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Old 10-07-2014, 17:07   #1
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Winter Liveaboard Pacific NW

After a 5 year hiatus, I'm thinking of buying another boat. I've lived on sailboats, mainly in the summer, and thought I had it out of my system. No such luck. Now that I'm about to retire, I'm ready for the plunge again; this time with a powerboat, about 40'. There are two things that hold me back: 1, maintenance costs and 2, winter. Owning a boat has never made much sense to me unless I live on it year round. I'd like to sell my house and buy a boat comfortable enough to enjoy year round; that I would enjoy on those colder, gray, rainy days.

So, I'm asking for recommendations on marinas for the 5 to 7 months I might not be cruising Washington and British Columbia. Lund is probably the cheapest and a lovely place, but naturally being closer to a metropolitan area has its advantages. Places like Brentwood Bay, Eagle Harbor, and Pleasant Harbor are appealing because of the shore amenities. Your thoughts and experiences would be appreciated.

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Old 16-07-2014, 04:21   #2
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Pacific NW

It has been a while, (2004/2005) but we spent 2 winters in Sidney on Vancouver Island. Good protected marina right in town. 2006 in Pender Harbour (Sunshine Coast north of Vancouver). As Canadians, all three winters were agreeable to us, ready to jump to wonderful summer cruising. After living aboard full time 11 years, last 5 in Med, we always look for a marina within easy walk to town for daily groceries, cafes etc. At Pender Harbour we weren't right in town but had a car which we sold right after that and haven't owned one since. It was always a hassel finding a spot to store it during cruising season, and then renting car to go pick it up as we moved about. We do all our own mtce. The one thing we regret, paying for a Uhaul storage unit for 11 years and haven't seen it since 2007 so think hard about this! We don't see an end in the near future for us, full time cruising has allowed us to see so much of the world in the comfort of our home.

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Old 21-07-2014, 17:55   #3
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Pacific NW

You may want to check out the Bowen Island Marina.... USSC

Usually there's a wait list, but when I was there last month they had slips available.

Good luck!
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Old 21-07-2014, 19:47   #4
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Pacific NW

I kept my last boat in Stones marina in Nanaimo. A little more expensive but a lot of amenities and right next to the ferry terminal to Vancouver, also float planes every couple of hours to downtown Vancouver or YVR. Kept it in Blaine Wa. too, cheap, but not much there. I looked at a boat in Tacoma before I bought my new (to me) one and thought, I could stay here.
Mild wet winters in that whole area, great boating as well.

Best of luck,
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Old 21-07-2014, 22:16   #5
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Pacific NW

A $40 portable oil filled radiator in the master cabin got us through a Tacoma winter very nicely.
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Old 30-08-2014, 21:19   #6
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Pacific NW

We are going on year 3 of living aboard in Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island, WA. The marina is starting a new rebuild as of this week! So by the spring there will be all new docks. Everything is in walking distance here, which is great! Things that I would say are important to be aware of as a live aboard here
- dehumidifier running all the time
- some source of heat. We have had a Dickinson Newport (diesel) that worked really well and actually helped with the humidity, but it baked us out too. Was overkill. Since we live aboard and can monitor it, we have one of those oil filled space heaters.
- The marina has lost power twice in the last 3 years. It was out for a couple of hours.
- It can get down to freezing, so dock water gets turned off. This can be annoying if you forget to fill your tank before the next freeze.

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Old 31-08-2014, 17:53   #7
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Pacific NW

Living onboard during the Pacific Northwest winter we found condensation to be an issue. We had installed Webasto ducted heating before we left Australia. Of course our boat was insulated above the waterline for tropical conditions. We soon found we had to insulate below the water line to stop all the storage cupboards from running with condensation. To make your life more comfortable invest in a good de-humidifier. We will certainly before we venture back from Aus to BC, our plan for 2 - 3 years hence.

We cruised south in winter as well as staying in Port Townsend which was delightful. Bremerton was closed for refurbishment and we enjoyed Tacoma, Friday Harbour was great for ferry rides to Seattle. We left cruising northwards for Spring - too many marinas and anchorages to mention but all were friendly.

Good luck with your new adventure.

Sue with Pacific North West

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