I've just signed my first marina lease
agreement as a liveaboard
today (3-month lease). I have been a full time coastal cruiser for the past two years and I too have felt some of the negative perceptions associated with being a liveaboard
, particularly in Florida
. Am here now in Biloxi, MS as a liveaboard due to having a marketable skill (marine electrician and general engine
mechanic) and was hired by a local marine
contractor who had heard of me through word-of-mouth. So, building up the cruising kitty for a few months. I've been visiting this marina for the past couple of months as a transient and then would anchor
nearby and row ashore for work
so I am already familiar with the marina.
In this marina there are 7 liveaboards. Of those, 2 boats are in rough shape due to the owners lacking funds to maintain them...although they are trying and it is readily apparent (clean, decks squared away...just old boats that need some (expensive) loving. The remainder of the liveaboards maintain their boats to a good,or better, level and and take pride in them. All of them create a great community which the marina manager (also a liveaboard here) has stated that he appreciates their value in terms of marina security
, picking up much of the trash left by the weekenders, and the general helpfulness of each of the individuals towards each other, the marina and transients/weekenders/dockwalkers.
Three abandoned boats in the marina and a few rough looking boats that haven't been visited by their owners in years. Another that is nothing more than a "Party Pad" that the owner uses to bring his latest girlfriend too. Nothing to do with liveaboards there.
Enforcement of the lease
agreements by the marina is not entirely possible due to absentee owners, laws regarding abandonment, etc. Other parts
of the leases are held to very loose standards (no swimming in the marina...but you can dive on your boat to clean the hull
and running gear
, for example). Insurance is required, as is valid and current
outs are enforced...you don't do it yourself (for free), the marina does it for you and you get charged for it (which I think is a good idea). Liveaboards are asked to get underway at least once a month to demonstrate operability. If unable to do so, inform the marina why and they will work
with you (Which again, I think is also good idea). These are only a couple of examples and are not perfect solutions to the generally "perceived" liveaboard problem in a marina, I know, but it goes a long way towards maintaining a harmonious relationship between the marina management and the liveaboards here.
On the other side of the issue, I have also been in marinas, mooring
fields and anchorages
that do indeed contribute to the bad rap that liveaboards can get (i.e. the indigent, broke hurricane
victims, criminal elements, etc.). It's not unlike any poverty stricken area in a city. However, IMO liveaboards and shoestring sailors in rough looking boats are just more visible to landlubbers who can afford the prices associated with living on a waterfront somewhere and pressures placed on law enforcement.
Just my thoughts....