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Don't Call Me Railmeat
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

First time posting here but have been patrolling the forums for a few years of advice. I'll be honest, the Chartering forum saved my ass a lot of trouble on my first charter in March. Anyway, I'm looking to gauge your opinions of "boat sitting" for someone in my position (and a friend too).

I found a thread on this topic from a few years ago, and that guy got righteously chewed up. Curious whether I'd see the same denial too.

Here's the situation: I'm a recent college graduate, with a degree in Neuroscience from Univ. of Pittsburgh, and in the interim of med school in a few years I plan to sail, travel, volunteer, have fun, and spend all my money doing so.

I'm a confident sailor, and have my own little charter business for college students down in the Abacos, Bahamas as skipper. I also have heaps of racing and cruising experience on a plethora of other vessels. I'm working on a project currently for a nonprofit, Sail Future (google it, I can't post links yet) which will involve long-term bluewater cruising for disadvantaged youth and volunteer projects in the Caribbean. I've got my ASA up to Bareboat Cruising, US Sailing Level 1 Instructor, and enough experience (and very close to enough days) to complete my 6-pack requirements as well.

Anyway, I'm in between housing arrangements having graduated and looking to move out of this deadbeat Pittsburgh apartment ASAP. I'd like to see if the prospect of "boat sitting" is outrageous if I can offer the following to an owner:

A - Keep your vessel tidy. Wood upkeep, washing off bird ****, sweep up, pump out, etc
B - Perform as needed repairs/maintenance. I do plan on living aboard after all. I have experience with marine plumbing, electrical, diesel engines, and fiberglass. Understand I'm just getting my feet wet in the liveaboard lifestyle though, but I can figure it all out.
C - Pay your dock/marina fees, and the additional "liveaboard" fee too.
D - Sail your boat. So she doesn't get lonely sitting at a dock all the time.
E - Keep your fridge stocked with beer. And not that cheap crap.
F - Not host crazy parties aboard your vessel...without your permission, of course.
G - Not clog the heads.

Yes I've tossed around the idea of just picking up a cheap 30 footer and docking her somewhere to liveaboard, but realistically I'll be sailing the Caribbean with Sail Future in a few months and it's not so practical for me to own a boat while that's occurring.

So, thoughts? Am I asking for too much? What else can I offer? Would you consider letting me spend a month on your vessel?

Thanks for your opinions. Feel free to swing punches, I really do value everyone's input.

Vinny M.
 

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I have a friend that got a gig like that. For $400 a week he lived on and cared for the owners boat, and had it ready for the owner when he arrived. He also crewed when the owner took it out. The boat was inNY near the city, but my friend also brought it up to Port Clyde Maine for the owner to vacation. He said the owner was great, but when the wife was on board she treated him like a servant. So there are opportunities like that out there.
 

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Its not a lot of money, but other than two weeks vacation, the owner pretty much just used the boat on weekends. So for most of the time my friend got paid to live there and could take the boat out when he wanted. Also he had just graduated college and was working on getting his captains license. It was perfect for him at the time. Eventually he and the owner worked out a deal where my friend was allowed to take the boat to the BVI's and charter it (captained) for the winter. But my point was to just answer your question about whether there are opportunities out there by giving you an example I knew of.
 

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formerly 'BoatyardBoy'
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I'm not ready yet, but I'd entertain the idea.. You see, I'm a merchant mariner and work in the Gulf for four weeks out and four in. I am getting my boat ready to live aboard at the moment but will be heading that way, Caribbean, next year. My plan is to leave the boat where ever and fly back to work and then fly back to the boat when I'm off. So I'm looking at leaving it at a mooring or dock for a month, or have someone tend to it, such as yourself. I'd have to meet you, sail with you for a while before I just hand over the keys and tell you "to wash the windows and fill her up" so to speak.

