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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 07-13-2010
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Non-Marina/Non-Crusing Liveaboard?

Alright, I'm new to the metro Washington DC area, and I'm hoping to transition into a liveaboard lifestyle. One question one of my sons asked has got me thinking and wondering whether an alternative to marina liveaboard living is possible.

What I am wondering is:
What is to stop someone from buying a liveaboard worthy boat, anchoring down the Potomac river a little ways out of the way, and using a smaller motorboat as a personal water taxi to a convenient marina?

My thoughts...

Pros:
1) The maria fee would be significantly less because one would only need to pay a non-liveaboard slip fee for the smaller boat/personal water taxi. The Main boat would pull into the marina once in a while to pump out, etc.
2) Your experience in cruising living would grow quickly since you would rely on your own gear on a daily basis
3) Experience true "off grid" living since you wouldn't have the benefits of shore power, landline, etc.
4) Solidarity / security since the only people to reach you would be other boaters
5) Mobility, you can move your liveaboard boat around for a different view, but still maintain the benefits of a marina
6) No waiting for a waitlist at marina's for liveaboard slips. Only a recreational slip is needed.

Cons:
1) Solidarity - not many neighbors to make conversation with
2) Legality (Although, who would stop you from doing this? I'm not certain there's anything explicitly against doing this)
3) Reliance on your own head facilities, no dockside facilities for showers, bathroom, laundry, etc.
4) You have two boats to maintain / insure

Thanks everyone for your insights, I really appreciate it!
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Old 07-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyPappy View Post
Alright, I'm new to the metro Washington DC area, and I'm hoping to transition into a liveaboard lifestyle. One question one of my sons asked has got me thinking and wondering whether an alternative to marina liveaboard living is possible.

What I am wondering is:
What is to stop someone from buying a liveaboard worthy boat, anchoring down the Potomac river a little ways out of the way, and using a smaller motorboat as a personal water taxi to a convenient marina?

My thoughts...

Pros:
1) The maria fee would be significantly less because one would only need to pay a non-liveaboard slip fee for the smaller boat/personal water taxi. The Main boat would pull into the marina once in a while to pump out, etc.
2) Your experience in cruising living would grow quickly since you would rely on your own gear on a daily basis
3) Experience true "off grid" living since you wouldn't have the benefits of shore power, landline, etc.
4) Solidarity / security since the only people to reach you would be other boaters
5) Mobility, you can move your liveaboard boat around for a different view, but still maintain the benefits of a marina
6) No waiting for a waitlist at marina's for liveaboard slips. Only a recreational slip is needed.

Cons:
1) Solidarity - not many neighbors to make conversation with
2) Legality (Although, who would stop you from doing this? I'm not certain there's anything explicitly against doing this)
3) Reliance on your own head facilities, no dockside facilities for showers, bathroom, laundry, etc.
4) You have two boats to maintain / insure

Thanks everyone for your insights, I really appreciate it!
The main issue would be security. A boat tied up in a slip or tied to a properly installed mooring is going to be far safer, especially in heavy weather than a boat anchored out usually will be. Also, if you're working while living aboard, do you really trust your anchor day after day in a river environment to hold your home safe?

Also, your boat would be far easier to steal or break into, since it isn't going to have the safety of the marina's security and the other boaters around it more likely than not.

Also, in the DC area, there probably aren't too many places you could anchor out for extended periods of time without raising the attention of local LEOs.

Being in a slip, means that you can use the marina's shore-based facilities, and that often that means the difference between looking presentable for work or like something the cat dragged in.

Also, your insurance company may have issues with this, and getting insurance to do it may be more difficult.
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Old 07-13-2010
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Sailing Dog, thank you for your reply. I really appreciate it!

You bring up many excellent points, most of which I did not think of. I suppose there are ways of working around many of those situations and points you presented, but I am convinced that the proper at proven lifestyle is indeed one that involves living aboard at a proper marina.
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Old 07-14-2010
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Your best bet for this sort of lifestyle would be to live on a mooring at a marina. You could just take your dingy to the marina which should be covered by the mooring fee and you'd also have access to nearby water, laundry, waste pump out, car parking, wifi internet, etc.
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Living aboard on a mooring would reduce your costs, but would require your boat be setup so that it can handle the electrical demands and would require you to pump out the holding tank regularly.
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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
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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 07-14-2010
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although Lauderboy has a great idea,

I know there are no marinas commuting distance to DC that offer that service. Even fewer for liveaboards. And fewer yet that have pump out at the slip like FL marinas often do...

Even being in the rivers for more than a prescribed period of time is going to draw the attention of DHS...too risky for them to not bother you.

Good luck, annapolis is about as close as you will get for these types of services, and then they are $$$ and often have bridges to get under.
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All of the feedback has been very insightful and valuable, I really appreciate it!

I like the idea of living on a mooring at a marina, it seems to fit what my son was proposing. True, the electrical demands of the boat would be greater than if we were "plugged in" at the marina, but I've also dreamed of off-grid / self sustained living.

Today's lack of liveaboard slips and mooring-living options leads me to wonder if it would be difficult to obtain the proper permissions to setup a private mooring "downstream" and out of the way. Does anyone know if there are many hoops to be jumped through to obtain permission to setup a private mooring on such a river as the Potomac?
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Old 07-15-2010
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given the potomac is a legendary risk to the powers that be, post 9/11...it would take an awful lot of work to do anything within commuting distance of the city.

The river is still the major path in and out of the city for flights..
the river is still crossed by many bridges
Many historic/business/important/critical buildings are but a stones throw from the river.
Much of the train/metro parallels the river

If you look closely while traveling the city, you will see all kinds of sensors, cameras, LEO, weapons cached, and military air flights on a regular basis. This is not the DC of old..

Good luck, but I think those in charge will let you know they don't want the risk...

YMMV, feel free to call DHS
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You might try Hartge's in Deale, MD - you can lease a mooring for the summer, plenty of opportunities to work on your off-the-grid systems. In winter they move you to a slip - you really can't dinghy ashore when the creek is frozen City of Annapolis has the same mooring-in-summer, slip-in-at winter deal at City Dock but I believe there's a waiting list. Both locations have commuter busses to downtown DC. You have to prove you've pumped your holding tank every (week? two weeks?) in Annapolis if you're anchored out, but they make it easy with a boat that comes to you for $5.

There's a 2 week limit on anchoring in the Potomac; I don't know how stringently its enforced. Good luck whatever you decide; we've been living aboard for 8 years, 7 of them in the Annapolis area, and loving the life.
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I'd point out that the Potomac comes under MARYLAND law, as MARYLAND, by some weird legislation from a long, long time ago, owns the POTOMAC riparian rights.
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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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 07-15-2010 at 01:54 PM. Reason: corrected which state has riparian rights. :p
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