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BlueAbyss 06-03-2018 05:18 AM

Obtaining Liveaboard in Longbeach / LA area

I am looking into the possibility of a full time liveaboard in one of the marinas in Longbeach / LA area.

[If this post belongs in a different thread please redirect me.]

As a precursor: my main objective is to learn all I can from those knowledgable in the subject of liveaboards, preferably from owners in the location desired, as well as sailing in general. I do NOT know much about this subject or sailing but I have to start somewhere and do have the desire to learn.

So feel free to comment / criticize but please keep it constructive. I know this is not a "dive in it's easy, live your dreams endevuer" and thus do not expect a cake walk in acquiring a liveaboard or knowledge about how to get and maintain one. Though I have seen that it is possible. My goal is to learn the best route of action and means of doing so.

I have done some preliminary research as far as thread digging and general costs goes.

Q A) In sequential order (from the ground up) what actions and deeper questions do I need to take / have answered in pursuing a liveaboard.

For example should I

1) Go to every applicable marina and ask the harbor master their liveaboard policy

2) Then try to get on every slip wait list I possibly can.

3) Then purchase a boat within the required liveaboard specs

4) ect...

Other questions I have...

Q B) Do I need to already own a boat first in order to even be considered for a slip? Does it make the process faster?

Q C) Does it help to acquire a general slip first and then try to transfer to a liveaboard slip later on.

Q D) Should I only look for boats selling with the slip included? Only with a liveaboard slip?

Q E) What factors will make me more desirable in the eyes of the marina / master, or is a waitlist a waitlist.

Q F) Would it help to get deeply involved in a yacht club / sailing club or frequent marinas to pick the harbor masters brain and developed a relationship to show I'm serious about this and not just another derelict looking to live on a boat.

Q G) Is there a period of time I should expect in this area (I know it all depends, so enlighten me on what factors it depends on)? Am I looking at months, 2 years, 10 years?


I've heard some marines such as willmington and san pedro are more "accepting" of liveaboads although not the most desirable locations. Should I start with these? What are some others that I should and should not consider for liveaboards?


I know this subject has been beaten to death in other threads, that liveaboards can be looked down upon as well as coveted. So I hope anyone who has lived aboard or knows about it will be willing to offer some knowledge.

If you've read this far a little background on myself and my intentions. I am a young professional engineer currently living in the LA area and feel that a liveaboard will sute my lifestyle and personality (I am not looking at it from a cheap fun idea perspective as I know it isn't cheap and comes with plenty of hurdles, I view it as a desired lifestyle). If I were to accomplish obtaining a liveaboard I would see the harbor as my home and thus treat it as one I would want to live in. Take care of the surrounding community and become of valued member of the marina and local area, not just as a tenant.

jephotog 06-03-2018 10:16 AM

Re: Obtaining Liveaboard in Longbeach / LA area
First step is don't give up your current housing just yet.

Without going in to answer all the questions, I can give you the basics. Along the temperate west coast all marinas limit the number of liveaboards. Most marinas will have a size minimum, example 32 feet. Some marina will turn a blind eye to someone living aboard, I know guys living on a Catalina 30 and another living on a 25 footer. I would not move out of your home or apartment to try this experiment though.

Most marinas will have a waiting list of a year or more just to get a slip for a non live-aboard in anything over 30 feet. Sometimes a boat or a slip will be grandfathered in, meaning if you buy someones liveaboard you get the liveaboard rights with the boat/slip. Depending on the waiting list for the liveaboard slips, this grandfathered slip might go for a huge premium.

It sounds like you have thought this out and would be the exact kind of person a Harbor Master would like to see in the marina, not the dirtbag trying to live cheap and on the water because it's cool. I would suggest talking to every marina and yachtclub ask them the questions you asked here. When you get a consensus of what they are looking for tailor your approach to that.

One other approach is the yacht clubs, depending on the club they may own the marina near them and while these yacht clubs may be expensive to join if you can get a slip and liveaboard status, it may pay off in the long run as the slip rents may be cheaper and the facilities would be worth it to a long time liveaboard.

I also suggest you start learning to sail. The best way is to start racing, you will meet a ton of people and get invited to the parties after a race which usually take place at a yacht club. Knock on every door and have a drink at every yacht club.

Good luck in your quest.

olson34 06-03-2018 11:59 AM

Re: Obtaining Liveaboard in Longbeach / LA area
I manage slips at a small yacht club and we have two resident households. They are extremely valuable to our all-volunteer YC because they "walk the docks" daily and can find problems before they grow larger. (Usually boat problems, and occasionally people problems, too!)

If you are mechanically handy and like being helpful, this might be another avenue to look into. Also, there can be a steep learning curve to maintaining a boat large enough to live on, and having friends around to give you (sometimes conflicting...) advice is a great help. I have friends that lived aboard a 40 footer for 18 years, and they had to have an on-shore storage unit for "stuff". It is a fun lifestyle.

**Unasked-for advice: while enjoying life on the water, Be SURE to make monthly payments into an investment/savings account to fund a someday purchase of a land house. Your watery lifestyle will not be creating steady equity like a land house does, and someday you might want to own a house. Or not... your choice... Just be aware of the choices you are making.

