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Old 19-10-2020, 04:00   #1
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Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

Hello all,
I've been thinking about this for a bit now. Seems to me there are many liveaboard hopefuls who don't make it to actually living aboard. And... We are guilty.
We have a lovely boat which fits us comfortably, a nice slip at a decent marina, and a "just in case" apartment about 4 blocks from the boat. We intended to ease our family into living aboard slowly, thus the apartment. We have an 8 year old son who is on the autism spectrum, so big changes can be difficult for him. Hesitant to take the plunge all the way, we decided to live part time at the boat and part time at the apartment. 6 months later, and we were going weeks without a night on the boat. We haven't been sailing in months.
It's dawned on me that we, as parents, have taken the easy way out. The other night, we did have a boat sleepover, and it was lovely. While sitting out in the cockpit, I asked my son, "Would you like to start spending a few nights here each week?" I was thinking (silly overprotective parent that I am) that he would say maybe. But I was wrong. He said, "No, mommy. I want to spend every night on the boat. Forever."
My husband and I have been holding our family back from a dream we've all shared for years. My son loves the liveaboard lifestyle, as do we. We, the parents, are guilty of being lazy. Yes, it's hard to manage a special needs child on a boat. But it's not him, it's us. We have been thinking that it was "too much for him," when in reality, we were really saying "it's too much for us, cause we're lazy." So, we're here now, enjoying a fantastic sunrise over the water, happy and satisfied, and we'll be here tomorrow, too.
For those of you who live aboard with kids, have you encountered a similar situation? Any friendly words of advice for us, or other families struggling with good intentions gone bad?
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Old 23-10-2020, 11:21   #2
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Re: Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

You are sooooo very blessed!
Many years ago, a female judge in Canada stood up at her pulpit, and leaning over and shaking her finger down at me, shout:
"Remember THIS young lady!...You cannot take a child of tender years to sea!". My 3 1/2 yr old little girl was taken from me and my ex was given custody. Happily, he found her such a pain in the butt when she reached puberty that he was glad to give in to her pleas to let her join me crewing in the Bahamas, Indonesia and around the Pacific North West. These were some of the best times of our lives. We met many families cruising full time around the world, and we found cruiser's children could remarkably and readily do so many things well: sail, row, snorkel, navigate, learn other languages, and enjoy being around other children of different cultures...(and they integrated their elders as well).
Enjoy your great blessings!
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Old 23-10-2020, 13:24   #3
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Re: Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

Very nice post CWR, and an honest one at that.

Can't add to thoughts of living aboard with kids, special needs or not, from personal experience, but we have close friends with a now 21 y.o. Downs son who is in the severe end of the spectrum. They don't live aboard, but have taken him on lengthy (several year long) cruises, and he has always prospered while they cruised. And wherever they went (and this included diverse cultures... Japan, Pacific Islands, Alaska, Mexico etc) he was welcomed by the locals and he learned so much interacting with them. For this boy, the yottie life has been quite beneficial, and perhaps it will be as good for yours. Good luck with it all, and enjoy the life afloat.

Jim (live aboard cruiser for 34 years now)
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Old 26-10-2020, 01:37   #4
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Re: Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

Our children were aboard with us from infancy to adulthood. They had no other experience; however, they did have friends that lived ashore and relatives that we visited in their houses during some holidays. Both of our children have very fond memories of their cruising experiences. Our Daughter did live aboard with her own family for a few years, but has now moved to a 17 acre home in Indiana,- 'that excels too!
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Old 26-10-2020, 03:27   #5
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Re: Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

wish you all encouragement and sincerely hope that you can do it

but

in our experience a lot of people considering permanent live-aboard (with or w/o kids) look at it with 'rose coloured glasses'

they have wonderful weekends & holidays on the boat and think 'wouldn't it be great to do this forever'. of course it would be, but life ain't like that. when you are full time year after year onboard all sorts of cracks appear in paradise...lots of people in a small space...limits on what you can do and when...facilities that may not be as comfortable as you'd like...dealing with weather. all stuff that for a couple of weeks holiday is fine, but when the novelty wear of, tempers fray and patience wears thin. this is doubly bad if you are not prepared for it

i say again : all encouragement to do it, wish you every joy in the world and hope to see you somewhere in it one day...but don't go into it with your eyes closed

cheers,
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Old 26-10-2020, 04:09   #6
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Re: Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

