuming the boat is in seaworthy condition, your best bet is to take it yourself. If you are afraid to move it now, what will change in the future? Pick good weather windows and go. If you can get under 15' bridges, run for the erie canal and then its inland or ICW runs except for a few days.

My recommendation if you are trying to do it this year, is get the boat hauled and winterized and find a cheap apartment down south then sort things out in the spring.

No one ever said boating was a cheap hobby. To think otherwise is a mistake.
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:57   #3
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Agreed completely , and something to aware of is the Lake Erie boats are starting to come out of the water now, so you can't think on this for very long . Most marinas close by the end of Oct , so not much time . The canal could close whenever , based on weather , etc -
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Old 04-10-2015, 05:11   #4
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Rob.
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:53   #5
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Hi Rob,
It sounds like you do not have much experience with this boat and boating in general. Best bet would be to put the boat on the hard for the winter where you are, and take some Power Squadron courses in boat handling and learn as much as you can over the winter. Then next summer, use the boat as much as you can and become familiar with it, and boating in general. Make the trip at the end of next summer when you have more experience with the boat, and boating. I don't mean to be disrespectful, but none of us "old guys" want to have an inexperienced boater tooling around in a 38' yacht; we've seen it before, and sometimes it can get ugly. You could lose the boat, or even kill yourself or someone else...
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:15   #6
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Hello and welcome aboard CF. You have asked quite a few questions, perhaps without realizing how many! Valhalla and Rick And Sue have pointed out your extremely limited window for using the Erie Canal, so if you are actually going to make the move via water, you need to act quickly.


TKD also has some good advice. As all have alluded to, there are a number of items you need to prepare before you even leave port.
Is the boat ready for a long trip?
When was the oil changed?
What shape are the engines and transmissions in?
When were the filters and impellers last changed?
Are the fuel tanks clean or is there a lot of "stuff" in them that could come loose during a long cruise?
Do you have good insurance and will it cover you outside of the area you bought the boat in?
Do you have towing (BoatUS, SeaTow, etc.)?
Do you have the paper charts for the trip?
Do you have any electronics and know how to use them?
Can you handle docking under diverse conditions?
Do you know what your fuel burn is and how many gallons you are likely to need to get to your destination?
Are you comfortable anchoring and if not, can you afford to stop at marinas every night or every few nights?


The list goes on and on. I'm sure that many others can add to the list to cover safety gear, foul weather gear, anchoring, docking at floating docks versus static docks, passage making, etc.


This is not meant to discourage you. On the contrary, we want you to succeed. This however is not like climbing into your car and driving to destinations unknown. Failure to be prepared could cause you to damage your boat, lose your boat, lose your lives, or worse, damage my boat! Getting to your destination is a major undertaking, not to be taken lightly.


Once you get to your location, there are other items to consider. Even in the south, you will want a way to heat your boat. Many use electric heaters or plan on using them. If this is the plan, do you have shore power? If you plan on using diesel, propane, coal, etc., do you have a properly installed heater with a CO alarm? Once you get there, will you need transportation? You mentioned limited means. Will you need to find employment when you arrive? The list is pretty extensive.


All of the issues we have discussed are not insurmountable. They just need a little forethought.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:29   #7
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

I live aboard a 32 foot sailboat off the ICW in South Carolina at a small marina with T docks. It does drop below freezing sometimes in February, but no sub zero weather. Free amenities are electricity and pump out, no wifi or cable. There's probably around 50 slips total with less than 15 slips occupied, I am the only live aboard at the marina. Guarded gate to get in, very secure, very safe and super quiet. I pay 125 bucks a month. Small problem with 'gators at night, but no big deal for an old man raised in the South, LOL.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:31   #8
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Why ship it? You are on Lake Erie, run it over to Oswego and come down the canal into the Hudson and head south? Only open water is the stretch from New York Harbor to Cape May. Then you are inside all the way. Big question is how reliable is a $3,000 boat? Might be better to store it till spring and get to know it over the next spring and summer then head south.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:40   #9
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

$3K for a 38' boat? Either you or the previous owner got away with a steal. Store the boat and sort it out. Then figure out where you want to go. One more Yooper winter won't make that much difference eh? (Spent several there before finishing at NMU).
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:42   #10
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Look for a warm place, inexpensive facilities (you want water, power, showers and toilets a s a minimum but the Internet is nice to have too). And a big discount/supermarche within walking or biking distance is a great help too.

