I laughed at the descriptions of living aboard
, many of which specified (or certainly inferred/imputed) that it happens mostly in marinas.
I think OP has done the sailing/cruising bit, absent almost any time in marinas, and intends an international lifestyle, the concern being for physical ability as they age.
That said, a close friend of mine, Larry Butler, wrote the "Liveaboard Simulator" which was aimed at those living in a marina. Another close friend of his and mine memorialized it on his web page, rogerlongboats. However, he has retired from boat design and the page no longer exists.
So, my apologies for reproducing it below rather than merely providing a link:
This came from here - the author and the web page owner are both personal
friends of mine: rogerlongboats.com¬*- oceanographic research vessels UNOLS Woods Hole naval architects Resources and Information.
The Liveaboard Simulator
By: Larry W4CSC
So you think you want to liveaboard?
Try the liveaboard simulator first.
Just for fun, park your cars in the lot of the convenience store at least 2
blocks from your house. (Make believe the sidewalk is a floating dock
between your car and the house.
Move yourself and your family
(If applicable) into 2 bedrooms and 1
bathroom. Measure the DECK
space INSIDE your boat. Make sure the occupied
house has no more space, or closet space, or drawer space.
Bring a coleman stove
into the bathroom and set it next to the bathroom
sink. Your boat's sink is smaller, but we'll let you use the bathroom sink,
anyways. Do all your cooking
in the bathroom, WITHOUT using the bathroom
power vent. If you have a boat vent, it'll be a useless 12v one that doesn't
draw near the air your bathroom power vent draws to take away cooking
Leave the hall door open to simulate the open hatch
. Take all the screens
off your 2 bedroom's windows. Leave the windows open to let in the bugs that
will invade your boat at dusk, and the flies attracted to the cooking.
Speaking of the garbage from the cooking, on a boat there's no room for that
big garbage can in your garage and the little sink, just like the one in the
bathroom, has no garbage disposal to get rid of the stinky stuff cooking
generates. If you dump it overboard
you'll soon find out how serious all
those tree huggers up and down the dock
take keeping the water clean.
They'll have the EPA down your throat in a matter of hours. So, we need to
use that little knee-high plastic trash can in the bathroom to store all our
garbage on our simulated yacht. As boats don't come with any kind of
trash can storage
, be sure to leave it against the doorframe of the bathroom
where you can trip over it all the time. Any trash can in a boat is always
where you can trip over it and knock it over spilling its stinky mess onto
the "deck" to clean up. Put a plastic bag into it to dump the mess into.
We're not totally uncivilized in yachting, you know. When you can't stand
its smell any more, there are two things we'll do with the full trash bags.
If we are docked at a marina, we'll add the trash bags to our daily trek to
the 7-11 with the dock cart to put it in their dumpster (marina dumpster).
Drop by the nearest biker bar and ask them for a big 32-gallon trash bag full
of nearly-empty beer and wine bottles. Put these in your big trashcan in the
garage and pull it out onto your front lawn by your sidewalk. This is to
simulate the "normal" state of any marina's fancy little dock trash bins
which are always full like this because of the constant partying up and down
the dock, especially on weekends. Dock hands have a very hard time keeping
up with emptying them. Because of this fact, you will haul all your smelly
trashbags up the "dock" to the 7-11's big dumpster on your treks to the
marina (7-11) parking lot...if we're "in port". Only store the untoted
trash bags in two places....next to your little bed
under the kitchen
table...or next to your chair in your "cockpit" out on the patio. If we are
on a "cruise" or anchored out, we store the smelly mess bags in the dingy
trailed out behind the stern, so hook up your little lawn trailer
back of the "helm" riding lawn mower someone is going to sit on "at sea" out
on the patio. We'll transfer all this garbage to the marina (7-11) dumpster
in the dock cart when we "return from sea" to any port. For some reason, the
first items off the dingy at the dinghy
dock is always the garbage...
Borrow a couple of 55 gallon drums mounted on a trailer
. Flush your toilets
into the drums. Trailer the drums to the convenience store to dump them when
they get full. Turn off your sewer, you won't have one.
