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Chuck Colquhoun 07-07-2015 16:31

Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
I am looking to gain insight into whether living aboard is an option in the greater Vancouver area, any information I've seen in forums seems either very dated or very negative, often both. Can anyone currently living aboard provide any information that may help us determine if it is still possible to find reasonably priced, live aboard year round opportunities in the area, or do you have to apply now so that your grandchildren can consider it??

robert sailor 07-07-2015 16:40

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
Vancouvers climate is not the greatest for liveaboards. You might check Shelter Island marina as there is a large liveaboards community there. You might check Mosquito Creek as there used to be some there as well. There are a couple more but the waiting list is forever. Good luck!

cwyckham 07-07-2015 17:17

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area

Originally Posted by robert sailor (Post 1864516)
Vancouvers climate is not the greatest for liveaboards. You might check Shelter Island marina as there is a large liveaboards community there. You might check Mosquito Creek as there used to be some there as well. There are a couple more but the waiting list is forever. Good luck!

I believe Mosquito Creek has current availability.

It also depends how far out you're willing to go. I think that there are places in Ladner, for example.

FamilyVan 08-07-2015 05:23

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
I did this same search about 8 months ago due to a work transfer, that ultimately put me in Ottawa instead of Vancouver.

I found the options were very limited and the climate ugly for live aboard. I think it's actually easier to find year round live aboard spots in Toronto than Vancouver, which is kind of crazy considering the ice conditions in Toronto.

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Adrian NAMT 08-07-2015 10:19

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
For a power boat 'Grant's Landing'. BUT a very long way up river near Golden Ears Bridge if you have a sailboat you cruise frequently.

TrentePieds 08-07-2015 14:14

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
Vancouver is far from a live-aboard-friendly city. It's simply a case of supply and demand, this splendid metropolis being consistently rated one of the three best places in the world to live. With daily living expenses to match! I've been resident in and around Vancouver for nigh on 60 years, ever since Vancouver was a mere village in the rainforest, and I've seen the situation go from a case where you could find dockside moorage as easy as falling off a log, and the cost was negligible. Nobody was bothered if you put down your hook.

The came the late 70s/early 80s, when everyman and his dog had to be a sailor and own a yacht. There are tens of thousands of boats hogging moorage in and around Vancouver, though a huge number of them don't leave the dock from one year to the next. End of easy moorage!

Marina space now costs an arm and a leg, say C$15/foot/month on annual contract, "no live-aboard". If you put your hook down anywhere within the metropolitan area, you will be considered a "pirate boat" and you might be impounded with all that that means. Authorities are mighty touchy just now cos someone tried to run a methamphetamine lab aboard a forty-footer right bang, smack in False Creek in the very heart of Vancouver. Luvverly little boat fire too :-)!

Getting about Vancouver and the environs is damn near an impossibility if you don't have a car, given that Vancouver is situated on an island and given the distances. For comparison, Derry to Belfast is 60 miles (or 100 Klicks) IIRC. I live in a suburb of Vancouver - a distant one admittedly - and TrentePieds lies in another suburb, MUCH closer in and as hoity-toity as they come. I have 150 Klicks to go to get to her. The reason for that arrangement is that she is right on the very shores of the best sailing water around. If I kept her "in the River" (the Fraser), say at Shelter Island, I'd still have to drive an hour and a half to get to her. Then I'd have to go down river a dozen miles at 8 knts over the ground (5 knts hull speed plus, say, 3 knots of fair current). Not so bad. Only ANOTHER 1 1/2 hours. But going back up! Say 2 knts over the ground for a dozen miles. Forget it!

Westham Island is substantially better. In fact so much better that as a "newcomer" you wouldn't get a look-in!

However, don't give up! The "Salish Sea" (fancy "politically correct" modern name for the Straits of Georgia and adjacent waters) is WONDERFUL cruising water. And there are lotsa ways to skin the cat if you know your way about locally. If you are comfortable financially, it’s no trick at all. If you have to work for a living in some ”modern” pursuit, then you need to be within commuting distance of Vancouver or - at a stretch - Victoria, and you’ll need to have a car. Be aware that a return trip by ferry from ”the Lower Mainland” (Vancouver) to ”the Island” (Victoria) costs a good hundred dollars.


