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Old 21-06-2019, 04:42   #31
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

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Originally Posted by 33trippindaisy View Post
I think many of you "may" never have been poor enough to understand the root of the question posed by the OP. Now let me first say I have no way of knowing that on an individual basis, but I do know this. For over ten years now I have been friends with a very resourceful man, with a boat, who is homeless other than his boat, his tent, a serious tackle box and the required things that help him eat. Small shovels, rakes, buckets, cast nets, a small gill net all help as well. he does not work but does sell (with a license) his catch of crabs, oysters, and clams. He has worked on boats his whole life, grew up on a shrimp boat, and simply understands how to survive. He has ZERO income coming in per month, but you will see him frequently at the Tiki Bar, smoking Marlboro's and sipping on 7-10 dollar drinks quite often.

My point is he knows how to do it on nothing, little of nothing, and spends in a month what many of us might spend in a day or two. SO, try this.......a 26 foot Pearson with a small outboard, can be had locally near the Cape Fear River in North Carolina (there are two that I know of) for $2000.00, that need little to nothing in the eyes of a poor man. Eating from the bounty below that which you are floating on, cost very little. Even bait can be caught for free daily. My friend, LJ, frequently feeds me although I share with him what I can. He accepts very little. My point is clear, he has lived on the water, for more than ten years, keeps his boat running and licensed, and I doubt he has spent $2000.00 a year in any year, ever. No he does not cruise far, but the OP could still cruise moderate ranges every month on a budget of $2000.00 with a little kitty on the side for emergencies. Do not let anyone steal your dream! It can be done, like anything can be done, by people who are determined to do something. Ever sit beside someone in a Marina and watch them spend thousands of dollars a week? I have. Sitting right beside me and LJ, who is spending a couple of hundred a month. Me, I'm back on land right now as my wife battles Cancer, but we will be back on the water when we can. Yes, my own situation is a bit better than the OP's like many of you here. But I was poor once in my life, poor enough to shoot squirrels every day to feed the dog. So lets talk Perspectives, Reality, Dreams, and how to do it on near nothing......the rest of us can keep doing it the way we want. Trust me it can be done on very little, if you have the will to do it.
Well said and I do wish these folks well. Unfortunately the vast majority of folks that try this simply don't have the knowlege or skill to pull it off in that budget range and very quickly go down the drain leaving yet another derelict on the water.
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Old 21-06-2019, 09:16   #32
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

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I think the reference was related to the initial purchase price rather than the ongoing maintenance costs. 10-15 k to purchase and 2 k / month for maintenance and fuel. That sounds a bit skinny particularly considering fuel costs. At least if you want to go far.


I read it as that $2K was all in, everything, food, clothes etc.

Iím too of the opinion that it can be done, but only in an inexpensive sailboat the 30 to 35 ft older type boat.
Look for a good engine, you should be able to get a good on with your budget, understanding that it will be an old one, but be sure the engine is good.

A $15,000 dollar Trawler would I assume need more money that that put into it before it left the dock.

However smaller sailboats are a dime a dozen, they are everywhere and cost much less.
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Old 21-06-2019, 09:24   #33
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

I think it can be done too. I just think a $10-15K trawler would likely require too much work, and knowledge and skill, to be much fun... and maybe too many years to bring it up to "leisure" (don't have to fix or replace something every actual day) standards.

Of course there may be some jewels out there somewhere...

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Old 21-06-2019, 10:35   #34
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

I have friends who purchased a 80s 40' trawler with 2 diesels in good condition for 20k. They have since spent less than a additional 20k on repairs, upgrades. Its a nice diesel boat. Please don't buy a old gasser...it would be the end of you
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Old 21-06-2019, 11:32   #35
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

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Originally Posted by 33trippindaisy View Post
I think many of you "may" never have been poor enough to understand the root of the question posed by the OP. Now let me first say I have no way of knowing that on an individual basis, but I do know this. For over ten years now I have been friends with a very resourceful man, with a boat, who is homeless other than his boat, his tent, a serious tackle box and the required things that help him eat. Small shovels, rakes, buckets, cast nets, a small gill net all help as well. he does not work but does sell (with a license) his catch of crabs, oysters, and clams. He has worked on boats his whole life, grew up on a shrimp boat, and simply understands how to survive. He has ZERO income coming in per month, but you will see him frequently at the Tiki Bar, smoking Marlboro's and sipping on 7-10 dollar drinks quite often.

