Join Date: Jul 2002
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Help…Logistics of Moving Aboard!
Ed, IMO it''s pretty tough to easily generalize about what the used boat marketplace can provide you. Instead, I''d suggest you plan on rolling up your sleeves and plan a lengthy visit or two in coastal areas - either before you move or after - finding out what is offered at the time you are looking. Real estate ads come to mind when I think of boat listings...
But I would like to challenge a couple of specifics on your ''what I want'' list. First, I don''t think it makes a lot of sense to put a certain electronics inventory on your ''must have'' A list. These days electronics are relatively cheap, interfacing issues (and therefore compatibility) is important, it''s easy to find you have more than you might need as you start out, and you''ll be looking at upgrade paths if your cruising takes you incrementally further from home. For all those reasons, whatever any boat might have will most likely need to be tweaked by you anyway. When you look at adding an HVAC system (for Florida), a robust, liveaboard DC electrical system, or just replacing the cushions & foam that you''ll be living with 24/7, a full suite of new electronics won''t seem hugely expensive by comparison...so I suggest you not make it part of your A list of priorities.
The other challenge has to do with refrigeration. If you do choose Florida (and potentially the islands) as your initial cruising grounds - as opposed e.g. to the Northwest or Great Lakes - then the reliability and efficiency of your reefer system could potentially have more impact on your lifestyle afloat (amount of battery charging and therefore engine servicing, storage room for desired amp/hr capacity, repair history) than any other single system. OTOH you''ll often find boats being offered with simple evaporator bin-type DC systems that require lots of amps but of course are easy to live with when one keeps the BYC (Big Yellow Cord) plugged in. As with electronics, you may well find that whatever the other attributes of a given boat, the reefer (and it''s box construction) won''t measure up to the demands of a long-term liveaboard lifestyle in a sub-tropical climate. It''s great that you posted your vocational info for us to see and you''re absolutely right - those trade skills will come in mighty handy to all the other boats in your anchorages <g>...and you, too. I''d just suggest that you might find the reefer is also one of those change-out activities that, sooner or later, will be unavoidable, and therefore might lie a bit lower on your ''A'' list, as well.
Good luck on the adventure. It''s a blast!