Unless your boat is large enough to have a big "head" with full bath, make
believe your showers/bathtubs don't work
. Make a deal with someone next door
to the convenience store to use THEIR bathroom for bathing at the OTHER end
of the DOCK. (Marina rest room) If you use this rest room to potty, while
you're there, make believe it has no paper towels or toilet paper. Bring
your own. Bring your own soap and anything else you'd like to use there,
Run you whole house through a 20 amp breaker to simulate available dock
power at the marina. If you're thinking of anchoring out, turn off the main
breaker and "make do" with a boat battery
and flashlights. Don't forget you
have to heat your house on this 20A supply and try to keep the water from
Turn off the water main valve in front of your house. Run a hose from your
neighbor's lawn spigot over to your lawn spigot and get all your water from
there. Try to keep the hose from freezing all winter.
As your boat won't have a laundry
, disconnect yours. Go to a boat supply
place, like West Marine
, and buy you a dock cart. Haul ALL your supplies,
, garbage, etc. between the car at the convenience store and house in
this cart. Once a week, haul your outboard motor
to the car, leave it a day
then haul it back to the house, in the cart, to simulate "boat problems"
that require "boat parts" to be removed/replaced on your "dock". If ANYTHING
ever comes out of that cart between the convenience store and the house, put
it in your garage and forget about it. (Simulates losing it over the side of
the dock, where it sank in 23' of water and was dragged off by the current
Each morning, about 5AM, have someone you don't know run a weedeater back
and forth under your bedroom windows to simulate the fishermen leaving the
marina to go fishing
. Have him slam trunk lids, doors, blow car horns and
bang some heavy pans together from 4AM to 5AM before lighting
weedeater. (Simulates loading aluminum
boats with booze and fishing gear
gas cans.) Once a week, have him bang the running weedeater into your
bedroom wall to simulate the idiot who drove his boat into the one you're
sleeping in because he was half asleep leaving the dock. Put a rope
big hook in the ceiling over your bed
. Hook one end of the rope
to the bed
side rail and the other end out where he can pull on it. As soon as he shuts
off the weedeater, have him pull hard 9 times on the rope to tilt your bed
at least 30 degrees. (Simulates the wakes of the fishermen blasting off
trying to beat each other to the fishing.) Anytime there is a storm in your
area, have someone constantly pull on the rope. It's rough riding storms in
the marina! If your boat is a sailboat, install a big wire from the top of
the tallest tree to your electrical
ground in the house so you can worry
about the lightning
hitting your mast
If your marina has big sport fishing boats with huge diesels, substitute
your neighbor's unmuffled Harley-Davidson hog for the weedeater and have him
light off an old oil stove
for 20 minutes while its running under your open
bedroom window to simulate that "diesel smell" the big boats generate as
they idle them for half an hour, for no apparent reason, before they shove
Each time you "go out", or think of going boating
away from your marina,
disconnect the neighbor's water hose, your electric
wires, all the
umbilicals your new boat
will use to make life more bearable in the marina.
Use bottled drinking water
for 2 days for everything. Get one of those 5
gallon jugs with the air pump
on top from a bottled water company. This is
your boat's "at sea" water system simulator. You'll learn to conserve water
this way. Of course, not having the marina's AC power supply, you'll be
and all from a car battery, your only source of power. If you own
or can borrow a generator, feel free to leave it running to provide AC power
up to the limit of the generator. If you're thinking about a 30' sailboat,
you won't have room for a generator so don't use it.
Boats don't have room for "beds", as such. Fold your Sealy Posturepedic up
against a wall, it won't fit on a boat. Go to a hobby fabric
store and buy a
foam pad 5' 10" long and 4' wide AND NO MORE THAN 3" THICK. Cut it into a
triangle so the little end is only 12" wide. This simulates the foam pad in
the V-berth up in the pointy bow of the sailboat. Bring in the kitchen table
from the kitchen you're not allowed to use. Put the pad UNDER the table, on
the floor, so you can simulate the 3' of headroom
over the pad Block off
both long sides of the pad, and the pointy end so you have to climb aboard
the V-berth from the wide end where your pillows will be. The hull
off the sides of a V-berth and you have to climb up over the end of it
through a narrow opening (hatch to main cabin) on a boat. You'll climb over
your mate's head
to go to the potty in the night. No fun for either party.
