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Senior Smart Aleck
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is a news article on the ugly side of liveaboards:

Anne Arundel County: Family found living on boat | WJLA.com

Children are alleged to be abused and neglected by parents who apparently live on a boat due to financial circumstances.

Would be nice if some of the members of this forum started considering whether the advice encouraging all to become liveaboards is really justified by the circumstances if children are involved.

Some of us repeatedly encourage novices to start by buying a small daysailor or weekender, learning and moving up, instead of buying a liveaboard. This assumes the person has a place to live. If the person has children and cannot afford a place to rent, perhaps he or she should not be buying a boat.

I would also add that some of the novice forum posts involving living aboard or circumnavigating strike me as reflecting some degree of grandiose or delusional thinking. A little tough love with some realistic criticism of the plans may be in order.
 

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Chastened
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So what if they were living on a boat?

People do this all the time, only replace "boat" with "car/SUV/dumpster/highway overpass". It doesn't reflect poorly on the liveaboard community. These people are not sailors, they're homeless. Only the venue changes.

We do get WAY too many threads from new subscribers who are not interested in sailing, they're only interested in beating the "rent game". We would do well to make this distinction when discussing articles like this, with our non-sailing friends.
 

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Has nothing to do with living on a boat. This would happen with these parents no matter where they lived.

Advice to "go for it" obviously assumes some level of maturity and the ability to make rational decisions.

I do not think I have ever had anyone come here or anywhere else and say some thing like this: I am really irresponsible and cannot manage my life very well, should I move aboard?

As successful professionals living aboard, we constantly battle the stereotype of the rent beater. Luckily, in Maine there are not too many derelict LAs.

"I can't imagine living in a sailboat and not seeking help from neighbors or anyone," says Tina Robbins.

Obviously someone who has no clue. It is possible to live on a 28ft. sailboat comfortably if you know what you are doing. These folks were using the sailboat as a substitution for a cardboard box under the interstate.



BTW, I agree with tough love but usually get flamed when doling it out.
 

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Old soul
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Well, as usual, the "news" report is pretty useless; just a bunch of streeter interviews with uniformed people. But clearly the issues here are only peripherally related to living on a sailboat. The report says they've lived in multiple states, under multiple names. And the children are in protective custody, with parents being charged with abuse. Again, the liveaboard aspect is clearly not the key, or even the consequential, aspect of this case.

One thing that did amuse me though was the reference to "no running water, no electricity, no heat, living in a 9'x10' space." Many well-found boats could fit that description. A composting head, or even a standard holding tank, could meet the description of having "human waste in bags and bottles" on board.

Looks to me like this is more a typical case of media sensationalism than a lesson for potential liveaboards. I do agree with your comments about newbies getting poor advice sometimes, but we all know what the value of free advice ;).
 

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Advice to "go for it" obviously assumes some level of maturity and the ability to make rational decisions.
I'm not so sure. Haven't we all seen postings from people that clearly know nothing about the sea, nothing about sailing, nothing about boats (in fact, they'll often proudly proclaim that they know nothing about these things), but they are absolutely certain that 6 months from now they are going to begin a circumnavigation in a MacGregor 26 that is sitting on a trailer down at a local boatyard, and all they really need to know is what kind of antenna they need, to be able to get wifi when they're out in the middle of the ocean?

That might be a slight exaggeration, but only very slight. Yet no matter how ill-informed or delusional these people are, you can always bet that someone will post that they should just "go for it." And if someone else posts that maybe they should slow down and learn a little bit before they start making grandiose plans, then sure as shootin' someone will say that they're just naysayers who want to destroy everyone else's dreams.

I can't even count how many times I've seen that scenario play out on this forum over the years that I've been here. There are some people out there who desperately NEED to hear someone say "nay!" So, no, I have to say that I do not think your assumption is correct.
 

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I'm not so sure. Haven't we all seen postings from people that clearly know nothing about the sea, nothing about sailing, nothing about boats (in fact, they'll often proudly proclaim that they know nothing about these things), but they are absolutely certain that 6 months from now they are going to begin a circumnavigation in a MacGregor 26 that is sitting on a trailer down at a local boatyard, and all they really need to know is what kind of antenna they need, to be able to get wifi when they're out in the middle of the ocean?

That might be a slight exaggeration, but only very slight. Yet no matter how ill-informed or delusional these people are, you can always bet that someone will post that they should just "go for it." And if someone else posts that maybe they should slow down and learn a little bit before they start making grandiose plans, then sure as shootin' someone will say that they're just naysayers who want to destroy everyone else's dreams.

