Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Petersburg, Alaska
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Portland, OR living aboard
Hello, I'm relocating back to my hometown of Portland after several years in Southeast Alaska next year. I've spent most of my time up here saving for and preparing for building a houseboat for myself and my partner, however due to unforeseen circumstances I am returning home alone and houseboatless. I've been looking forward to living on the boat for years, so I'm going to take this opportunity to use my houseboat fund to purchase a 30'ish sailboat to live on and prepare for a long term cruise in the next several years. Now that it's just me and probably one tiny cat, there's no need for the whole houseboat and I can live comfortably on a medium sized sailboat. I am a commercial fisherman and experienced with living on a boat and general maintenance and upkeep, and I plan on moving back down with only what will fit in my Honda Accord so too much stuff is not an issue. I'm not interested in being talked out of living aboard, as I am familiar with the pitfalls and problems that come with living aboard and taking care of a boat.
So far, the main problem I am coming across is the issue of where to moor my boat in the Portland area. The homeless problem has created a situation where liveaboard vessels are lumped in with the floating Hoovervilles along the Willamette River, and most marinas claim they do not allow liveaboards. I am not looking for a cheap place to party while my boat gets progressively dirtier and more dilapidated, I just got hooked on living on or near the water while in Alaska and do not want to give that part of my life up. I know how to be a good neighbor on the docks, and mostly just need a quiet and cozy place to read books and sleep while I'm not working (I always work at least full time). I plan on keeping the boat in excellent condition both mechanically and aesthetically, and taking it out sailing fairly often as the long term goal here is to be an extended cruiser.
So my question is this...how likely is it that a marina that claims over the phone to not accept liveaboards will allow me to moor as an "extended cruiser" for a couple months in order to establish that I am not a nuisance before officially sanctioning liveaboard status? Or is it a case by case basis where it is initially "don't ask, don't tell" but they reserve the right to eject me if I become a problem tenant? Like I said, I will keep the boat in excellent condition and no one would be able to tell from looking that it's a liveaboard? (No plants, trash, or drying clothes on deck)
When simply renting a slip on a monthly or quarterly basis, do they typically ask whether you will be living aboard up front? Or is that a conversation they have only if you become a nuisance? From what I've been able to gather online it seems like showing up looking decent with a good looking boat is the litmus test by which harbormasters judge your fitness to be a good tenant, and they often answer all liveaboard inquiries with a blanket "NO" in order to weed out the transients and drunks that simply cannot afford to live elsewhere.
Any input is appreciated, as I'm not wanting to get home and get on a boat only to find that I have no where to put it and end up living on the hook around the the river pirates of the Willamette.