My point is he knows how to do it on nothing, little of nothing, and spends in a month what many of us might spend in a day or two. SO, try this.......a 26 foot Pearson with a small outboard, can be had locally near the Cape Fear River in North Carolina (there are two that I know of) for $2000.00, that need little to nothing in the eyes of a poor man. Eating from the bounty below that which you are floating on, cost very little. Even bait can be caught for free daily. My friend, LJ, frequently feeds me although I share with him what I can. He accepts very little. My point is clear, he has lived on the water, for more than ten years, keeps his boat running and licensed, and I doubt he has spent $2000.00 a year in any year, ever. No he does not cruise far, but the OP could still cruise moderate ranges every month on a budget of $2000.00 with a little kitty on the side for emergencies. Do not let anyone steal your dream! It can be done, like anything can be done, by people who are determined to do something. Ever sit beside someone in a Marina and watch them spend thousands of dollars a week? I have. Sitting right beside me and LJ, who is spending a couple of hundred a month. Me, I'm back on land right now as my wife battles Cancer, but we will be back on the water when we can. Yes, my own situation is a bit better than the OP's like many of you here. But I was poor once in my life, poor enough to shoot squirrels every day to feed the dog. So lets talk Perspectives, Reality, Dreams, and how to do it on near nothing......the rest of us can keep doing it the way we want. Trust me it can be done on very little, if you have the will to do it.

I also think this is a great post. It is only resourcefulness and know-how that life really requires. It is obtainable by anyone who has the ability to learn, and puts in the background work. What the OP has for a dream can DEFINITELY BE DONE. You just have to be smart, and plan. Not the normal life - but can be a very good one. Modest expectations are what make a winner.

We live in a very fortunate time - in that so much training and trouble-shooting information is available on the internet. It really is obtainable by anyone who puts in the work.

On a different level - keep your living area neat and clean - ironically, that is what causes a lot of problems with most ultra-low budget lifestyles.
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Old 21-06-2019, 12:26   #36
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I want to be a liveaboard

All that sounds nice, but they came on saying we want to do the great loop and cruise on over to the Bahamas.
Thatís going to be tough to do in a Trawler on $2,000 a month for two.
The real killer though was the we arenít mechanically inclined.

To do any of that, on that budget means to me a small, inexpensive sailboat, you should be able to get a decent mid 30ís sailboat with old equipment but serviceable ground tackle, sails and engine for less than $20k? Long term they are going to need a good battery bank and Solar though, maybe something like an Engle or similar cooler.
Autopilots, Radar, SSB, Chart plotters etc. are nice to have, but not absolutely necessary in my opinion.

They are either going to become mechanically inclined or go bust though, but by buying a simple boat, that will help greatly.
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Old 21-06-2019, 12:53   #37
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

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The real killer though was the we aren’t mechanically inclined.

That is absolutely correct unfortunately. However - people can learn new things, and if they put in the work and effort, that goes a long way. So much knowledge and trouble shooting can be obtained by a smart person with the internet these days, that many mechanical things are much more doable now for the average person, when compared to pre-internet days. It's like having a world class library in your hand, if you really want it.

Definitely a mid 30's sailboat is going to be much more possible than a gas hungry power boat, with the inevitable costly engine issues. That budget with a trawler is going to be extremely challenging.
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Old 21-06-2019, 13:02   #38
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

This type of used trawler might be doable:


https://www.soundingsonline.com/boats/nimble-nomad
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Old 21-06-2019, 13:21   #39
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

I feel it can be done on $2k/mo average. And everyone either knows or can easily find out how much it costs me to do it.

