Welcome to the coast!
Hello, I recently moved to Charleston SC from Nashville TN to take a firefighting position. Being land locked all my life I have not really known what it's like to live near the water. I have always had an itch inside me to live on the water and learn how to sail. I'm 25 years old and I think I have been on a sailboat once in my life. Since I've lived in Charleston I have spent many hours walking the marinas looking at sailboats but not knowing what I was really looking at.
Dockwalking. You won't stop doing that even after you know what you're looking at so that you can see how other people do stuff with their boats. It's also a perfect thing to do just to relax, take in a sunset, think lofty thoughts.
All I know is that I want to live this lifestyle. I have talked to a few liveaboards and everybody says I'm young and to take the plunge.. Hey what do I have to lose?? I guess my problem is is that there is sooo much information I don't really know where to start.
I suggest that you start with a CG Auxiliary or US Power and Sail Squadron boating course. You'll learn your legal responsibilities as a boat owner, the rules of the road, be able to ask questions, get experienced people to offer real life examples.
This will either turn you off completely or make you itch even more.
Then I suggest that you take an on-water American Sailing Association (ASA) course. 101 is Basic Keelboating.
Would it be a bad idea to buy a sailboat and live on it before learning how to sail??
That depends on you. You asked what you have to lose. Well, say you buy a sailboat and move onto it and hate it, or your SO hates it, or it's more expensive than you anticipated. It's a whole lot easier to move to another apartment than it is to sell a sailboat and not lose money.
You might want to first start researching types of boats, decide what size you want. Moving up a couple of feet in size dramatically
increases the expenses. Spend every spare minute going through the posts on this site. There is a wealth of information here and everyone is more than happy to answer questions.
Taking a plunge is one thing, dropping off a cliff is quite another. Good luck!