Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina? - Page 9 - SailNet Community
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post #81 of 91 Old 01-28-2016
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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

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Originally Posted by jjstick View Post
Well after highly considering getting my first boat, the fact is I just dont feel safe by myself. I'm glad there is such a positive consensus about sailing solo but I just can't have peace of mind by myself.
Very sorry to see you have changed your mind. I hope you continue reading/learning. There are a lot of good folks here.

That said, and for future reference, I wish I would have seen this thread earlier. I have lived aboard just over 4 years (new years day was my 4 year anniversary!). I am a very short middle-aged female, btw.

I was quite disappointed with some of the comments, such as "man up," etcetera. There are a lot of places men can go without even remotely having to consider personal safety. Not so for women. Too bad some men do not see that. Then again, a fish cannot see the water in which it swims.

That said, your concerns are understandable. When I first moved aboard, I too, was concerned about safety. This was especially so when my boat was docked at a private slip in an area that wasn't the greatest. I did eventually find a really good marina with keyed access and awesome facilities. Even so, I no longer use them late at night due to a couple of encounters I had with some homeless people who broke into the ladies room.

While the marina I'm in is in a very low crime area, the biggest problem we have is people breaking into our vehicles and in some cases, stealing them. Though, I think this is an issue for land dwellers as well.

As for being safe sleeping on the boat? The biggest danger arguably comes from the water (i.e., someone coming in via a dinghy), since land access is gated. The first year I was here, we had a couple of thefts near the very end slips. My boat was/is quite a ways in. As a female, imho, that is something worth considering.

When I first moved aboard, I always closed everything up. Now days, I only close stuff up when it is cold. And that is just to keep in the warmth!

Also, I am very picky about inviting anyone I do not know well to my marina, much less my boat. This is especially so because my boat is in plain view from the shore, so it is really easy to see where I'm at. The only real thing, btw, that I don't like about being so far in.

Also, while the marina is gated, I asked other dock mates not to let anyone in if they say they're coming to visit me. Yes, even today, after four years. Tell them they need to give me a call, and I'll go let them in. Speaking of dock mates? I got to know my dock mates. So that really helped to set my mind at ease.

In the end, and if you do decide to shop around again, check out the marinas. Take a look at how well they're cared for. Check out the conditions of the boats. And the facilities! That will tell you a great deal with regard to the type of people you may encounter. Also, talk with the people. If you encounter other live aboards, ask them how they like it. What they think of living at that particular marina. And finally, consider parking. Is it well lit? Patrolled? Close? Or dark and far away?

My marina is arguably the nicest marina in the bay area. And we do have a fairly tight sailing community. That is, we all know each other, keep an eye out for each other. Both live aboards, cruisers, and weekend sailors.

And finally, even if you do decide to try moving aboard, remember, it is a different environment. What that means is that it will take time to get used to, to acclimate. It's like moving into a home near a train track. At first, the train wakes you up everytime it goes by. Over time, you end up sleeping right through. This is our natural way of protecting ourselves, by the way. Once our subconscious realizes something is safe, it files it away... no need to pay attention (wake up) when a train goes by because it does not present a danger.

For me, today, four years down the road? My boat is my home. I feel very safe. And I absolutely love it. Ymmv.

Last edited by shadowraiths; 01-28-2016 at 02:16 AM. Reason: grammar
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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

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Very sorry to see you have changed your mind. I hope you continue reading/learning. There are a lot of good folks here.
Thank you for your thorough response. I am still very much into the idea of boating and am learning more about it. I have plans to join a sailing group this year and take some courses on boat maintenance. I went to my first boat show this past weekend and met a lot of great boaters with friendly advice. In hindsight, it would have been very difficult (not impossible) for me to assimilate to the boat life this early on so I'm glad I bought myself some time to get more acquainted.
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post #83 of 91 Old 03-01-2016
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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

Depending on where you are there are some great sailing clubs that are quite affordable and often once you log a certain number of hours or courses you can take the boats out over night and I imagine even try sleeping overnight in the marina.

