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Old 23-09-2003, 00:08   #1
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Living Aboard

Sure would be nice to see more happening with this area. Perhaps those that are actually doing it have better things to do with their time. I'm sure I would/will ... but what about those that live on the water but aren't currently under way ?

I also wonder about keeping some land base of operations or another. Aside from family heirlooms (both currently possessed & anticipated) my tools and a couple of cars are the only things I own that I simply can't part with. The cars both fall into the heirloom category & will eventually be passed on. Further, my tools are far beyond anything that I could carry on less than a barge but would all be useful in the restoration & (or) maintenance of any boat. Many of my tools are also heirlooms that were passed to me & I intend to pass them on as well, they can't just go away.

Maybe one currently living aboard can offer a thumb up or down on this idea ... it's occurred to me that I may be able to find a do-able building at or close to a dock. This may be easier to do inland & that's fine, I live on the Ohio River but I say that only because I don't know the salt water coasts like I know the mud water coasts.

What I'm considering is the adaptive re-use of a small commercial building that would be large enough for shop space with a loft above or maybe all of the space I require on upper floor(s). Perhaps even enough of a building to allow renting a portion of it (like the potentially very wet ground floor) to offset costs & enhance security.

My hope would be that such a building could be found close to or actually at an agreeable marina. Ideally, all possessions of any significance, including tools & machines, would go well above flood stage while I travel. Perhaps a tall order, but something that I'll be looking for as I troll up & down the river.

A building here in town is what got me thinking along these lines ... it's an old tool shop in an area that is gradually rezoning from industrial to retail/residential. It's a total of 9000 square feet with 2000 or so of it being office space & it's built like a freakin' fortress. The building's been empty for nearly 5 years, the price tag is right about exactly the equity I have in my house & steadily dropping to the value of the land, less the structure. (yes, ladies, I know, I know)

Considering how much I enjoyed a carriage house I had as a young bachelor (six bays, nice apartment above) I think this would be just the ticket for me & franky don't care if it repels women.

I don't personally require anywhere near 9000 sq ft but the above building is an example of what I would hope to find, preferably close enough to the water to allow berthing the boat alongside. The idea of the building actually being at or very near a marina is simply for convenience & perhaps also a security feature. There are numerous live aboard communities along the Ohio & having watchful friends & (or) tenants within that community would ease my mind as I travel.

Comments ?

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Old 22-10-2003, 02:28   #2
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Boat as Home?

Does a boat make a good home?

Maggie & I lived-aboard and cruised a small sailboat (C&C29) for nine years. We spent the winters cruising the Bahamas, and the summers docked (& working) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We loved the lifestyle(s)!

But, on any rational basis, a boat makes a poor home. Compare almost any boat to a house of equivalent value. For instance; the house is likely to have more room, better heating/cooling, better cooking & bathroom facilities, and less exposure to catastrophic damage, among many other advantages.

A boat is not a cheap home. Liveaboard dockage is becoming ever more difficult to find, and commensurately more expensive. We started out paying about $300 USD / month (1992/93) for very nice facilities - and by Christmas of 2000 were paying well over $600/mo for the same facility. This, for a hole in the water, and use of a shoreside bathroom.

So what attracts people to the liveaboard lifestyle? For us, it was mainly the “other” half year (spent cruising) that kept us aboard. We couldn’t afford both shoreside and cruising homes, so made do with a compromise.

Rational analysis aside - there’s something about living aboard that’s difficult (for me) to describe. There’s the marine “ambiance”, the sense of community (among boaters), and just the feel of being afloat, near to one another (and our best ‘toy’). Somehow, it’s more than these. Is it the challenge of living well with few tangible resources, or perhaps a perverse masochism?

I don’t know why anyone should really love the liveaboard lifestyle - I just know that we do!

I’ve done just as poor a job, describing the attraction to my shore-bound family and friends, as I’ve done here. What is it that attracts you to the liveaboard experience?

My apologies for straying so far from Troubledour’s query.

