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Old 20-04-2009, 21:31   #1
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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San Francisco Liveaboard

Hi All, this is my first post, so please be gentle

My family is in the process of preparing to do some long term cruising, perhaps even circumnavigate if the kids are willing. We are starting to think about purchasing a boat. In order to stay on budget (or even expedite some) we really need to live aboard. We've been on a few liveaboard lists for over 5 years now (though I'm no longer sure which ones), but I have slim hope of ever coming up.

Can anyone advise me on how to proceed. Are there marina's that will look the other way? Is there any way to get "promoted" on these lists? When we berthed in EmeryCove for example, we were told that buying a slip would <wink wink> ya know <wink wink>.
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Old 20-04-2009, 22:04   #2
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Living aboard is a great way to go, but you need to be in the right location to make it possible and affordable. There are bazillions of places that don't want liveaboards.

When we completed our circumnavigation and returned to Florida, we were surprised that liveaboards were almost treated like lepers in Fort Lauderdale. It was extremely hard to find a place that would take liveaboards, and it was rediculously expensive.

I would try to find a job in a region that is friendly toward liveaboards, but I don't have a clue where that would be. Most marinas are people optional boat parking lots that only want your money, but they don't want to be part of a liveaboard community.

Good luck in your quest.
Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only
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Old 21-04-2009, 07:28   #3
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The farther out you get from San Francisco the more likely you are to find a marina with a shorter waiting list. The government limits marinas on the bay to a maximum of 10% liveaboards, and many marinas keep that number at 0%. Expect to pay $200-250 extra as a liveaboard "fee".

We scouted things out about 6 months in advance, visiting every marina in the general area where we wanted to be, and talking to each harbormaster. Take your boat paperwork with pictures of the exterior of the boat. Harbormasters love it when you have it all together. Check back every few months.

It'll be an order of magnitude harder since you don't already have the boat. And with kids it will also be more difficult as no marina wants that liability (though it helps if the kids have been around boats, members of a yacht club, or something like the Sea Scouts).

Slips are available if you are open to area and have the time to do the footwork (walk-in seems to work best). We spent 10 months farther from my work than we really wanted to be, until a slip opened up closer.

The size of your boat will, to a degree, dictate your success. Some marinas have a minimum size for liveaboard, yet bigger slips are harder to find. Finding a berth for our 21' beam really limited our options.
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Old 21-04-2009, 07:38   #4
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California may have much better weather for livingaboard, but it seems the PNW might be a little more friendly towards liveaboards. I was approved for liveaboard instantaneously, and I don't pay any extra.

Hm, is San Diego any better? I know they have tons of moorage...always been curious about their liveaboards?
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Old 21-04-2009, 07:43   #5
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I know before I left the Bay Area. The marina I stayed had an 8 year waiting list. I believe it is good advice the further away from the city the more likely to find accommodations.

I think you will want to be upfront. Having a marina look the other way can lead you to being subject to their whims. Even tossed because they don't like you, or something about you. Usually those that look the other way have had a very long term relationship with the marina already......BEST WISHES in finding a good berth to meet your needs.....i2f
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liveaboard, san francisco

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