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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 08-04-2012
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Thinking about living aboard

Ive been thinking about ditching my monthly apartment rent for a sailboat to live aboard while i am working and going to school. Im tired of throwing money way every month to have nothing that i can call my own when its said and done, plus id like to save a little where i can. ive always loved sailboats, although i have very little experience with them. i have never sailed a boat in the 29'-35' range, the range im am looking at living aboard. right now ive got my eye on a 1977 cal 2-29.

Im looking for any advice, wisdom, or thoughts on the matter.

Marsh
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Old 08-04-2012
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Re: Thinking about living aboard

Start with Local and State Laws about living aboard, then Find a Marina with a open Live Aboard spot. Now start working the math, cost to keep her on the dock, Power and or water, storage for all your "STUFF", list all the gear you have too get to live on the boat don't for get insurance, I am missing a lot, others will fill in most of what i missed.

might not save you a dime in the End.........
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Last edited by MobiusALilBitTwisted; 08-04-2012 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 08-04-2012
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We don't liveaboard to save money, it's a way of life. Take it or leave it.
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Old 08-04-2012
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Re: Thinking about living aboard

I started on a Cal 25 at Whiteley's Marina in Cocoa Beach in the late 70's, easy in FL....the company moved me to MD, moved up to a Cal 29 but with no heat and freezing showers I only lasted till late Dec. Never got in to stuff, just a vehicle for work. Got married in the early 80's, two of us on a 34' Gin Fizz lasted several years till the son was born and job change required better conditions. Then back to boats in the late 1990's after the son started college. Been there since until last year when we moved back to care for the out-laws.

As SeaHunter says it really is a way of life, and you may go back and forth like we have or you may just be able to stay aboard for the duration. We could likely get all the important stuff down to liveaboard and some storage in the suburban...tools and heavy, lightly used stuff.

No debt, no credit cards and old vehicles will get you there much faster. To do it simply to save money may work, if you can adapt. And btw the Cal 29 is just fine for a single guy or a close couple.

YMMV, and best of luck and for sure go for it while you are young and can make mistakes...
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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: Thinking about living aboard

thanks for the the enthusiastic and rapid response guys.

I manage a causal restaurant on the island where i live, I do most of my eating/ cooking there now, so i doubt i would be doing virtually any cooking on the boat. the marina on the island is live aboard friendly, i just need to get in touch with them about getting a slip. not sure how much they charge.

as for lifestyle, what would you define the "lifestyle" of a live aboard to be? minimalist? carefree? what?

The big draw for me is the idea of ownership. At the end of the day the boat will be mine. If i love it i keep at it, if i dont, i can always sell it.

sidney777 i know what you mean about taking ordinary things for granted. When i was 16 i moved out of my moms house and in to a little fifteen foot camper in my dads yard. the thing was not in good shape. but i made it home and did laundry at my grandmothers, stored most of my clothes in the camper, and used the "facilities" in my dads house. it was great! Actually i kinda forgot about my camper days until just now; good times.

thanks again for the input. keep it coming.
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Old 08-05-2012
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Re: Thinking about living aboard

I've said it before, but it might bear repeating:

"Here's a reality check- people live aboard for ONLY one of two reasons:
1. they can afford to, or
2. they can't afford to live anywhere else.

I used to live aboard thanks to reason #2. In the future i will live aboard because of reason #1.

I suspect that the vast majority of us are barely eeking by, but as long as we work 60 a week while getting paid for 40 to make the minimum payments on the cards, and continue to be distracted by the devices those cards bought, and as long as the month/money ratio is 1:1, we don't have the time to realize that we are stuff rich and cash poor.
The average 21st century family is one paycheque away from insolvency.
Think about how many fewer hours you would have to work every week if you didn't have a mortgage, a car payment or two, credit cards, utility bills, home theatres, a laptop, cable and internet, a family...

Over the last few months there have been a number of hit and run enquiries from those who are looking to live cheap. Where to live, how to live, etc.

Here's my story. Draw from it what you will.



