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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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  #1  
Old 05-29-2010
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College liva aboard

My apologies if this has been covered before, I searched and could not find such a topic.

I am 23 about to be a junior in college. I have a very strong desire to live aboard and was wondering if it is doable for someone in my situation.

If I live on campus in the dorms then I will be paying 6000 a year for simply living on campus. If I live off campus I won't have to pay that 6000. I will also be getting 750 a month Basic Army Housing pay with the new GI bill. That would essentially be my budget. I would also be adding in my 200 a month drill pay. So essentially I would have the 6000 to start of with and then about a 1000 a month to make this possible. This also includes buying a boat.

The slip I would stay at is on a lake and is around 2000 a year with electricity. 195 a month to be exact. Cheaper ones do exist but this is 16' by 40' and more than likely the only one that would fit whatever boat I got. Another possibility is a mooring buoy but I'm not sure how practical that would be. Although it is only 605 for a year.

My sailing experience is very limited. When I was 14 I got the small boat sailing merit badge in Boy Scouts and that is it.

I have read "The Essentials of Living Aboard." and have a general understanding of what I will be getting into.

I am not looking at sailing as a short time endeavor. From what I have read about sailing and living aboard is that people far to often talk about it and plan to do it but never do. So what I have here is an opportunity to do it and if it is possible on the above budget than I will go for it. It is something I am seriously considering doing after I graduate as well but if that were to occur it would be on the coast and not a lake.

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.
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Old 05-29-2010
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In the late 90's I looked at several boats in Charleston, SC that were purchased by parents for their then student kids at Med School there. These were very lightly used, seldom sailed and in primo condition.

I wish I could get my boat to an affordable slip in Stamford, CT for the summer, as a ROOM there is $250 a week. Short term rentals are non-existent. I know, we just moved my junior son up for an internship.

If you are a busy student, and are used to typical dorm rooms, you will be excited to have a boat. They offer privacy, comfort and space unlike a dorm. Especially if you are there to sleep shower and shave and back to work or school.

You then have the added benefit of beautiful sunsets and an experience unlike others. I would consider it seriously as an option.

all the best
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Old 05-29-2010
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It's great your into sailing and wanting to live aboard a boat at your age. I'm young (25) like you and I hardly ever run into people my age that have an appreciation for sailing like I do so its nice to hear from someone else.

I would say if you can swing it on that budget than definetly do it - it will be a great experience and you will learn a ton about boats in general. I don't know how much boats are going to cost in your neck of the woods and how big and in what condition you are looking for, but it may be tough to find one big enough for a live aboard and in descent condition. I started off with a small 25' sloop that I lived on every weekend and a couple weeknights (other nights I spent with my gf). When I bought the boat I thought it would be perfect as it was in pristine shape and as my first boat it felt plenty big to me at first. However I wound up only keeping it a year before trading up to a 32' for more room and accomodations (head, real stove, plumbing, electric, standing head room, radar, shower, etc, etc.) In that one year I found out that I absolutely loved sailing and being on the boat but the 25' just felt more like camping out as oppossed to living on a boat.

Now I love the 32' and feel so lucky to be able to have it and enjoy it so much but the downside is it was much more expensive. You can probably find a 25'-27' boat in pretty good sailing and live aboard condition for under $6k, but it could get real small, real quick. Now if you move up to a larger boat say around 30' or more the problem is the cost goes up exponetionally quick because instead of having real basic electric and plumbing, they have much more complex systems and more of them. So you may find a larger boat for under $6k but unless it is an absolute steal it probably won't be in the best shape.

One big point is that a lot of this stuff is very subjective-both the condition and the size of boats. As for myself personally, I am a neat freak and I only looked at and currently keep my boat in pristine condition and would not look at boats that were messy and in poor shape. However there are plenty of people who have different opinions and don't mind living aboard a wreck - to them they are just happy having the boat and that is abolutely fine. The same goes for size. I am 6'3 and needed a bigger boat because for what I used the boat for (mainly sailing and sleeping and living aboard) 25' was too small. For others 25' is perfectly fine.

