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Old 30-04-2017, 17:19   #1
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Potential live aboard with questions

Good morning or afternoon everyone.
I'm trying to make myself less ignorant as to what i may be getting myself into, any help is appreciated. i'm moving out of my apartment soon and am looking for something which suites my needs better. Are there any live aboards which could sum up typical monthly costs (i know that's fairly hard to answer) and problems of being a live aboard?

To sum of why i'm looking into this:
Reduce my monthly bills, i currently pay around $1300 a month for my apartment.
I'm a homebody and it's difficult to get myself somewhere without a reason and i'm looking to spend more time in the sun (i don't get a lot do to my job and being on a boat getting to fish/sail and an easier way to dive would help).
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Old 30-04-2017, 17:27   #2
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

Costs differ greatly from country to country and you don't say where you live. They also depend on whether you plan to moor in marina or at anchor.

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Old 30-04-2017, 17:29   #3
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

Sorry about that. The plan would be to Moore at a marina around Norfolk or Portsmouth, Virginia.
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Old 01-05-2017, 01:47   #4
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

need to also think about staying warm in the winter and boats are not insulated and get cold and damp and chew up a bunch of electricity to keep them dry and warm - as full time liveaboards who have retired we try not to run our electric heaters when we are not on the boat - - safety issue for us
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:06   #5
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Donn.
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Old 01-05-2017, 03:34   #6
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

Donn,

Your largest cost is going to be a slip rental, and that varies significantly based on location. The closer in to Portsmouth/Norfolk/Hampton you are, the greater the cost. The better the facilities (showers, laundry, pool, etc.) the greater the cost. Start calling around and getting rates. A good reference is the map on Active Captain where you can read reviews of marinas. While there won't be a lot of information about liveaboards at a given marina, it will give you other good information. You need to find a marina that allows and even encourages liveaboards, as many do not. Most marinas charge a slip fee and electric/water/cable fee, so when you inquire about costs make sure you ask if that is a separate charge.

Next up in expenses is boat maintenance, and that's a big topic. Suffice it to say, the bigger the boat or the older the boat, the more expensive it is going to be to maintain.

Outside of those two things, most of your expenses are going to be the same.

If you decide to live on the hook or a mooring, you can save on costs, but with a price; the means of auxiliary power generation and the logistics of getting yourself/water/fuel/groceries back and forth to the boat. I would not start out that way if you don't have experience with it in your area.
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Old 01-05-2017, 03:52   #7
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

I did this last year. My dock fees/electricity winds up being 60% of the cost for a 1 bedroom apt.

My food costs lowered as I'm more active and don't have as much fridge space.

Like you, in an apartment I tended to be more of a shut in/not motivated to get out. While smaller in square footage the boat feels bigger because the ICW is my backyard with lots to watch (dolphins, fish, birds, manatees, sunsets)

The people living on the docks seem more social than the apartment community.

Because of all the boat projects, living environment, lifestyle I'm more active and less stressed. Also lost 25lbs without trying in the first 6 months.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:35   #8
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

When cruising by your area we used to often anchor off Fort Monroe by the New Point Comfort Marina. I think the rates there would be about half your apartment cost even with a boat larger than you would need.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:49   #9
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

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Originally Posted by Donn View Post
Sorry about that. The plan would be to Moore at a marina around Norfolk or Portsmouth, Virginia.
You are still in the cold winter zone. Heating a live-a-board is a whole set of issues as is protecting your hull from the water freezing. You should do some local research as to how the locals handle things ASAP. You may have to get used to wearing lots of clothing indoors and super fast showers. Unless insulated boats are hard to keep heated.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:56   #10
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

In Seattle, a liveaboard slip for a 38-footer is about $650. Add in $100 for boat insurance and $150 to own a car we otherwise wouldn't need, because apartments are near transit lines and the marinas aren't. Then add on about $4k/year (~$300/month) in maintenance costs, done with no hired labor (your costs may vary). We've spent more on upgrades for cruising, but if you just want to live at dock you might not need that.

