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Old 11-05-2020, 09:29   #1
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Buying and cruising options... advice?

I'm living and working in Honolulu right now. My lease ends in November and I'm looking to move aboard and start cruising after that.
My question is, is it feasible in Hawaii, or should I be looking elsewhere to buy? I'm on a small budget with the "go small go now" mentality. If I stay here, I can keep my job as an a&p and earn plenty of money while I fix up and learn about my boat.. if I leave, I'd be working with a fixed amount of money. Around 15k.

I welcome any and all advice. My long term goal is to be a world cruiser, working as I go, with my dog.
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Old 11-05-2020, 09:55   #2
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Re: Buying and cruising options... advice?

Aloha,
We live aboard in Honolulu at the Ala Wai and I will say that while it is relatively easy to buy a boat here in Hawaii- it is extraordinarily difficult to find a slip- Check first with the various private and public marinas to get an idea of monthly prices (our liveaboard rate for our 55 foot slip is a thousand dollars a month- It's not just the expense - often there are waiting lists that are years long- or a marina does not allow liveaboards if you are on any kind of a budget then Hawaii is not the place to be- It took us 6 years to get a slip here- When the corona virus lock down eases I suggest joining one of the local Yacht Clubs, talking to their experienced members and using their resources- Please don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm discouraging anyone from doing this - it's just that you have to be aware of the realities- There are temporary permits that allow a 4 month stay per year in public harbors but again - it's expensive- and then you have to find some place else to move- Often I will read responses that testify that a person here "lives off the grid" and does it cheap - what that means is that they are an illegal "stay aboard" and circumventing the rules- and they are dumping their waste in the harbor and not paying for restroom / shower use. Eventually they will be caught and have to move - It can be very precarious as a lifestyle if you can't or won't follow rules. This forum has TONS of resources as well - check out the threads about costs of living aboard - you might be surprised. Insurance rates for cruisers or liveaboards are very high - we pay nearly $4000 a year for coverage- As I have said before this life style is NOT cheaper than living in an equivalent studio/ one bedroom apartment here - for sure we had far less expense living in our town house in Kaneohe than living aboard our sailboat. Again - I apologize if I sound discouraging- but you can make a better decision if you know all the facts...Best of luck!
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:07   #3
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Re: Buying and cruising options... advice?

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Originally Posted by Alawaiorion View Post
Aloha,
We live aboard in Honolulu at the Ala Wai and I will say that while it is relatively easy to buy a boat here in Hawaii- it is extraordinarily difficult to find a slip- Check first with the various private and public marinas to get an idea of monthly prices (our liveaboard rate for our 55 foot slip is a thousand dollars a month- It's not just the expense - often there are waiting lists that are years long- or a marina does not allow liveaboards if you are on any kind of a budget then Hawaii is not the place to be- It took us 6 years to get a slip here- When the corona virus lock down eases I suggest joining one of the local Yacht Clubs, talking to their experienced members and using their resources- Please don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm discouraging anyone from doing this - it's just that you have to be aware of the realities- There are temporary permits that allow a 4 month stay per year in public harbors but again - it's expensive- and then you have to find some place else to move- Often I will read responses that testify that a person here "lives off the grid" and does it cheap - what that means is that they are an illegal "stay aboard" and circumventing the rules- and they are dumping their waste in the harbor and not paying for restroom / shower use. Eventually they will be caught and have to move - It can be very precarious as a lifestyle if you can't or won't follow rules. This forum has TONS of resources as well - check out the threads about costs of living aboard - you might be surprised. Insurance rates for cruisers or liveaboards are very high - we pay nearly $4000 a year for coverage- As I have said before this life style is NOT cheaper than living in an equivalent studio/ one bedroom apartment here - for sure we had far less expense living in our town house in Kaneohe than living aboard our sailboat. Again - I apologize if I sound discouraging- but you can make a better decision if you know all the facts...Best of luck!
I appreciate any and all advice! Reality checks are important advice as well as encouragement. The slip is what I am most worried about. The harbor master at Ala wai recently told me that many people were leaving, but the wait list is still years long. It's a bit discouraging. I can travel anywhere for work, but really love Hawaii. I'm open to doing this anywhere though. Maybe Mexico. I hear it's cheaper and easier there. Hah
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Old 12-05-2020, 11:09   #4
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Re: Buying and cruising options... advice?

Haven't followed what slips are costing in Alawai but it's got to be the cheapest place to live in Waikiki discounting the boat cost. Get your name on the wait list for the boat lengths you might be buying. My name came up in a year for a 40'-50' slip. Was very surprised at the short length of time on the list but might have been a fluke in timing. Was also on the list for a 35' slip but that was a 4 year wait before a slip became available. Turned down both slips as my free air travel had dried up and decided to leave the boat in Kona.

As far as the boat market in Hawaii, there have been a number of good deals on boats here but the market is thin. Hawaii is the start and quick end of too many round the world cruises. So lightly used well equipped boats do turn up and the unavailability of slips makes local owner market slim so they languish and sellers get anxious.

As far as under the table slips, you have to get lucky as lease agreements are out there but you have to be ready. I sailed over planning on taking advantage of the 4 month in a year provision on State Marina transient slips and hopefully finding something more permanent in the interim. Just happened to see an ad for a sublease in Honokohau on Craigs List the day after arriving. Had that for a year till the slip lessee found a boat of his dreams. Word got out I would be in need of a slip and I had a couple of people after me to work out a lease agreement for their slip. Ended up bouncing around Honokohau for 5 years in 3 different slips before our name came up for a permanent slip. So there are ways to find a slip though live aboard may greatly increase the difficulty in keeping a slip. I was not a live aboard.

Keehi Lagoon probably has a shorter wait list but it's not the greatest place to be. In the past there has been a lot of drug use and State seems to be dumping homeless in the area which don't do anything for the crime rate. Ko'olina has pricey slips in a resort environment but think they discourage live aboard. There are also slips in Kaneohe Bay but most don't take live aboards.
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Old 12-05-2020, 11:37   #5
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Re: Buying and cruising options... advice?

While "under the table subleasing" or "getting lucky" even in the Ala Wai used to be doable - for the last several years they have been cracking down more and more and it isn't a viable option anymore - All state harbor moorage fees have nearly doubled as of November 2019 in DLNR harbors- I will still say that renting a studio (which is about the same square footage of an average sailboat) is far cheaper than the liveaboard upkeep on a boat here in Hawaii. And yes...there are some who are in the right place and time to get a slip - the norm is several years wait- Koolina has slips but they are far more expensive and they no longer allow liveaboards. As I said getting our slip in the Ala Wai took 6 years and then getting our liveaboard permit took a couple years after that...

We have lived aboard our sailboat for 17 years (6 in Koolina and the rest in the Ala Wai) My husband grew up here and I've lived and worked here for the past 30 years - It's always been a struggle to find moorage and keep a slip- It's even expensive and difficult to haul out and maintain a boat here...It took us years to prepare for this life style - it wasn't impulsively done or because it was a "cheap waterfront" alternative - it was because we love to sail and be around boats and were willing to wait and plan for getting a boat and moving aboard. Please don't read this as being harsh and it's not that I am disagreeing with roverhi - finding a slip can be difficult but done - Koolina allowed a boat to be sold and the slip kept if the new owner qualified...but again...they now no longer allow live aboards and they can control this via their keyed entry - It was also very expensive to park our cars there - we were charged $100/month per vehicle and that was back in 2008....ah parking...that's a whole other issue - Parking in the Ala Wai is not free and is controlled by Diamond parking...my suggestion? Start learning Spanish...
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