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Old 04-10-2015, 09:51   #11
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Its too late in the season to start planning/preparing for a trip south this year. Sorry, that door has closed. So you've got all winter to think about that.

For the short term, easiest is to find a reasonable priced marina to haul and store for the winter. One other possibility...Nuclear Power Plants. Yes, nukes produce excess hot water which is fed back into the lake. In some cases, it keeps a nearby marina ice free for the winter. There are a couple nukes on lake erie. You might want to check if they have an associated ice free marina.

I'll agree with the other posters above. Its a boat. Spend the effort and money getting it seaworthy, then take the erie canal to the hudson, then down the hudson to NYC. Wait for your weather window, then sprint offshore to the ICW. Its smooth sailing south from there. Not only will it cost you less, but you will have the trip of a lifetime. A boat is not something you own and keep at a dock. A boat is a tool that allows you to have incredible adventures, and an incredible life.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:19   #12
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

There are too many unknowns here for someone to give you very accurate advice.

If you paid $3000 for a Hatteras 38 and you are not a salvage expert/marine surveyor/experienced boat restorer, it is likely you got what you paid for. Was there a survey saying the boat is worth substantially more than you paid, enough to justify all of the expense you are about to incur by storing it over the winter or transporting it?

Quit digging the hole deeper. Someone might want to use it for a floating condo close to where it is located, such as in a slip behind a home/condo they own etc- sell it to them and start over.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:19   #13
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Pay $189.00 to BOAT US for Gold Unlimited Towing. If the boat is running, have a mechanic go over it and head south. Chances are you won't die, but, you'll have a hell of an adventure and can write a book about it. Try to make it to the guys' marina in South Carolina for the winter. If you break down, BOAT US will tow you to the next marina or repair place. DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!! For 3K, what have you got to lose? You can always abandon it and slink home. I'm betting you make it.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:20   #14
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Quote:
Originally Posted by jreiter190 View Post
Pay $189.00 to BOAT US for Gold Unlimited Towing. If the boat is running, have a mechanic go over it and head south. Chances are you won't die, but, you'll have a hell of an adventure and can write a book about it. Try to make it to the guys' marina in South Carolina for the winter. If you break down, BOAT US will tow you to the next marina or repair place. DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!! For 3K, what have you got to lose? You can always abandon it and slink home. I'm betting you make it.
This reminds me of a crazy story at my marina. The first sentence sounds like the beginning of a Monty Python skit. A Chinese guy and his Czech wife came to New Jersey to buy a concrete sailboat with the intention of sailing across the Atlantic to Sardinia. He had no boating skills or experience and had to hire someone to dock the boat, although he was able to buy it and leave the marina it was at. His wife was understandably not enthused about the trip, and proceeded to drink constantly and heavily. Eventually she fell off the dock and washed up in Brooklyn four days later. The husband eventually did leave a couple of weeks later and his plan was to "sail east." He did, and actually made it to Sardinia despite not planning for currents, winds, etc. He simply headed east and eventually made it.

If he can do it, there's a good likelihood that you can make it down the coast. Be advised however that you cannot count on being lucky. If you do undertake the trip, are you in a position that you can afford repairs and delays? Do you have a place to go if the boat is lost? Can you afford to lose the boat, and what's in it, and start over?

If you are able to do this, he is right in that it is a great trip and a great adventure.
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Old 04-10-2015, 11:46   #15
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Re: Winter liveaboard options for the average guy

Sometimes a guy cannot get a straight answer. First go to: newsatwaterwayguide.com. sign on to get their weekly newsletter. It has an inter-active page that allows you to marina search anywhere in the US and more. Prices too. Or www.marinas.com. same thing. You can find marinas by the dozens. I recommend the TenTom because that puts you in the gulf and that generally means cheaper marina fees.
You did get some good advice about having a mechanic check out your boat-it is a long trip. You may want to put it on the hard and wait until next year. Your mechanic will tell you all about that. And, you have a lot of reading to do to ''bone-up'' on boat operations. A safe boating course is recommended.
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