I searched for posts that would enlighten me to my exact situation, nothing seemed to tell me that I could be making a really bad decision, or maybe a good one. That said, my wife and I are considering selling our house and moving aboard a boat with our 2 children (son 8, daughter 5). I can't seem to find a post in any liveaboard forum that speaks specifically about the pros and cons of just living aboard a boat this size as a family in a slip in San Diego, raising kids, learning to sail, living in a floating condo for just that reason.
Have you or your wife ever been on a boat for extended periods of time? If not, you might want to try staying on a boat for a week or so before making this leap. If you and your wife are susceptible to sea sickness of any serious sort, you would probably be better off finding out before making a commitment that is hard to change.
Our plan... this is where I need to know if I am crazy, or if this might actually work. Sell the house, buy a 50 foot boat with 3 staterooms and and liveaboard in a marina in San Diego (Shelter Island, or near by) while the kids go to school in Pt. Loma. The reason for this is that we are tired of paying a huge mortgage and are looking to simplify life and save some money for our future. We are tired of the concrete jungle and keeping up with the Jones's. We are incredibly close and are the kind of family who can be in close quarters together. We are a very adventurous and out doors family, camping regularly, traveling the world. I am an avid surfer and diver, the ocean is my home away home.
Instead of getting a 50' boat, you might want to consider getting a smaller catamaran, like a Gemini 105Mc instead. The boat will likely be far less expensive—since a Gemini can be had for about $170,000 new, versus $400,000 for a 50' monohull, and it will have about as much interior space. Also, a catamaran will be far more comfortable at anchor or a slip than a monohull, since it will not roll.
Your costs will also be much lower, since most marinas charge by the foot for many services including slips, and a Gemini is narrow enough that it will not incur additional charges for excessive beam and fits in a standard 40' slip.
I have read many threads about the difficulties of just getting a slip this big as a liveaboard. Also how the lifestyle or those other liveaboards around us may not be the best environment to raise our kids in. Whether it is safe or not for my wife and kids while I am at work all day?
Why would you think this? If you pick a good marina, then the other liveaboards will be a huge bonus...just like any neighborhood on land. Pick the wrong marina... then your neighbors will be problematic, just like it can be on dry land.
I really just want or need to hear that this is either a terrible idea, or one that will work if we make it work. I know that there are lots of challenges with owning a boat, all the maintenance etc. Will we even be able to find a liveaboard slip for a boat this size? We are willing to accept and embrace this lifestyle, it is what we think want to do in preparation for eventually departing on a global cruising adventure once the kids are on their own.
Ideally, you should keep the boat close to ready to sail.... living on a boat that isn't ready to go will be frustrating, especially if you want to take short weekend trips.