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Old 31-03-2018, 13:44   #1
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Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

Hi Everyone,

I apologize in advance for another one of those "How much does it cost to live aboard a sailboat" questions. I do understand the answer in most cases is, "it depends". So I'll try to be as specific as possible. I'm a computer engineer by trade, so I tend to over analyze most things. At this stage I'm just doing an initial cost analysis to see if this is within the realm of possibility based on my budget.

I'm in my mid 50's and have dreamed about living on a sailboat since childhood. I've lived frugally and eliminated all dept including housing. I live in the San Fransisco bay area. It would be great to hear from anyone that lives on a boat in the bay area. From what I can tell so far the best chance of finding a slip is to look at the marinas that are deep in the bay towards the delta, or outside the bay like Moss Landings. Even then there could be a significant waiting list.

Everything I've read says that no matter how much you budget, it will cost more. So I've tried to be as realistic as possible. Below is what I'm considering for a budget.

For the boat, I'm interested something in the 38' - 40' range. I'm looking to spend about $80-$90K for a Sloop Style sailboat. I plan to pay cash. I'm also planning to have a $40K cash account for costs outside my budget.

Following is what I'm considering for monthly costs.

Code:
             Per Month     Per Year
Insurance      $116.67    $1,400.00
Property Tax   $106.25    $1,275.00 1.5% of price
Registration     $8.33      $100.00
General Maint  $708.33    $8,500.00 10% of price
Slip Fee       $380.00    $4,560.00 Fortman Marina Rates
Live Aboard    $260.00    $3,120.00 Fortman Marina Rates
Hull Maint     $208.33    $2,500.00 Haul, paint, etc...
Fuel           $100.00    $1,200.00
Internet        $50.00      $600.00
Electricity     $50.00      $600.00
      Total  $1,987.91   $23,855.00

It would be great to hear from anybody, but especially those that are living on board a sailboat in 38' size range in the bay area. Is this budget realistic?

I know I have a lot to learn and skills to acquire before before I would be ready to handle a sailboat like this. At a minimum I plan to attend many of the United States Power Squadron training courses and Sailing courses. I also plan to rent for a while to get a better idea of the type of sailboat I might want to get.

Thanks again in advance for any input and advice!!
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Old 31-03-2018, 16:01   #2
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

I'm still in planning stage too so can't comment on amounts. It looks like you have done your research.
But I did notice a big item missing. What are you going to be eating?
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Old 31-03-2018, 16:17   #3
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your reply. Actually, I didn't include expenses that I have whether living on a boat or not. Items like groceries is an expense I would have regardless. Those types of items are already a known cost. There should not be any surprises there (other than a much smaller refrig and storage for the food).

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 31-03-2018, 23:34   #4
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

mea0730-boat,

Get sailing, as volunteer crew on beer can races; take a few classes, if drawn to that. The most important thing for you is sea time in all weathers, and what you will osmose about what you like in boats, because your sea time modifies those initial draws with practicality.

There is a sailor here who is familiar with the Bay Area, SailorChic34, and she really knows how to get the value out of a dollar. Go through some of the "I want to liveaboard in the Bay Area" threads. [CF Google Custom Search, under the Search menu, and search for her contributions and posts.]

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Old 01-04-2018, 00:25   #5
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

""Everything I've read says that no matter how much you budget, it will cost more. ""

This is pure FEARMONGERING. If you prepared to be a bit practical, you can slash maintenance costs down to fairly reasonable number. It is really nothing that you can not do yourself with a bit of research if you keen enough.

Even get Lagoon 400 above 10 KN.
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Old 01-04-2018, 00:59   #6
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

Thanks JPA Cate! Great suggestions! Would be great to get some experience!

arsenelupiga, thanks! That makes be feel a bit better. I can't say I know a lot about sailboats at this point, but I can usually figure most things out with enough research and work!
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Old 01-04-2018, 01:17   #7
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

Kudos for the planning... more planning = more thinking, even if you aren't spot on, more thinking has to be better than less. You said you eliminated all costs that you'll incur either here or there, but I see insurance for instance. Even if you own your home (or have no housing costs somehow), you currently would still pay property taxes and insurance on the house, so maybe your numbers will work out even more in your favor once those go?

You also don't say whether you will liveaboard and stay put, or go off to see the world... the costs of the former could be a fair bit less than the latter, in terms of equipment, wear and tear, breakages, fuel, fees, not knowing the best places to shop etc....
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Old 01-04-2018, 04:39   #8
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Mike.
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:07   #9
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

nobody (hardly anyone) even uses the search feature
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Old 01-04-2018, 05:18   #10
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

I hate to throw gas on the fire, but a lot of these questions about live aboard costs, are like posting that you just bought some golf clubs and want to know everyone's scores so you can know what to expect when you get on the golf course and play.

Even slip prices are so vastly different from region to region. Not to mention, personal preferences on budgeting and wants versus needs.
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:15   #11
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

Looking at the OP's cost's, The slip and liveaboard fees listed is average for the bay area now. Some marines will be higher. A few lower. But your maintenance budget looks a tad high so it should balance things out.

If you do most of your own work, maintenance will generally be lower, once the boat is fixed up.

As to liveaboard slips, you have to visit the marina's yourself, ideally with the boat. No harbormaster in the SF Bay area will say they have open liveaboard slips over the phone. They want to see the person and really also the boat before, they will even say if they have a liveaboard slip. Most do have waiting lists and they do not turn over that much.