TrinitySeas 08-07-2015 16:23

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
The way to get quickly into the very best spot, a coop marina in the heart of the city (a short distance east of Granville Island) is to purchase a boat that is berthed in Spruce Harbour Marina. If you buy the boat, you get first opportunity to purchase a share in the coop for $50K CDN. When you sell the boat or depart for "good" (dunno duration of time away) you surrnde your share and get your $50K back. You can email them and see if any boats are currently for sale. Or check Craig's List Vancouver. I remember the good old days, when we lived aboard near Granville Island for cheap.... sigh...

mitiempo 08-07-2015 17:06

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area

Originally Posted by TrentePieds (Post 1865166)
.......given that Vancouver is situated on an island.....

Only if you call North America an island.:biggrin:

Move to Victoria - very liveaboard friendly.

TrentePieds 08-07-2015 17:45

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
Here's a link: Liveaboard in the Heart of Vancouver | Public

No slips available at this time sez Spruce Coop. Things have tightened up very considerably in the last few years. Waiting list for Burrard Civic Marina (NO live-aboards) is said to be seven years!

Chuck Colquhoun: The boat that held the meth-lab was on the hook (illegally) just off Spruce Street Co-op :-)

You could buy a float house at, say, Canoe Pass at Ladner, if any are for sale :-). GoogleEarth will give you a quick geography lesson. The water-lot for the house is four or five hundred grand. The float house itself is another three or so, but you DO get enough area on the water lot that you can moor a 30-footer right on yer very stoop! Step right from your back porch into you cockpit.

Remember that on the shores of False Creek (where Spruce Coop is located) shoreside condominiums of about 850SqFt in newish high-rises buildings sell, often, for 3/4 of a million bux. Most other prices in Vancouver, including moorage, are in proportion. But - Oh, she is a lovely city :-)!

Boats, however, is no trick as I suggested in my previous post. A "yachtie" who's paid five or ten grand a year for moorage for a boat he may have used twice is, in a certain measure, motivated to sell.

So try the age-old approach. You say "I'll give you thirty grand (or whatever)", and as you say it, you begin - slowly - to peel off hundred dollar bills. While you are peeling, you say: "Moorage comes with 'er, no?" When the answer is "sorry", you scoop up yer hundred dollar bills and, without a word, walk away. That tends to beget "temporary" moorage. I know one man who's been temporary for 32 years!

A perfectly adequate cruiser for the Straits of Georgia, Johnston straits, the Broughton Islands and as far as the Queen Charlotte Islands (now "Haida Gwai" to be politically correct) will list for $2 per pound displacement and sell for about $1.40 a lb. Cheaper than beef by far! Vancouver Island is one enormous breakwater, so cruising "inside" is pretty benign stuff. Going "outside" is a different matter. Not for nothing is Hecate Strait called after a RN ship that was named for the goddess of Greek legend who might, according as the whim took her, bestow good fortune on sailormen, or, with equal facility, destroy them!


TrentePieds 08-07-2015 17:54

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
[QUOTE=mitiempo;1865258]Only if you call North America an island.:biggrin:

Yeah, I shoulda said "effectively and island". You try'n get into or outta Vancouver without crossing a bridge or going through a tunnel :-)! The one isthmus there is, if you want to call it that, has no roads leading anywhere.


beatlebug 09-07-2015 00:50

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
Honestly, and speaking from experience, I know the rules say otherwise, and sure some marinas are more strict than others, but if you keep a low profile, people like you, and you don't "rock the boat" (haha) than you can pretty much stay anywhere. Most marinas I've seen have at least one or 2 people doing this. The first few days at my marina it was surprising to see a bunch of people get up at around 7 and go to work (at a nonliveaboard marina). It's a good thing really, I like knowing someone is there that I trust. Check out marinas outside of downtown: Deep Cove is beautiful (they seemed a bit more strict though), Reed Point is big and would be easy to slip through the cracks, and Milltown is newer and I think they have a bar too.

If you do this, then I would also recommend using the days you are allowed to anchor in False Creek. This gets you out of your own marina for a bit anyway. And you're on a boat, so use it!