But like I said, I'm not against the idea.. Just need to get everyone acquainted.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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7,667 Posts
When I read slayer's first post I understood that the sitter was paying the owner $400/week... I could see that. After the second post, it seems that the sitter was getting PAID to stay on the boat. Where do I sign up for that deal?:confused:

FWIW; I HAVE my captains license, and am an ASA Instructor through 105 (see my sig.). I am currently unemployed, after 25+ years in sales and training positions in the (computer) storage and networking fields. I was also employed fixing boats until recently (until I tore my ACL), and specialize in electrical, mechanical, and plumbing...
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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5,686 Posts
There are lots of yacht management companies that do all you propose for the boat without living on the boat or taking it out and cost less. You'll have to come up with something to differentiate yourself from those services and justify making even $400/wk.

Good luck.
 

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Don't Call Me Railmeat
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Are you guys out of your minds??? Of course I didn't expect to BE PAID for living on someone's boat. You've got to be a babbling fool to expect that.....come on now I'd expect a bit more common sense than that from your end.

What part of "C - pay your dock/marina fees. And the live aboard fee too" could possibly be misconstrued to mean that I WANT TO BE PAID? Clearly, I'm willing to pay your dock and marina fees when I say that I'm willing to pay your dock and marina fees.

Bubblehead, eherlihy, and SVAuspicious....surely you're joking....

To clarify, by, "but probably not for 400/week" I meant that I think it's a bit steep for ME TO PAY $400/week and get treated like a servant by the owner's wife like Slayer's friend.

You guys are killing me here.....
 

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Hi all,

I can offer the following to an owner:

A - Keep your vessel tidy. Wood upkeep, washing off bird ****, sweep up, pump out, etc
B - Perform as needed repairs/maintenance. I do plan on living aboard after all. I have experience with marine plumbing, electrical, diesel engines, and fiberglass. Understand I'm just getting my feet wet in the liveaboard lifestyle though, but I can figure it all out.
C - Pay your dock/marina fees, and the additional "liveaboard" fee too.
D - Sail your boat. So she doesn't get lonely sitting at a dock all the time.
E - Keep your fridge stocked with beer. And not that cheap crap.
F - Not host crazy parties aboard your vessel...without your permission, of course.
G - Not clog the heads.
Based upon what you wrote above, at least to me, the situation doesn't sound much different than some landlord/tenant relationships on land. If I understand correctly, you're willing to cover all of the owner's slip costs (mortgage, taxes, and utilities on a typical apartment), take care of the boat and do repairs as necessary (fulfill the requirements of an apartment complex's "super" or caretaker in exchange for reduced rent), use the boat for its intended purposes (live in the apartment and use the facilities contained therein), and be responsible for any damages (security deposit). Sounds pretty normal and reasonable to me, especially if the owner is typically away from the boat for long periods of time.

Having been an unintentional landlord when my house didn't sell fast enough when I relocated and bought another house elsewhere due to work, I could tell some complete HORROR stories. Suffice it to say I ended up renting to a very amiable fellow who presented himself as a competent carpenter, plumber, electrician, and general all-around capable guy who was willing to do some specific repairs for me in exchange for reduced rent. We settled on a figure for rent that covered my existing mortgage and taxes so I wouldn't go broke making payments on two houses, but I wasn't making any profit either.. other than the reduction in principal on the house loan as the loan got paid. Nice fellow, pleasant family... no need to do a background check, right?

Well, turned out he was a doubly-convicted felon. They gutted my house, left if full of trash, ruined the floors and the walls, took all of the fixtures, left a bunch of their stuff there, and left in the middle of the night after getting about 6 months behind in rent. It's almost impossible for a landlord to evict a tenant these days. Believe it or not, I didn't even have the right to remove their belongings without their permission even when they were no longer living in my house. A very helpful police officer helped me figure a way around that, fortunately. I ended up getting a judgement against the tenant for $2500 in small claims court, but it didn't cover 1/10th of the damage they did, and of course I never saw a dime of it. Collecting on a judgement is still up to the owner. Sheeeesh... who needs a judgement if they can collect in the first place? :hothead

In any case, I shared that cautionary tale so that the original poster doesn't get offended by an owner wanting to do some EXTREMELY extensive background checks, requiring a VERY substantial security deposit, and requiring a very detailed, specific, iron-clad agreement in writing. As a former landlord (and now boat owner) who's learned this lesson in the hardest way imaginable, I'd never do anything other than that.

