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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 04-06-2010
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How to become a live aboard?

Hi Everyone,

I have been sailing since I could swim, which I have been doing since I could walk and recently met someone who told me about her and her husband's grand plans to live on a boat 12 months a year in Boston. What hooked me was that she explained the costs and how it wasnt something only millionaires could do. So I am 1.5 yr out from when I would hope and be able to move onto a boat. What do I need to do and where do I find info on it all? (boat size, type etc) Obviously, I need to acquire a boat and find a location where I can get a 12 month slip but besides that I dont know where to start? Any help, guidance, thoughts etc would be greatly appreciated.

To my new grand plan
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Old 04-06-2010
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It would help if you said:

A) What your expected budget for the boat will be
B) Where you would like to liveaboard
C) What, if any, requirements you have for the boat, location or marina

People have lived aboard boats as small as 24' LOA. You may have to make some serious compromises if you plan to liveaboard on a budget.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 04-06-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newfound13 View Post
Hi Everyone,

I have been sailing since I could swim, which I have been doing since I could walk and recently met someone who told me about her and her husband's grand plans to live on a boat 12 months a year in Boston. What hooked me was that she explained the costs and how it wasnt something only millionaires could do. So I am 1.5 yr out from when I would hope and be able to move onto a boat. What do I need to do and where do I find info on it all? (boat size, type etc) Obviously, I need to acquire a boat and find a location where I can get a 12 month slip but besides that I dont know where to start? Any help, guidance, thoughts etc would be greatly appreciated.

To my new grand plan
I'll share some of what we are doing. We are not rich. Currently we both have decent paying full time jobs.

More details can be found here:

The Freedom Project

Anyway, we added up all the costs (the load) if you will, of living in our home. These included the mortgage, homeowners insurance, HOA dues, utilities (gas, electric, cable). That number came to be known as DryHome costs.

Then we added up all the costs (the load) of living in a marina on a boat This number is called WaterHome costs.

Those costs were comprised of estimates of:

1) boat payment

this was based on the asking prices we are seeing for boats in our size range -- 38-45 feet long and the financing estimates for the balance after down payment.

2) moorage (liveaboard costs more here) in a marina

3) insurance for the boat loan

4) liability insurance if we live in a port of seattle marina

5) utilities

6) boat maintenance ($6000 per year which equals $500 a month) going into a savings plan. I've been told this is a pretty good number by quite a few experienced boaters and brokers.

DryHome Dollars - WaterHome Dollars = about 1.5 K savings.


I've built up a spreadsheet with all the costs, so we can verify out estimates as we go along including up front costs like, down payment, surveying fee, hauling costs for survey, and licensing of boat, etc. All those are known and reasonable.

We have also built a down payment by selling off stuff that we don't want (cars, scooters, bicycles, etc) or can't have on the boat or don't want to store.

So it makes sense for us to do it, financially.

And that's how we are doing it.
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Last edited by blackjenner; 04-06-2010 at 03:08 PM.
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I'm in this process now, so I can cover what I've been going through.

First you need to outlay what your reasons are for living aboard. Do you just like marinas and what to live on a barge at a dock? Do you want to sail around the world? Do you want the ability to pick up and instantly move elsewhere but don't plan on extended cruises? Do you want to spend your weekends anchored out and the week at the dock so you can commute to work?

If you lay down how you want to live, that sets a groundwork for a budget. For me, I want to be able to work part of a year, save up and then spend the other part out cruising. The less money I owe to a bank the more time I can spend away from dock, so I want a boat I can pay off sooner rather than later.

Next you need to realistically assess your lifestyle needs. Right now, when you get home from a hard day's work if you like to crash back on the couch, crack open a cold beer and watch the game, then a boat lifestyle that supports that will probably be more successful. How much stuff will you be taking with you? Are you cool with getting out of your boat at 6am in sub zero weather to take a shower? If that sounds miserable, maybe find a boat with a separate shower stall. You gotta be realistic in your needs. Less is more, you're gonna have to give up some things, but you also can't be miserable.

Personally I'm finding the above two things to be really creating a balancing act of "What boat do I want". I want to go big enough to meet MY unique needs of comfort and livability, but anymore than that and I'm delaying my ability to start my lifestyle dream of breaking away from land for long periods of cruising.

Once you get that down, it gets easier. Read up on everything, look at boats to make sure they'll suit you, save up for the up front costs, understand how much you'll need to put away each month for boat maintenance, visit marinas to see if you'd want to live there, talk to insurance and financing companies... then do it
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Hey Sailingdog,

1. My expected budget for a boat would be between 30 and 50 grand depending on the size and condition of boat.
2. I am looking to live aboard in a marina in the Boston area assume there are slips available.
3. My only requirement for a boat would be some sort of heating source (or capable of installing one), but besides that I am open to seeing what is out there. My dream would be to have a dark navy colored hull, random I know, but I have always loved the look of them.

Thanks
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$30-50 can get you a fairly decent boat in the 30' range and still leave you enough to have some budget for re-fitting, upgrading and customizing it.

I'd also have to ask what kind of sailing you'd want to do with the boat? If you aren't going to be sailing the boat, buy an old poweboat, which will have much more living space than any sailboat you could afford.

Your best bet for a liveaboard slip is probably Constitution Marina, which has a long history and tradition of liveaboard sailors. They're not the least expensive, but unlike many other Boston area marinas, they're open year round.

As for boats, there are plenty of boats in the 30' range that might work for you. Few of the boats in the 30' range have a built-in shower, and fewer still have a separate shower compartment. Given your budget, you'll be looking at older boats... I'd recommend looking at boats in the $30-35k range, pricewise, and you'll probably be able to purchase them for a bit less than asking price.

I'd recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether any boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey on boats that aren't worth looking at further.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 04-06-2010
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Another marina consideration is amenities. mine has showers/bathrooms (and a bar lol), and depending on how your boat is equipped may be useful. i hate using my tank... so the landbased donnaker is nice. and the bar.

its fun... i fish every day and there is an owl and a blue heron that always come say hello. along w/sailingdogs points when you are looking at boats weigh the 'good deal' against how much work you are willing to/capable of doing yourself. marina mechs are expensive, and usually get right of first refusal... however, as an advisor i have clients from all walks of life who have been an invaluable resource for free tech help. well, free except the beer. so when evaluating how much work needs done, consider who you know that might be willing to help for some time on the water.

making pals with the guys at the shop helps too

good luck
have fun
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Old 04-06-2010
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Find your slip first,as by the sounds of it you are looking for housing so the boat is not to important. In that case look at ferrocement. Good insulation properties and you can find them around at very affordable prices.

Here is a 40 footer that would do nicely at an asking of 24.9k
1970 Seasmoke Sloop - Custom Ferro Cement Sail Boat For Sale -

OK you are not going to win any races but you will have a hull that is not going to rot rust or develop osmosis.
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Old 04-06-2010
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Be aware that getting insurance for a ferrocement boat can be very difficult in the USA. They have a well-deserved history of being pretty badly built boats, since most ferrocement boats were home-built and badly at that. There were a very few rare production ferrocement boats which were fairly well made, and at first glance difficult to tell from a GRP boat in many ways, but most are not worth consideration IMHO.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 04-07-2010
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There is a good-sized liveaboard community at Constitution Marina in Boston; do some dockwalking in the early evening and talk to folks who are already doing what you are considering. There is a Boston Liveaboards e-mail group on Yahoo that might be useful to you as well. There is also a global Liveaboard list on Yahoo.
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