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post #1 of 8 Old 03-04-2011 Thread Starter
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San Francisco Newby

Howdy,
So here is the situation: I am a relatively inexperienced boater- I know the basics- my uncle is an avid sailor so I picked up a few things from him, but my knowledge base is very limited.

I recently moved to San Francisco and I have been considering getting a live aboard boat to call my own. I have a small budget but I would rather take out some loans and do this the right way than get stuck in a situation with a crappy boat or not so great berth. I need some advice from you live aboard boating experts- especially the ones from SF. Where is the best place to get a berth and what are the average prices for live aboard slips? What kind of inspections should I have done before I buy a boat? How much does boat insurance usually cost per year? How often will I have to pull the boat out of water for inspection and how much does that usually cost? What is the overall cost of annual maintenance?

I don't have a whole lot of stuff and I am used to tight living quarters so what size boat should I be looking into to live comfortably? How does the plumbing, water, electricity etc work, and are utilities generally extra?

So many questions! I could go on... but I guess what I really want to know is if the pain is worth the gain? I love the idea of living on a boat but it would be nice to get some live feed back from those who have been doing it for a while.

Thanks so much!
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-04-2011
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Sausalito house boat?
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-04-2011 Thread Starter
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Interesting idea, although I don't know if I could consider myself a true liveaboard with a Sausalito house boat. I don't need to move fast, but i'd like to be able to move. Thanks for the post : )
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-06-2011
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On costs: Everything goes by Length Overall (LOA) in feet. the bigger the boat, the more everything will cost - moorage, haul out, survey, gear - everything. Get the smallest boat you can be comfortable on. For me that is a 27 footer. Recognize that all boats of a given size are not equal so no hard and fast rule can be applied as to "Minimum" I have known people to live quite comfortably on a 20 foot Flicka or be miserable on a 42 foot Alden.

My minimums are:
Standing headroom at least somewhere in the boat
Separate sleeping cabin so guests don't have to sit on your bed
A table to eat and write at
A sink and water tank (Pressure water on a cruiser is IMO a liability, not an advantage)
A cook stove securely mounted.
Head with holding tank or Porta-Potty
If you will be at a dock, a proper marine shore power hookup and battery charger (Probably required by the marina anyway but if you don't want to come home from work and find your boat a charred ruin, a very good idea)

We are in the South Bay. Marinas here charge about $400 per month plus metered electricity for live-aboards in a 30 foot slip (Everything is by the foot). They require liability insurance (As do most marinas everywhere nowadays) which we get from Boat US for $135 per year. The insurance company will require a haul-out survey. YOu will want one anyway before you buy the boat. Price will vary but budget $1000 for the surveyor and yard fees and plan to lay on a couple of coats of bottom paint and replace the anodes at the same time. Don't waste a haul out. Plan to have the boat hauled and your pre-purchase/insurance survey done at tha same time. Travel lift fees at KKMI in Sausalito were $10 per foot LOA in January 2011 each way or $600 for an out and in haul for a 30 footer. Bottom paint will run $45 for cheap stuff to $100 or more per gallon. A thirty footer will need a couple of gallons for two coats. You will need to go through this ritual every one to four years depending on the quality of the paint, what kind of critters inhabit your local waters and, for the anodes, how electrically "hot" your marina is. this can be extended by having a diver wipe your bottom and check your anodes, aka "Zinks" every few months. I don't know what divers charge in the Bay Area. It was $1 a foot in Hawaii - cheap. $7 a foot in Seattle - not so much. You shouldn't have to have the boat surveyed again until you sell it or let your insurance lapse and have to renew after a break.


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post #5 of 8 Old 03-06-2011
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It's getting tougher to find a live aboard in the Bay..try looking around first, to see which marinas have a slip. There are many boats available, not so many slips...
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-06-2011
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When we were looking for a slip in the South Bay just about every marina told us "No live-aboard slips available". You can, however get transient moorage most places if you are willing to play the game and move every four months. As cruisers, for us this is no big deal. We will be on our way in any case. Also keep in mind that harbor masters want to avoid turning their marina into a floating trailer park so it helps if your boat looks decent (Every place we went wanted pictures of the boat so we referred them to our web site) and you make a good impression when you go in to inquire.

Every where we inquired we were told at first that there were no slips available. But after a short chat the doors started to open a bit. In the end, every marina we asked at was willing to accept us as live-aboards, if only on a transient basis. Then with a wink - "If you need to stay longer we can probably work something out."

There is always a move.


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post #7 of 8 Old 03-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vega1860 View Post
I don't know what divers charge in the Bay Area.
Figure about $2.25/foot.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-23-2011
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I have a 43 foot trawler that I lived on for two years in Berkely. It costs us 700 a month. That is for legal liveaboard. Plus a fifty foot slip. No electrical though. Oh and I am selling the boat. 25k
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