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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

I agree with Chuck, a lot of it depends on where you are. If you're careful and take usual precautions, I think it would be okay in most places.
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post #85 of 91 Old 08-04-2016
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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

The alternative to a marina slip is a mooring. How secure are you there? Inflatable dinghies and small powerboats are everywhere and you can be boarded there, with possibly less alternatives for a proper response. If, indeed, you are now on a mooring, what benefits are you looking for in a slip? Power, water, easy access?
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post #86 of 91 Old 08-05-2016
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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

Living and sleeping on a boat is more convenient in a slip. Groceries, repairs, laundry, filling water tanks and sundry other chores big and little are easier. If you make friends with your dock neighbors safety increases. Most marinas bunch liveaboards together which becomes a little community. We help each other figure out system repairs, lend a hand, loan specialized tools, teach each other or help if after a trip to the sailmaker to rebend on sails. Things like that are very helpful. Also we discuss where to get things and reviews of local stores and prices.
Even with usual polite ways that people learn (knock on hull, respect a closed companion way, only approach if evidence of activity etc.) there is less privacy. There maybe unwanted noise and nosiness . But all in all it's easier.
Major downside is expense and feeling you're on a floating condo not cruising. There is a delight being at anchor or even swinging on a mooring which can't be denied. However, if due to work or family you need to stay in a region the day to day logistics are easier.
I also think in some ways being in a slip is harder on the boat. Stray current. Less water movement, more dirt. Sun effects always on the same side of the boat unless you reverse how you dock periodically.Most people dock stern in. I like docking bow in. More privacy. Less surprises as people need to walk down the finger before getting to the cockpit. Also where I am now better ventilation when the hatches are open when bow in.
Wife has slept on the boat alone. She feels secure and this hasn't been an issue for her. Initially she locked the companionway but also locked the stateroom. Hatches have a locked ventilation setting or she runs the AC.
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Last edited by outbound; 08-05-2016 at 10:29 PM.
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post #87 of 91 Old 08-05-2016
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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

When I started this cruising stuff i was quite against being locked up inside like home in a city house. But we got a lockable hatch door tgat i use whether in a marina, anchor or mooring.
It makes me feel safer.



At home you dont sleep with the front door swinging wide open, so why would you on a boat?

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post #88 of 91 Old 08-06-2016
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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

My wife and I lived aboard for many years everywhere from Canada to the Caribbean, and just by the nature of things she would be alone on board at times--sometimes for periods of weeks while I was off doing something. My basic advice is that you are at least as safe aboard as you would be ashore in the same community, and often safer. First, most predators are not boaters so they have no idea how boat stuff works. Most marinas in areas with any type of crime have a night watch person, locked gates, and usually fellow boaters onboard other boats nearby. Most boaters are far, far more observant and also willing to act than typical landlubbers should any situation arise just due to the nature of boating. I know that I never walk down a dock without subconsciously checking everyone's lines, power cords, whether or not things look out of place. I can't count the number of times I have gone out and prowled the docks at night when I heard something odd, and I have found and stopped crime in the marina before. Yes, it does happen, but it as I wrote at the beginning I think at the worst it would be no better than living in an apartment in the same neighborhood, and typically it is far, far safer. 95% of the crime is theft, and I have never heard of an assault on a boat in a marina where I have been. If it looks dicey for some reason just ask the other boaters--the boater's grapevine is invaluable. In fact, long before you arrive at the marina you can usually find out about it via online forums or via radio. On a mooring or on the hook multiply the safety times 10. Very few people are boaters or have any idea of how to use a dinghy--forget swimming out at night unless you are too close to shore. It is not easy to climb aboard many boats from the water in the first place. You can lock your companionway and hatches in such a way that the breeze still flows through, keep an air horn handy, be able to turn on deck lights quickly, and that will scare away 95% of the tiny number of people who might be able to make it to your boat. By the way, anyone swimming out will not have a substantial weapon on them either. Here in New England and along most of the East Coast of the USA living aboard in a marina is probably 10 times safer than living on land in the same community. Choose one in a smaller, more rural community and chances are 90% of the boats are left unlocked all the time because there is a greater danger of the boat sinking unattended than anything being stolen. In many harbors we don't even bother to close up the boat when we go ashore from anchor--no crime to speak of.
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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

I was pretty surprised to see how many folks don't think safety is a concern for single females on a boat. Bluntly, I think this reflects limited life experience.

If you're staying in a boat, whether in a marina or on the hook, please take some basic precautions. Make it hard for someone to enter once you're inside, make it easy to raise an alarm or call for help (air horn, cell phone, etc.), and keep something for self defense. I have had the misfortune of getting some whiffs of bear spray a few times and I can tell you it is incredibly powerful stuff. A dose of that sprayed out an open window, at point blank range, would send someone overboard to get away. Get the real stuff, meant to drive off bears.

I'm a dude, by the way. Not paranoid, just realistic.
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post #90 of 91 Old 08-15-2016
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Re: Is it safe to sleep overnight at the marina?

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I was pretty surprised to see how many folks don't think safety is a concern for single females on a boat. Bluntly, I think this reflects limited life experience.
We are told over and over that women are equal to men. We don't, as men, worry about staying on our boats. Therefore, if we advised women that it may be dangerous, we would be sexist.
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