But I have a feeling that a $10k trawler will cost $50k at least really. Heck I've spent $13k the past 9 months just doing boat maintenance/repairs/upgrades!
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Old 21-06-2019, 17:07   #40
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

I have a nephew who was formally living on a Catalina 22 and for the last five years he's been on a Sovereign 23 that he bought for $450. He has spent his time between Jacksonville and the Keys, his boat looks great and he's thriving. There's a great freedom that comes with less.
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Old 22-06-2019, 04:06   #41
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

Those are some great answers, a lot of wisdom here for certain, dreams for the future and dreams that have already been lived. None of us will ever know the future for certain, but our dreams are what keep us going on. I was able to get in a solid seven years of boating, mostly local, short cruising, and certainly enjoying life on the Dock. One should not ever discount the absolute fun to be had even without leaving the Dock! In 2008 we spent 228 nights on our boat as I recovered from hip replacement surgeries, three of them, caused by a parachute accident. My neighbor was a great carpenter and when I returned to the dock from the hospital, there sat this giant set of steps that insured I could safely get on my boat, all nicely painted in white and looking so good! I was on a walker and it took three other people to get me on that boat, but I was determined to be where my bathroom was a mere ten feet away, and the kitchen just a few steps from my bed. My wife was a trooper and made sure my little dream never even slowed down much. She became a bilge monkey, rebuilt toilets, installed new macerators, and crazy things like that. We retired then, far earlier than planned, and lived a piece of our "Dream". I am so glad we did. We may haved retired a lot poorer than we planned, but we got a piece of the Dream behind us. Now, in our early 60's it is she who is battling Triple Negative Breast cancer, and I who must take care of her. Gladly I might add. My coffee table in front of me has my treasured Don Casey books, several issues of my Good Old Boat collection, and the Dream lives on. It might take a couple of years to get back on the water, and I'm thinking small this time. PC Flicka 20 or maybe a Cape Dory 27. Something small but capable. Simple yet worthy. Maybe soon.......but the Dream will live on until then. I might even build a Puddle Duck Racer in the meantime, LOL! Just gotta keep the Dream alive!
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Old 23-06-2019, 07:29   #42
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

Just yesterday I heard the story about a probably-mid-80's 33' Bertram sportfish that had been on blocks on our marina's storage lot... um... forever, at least in my time here. Apparently the new owner bought it for "nothing" (NFI), had the fuel tanks emptied, maybe tanks cleaned (NFI), and put new fuel in... then replaced "all the hoses" (NFI, but that must have included at least some of the engine-related hoses)... had it launched... and it started right up.

The story is he maybe put about "$5K" (NFI) into it so far, and now has a boat maybe worth about "$20K." Hard to say, but the boat was filthy, and he's been cleaning it and at least parts I can see are beginning to look better, so...

Maybe shows there are deals out there.

In this case, I think it has probably taken an owner going in already possessing knowledge, skill, and apparently time...

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Old 23-06-2019, 08:44   #43
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

what's "NFI" mean
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Old 23-06-2019, 08:53   #44
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

You know:

I've been a full cruiser living on a boat now for 33 months. I honestly don't understand why anyone would chose to be a "liveaboard" unless they are doing it for a money savings low budget thing. It doesn't make sense to me to get a 40+ boat to be a "liveaboard". Even a 30-35' "liveaboard" I would think in lots places makes little sense compared to a small apartment cost wise. Why would you get up the space, comforts, convenience of a small apartment to spend the same to live on a boat?