Test her mettle and resolve by getting up this way right after you go to bed
at night. There are lots of things to do on a boat and you'll forget at
least one of them, thinking about it laying in bed, like "Did I remember to
tie off the dingy better?" or "Is that spring line (at the dock) or anchor
line (anchored out) as tight as it should be?" Boaters who don't worry about
things like this laying in bed are soon aground or on fire or the laughing
stock of an anchorage.... You need to find out how much climbing over her
she will tolerate BEFORE you're stuck with a big boat and big marina bills
and she refuses to sleep aboard it any more.....
Any extra family members must be sleeping on the settees in the main cabin
or in the quarter berth under the cockpit
....unless you intend to get a boat
over 40-something feet with an aft cabin
. Smaller boats have quarter berths.
Cut a pad out of the same pad material that is no more than 2' wide by 6'
long. Get a cardboard box from an appliance store that a SMALL refrigerator
came in. Put the pad in the box, cut to fit, and make sure only one end of
the box is open. The box can be no more than 2 feet above the pad. Quarter
berths are really tight. Make them sleep in there, with little or no air
circulation. That's what sleeping in a quarterberth is all about.
Of course, to simulate sleeping anchored out for the weekend, no heat or air
conditioning will be used and all windows will be open without screens so
the bugs can get in.
In the mornings, everybody gets up and goes out on the patio to enjoy the
sunrise. Then, one person at a time goes back inside to dress, shave, clean
themselves in the tiny cabin unless you're a family of nudists who don't
mind looking at each other in the buff. You can't get dressed in the stinky
with the door closed on a sailboat. Hell, there's barely room to
bend over so you can sit on the commode. So, everyone will dress in the main
cabin....one at a time.
Boat tables are 2' x 4' and mounted next to the settee. There's no room for
chairs in a boat. So, eat off a 2X4' space on that kitchen table you slept
under while sitting on a couch (settee simulator). You can also go out with
breakfast and sit on the patio (cockpit), if you like.
Ok, breakfast is over. Crank up the lawnmower under the window for 2 hours.
It's time to recharge the batteries
from last night's usage and to freeze
the coldplate in the boat's icebox
which runs off a compressor
engine. Get everybody to clean up your little hovel. Don't forget to make
the beds from ONE END ONLY. You can't get to the other 3 sides of a boat bed
pad. All hands go outside and washdown the first fiberglass
UPS truck that
passes by. That's about how big the deck
is on your 35' sailboat that needs
to have the ocean cleaned off it daily or it'll turn the white fiberglass
all brown like the UPS truck. Now, doesn't the UPS truck look nice like your
Ok, we're going to need some food
, do the laundry, buy some boat parts
failed because the manufacturer's bean counters got cheap and used plastics
and the wife wants to "eat out, I'm fed up with cooking on the Coleman
stove" today. Let's make believe we're not at home, but in some exotic port
like Ft Lauderdale, today....on our cruise
to Key West
ashore", plan on buying
all the food
you'll want to eat that will:
A - Fit into the Coleman Cooler on the floor
B - You can cook on the Coleman stove without an oven
or all those fancy
kitchen tools you don't have on the boat
C - And will last you for 10 days, in case the wind drops and it takes more
time than we planned at sea. Plan meals
carefully in a boat. We can't buy
more than we can STORE, either!
Of course, we came here by BOAT, so we don't have a car. Some nice marinas
have a shuttle bus, but they're not a taxi. The shuttle bus will only go to
West Marine or the tourist traps, so we'll be either taking the city bus, if
there is one or taxi cabs or shopping
at the marina store which has almost
nothing to buy at enormous prices.
Walk to the 7-11 store, where you have your car stored, but ignore the car.
Make believe it isn't there. No one drove it to Ft Lauderdale for you. Use
the payphone at the 7-11 and call a cab. Don't give the cab driver ANY
instructions because in Ft Lauderdale you haven't the foggiest idea where
West Marine is located or how to get there, unlike at home. We'll go to West
Marine, first, because if we don't the "head" back on the boat won't be
working for a week because little Suzy broke a valve in it trying to flush
some paper towels. This is your MOST important project
, today....that valve
in the toilet!!
After the cab driver drives around for an hour looking for West Marine and
asking his dispatcher how to get there, go into West Marine and give the
clerk a $100 bill, simulating the cost of toilet parts
. Lexus parts are
cheaper than toilet parts at West Marine. See for yourself! The valve she
broke, the seals
that will have to be replaced on the way into the valve
will come to $100 easy.