Then add let's say $10k boat depreciation amortized over 10 years, about $100/month.

That comes out to about $1300, which is about the same as a 400 sq ft studio apartment in a prime neighborhood near downtown with good transit accessibility. I compare to 400 sq ft because our boat is about 350 sq ft.

Obviously there are big other differences. But my point being, if you only want to live on a boat to save housing costs and wouldn't want to otherwise own a boat, I don't think it's a cost savings by a large margin. If you would otherwise own a boat *and* an apartment, then living aboard is a big cost savings.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:19   #11
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

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Also lost 25lbs without trying in the first 6 months.

That would be nice. Maybe we should stop by for a couple of months and try to reproduce your schedule.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:30   #12
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

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That would be nice. Maybe we should stop by for a couple of months and try to reproduce your schedule.
I'll supply all the sand paper and painting supplies you can use, won't even charge you like a gym subscription... Money back guarantee.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:46   #13
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

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You are still in the cold winter zone. Heating a live-a-board is a whole set of issues as is protecting your hull from the water freezing. You should do some local research as to how the locals handle things ASAP. You may have to get used to wearing lots of clothing indoors and super fast showers. Unless insulated boats are hard to keep heated.
Heating is definitely a concern. Around the Chesapeake, a couple of oil filled radiators work, plugged into the dock, but built in heat is necessary during cold snaps to stay comfortable. How much of what is a function of how large the boat and how well insulated it is.

Another option is to shrink wrap the boat in clear plastic during winter. Protects the boat from snow and ice and makes it much much easier to keep warm. A lot of live aboards in Annapolis do that. It ain't cheap but it's cheaper than adding built in heat if you don't have it and it has the benefit of protection.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:28   #14
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

Living aboard is generally a not cheap apartment alternative. Unless you are living in a place with outrageous rents like the Florida Keys, a nice studio apartment with good transportation access will give you more space, lots more storage, no exposure to loss of capital (marine repairs are not cheap), no need for a car and most likely a monthly cash saving. A small houseboat might alter the picture which is why you seldom see inexpensive used houseboats for sale.
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Old 01-05-2017, 10:29   #15
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Re: Potential live aboard with questions

It is a common enuff fallacy subscribed to by many a landlubber that you can cut your living expenses by "moving aboard". I say "fallacy" advisedly! "Living aboard" is a lifestyle fraught with complexities no lubber can foresee without doing some SERIOUS analysis of what's involved.

Your "lifestyle" will be affected in ways you cannot be expected to foresee until you've "seen the movie". If you have "passive income" of sufficient magnitude, then by all means indulge yourself. But wishing to reduce a $1,300/mnth rent would suggest that that is not your case. If you live on "earned income", meaning "from month to month", or even "from hand to mouth", you need to consider if you can live aboard and yet protect your income source. If you are, say, an articling young lawyer, how will you keep your "uniform" - the business suit - looking crisp? How are you going to manage to exude your usual well-groomed scent when you don't have a hot shower every morning because there is no hot water in the boat. If you are a forklift driver in some "logistics" warehouse in some distant "industrial park" on the opposite side of town from where your boat lies, neither place being "adequately" served by public transit, how are you gonna get to work? How often can you be late without getting the can? Are you, as might well be the case in Vancouver, gonna incur bridge tolls in the amount of threehunnertbux or more per month?

Others have spoken in terms of dollars. I concur with them. Your TOTAL budget needs to be bigger if you move aboard than if you simply stay put. In an apartment, if the landlord doesn't repair the leaking tap, you just walk away with no repercussions. Or you have the plumber repair it, and deduct the cost from the next month's rent. Once you become a boat owner, you are permanently lashed to the mast and the financial cat-o-nine-tails begins to sing his song. In this glutted market it can take many months, even years, to dispose of a boat. Disposal costs will be yours to bear. To assassinate a frozen snot boat and dispose of the cadaver might set you back ten grand.

If you really, really want to be a sailor, then do yourself a favour and do a REALISTIC comparative budget measuring the costs of living as you currently do against the cost of being a "live-aboard"

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