It makes no sense to me to have a boat unless you want to travel/cruise on a boat! If you want to cruise/travel then getting rid of the house is the financial "makes sense". But to just be a "liveaboard" seems like cutting off your nose to change your face.
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Old 23-06-2019, 09:25   #45
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Re: I want to be a liveaboard

That budget would buy a decent hull and a diesel on it's last legs, no problem. For a dock queen, a trawler would be fine, on that budget. A floating condo, essentially. Roomy, comfortable. An engine overhaul complicates the picture, financially. A full rebuild? Outright replacement? Wow. Big difference between a 110HP diesel and a 15HP diesel. That cheap trawler is cheap for a reason. Usually, the owner doesn't want to spend 3x more on the engine than the hull is worth. Then, there is fuel. And ever more fuel. Cruising in a trawler is VERY budget dependant. Even though trawler yachts are designed to be very fuel efficient, you are still burning fuel for every mile you make. Lots of trawlers loop, but their owners obviously can afford it. For each one who can, there are I am sure a dozen trawler owners who can't afford it, or any other full time cruising style.



I urge you to reconsider sailboats, if you need to go cheap. Wind is free. That is one advantage. The other, is that the boat might have a 40 year old diesel, but with low hours, and 1000 hours to go before any work needs doing. Maybe. Best case scenario. This, in a boat in the $1k to $10k range. And the kicker... you can use a kicker. Yes, add a good solid outboard mount (A curse on all shakey jakey cheapo outboard mounts!) and you can always hang a long shaft outboard on it, if your diesel gives up the ghost. A new outboard, NEW outboard, will cost you less than $2k if your need for power is modest. With reasonable care, it will last 20 years or more, and seldom need repair, if at all. Modern electronic 4 stroke outboards are HEAVY compared to the old 2 strokes, but they are very dependable, quiet, and start easily. Fuel economy is good enough for the occasional usage it will get on a sailboat transom.



For a couple, most 30 to 34 foot sailboats will be big enough. Still small enough for emergency outboard use. Big enough to have a shower below at the higher end of that range, so no cockpit showers. Fuel expenses become a minor thing. If you marina hop, you could even go electric, if the diesel is toast. Charge from shore power every night. This size range is not too bad for maintenance, insurance, docking costs. Fun to sail but not punishing. You may well find that for the same size boat, the sailboat motors more economically than a trawler. The only problem for a looper is you want lowering your mast to be as simple as possible. The generally accepted figure for maximum air draft on the loop is 19'6" and any sailboat big enough for a couple will exceed that, with the mast up. There are plenty of sailboats looping, and plenty of yards and marinas where you can get under a crane or hoist and step or unstep your mast. The kewl way to do this is to retrofit your boat with a tabernacle mast. This gives you a hinge or pivot just above the deck, so you can use your boat's winches to raise or lower your mast. Works really well for boats up to about 34 or 35 feet. I am really looking out for someone to improvise a practical way of doing this with hydraulic rams, actually. Maybe hand pumped with a power-pac. You would need a compression post under the ram's baseplate, I am thinking. Anyway just do it the way everyone else does, and you are good to go. Oh, you want a draft of 5' or less, preferably. A few inches more and you can probably squeak by. See THIS web page.


For the loop, I strongly suggest having an outboard as a backup only, not as primary propulsion. You want the fuel economy of the diesel for all the inland travel. So you will want a healthy inboard diesel, checked over by a competent mechanic. Plenty of the usual spares, too. Thermostat, alternator and regulator, starter, LOTS of belts and filters, lube oil, etc. Maybe an injector or two. And anything else your mechanic suggests. Spare prop, nuts, key, cotter pin, all in an "oh crap" kit. A couple rings of packing for the stuffing box, too. Well I better stop right there... a list of spare stuff could get pretty long. Anyway, do reconsider a sailboat. With a 6 figure retirement income, go trawler, definitely. Going close to the bone, like most of us would have to, you are really better off with a sailboat mid 30's length or less, 5' draft or thereabouts. It would give you a fighting chance of doing the loop on the cheap.


<EDIT> waterpump impeller. Change it annually even if it looks good, have one or two spares aboard. Potential engine killer. Forgot that.
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