Tell the clerk you're using my liveaboard simulator and to take his
girlfriend out to dinner on your $100 greenback. If you DO buy the boat,
this'll come in handy when you DO need boat parts because he'll remember you
for the great time his girlfriend gave him on your $100 tip. Hard-to-find
boat parts will arrive in DAYS, not months like the rest of us. It's just a
good political move while in simulation mode.
Call another cab from West Marine's phone
, saving 50c on payphone charges.
Tell the cabbie to take you to the laundromat so we can wash the stinky
clothes in the trunk. The luxury marina's laundry in Ft Lauderdale has a
broken hot water heater
. They're working on it, the girl at the store
counter, said, yesterday. Mentioning the $12/ft you paid to park the boat at
their dock won't get the laundry working before we leave for Key West
Do your laundry in the laundromat the cabbie found for you. Just Because no
one speaks English
in this neighborhood, don't worry. You'll be fine this
time of day near noon.
Call another cab to take us out of here to a supermarket. When you Get
there, resist the temptation to "load up" because your boat has Limited
storage and very limited refrigeration
space. Buy from the list we made
early this morning. Another package of cookies is OK. Leave one of the kids
guarding the pile of clean laundry just inside the supermarket's front
door....We learned our lesson and DIDN'T forget and leave it in the cab,
Call another cab to take us back to the marina, loaded up with clean clothes
and food and all-important boat parts. Isn't Ft Lauderdale beautiful from a
cab? It's too late to go exploring, today. Maybe tomorrow.... Don't forget
to tell the cab to go to the 7-11 (marina parking lot)....not your front
Ok, haul all the stuff in the dock cart from the 7-11 store the two
blocks to the "boat" bedroom. Wait 20 minutes before starting out for the
house. This simulates waiting for someone to bring back a marina-owned dock
cart from down the docks.....
Put all the stuff away, food and clothes, in the tiny drawer space
provided. Have a beer on the patio (cockpit) and watch the sunset.
THIS is living!
Now, disassemble the toilet in your bathroom, take out the wax ring under it
and put it back. Reassemble the toilet. This completes the simulation of
putting the new valve in the "head" on the boat.
No, no, no. Don't turn that ceiling fan on to pull the smell out. Boats
don't have big exhaust
blowers in the head, you know....(c; Just leave the
windows open during dinner. It'll blow away soon.
After getting up, tomorrow morning, from your "V-Berth", take the whole
family out to breakfast by WALKING to the nearest restaurant, then take a
cab to any local park or attraction you like. We're off today to see the
sights of Ft Lauderdale.....before heading out to sea, again, to Key West.
Take a cab back home after dinner out and go to bed, exhausted, on your
little foam pad under the table.....
Get up this morning and disconnect all hoses, electrical
Get ready for "sea". Crank up the lawn mower under the open bedroom window
for 4 hours while we motor
out to find some wind. ONE responsible adult MUST
be sitting on the hot patio all day, in shifts, "on watch" looking out for
other boats, ships, etc. If you have a riding lawn mower, let the person "on
watch" drive it around the yard all day to simulate driving the boat down
in heavy traffic. About 2PM, turn off the engine and just have them
sit on the mower "steering" it on the patio. We're under sail, now. Every
hour or so, take everyone out in the yard with a big rope
and have a tug-of-war to simulate the work involved with setting sail,
changing sail, trimming sail. Make sure everyone gets all sweaty in the
heat. Sailors working on sailboats are always all sweaty or we're not going
anywhere fast! Do this all day, today, all night, tonight, all day,
tomorrow, all night tomorrow night and all day the following day until 5PM.
When you "arrive" at the next port you're going to. Make sure no one in the
family leaves the confines of the little bedroom or the patio during our
"trip". Make sure everyone conserves water, battery power, etc., things
you'll want to conserve while being at sea on a trip somewhere.
Everyone can go up to the 7-11 for an icecream as soon as we get the "boat"
docked on day 3, the first time anyone has left the confines of the
bedroom/patio in 3 days.
Question - Was anyone suicidal during our simulated voyage? Keep an eye out
for anyone with a problem being cooped up with other family members. If
anyone is attacked, any major fights break out, any threats to throw the
to the fish
.....forget all about boats and buy a motorhome, instead.
Skip, Living aboard
full time, currently in the Bahamas