Good luck and hope it meets your expectations
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Old 26-10-2020, 05:09   #7
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Re: Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CamWrenRoo View Post
Hello all,
I've been thinking about this for a bit now. Seems to me there are many liveaboard hopefuls who don't make it to actually living aboard. And... We are guilty.
We have a lovely boat which fits us comfortably, a nice slip at a decent marina, and a "just in case" apartment about 4 blocks from the boat. We intended to ease our family into living aboard slowly, thus the apartment. We have an 8 year old son who is on the autism spectrum, so big changes can be difficult for him. Hesitant to take the plunge all the way, we decided to live part time at the boat and part time at the apartment. 6 months later, and we were going weeks without a night on the boat. We haven't been sailing in months.
It's dawned on me that we, as parents, have taken the easy way out. The other night, we did have a boat sleepover, and it was lovely. While sitting out in the cockpit, I asked my son, "Would you like to start spending a few nights here each week?" I was thinking (silly overprotective parent that I am) that he would say maybe. But I was wrong. He said, "No, mommy. I want to spend every night on the boat. Forever."
My husband and I have been holding our family back from a dream we've all shared for years. My son loves the liveaboard lifestyle, as do we. We, the parents, are guilty of being lazy. Yes, it's hard to manage a special needs child on a boat. But it's not him, it's us. We have been thinking that it was "too much for him," when in reality, we were really saying "it's too much for us, cause we're lazy." So, we're here now, enjoying a fantastic sunrise over the water, happy and satisfied, and we'll be here tomorrow, too.
For those of you who live aboard with kids, have you encountered a similar situation? Any friendly words of advice for us, or other families struggling with good intentions gone bad?
Great post. Thanks!!!

John
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Old 26-10-2020, 06:54   #8
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Re: Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CamWrenRoo View Post
Hello all,
.....We have an 8 year old son who is on the autism spectrum, so big changes can be difficult for him. Hesitant to take the plunge all the way, we decided to live part time at the boat and part time at the apartment. 6 months later, and we were going weeks without a night on the boat.
I'm a therapist who works with special needs children, including children with autism. I don't think you have been lazy. You are deeply concerned for your son, and sometimes it's natural to be overly concerned.

Often, therapy with special needs children is more about facilitating change with the parents. Many parents read the symptoms of autism and see that it says, children with autism often have difficulty with changes in their routine. Nowhere does it say that they are incapable of tolerating changes in their routine, and it is actually good for them to experience gradual and predictable change.

All of us desire to reduce unnecessary stress in the lives of our children. Sometimes our efforts to protect them is not always the best strategy for their long-term development.
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Old 26-10-2020, 08:08   #9
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Re: Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

This is great post, thanks for sharing.

My wife and I are getting close to our transition to full time liveaboards, and while I used to be a live aboard in my misspent youth, she is still very much in the "LIFE is so great on a boat!" phase of dreaming. But she's a smart cookie, and we bought a boat that needed some refurb and rebuilding, so it's not all sailing on sunny days.

In some respects, living aboard is harder than on land, and in some respects it's simpler. But it's still life, not a vacation.

I'm sure nobody can tell you anything about your life with your child you don't already know better, but I will say that you are not alone. My wife and I have no children, but I grew up with siblings that have special needs. My sister has autism, my adopted brother has several physical and intelectual challenges, and I was special education teacher before I went out and started my own business.

My business includes working with students with special needs and helping other businesses build programs that are inclusive and adapted for those with special needs. There's a bunch of us out there that - at the very least - understand and can talk intelligently about what you and your family deal with on a daily basis. Moving to liveaboard won't isolate you from that.

One of the things I teach those businesses - and it seems you recently "re-learned it" based on your post - is that everyone is unique and if you make assumptions about what someone CAN'T do, you'll never get to see what they CAN do. I'm very excited for you and your family!
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:03   #10
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Re: Liveaboard for life, how to you plead?

What a fantastically honest and transparent post!

It seems clear from the outside that you already know and have decided what right answer for your family is, and I hope you take this new opportunity to make it happen!

Don't forget... this, like all decisions can be changed.
No decision is permanent; though you may well decide to make it so!!

Fair winds!!!
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