So in all to sum things up I think you can get by with a smallish boat in your budget in pretty good shape or you can one slightly larger that needs a lot of work but will give you more space all depending on what you can tolerate as a person. Once you have the boat you will find that they are also a lot of money just for upkeep and that goes for any boat even ones in perfect condition brand new off the showroom floor so the montly budget may also be tight. Between moorage, maintenance and upgrades I probably spend $8-$12k per year so it does get costly. With all that said though, there is nothing better than sitting in the cockpit of your own boat watching the sunset knowing she is all yours.

As a matter of fact, I'm getting ready to head down to the marina in about an hour to go spend the night on mine for the Memorial Day weekend and even now after 3 years of owning her I still get goosebumps and extremely excited at the thought of staying aboard and just being on the water and to do it at such a young age is great.

Sorry for such a long post but I guess I feel I can relate to being young and wanting to get and live on a boat more than anything else in the world. For me the dream came true so hopefully it does for you as well. Best of luck!

-Nick
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Old 05-29-2010
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I'd say do it.
There are some pocket cruisers in a smallish size that are fairly accomodating, especially since you already have the skill of living out of a footlocker. Your GI Bill will keep you "afloat" and pay off your boat and living expenses too. Plus, if you keep a clean vessel, I'd suspect that dinners aboard ship with a lady might turn out to be very romantic!
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Old 05-30-2010
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I am 22, go to UW, live aboard on Lake Union. I would prefer being on the hook but it is impractical anywhere near UW.

Once I finish school it's free rent for me. I live on a 26'. The smallest (read cheapest) thing with standing headroom.

I love it.
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Old 05-30-2010
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I'm another youngster who's been at this in a 30 foot boat for a year. There is great truth in the statement that a dorm room is training for a liveaboard. Anyway here are some points of consideration.

you could get a boat on ebay or craigslist.
don't know what it is where you are, but around here a survey is $20 a foot. for a good survey you gotta haul the boat out to see the bottom and splash it for a sea trial, so you need to account for a haul n launch.

To get a 30 foot boat inspected, for me, cost $1000 because the previous owner wouldnt come and insisted i hire a captain for the sea trial.

After that, you're making repairs to get the boat in liveable conditon. Oftentimes, the windows are leaky and need caulking (or butyl tape if you don't like to redo it every year), the ac wiring is insufficient to carry a space heater, the plumbing may need something.

All these first time expenses point to the necessity to get a loan for the boat purchase.

After that, there's regular maintenance. Sanding and painting the bottom is expensive and filthy, and even more expensive to have it done. Engines cost money to maintain, unless you're mechanically inclined.

You can get insurance from boatus for not much. I recommend towing insurance if you go sailing, tows are ridiculously expensive.

Points of consideration when looking at boats
-Does it have a head? How big is the holding tank?
-Does it have a fridge? These are valuable!!
-Does it have a shower and hot water?
-Can you stand up in it?
-If you run a space heater, will it trip the breaker? Will it burn up the shore power cord?
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Old 06-04-2010
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My apologies on the delayed response, I have been busy these past few days.

It would be nice if I could come across a boat someones parent bought for them. That would probably be ideal but considering the size of the town and lake it is unlikely I think.

Ideally I would like 30' boat from what I have read but as long as I have standing head room I think I would be fine. As long as I can stand up(im 5'10) than I will be good. Living in a small space is good with me. I wouldn't have any problem with that. One thing is that is the total of my budget. I have no intention of going into debt for this endeavor. This is one of my lifes goals. To remain debt free except for the purchase of a house. So ideally the boat would be around 6000 and in decent shape. I do realize this may be hard to come by.

I don't mind having to do some fixing up but I'm not sure what type of time I'll have for major fixes. I do plan on fixing what I can being that having someone else do it costs much more. Not to mention it makes me a more sufficient sailor being able to do it myself.

The boat I'll be looking for will be for sailing just as much as it will be for living. Eventually, perhaps right after I graduate I would like to move down to the coast. At that point I would like to have a 30' boat. Something along the lines of an Alberg 30.