Good luck. You sound like you have the credentials, skill set, and experience to be a good boat tenant. On the other hand, as I've learned, PROVING that is key.

Best wishes,

Barry
 
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Don't Call Me Railmeat
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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Barry, thats exactly what I was proposing but it appears some people ran in the exact opposite direction. Anyhow, that's a great point you make on expecting extensive background checks and a serious security deposit. I was assuming enough time spent sailing or getting to know the owner might suffice too but like you said, crazy things happen.
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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OK, vtmasthead - then we're in agreement. If the sitter pays the slip fee, and takes care of the basic needs of the boat, and pays the owner nominal (like $400/mo) rent, I can see this happening.

Although, if someone wants to pay me to sail and live on their boat, I could make myself available... :)
 
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Chastened
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Ok, thanks for clarifying that you're looking to PAY, not be PAID in this arrangement.

It still changes nothing. My boat is a very personal part of my life, more personal and more precious to me than my house. I would not accept a boat-sitter, even in a paying proposition.

bblument also nails the other part of the equation- Trust.

Unfortunately, I appear to be a poor judge of character.
People that I thought were of high character, that I recommended for jobs, mortally embarrassed me.
People that I have recommended for living accommodations have skipped out.

Even a background check isn't enough to reassure me that my beloved would be well kept with someone besides me.
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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vmast-
If you're the kind of guy who takes the dog out for a walk and constantly finds loose bills on the street, go for it. On the other hand...you may not have any real grasp of the complications that can arise. We're a litigious society and it is that way because things keep getting *ed up. You take somebody's boat out for a sail, somebody T-bones you...guess what? The odds are the owner will come after you for at least some portion. Or something else comes up, the engine seizes, they blame you. And while you may be young and carefree and "judgment proof" (you have no assets they can seize) that judgement can attach 10% of all your earnings for the next 20 years.

So, life can get complicated even if you're flying under the radar and you think (think) that you are a good judge of the good people you're dealing with.

Paying someone to live on their boat? Might as well just try to rent a boat, or live on one in the more conventional ways. Unless you're one of those guys who constantly finds loose bills in the street, in which case, by all means look for the square grouper while you're at it.(G)
 

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I think there's a market, especially for people that may leave their boats in the islands for a few months or even weeks while they fly home to attend to business. Heck, maybe even Florida, the Keys, etc...

I wouldn't want to leave my boat down there unattended, it could end up in Cuba or Colombia or who knows where.

The problem with ideas like this is how do you find the end user, frankly, I think you could get a few hundred a week plus the free stay.

I have a friend that bought a 65' monster yacht (power boat) last year and keeps it in Newport Beach. He lives in Denver and he pays about $1,200 a month for someone to wash the boat, check it every few days, power things up and down, prep it for when he's headed into town and make sure the bottom cleaning guys actually shows up. His slip is $3,500 a month in addition to the $1,200 a month in "management" expense. :eek::eek::eek:
 

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OK, my slip is $629+$175 liveaboard, so call it $800 a month and 40 hrs. labor on my boat per week you pay me ?
Couple hurdles first, the marina office is going to question my need for a liveaboard permit for only a "few months". If I'm truthful, and I always try to be, they will say "not in this harbor" as it violates my slip lease.
I pay $75 a month for someone to wash my boat every two weeks.
After you change the oil on my boat I got nothing left for you to "work" on anyway.
And frankly, $800/month provides me with zero incentive to have someone else "sail my boat so it doesn't get lonely".
 

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Captain Obvious
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I think this is a pipe dream unless you sweeten the deal. Most owners will not go for it. We actually were in verbal agreement a similar deal but not livaboard with an unused sailboat in our marina. We offered to essentially take on all costs 100% for the season including insurance for the owner while we were involved and of course paying slip fees, cleaning ect..


But the real problems came in because the boat, although very nice, needed work and money put into it. With no contract, it was not clear who pays what or how much work each party does. The owner was suddenly not too keen on us " tenants" getting use of the boat and the term "bucking up" was repeated several times regarding repairs and maintenance and off season storage at at that point we balked and said no thanks.

I think ultimately you will find that scenario to crop up in which case you are better off putting $$ and work into your own boat.
 
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