As for the marinas:
Shelter Island is pretty good, community is nice, but there are a couple drawbacks: getting in and out of the river can be a hassle and I know on my sailboat it would be like a 4 hour cruise up the river. Also, the seas coming into the river are about as rough as they get in the south west coast. Another thing here is the upkeep of your boat: you will be constantly washing her as there is some sort of mill or factory nearby (was it for cement?) and I was warned of the dirt/residue that builds up from that. It is also not a very protected marina and the currents can be rough in the south arm of the river especially in the spring.
I have seen the ones in Delta and Ladner, they seem less like live aboard marinas than they are just needing more people.
Mosquito Creek no longer allows liveaboards, but the area is a bit dirty and loud with bridge traffic and trains.

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beatlebug 09-07-2015 00:56

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
Also, the wait list for the coop is 12 years, 50$ a year to stay on it. Even if you found a boat to buy there, the idea of paying the 30000$ or whatever upfront and on top of the boats price seems kinda unrealistic (at least to me).

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beatlebug 09-07-2015 00:57

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
Oh! The Burrard Civic marina seems cool too. Never been, but the wait list is only a year (ish)

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Chuck Colquhoun 09-07-2015 08:14

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
Thanks to Trentpieds and others offering info and suggestions. My wife and I dont currently own a cruiser, but have been looking at a Dutch Sturdy AC, still have to look at piggybackin it via Maresk which will probably scupper the idea. We dont have the astronomical funds that a nice float house with 30' of high speed gin palace attached would cost, not our style anyway. Down to earth working people, for a few more years unless a lottery win comes up, who are considering selling up and re inventing ourselves in the PNW. Victoria may be a good shout, as Vancouver isn't a priority if it presents more problems than it solves. Thanks again for everyones comments, much appreciated.

TrentePieds 09-07-2015 09:30

Re: Living aboard in greater Vancouver area
@ Chuck Colquehoun:

"PNW" is an American appellation for land that is bounded to the northward by 49N latitude — with a dogleg here and there. The term doesn't really mean much north of 49 N.

British Columbia consists essentially of four "economic regions", three of which are geographically small, and the remaining one immense: 1) Metropolitan Vancouver including "The Lower Mainland" meaning the Fraser Valley; 2) Victoria as far north as Sidney and west as far as Metchosin; 3) The Gulf Islands, 4) everything else, known to us on TLM as "The Interior", tho "The Island" north of Victoria fits economically in this rubric also.

Each region offers completely different employment opportunities with not a lot of portability of given skill-sets between regions. 1) Victoria: Civil Service and tourism. 2) Gulf Islands: Superannuated hippie pursuits, i.e. artsy-fartsy, and tourism. 3) The Interior: Primary (extractive) industries. 4a) Vancouver: Anything you can think of, and, despite the "recession", plenty of it. 4b) Construction and, decreasingly, as "the Valley" get paved over and turned to "town house developments", farming — specifically dairy farming, chicken farming and berry farming. No hope of establishing yourself in any of those since they all require "quota"s.

So you need to consider WHERE your existing skills will fit geographically in order to settle on a potential location. You also need to consider that as a "foreigner", even though a subject of Her Britannic Majesty, you will need a Work Permit in order to find employment. The Federal Governments "Foreign Worker Programme" has been tightened so you are not likely to qualify. Immigration visas are difficult to obtain unless you "buy" one. Last price I was aware of was that you have to have Can$400K as liquid working capital to establish yourself as an entrepreneur. Student Visas are easy to get but tough to renew.

If you can find a job via long distance communication, and your prospective employer will swear that, tried though he has, he can find no Canadian that fits his requirements you MIGHT be granted a permit under the FWP.

Lemme give you a warning: A french national, lovely young woman who'd been teaching French in a "French Immersion Programme" in this 'ere officially bilingual country for something like four years, had her class-room time reduced to 27.5 hours a week due to the school's financial constraints. Nobdy mentioned the essential prep-time. The minimum requirement for continued residence under the FWP is 28 hours. She was ordered out of the country, and has to leave by tomorrow. Obviously there is a hue and cry about it, but them's the rules.

Best you do some serious homework if you want to make a permanent home, afloat or ashore, in this 'ere colony!

The "work-around" is that you come for a visit - say six months - and do the necessary tilling of the soil during that time.


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