If I were to end up not living in a boat what type of sailboat would be good to get for just day sailing? It would need be something that would help improve my skills for sailing a larger boat.
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Old 06-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevo39th View Post
I am 23 about to be a junior in college. I have a very strong desire to live aboard and was wondering if it is doable for someone in my situation.
Do it! I'm 25, graduated a few years ago, and wish I had done this. Instead, I ended up having a horrible experience renting rooms in College.

It's cheaper, and way more fun to live on a sailboat.

There's no reason to graduate with tons of debt. Get a part time job on campus, hopefully in your field of study. You'll find that this is actually a far MORE useful an education than the classes, and will provide you enough money to pay tuition if you can live simply, and cheaply. I don't know what you're studying, but as a scientist- I was able to publish 2 papers as an undergrad this way, which basically means I can get any job or grad school I want.

Graduating without debt and with a good sailboat will give you enormous freedom during, and after college!

Last edited by casioqv; 06-08-2010 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 06-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tager View Post
I am 22, go to UW, live aboard on Lake Union. I would prefer being on the hook but it is impractical anywhere near UW.
This was actually my plan also, but UW never reviewed my application, because they lost my transcripts... I ended up at OSU which was too landlocked to liveaboard.

Good to hear you're doing it, it sounds like a lot of fun. Do you ever hang out at the CWB (Center for Wooden Boats)? I was there a few weeks ago attending a workshop at the FHCRC, and I can't believe they let me take off in a fully restored 1930s Blanchard with nothing but a short checkout.

Last edited by casioqv; 06-08-2010 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 06-12-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevo39th View Post
My apologies if this has been covered before, I searched and could not find such a topic.

I am 23 about to be a junior in college. I have a very strong desire to live aboard and was wondering if it is doable for someone in my situation.

If I live on campus in the dorms then I will be paying 6000 a year for simply living on campus. If I live off campus I won't have to pay that 6000. I will also be getting 750 a month Basic Army Housing pay with the new GI bill. That would essentially be my budget. I would also be adding in my 200 a month drill pay. So essentially I would have the 6000 to start of with and then about a 1000 a month to make this possible. This also includes buying a boat.

The slip I would stay at is on a lake and is around 2000 a year with electricity. 195 a month to be exact. Cheaper ones do exist but this is 16' by 40' and more than likely the only one that would fit whatever boat I got. Another possibility is a mooring buoy but I'm not sure how practical that would be. Although it is only 605 for a year.

My sailing experience is very limited. When I was 14 I got the small boat sailing merit badge in Boy Scouts and that is it.

I have read "The Essentials of Living Aboard." and have a general understanding of what I will be getting into.

I am not looking at sailing as a short time endeavor. From what I have read about sailing and living aboard is that people far to often talk about it and plan to do it but never do. So what I have here is an opportunity to do it and if it is possible on the above budget than I will go for it. It is something I am seriously considering doing after I graduate as well but if that were to occur it would be on the coast and not a lake.

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.
Well is it just you and you don't have a big family and a lot of pets? If so why not do it? Here is the deal, you can own a yacht sailboat that is paid off, and save a lot of money instead of paying rent. The marina slip with electricity, plus boat insurance will be less then half of rent somewhere. You just have to keep up on the maintenance, thats basically it. Sure you will have to buy some accommadations when you first get it such as a stove, portable ac and heater, small fridge, and other necessary things. Some boats may already have a lot of this stuff. Then you will most likely have to do I little fixing up on it but it is so worth it in the end. I thinks its a great idea for a young single guy in college, especially if you are interested in sailing as a hobby too. Oh and make sure your marina has onsite showers and laundry. From what I seen, only the really big boats, the ones in the high 30ft range and up have showers. This all said, I am sure it will take a bit of getting used to but if and when you get used to it, I think you will come out ahead in the end. If I had to go back and know what I know now, I would have done that. Instead I waited until I was 40 to buy my first sailboat, man did I lose a lot of time. Well, for me its better late then never I guess.
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