And do acquire some little umbrellas for your "boat drinks" !!!

capttb 06-03-2018 12:46 PM

Re: Obtaining Liveaboard in Longbeach / LA area
1) No, All that info is probably on their website
2) No, Narrow it down, each will want a deposit equal to 1 months slip rent
3) No, get a line on a slip first, you usually have 90 days to get a boat in it.
B) No, you may need to have a boat and a slip of specified length prior to obtaining a "liveaboard" permit
C) Yes, see above
D) Up to you, be careful many claim the slip is transferrable but it's not, don't believe a broker who says "Don't worry about a slip".
E) Depends, you want to be in a marina where friends of the Harbor Master get preferential treatment ?
F) Contacts with the locals can be beneficial
G) Dana Point I've heard is 6 to 10 year waitlist now I hear, I was still number 60 on the list when I got mine however because nobody ahead of me was ready to commit when the slip opened.
Look for Marinas here:
Pacific Marinas ? The Log
This is typical liveaboard policy:

Typical waitlist:
Check the rules and regulations and slip agreements for more info:
Forms and Information : Dana Point Marina Company

Markwesti 06-03-2018 02:01 PM

Re: Obtaining Liveaboard in Longbeach / LA area
Hi BlueAbyss , I have rented in both marinas in Long Beach I also have friends in Wilmington and San Pedro . Long beach would be my choice to live aboard . This is what you need to do to obtain a live aboard slip . First you must start in Shoreline and request live aboard , your boat must be at least 30' . Then if you want Alamitos put in a transfer request . I do not know the availability , and at times LB has not been live aboard friendly , also they have a rule where only a percentage will be allowed per g'way . For available slips (non live aboard ) Shoreline has some 30'-35' I'm not sure about larger . For Alamitos 20' - 25' - 35' - 40' - 45' , wide open and I'm not sure about larger . Long Beach rule for 30' and up you must start in Shoreline non live aboard or live aboard . Funny thing about Alamitos marina , the city just rebuilt it and they didn't make enough 30' slips . Getting involved with a YC is a very good idea , we have full service clubs and paper clubs . As far as getting into the whole deal if it were me I would first get a boat at least 33' that way you would qualify for a 35' slip . Start out with non live aboard and then you can start right now . I'm not telling you what to do here just a word of caution , do not attempt to sneak aboard to live if you get busted it's bad .

S/V Artemis 06-04-2018 11:09 AM

I was told by every forum member that ever answered a post that there was at least a year wait for any liveaboard spot in the LA area. I was repeatedly made to believe that legal liveaboard spots are next to impossible to find. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I bought a boat over 30ft long, introduced myself to the dockmaster where I wanted to live, showed him pictures/recent surveys, gave him a deposit, and moved in. We live in Marina Del Rey, and the process was the easiest part of the whole boat purchasing experience. We sail at least once a week, and keep our boat spotless. Dockmasters want the increased slip rent from liveaboards...They also want to know that you’ll be a good neighbor in the dock community. If you have a proveable steady income, and a clean boat you’ll be fine whereever you chose to park it.

BlueAbyss 06-06-2018 09:26 PM

Hi Artemis,

Thank you for your response. Marina Del Rey is actually my first desire as far as marinas go because it is the closest to my work and a desirable location so this is very encouraging to hear as like you I was discouraged by what I initially heard in regards to liveaboards.

If you are willing I would love to be able to ask you a couple questions specifically (about monthly living costs including slip fee, hookups, pump outs and what not as well as your general experience living aboard) I will message you my contact info if that is ok.

It looks like you purchased/ owned a boat prior to getting the liveaboard slip so information on survey fees and what is required / inspected on a liveaboard prior to approval would be helpful.

I am looking at 30 to 35 ft boats for liveaboard purpose but am worried of making the jump prior to figuring the ins and outs of liveaboards.

As mentioned in previous forum responses I will start by visiting the Marina and talking with the office/dock master.

I will be a good neighbor and have a very steady income to show. I am a single professional looking for a calm quite area to make the sea my home.

capta 06-06-2018 10:55 PM

Re: Obtaining Liveaboard in Longbeach / LA area

Originally Posted by BlueAbyss (Post 2051517002)
a calm quite area to make the sea my home.

OK, up front, I've never been there or known anybody who has had a boat there but could Marina del Rey really be considered a calm quite area? From what I've seen in pictures and in movies, it is a huge complex with as many motorboats as sail, completely encased in shoreside developments and residences.
Looks like it could be a madhouse to me, especially on weekends and holidays.

Markwesti 06-06-2018 11:17 PM

Re: Obtaining Liveaboard in Longbeach / LA area
Marina Del Rey has bottom paint requirements , I would ask about that , Mark .

jephotog 06-06-2018 11:35 PM

Re: Obtaining Liveaboard in Longbeach / LA area

Originally Posted by capta (Post 2051517074)
Looks like it could be a madhouse to me, especially on weekends and holidays.

From someone living on a boat in the Caribbean, your estimate of the peacefulness of MDR is probably spot on. Compared to living on land anywhere nearby the marina is probably a quiet, peaceful place.

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