I was a marina rat between wives, homes and jobs. It altered my perspective on what, and who was important, how much space and stuff I needed, and led to a more pragmatic and creative approach to life. i became a better and more creative cook. I read more, and rediscovered the cheap joy of a library card. I picked up pennies. I learned that really cheap beer in cans tastes just fine when the can is really cold, and you are sipping it after an honest day's labour, watching the sun pass beyond the horizon from the bow of your home. I noticed more. I discovered that you could feel rich with $100 in your pocket, and you could easily spend a couple of hours plotting and scheduling how to spend it, figuring out how to make it last, because the longer it lasted the longer you didn't have to work. I learned to abstain from impulse purchases. I learned the value of tipping 20%, even on a cup of coffee, and the value of being a regular customer- good loyal tippers sometimes get free coffee when their pockets are empty on cold rainy days. It wasn't idyllic, it was occasionally a grind, occasionally depressing, and more than once i found myself in tears, feeling sorry for myself. But I always knew where I stood.

It was one of the best experiences of my life.





If you're broke, then the ideal location for living aboard is wherever you happen to be right now, by default. It doesn't matter how much better or nicer or safer or easier it is somewhere else, you ain't there, you're here, and you're here because you're broke which is why you ain't there.
That's the reality of being broke on a boat. Another reality of being broke on a boat is that if it doesn't crush you, it tends to make you really damn creative about getting UNbroke. You barter, you trade labour around the marina, you scrounge stuff out of the trash that Sea Ray owners toss and clean it up and sell it. On Monday morning you are working the trash barrels and pulling empties to return for the deposit. On Friday afternoon you get out your bucket and brushes and furiously clean the topside of your boat, and pimp your boat cleaning services to those Sea Ray owners. In the spring you are furiously scraping and varnishing the brightwork on your boat, working to hook some cash money from those Sea Ray owners. If you get really, really desperate, you sell parts of your boat that you don't need right now, because you aren't going anywhere, like the compass, the VHF, and your Mustang floater coat. If you want to survive, you swallow your pride and you HUSTLE, and stretch every dollar until it snaps.

You become a low-movement low-exposure hermit, never leaving your boat except to scratch some work or stock up on ramen and beans because the less you do and the less you leave your boat, the less you have to spend on food and laundry and hygiene. or you grow into an integral part of the marina environment, a de facto security guard and boatkeeper. Most marinas don't mind having a broke guy around, as long as he keeps his slip rent current. If you're broke, sooner or later, if you hustle enough and eyeball the opportunities, you get unbroke enough to cast off and journey on.

Some call it "cruising."


If you're impoverished, that's different. Broke is a temporary condition- poverty is a state of mind. When you're impoverished you don't hustle, because you figure you'll never get ahead anyway. you don't look for opportunities because you don't believe there are any. How you even ended up with a boat is a bit of a mystery, but it's usually an inheritance or the misplaced charity of a relative who thinks all you need is a chance. You're just marking time, and sooner or later your boat sinks, burns, gets stolen or liened and you end up in the shelter you always figured you'd end up in anyway. Most marinas aren't unhappy to see you gone."
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Old 08-14-2012
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Re: Thinking about living aboard

Boats are expensive. It may very likely cost you more money than renting an apartment, but you will be paying for something that is yours, and that makes a big difference.
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Old 09-19-2012
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Re: Thinking about living aboard

Just do it. I did it, for the exact same reasons. Working student tired of wasting money on rent, and having lousy room mates. I just got a job in the real world again, and getting to work in the morning, looking and smelling fresh is the biggest challenge. I have a head on board, but I don't use it, walking 100 feet to take a grumpy is another bummer. It's also not really any cheaper if you plan on keeping stuff in storage, and keeping your boat ship shape.

It's fun, simple, keeps you mindful of the stuff you buy, and it will make a great story for your kids. If your single, it will help you find a girl who also likes adventure, because she will either dig that you live on a boat, or she wont. At the end of it all, you can sell the boat and get some of that money back, but if you're like me you'll already be thinking about boats big enough to have a family on.

Just do it and don't look back.

Seriously.

Oh- buy a dehumidifier, a nice one.

Cal 29 would make a GREAT live aboard BTW, that is what I wanted but got a Cascade 27.
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Old 09-19-2012
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Re: Thinking about living aboard

Go for it. Have fun. I suggest you start doing your homework by flashlight while sitting in your shower stall to get the sense of what's ahead.

Just kidding. Have a good time but be prepared to not save money in the long run. Many of us on this board have lived aboard while working. Use the search function and you will find several threads re working or going to school and not smelling like you live on a boat, maintaining a professional wardrobe, etc.
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Old 09-20-2012
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Re: Thinking about living aboard

It's always common to live on land but if it's what you like and you want it to be then go for it!
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