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Currently residing in Chicago, and about to move to the Pacific NW (Seattle), and am looking for a live aboard. Any thoughts, advice, or information on the area and living aboard will be greatly appreciated. Especially were to start looking for a slip!
 

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First off welcome to sailnet. You are not a "Liveaboard" you just happen to stay on your boat alot. That will clear up a few things.
 
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Here are my two cents. Get a boat with enough head room for you to stand up in without hitting your head in the main cabin. Get as big a boat as you can afford, as you will likely always want more space (of course if you are actually going to sail it, that adds other parameters to the equation, as the bigger the boat, you may need others to help you go sailing, and how you set it up will determine what the effort (and how long) it will take to get out of port.

I thought of it as one big long camping trip staying on my boat. I had a porta-potty, but never used it, as I used the bathroom in the marina, so I didn't have the hassle of cleaning/maintaining it, but did use a little accessory purchased at West Marine, almost like what you get at a hospital to go #1 in, except it had a screw top to seal it in, so you could avoid walking to the marina bathroom in the middle of the night to go (and of course it was useful for the same purpose while sailing).
 

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Lots of threads on living aboard and lots of diverse ideas on how to do it. There isn't one right answer. I will throw in my two cents that I vastly prefer to live aboard on a mooring rather than a dock, and then it is more like cruising than living in a ghetto. Most will disagree, but the comforts of the dock are outweighed by having neighbors right on top of each other, and inevitably having so many power cords, dock lines, things laying around here and there that to go sailing takes an hour or two. On a mooring the boat stays pretty much ready to go at a moment's notice and you keep your cruising systems operating so they are in tip top shape. And, yes I have lived on a mooring while commuting to work at a fulltime professional job--did it that way for years, only moving into the slip for the winter in order to have power for heat. But then there was nobody in the marina most of the time so it wasn't like being in a dormitory. In Seattle boats stay in year 'round, slips are expensive and hard to get, and liveaboard slips are few and far between. You may want to search out boats that possibly come with a slip.
 

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Lots of threads on living aboard and lots of diverse ideas on how to do it. There isn't one right answer. I will throw in my two cents that I vastly prefer to live aboard on a mooring rather than a dock, and then it is more like cruising than living in a ghetto. Most will disagree, but the comforts of the dock are outweighed by having neighbors right on top of each other, and inevitably having so many power cords, dock lines, things laying around here and there that to go sailing takes an hour or two. On a mooring the boat stays pretty much ready to go at a moment's notice and you keep your cruising systems operating so they are in tip top shape.
We've stayed on a mooring for 3 months in Boot Key Harbor. Plenty of ghetto boats there (not ready to move at a moments notice). We do enjoy being anchored out, or on a mooring, but can't discount living aboard *if* you find the right marina. There is a huge liveaboard community (cruisers in transit) here where we are. A couple of the ladies got together and put together a cruiser's net. Our dock neighbors are from the US, Australia, Denmark, and French Canadian. This is just one dock of 15 or so, with 367 slips. No junk on the docks or on boats. We all get along, have cookouts on the free grill on each dock, help each other with car rides for supplies, or just hang out together. Free beer and wine supplied by the marina three days a week (beer 24/7). Free laundry. Huge air conditioned cruiser's lounge with 3 TVs, library, computers and wifi. Clean restrooms and showers. Friendly staff.

Not all marinas have such nice facilities, nor are they so welcoming to the people with boats there. So, you really need to look hard for a marina that fits your wants and needs.

Stuart Florida has a nice marina with moorings. The down side is no shore power (not too big a deal if you have plenty of solar, or wind, and a big house bank). But there are always those long wet dinghy rides to shore on nasty days.

We all get along differently I suppose. No right or wrong as mentioned. Hopefully the OP is getting an idea about what to look for.

Ralph
 

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bell ringer
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Free beer and wine supplied by the marina three days a week (beer 24/7).
Say what!!!! :eek

Where is this magical marina and what are you paying?
 