BTW, it seems (to me) that liveaboard dockage offers a much higher rate of return (on investment) than does the adjascent rental Apartment. Our landlord got >$625/mo rent on a $15K dock, and about $2,000/mo. on a $200K apartment. (24 month payback vs 100 month). Dockage had about 95% occupancy rate, whereas Apartments had about 75%. I've not factored in the operating expences, which also favour the docks.

Not my field of expertise, but it seems that you may be on to something.


Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 29-04-2007, 14:00   #3
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We have our home on sailboat water here in SW Florida. We will be retiring next year and heading out for an extended cruise of who knows how long. But, because of land value we will continue to make the house payment because we could never afford to purchase on sailboat water again. We can close it up and will not rent it out due to all the problems that can be encountered including if we needed to come home.
Good luck on deciding.
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Old 30-04-2007, 09:46   #4
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We sold our home last year and moved on board. I found that I had taged quite a bit of stuff as things that I just could not or would not part with and we rented a large storage bin to put all of this stuff. Six months after moving on board I started to realize that almost everything I put in storage that I just could not part with at that time was really not needed. I got rid of at least 1/2 of that stuff and moved into a smaller storage shed. Now 12 months later I am thinking that I could probably get rid of more of these things that seemed so important at the time.
I think for me it just made me feel more comfortable to hold onto all of these things because lets face it selling everything and moving on a boat is a big step. The more I became comfortable with my new life the more I was willing to give up on my old life.
I have to say that the 1st few months of living on board were difficult especially since we were on a mooring so getting my daughter to school every morning seemed to be a real challenge. There were days when I really asked myself what I had gotten myself into. Gord is right when he says that a house really is a easier place to live.
All that being said there are days that I wake up and think that I am the luckiest person in the world, I have a beautiful boat and dreams of what is to come when we start to cruise which more than makes up for the difficulties that we face living aboard now.
I had alot of stuff when we lived in our large home but I know we did not have nearly what we have now.
I believe that whatever you decide now may or may not change in the future. So make plans but be flexible and don't be affraid to make changes if they feel right to you.
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Old 06-08-2007, 21:08   #5
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It's not that life ashore displeases me, just life at sea is better. Ties to land bind the vessel and heart in destructive ways. Things can be bought usually better and cheaper. Things in storage time and disuse destroy. Besides you'll need the money to outfit and refit you new home that goes were you go. The experiences are priceless and can't be purchased online, or at any store.
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Old 07-08-2007, 04:57   #6
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Your idea of a converted commercial property sounds appealing. There are commercial docks that are for sale along the East Coast. The fishing industry is still trying to make it financially but there are those selling out. Dock and building all in one package. Of course, the cost of flood insurance and hurricanes come with the east coast territory. If you are going to pass on the family heirlooms in the future, why not do it now so you do not have the expense of upkeep? This will also cut down on the size of the building. When property was less expensive, I looked for a house on the water. Now, if I tried to buy where I live, I could not afford to buy the land.

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Old 07-08-2007, 06:38   #7

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The workshop idea is definitley possible. I knew a guy in NY who did just this. He even set it up so he lived in a small room in the workshop with his wife (their boat was located in the same place at the dock). The workshop house/building was rented from the owner of the marina. I'm sure this would work.
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Old 07-08-2007, 07:57   #8
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I took a different approach. Note that I already owned a full size pickup truck (F250SD) set up for towing. I bought a dual-axle box trailer. I keep all my tools inside and it is set up so I can use it as a shop for small projects. I keep a couple of folding tables to set up more work space outside. The biggest problem is unloading the storage boxes to make room for working and then loading them back in.

I've had this setup for a couple of years and it is working well for me.
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Old 07-08-2007, 08:26   #9

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Wow... very nice approach. I like the idea that the workshop can move at the same time as the boat does.

Originally Posted by Auspicious
I took a different approach. Note that I already owned a full size pickup truck (F250SD) set up for towing. I bought a dual-axle box trailer. I keep all my tools inside and it is set up so I can use it as a shop for small projects. I keep a couple of folding tables to set up more work space outside. The biggest problem is unloading the storage boxes to make room for working and then loading them back in.

I've had this setup for a couple of years and it is working well for me.
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