So how to make the dream come true. Take a guest slip for a month or two. Say 2 weeks at Marina bay ($19/day for liveaboard), easy bart access), and Clipper yacht harbor in Sausalito ($38/day for 38'). OK Marina Bay is located in Richmond, the #3 hood in america. It is mostly a nice marina and a fairly safe location. Guest slips are F docks which the locals there call the getto as it gets little love. D dock is higher end and E Dock is middle class.

Clipper is nice, but like most marinas in Sausalito, pretty full and spendy. But easy commute by ferry or, shudder, car.

Once the harbor masters get to know you and the boat, finding a liveaboard slip becomes MUCH easier. Don't ask be how I know..

Valleyjo marina is also an option (ferry to SF), but the marina office is closed on the weekends. Petaluma use to be an option. Yes they say no liveaboards. but they do (well did) have them. But it's got a MAJOR silting issue, with less then 3 feet of water in the slips at low tide. They are not planing on dredging either. Last I heard the marina office in Petaluma was only open 3 days a week and part time then.

Further up the delta there may be liveaboard slips, but alas with the very HIGH cost of apartments, it's getting a wee bit tight everywhere. Benicia is nice. Martinez is ok, but enjoys silting issues as well. Antioch is full, but may have a shorter waiting list. Bart is easy drive to in concord. Well not easy but easier then the 880.. Nice marina, but also, in da hood. Trains will wake you at 5 AM, but that's the case in Marina Bay and Martinez too.

If you buy a power boat, then other locations in the delta open up, al the way to Tracy. Most marines deeper in the delta have mostly covered slips for powerboats, which limits sailboat slips, a bit. Stockton has sailboat slips, but that's WAY out there. Owl Harbor just got renovated, but again it's a long way to commute to the central bay from there and a bit spendy for being in the boondocks.

BTW, your other option is an RV. Tons of RV parks in the Delta, Folks Live full time in RV's too.

EDIT: Be very sure you have a slip for any boat you buy before buying the boat. Do not assume that it can stay in the marina it's in now. It sometimes can be a problem. A non-liveaboard slip is still easy to find.
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Old 01-04-2018, 08:08   #12
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

Sailorchic is right on about the marinas. Good info to know about silting around here. You don't want the keel on the mud every low tide. I live on my 38-footer in Oakland and what you've listed are pretty much my costs exactly except for maintenance/upgrades that I've been doing. I'd say the biggest unknown is the quality of boat you choose and the type of sailing you want to do. A new mainsail and appropriate jib, for example, will set you back thousands, but are critical IMO to enjoying the conditions on the bay year-round. If you want to cruise or do bigger offshore sailing trips, you'll want to have other gear (radar, AIS, self-steering gear, etc) that may not already be part of the boat. Add a couple thousand per year for each upgrade you choose to do. If you still work, having an office nearby is another nice thing so you're not trying to cram all that equipment onboard. That's another $450/mo for me. Having a good phone/hotspot allows you to work anywhere. The marinas also charge for electricity, which can go up another $40-50 in some months. Otherwise, you have propane costs. The cold water keeps the boat super chilly so you'll likely want something, but others are probably hardier than me! For training, the CG Auxiliary sailing safety course is good to do to get your basics, but many do the ASA suite instead, which gives you hands-on training and will set you back several thousand (?) depending on how many levels you work up to. I learned when I got my boat, but that is fraught with all sorts of other economic risks if there is ever an accident. It has worked really well for me, but I've had some super scary moments; others have lost their boats or their lives so there's a wide spectrum of possibilities. I tried the RV route just before buying my boat, but if you love to sail versus just use the boat as a place to live, it was not the same to me. Not even close.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:58   #13
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

Canít speak to costs BUT I have the perfect boat for you!

Would be a heck of an adventure bringing her around from the Bahamas!

:-)

http://m.sailboatlistings.com/view/63799
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Old 01-04-2018, 10:07   #14
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

I have based my boats (29', 31' and 46') in the Bay Area for, well, forever. Your budget for the boat looks very reasonable, even generous by my standards (maybe not the best!). Your haulout and painting number is more than enough for doing it every two years, which is more than most boats get around here. $8000 for general maintenance per year is way more than you need unless you are upgrading electronics or other equipment or you are racing your boat and need a new sail every year. I'm surprised at the low figure for basic slip fee not including live-aboard. If Fortmann quoted that, then very well.

Since you have not selected your boat yet, just be aware that while lots of exterior teak is very beautiful, it is also very time consuming and/or expensive to keep it looking nice. I'm just sayin'......
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Old 01-04-2018, 12:13   #15
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Re: Cost of live aboard - Sorry another one of those questions

Mike, consider that living aboard is not moving from 2000sqft to 400, it is a lifestyle. Some swear by it, others swear at it. We lived aboard for 5 years in Vancouver BC, and got it figured out pretty quick. There was summer living, and outside refrigerator season. If you plan to sail the boat, think about where personal things will fit and stay, seasonal clothing for example. You may need to demonstrate seamanship ability to get insurance. Not every underwriter is willing to expose themselves for a newbie boater, and any marina will ask for proof of insurance. The vessel you choose will b the biggest decision you face. How will you know if you want a centre cockpit/aft cabin style, or a conventional style? How good are you with mechanical aptitude? What radio knowledge do you require to operate a vessel in your area? We did the round the Pacific trip for a year, following the sun, broke a bearing on the traveller car, that was it for repair, so if well planned, like you appear to be, I am sure you will do well. Ask questions and you will be rewarded with the knowledge many have gained.
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