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Ralph, I was tied to the bulkhead at the Marathon City Marina for three months, loved every minute of it, though I started out on a mooring ball for the first month I was down there. I paid $753 a month to be on that bulkhead, right behind the poop boats, which sometimes sent an odoriferous waft my way that I had to contend with. Most of the time, though, there was no smell coming from the poop boats.

I played music ever Friday night at the marina Tiki Hut, had huge crowds, sometimes as many as 300 people, nearly all of which were cruisers from all over the world. Many were just staying at Marathon until they got a good weather window to cross the stream to the Bahamas, while others were content to stay right where they were. To be honest, I really didn't want to leave - I loved that place.

Yes, there were some boats that had not moved, or had their bottom's scraped in more than a decade. Captain Jack, who has been residing on the floating dock in his 28-foot sailboat for the better part of 20 years, is a colorful fixture there. I saw him last winter, he's now 93 years old, and still riding his bicycle to the park every day, picking flowers and bringing them back to give to the ladies he encounters at the marina.



I loved it when three manatees arrived next to my boat one day, looking for a free meal, which I provided each morning in the form of a head of lettuce, until I discovered I could be fined $250 for feeding them.



Then there was a young girl that lived aboard with her father who would walk into the mangroves and pick up huge iguanas as if they were her personal pets. Her father played guitar and sang with me every Friday night. I later found out that he became very ill and took his own life.



The public beach there was among the most beautiful I've ever seen, yet most of the time it was completely deserted, even during the height of tourist season.



Now, I had a bicycle that had a basket on the back that I constructed from a plastic storage container that I purchased at the nearby Home Depot. The ride to the grocery store was just over a mile, which was fine, and there were two liquor stores on the way, so in one trip I could stock up on both items, and offload directly from the bulkhead in less than 2 hours. I made that trip once every two weeks. I later discovered that booze was far less expensive at the Walgreen's Liquor Store at the head of the island, which was about a 3 mile ride.

West Marine was just a half mile south of the marina, and that store had just about everything. However, there was a couple junk stores before WM that often had the repair parts you needed at a fraction of the price. They provided me with the hardware to mount my solar panel for under $30.

On days when the weather cooperated, which was most of them, I would fire up the A4, motor through Sister Creek, then raise the sails and head offshore to catch supper and enjoy the day sailing. More often than not I hooked up with mahi, king mackerel, snapper, grouper and grunts, great tasting fish that were always available along the outer edge of the reef.

At night, when the sun went down, and I didn't feet like watching TV on the PC, I would take my ultra-light spinning rod out and cast to schools of ladyfish that frequented the canal at night. What a blast - those fish went berserk the second they felt the sting of a hook. Down there, they're called poor man's tarpon.

The 7 months I spent as a live aboard will always be among my finest memories of things I've done in my lifetime. I met so many incredible individuals, and very few aholes during that cruise. By and large, the cruising community seems to consist of some of the most generous folks you will ever encounter, and the vast majority of them told me they would never live on land again, or at least until they were too old and infirmed to safely live aboard their boats.

Good luck,

Gary :cool:
 

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Say what!!!! :eek

Where is this magical marina and what are you paying?
We're in Georgia. Check it out - brunswicklandingmarina.com

It's $12.50/ft. per month.

Did you retire yet, Don? Come on down! There is room for another Hunter owner....:laugh

Gary, not knocking Boot Key Harbor. We enjoyed it there too. Sorry we missed you when you were there playing. We have some Texas friends there. Keith and Carol. I don't recall the boat name, but it is the same Cherubini Hunter 36 as I have. Last December, we tried to get a mooring, but they had a long waiting list, so we went to the Miami area and anchored out from Dec.-April.

Ralph
 

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bell ringer
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I've quit my job and aren't working and my wife left her job last Friday. We don't call it retired, we call it being on sabbatical. Working on finishing getting rid of house stuff and the house and plan to start heading South in the next month. I've never stayed in a marina slip, but for free beer will check it out :laugh
 

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If your goal is to just live aboard, you will get twice the living space and comfort aboard a motor boat, for half the price. You get things like a standard size bed (no custom mattresses or sheets) and a household refrigerator, never mind a stand up shower in a much smaller boat than you could on a sailboat.
 
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