I can't even count how many times I've seen that scenario play out on this forum over the several years that I've been here. There are some people out there who desperately NEED to hear someone say "nay!" So, no, I have to say that I do not think your assumption is correct.
Agreed but I am talking about most of the posts, not all of them. Lets be honest, the folks who come here to ask this advice usually have already made up their minds and are looking for confirmation. 100 responses could say "no, no, no" but if just one says "go for it" then they are good.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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Remember the guy posting from Florida who was really a fugitive from Arizona, or some such? He was getting ready to sail away from his past but they found him before he could cast off. He asked a bunch of questions here before he was incarcerated but he never told anyone here that he was running away from the "law".

Thanks to BLJones: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/cruising-liveaboard-forum/102628-getting-bahamas-se-florida-noobs.html

the follow up: http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gener...related/103092-fugitives-sailing-bahamas.html

I think that the "www" stands for wide world of whackos.
You are all axe murderers in my mind until proven otherwise.
 

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Agree... many want to beat the game of renting by living as cheap as possible but in the end it does not work out this way and we end up with derelict boats up and down the coasts causing laws to be written by non sailors/boaters to rid the ugly sight away from normal civilization... yet why is it ok then to have 3 people with one being a child is such a tiny abodes as this and on national TV? This home is much smaller than many cruising boats, where is the outrage here from child protective services here (although nicely furnished... it is nothing but a shed)... but I guess it needs one faction of abuse, neglect, etc. for it to be validated for them.

Meet the Tiny House Family Who Built an Amazing Mini Home for Just $12,000 Tiny House Family on Anderson Cooper - Gallery Page 2 ? Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
 

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Guitar guy, the boat in question was moored, and their dinghy was holed, and they were surrounded by ice, and there was no way to cook,no way to get to shore, apparently a non functioning head and no heat.

They weren't living aboard, they were barely subsisting aboard.
 

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Absolutely... I didn't get a chance to read the article in its entirety but agree they had very little to make ends meet. The parent in me just shakes my head when I see other parents subjecting their children to derelict situations but many sometimes have no way out. Problem is many of the situations are happening everywhere and under the radar until another caring boater calls it in or breaks down and helps out. It's unfortunate and while I would do what I could to help sometimes we don't know it's going on.
 

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Here is a news article on the ugly side of liveaboards:

Anne Arundel County: Family found living on boat | WJLA.com

Children are alleged to be abused and neglected by parents who apparently live on a boat due to financial circumstances.

Would be nice if some of the members of this forum started considering whether the advice encouraging all to become liveaboards is really justified by the circumstances if children are involved.

Some of us repeatedly encourage novices to start by buying a small daysailor or weekender, learning and moving up, instead of buying a liveaboard. This assumes the person has a place to live. If the person has children and cannot afford a place to rent, perhaps he or she should not be buying a boat.

I would also add that some of the novice forum posts involving living aboard or circumnavigating strike me as reflecting some degree of grandiose or delusional thinking. A little tough love with some realistic criticism of the plans may be in order.
This story is nothing about living aboard, it is about child neglect. This would be happening no matter where they lived. Not because they are on a boat, but because they are incapable of providing a safe home for there children. Lots of folks raise healthy smart well adjusted kids on boats, look at our own cruising dad here on the forum. Do you think he is being abusive to his children because he is subjecting them to life on a boat?

Agree... many want to beat the game of renting by living as cheap as possible but in the end it does not work out this way and we end up with derelict boats up and down the coasts causing laws to be written by non sailors/boaters to rid the ugly sight away from normal civilization... yet why is it ok then to have 3 people with one being a child is such a tiny abodes as this and on national TV? This home is much smaller than many cruising boats, where is the outrage here from child protective services here (although nicely furnished... it is nothing but a shed)... but I guess it needs one faction of abuse, neglect, etc. for it to be validated for them.

Meet the Tiny House Family Who Built an Amazing Mini Home for Just $12,000 Tiny House Family on Anderson Cooper - Gallery Page 2 ? Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building
The tiny house movement is not about beating the high cost of living, it is choice made to make a smaller footprint on the environment. I have considered one, but am choosing a boat instead. Actually had a lot picked out, but the state of New York will not allow for such a small building. Many of them are really nicely made. Due to building codes requiring rooms to be bigger than the whole house in many cases they have to be made as trailers or other methods of getting around building permits.

As for the family on the boat, I think they would wind up living like that no matter where they lived. I used to work in an apartment complex and we would fix up apartments, and within a few months some people would have them trashed. Holes in the walls, toilets pulled off the floor, just amazing the damage in a few months. One someone had thrown chicken bones on top of the cabinets. I have seen it done to houses to, even ones that were owned by the people who destroyed them. I just bought a house last year and looked for a year and a half before buying. It is just the way some people are. It is a shame. While in that same apartment complex I lived in three different apartments and left each of them all in better shape, mostly just looking for projects to do. But then again I have been a home owner, so I could not just let a faucet drip, and fixed it, got tired of cleaning the painted wall behind the stove so I found some tile on sale and put in a back-splash.

So it turned out worse because they were on a boat, but had someone given them a nice home, they likely would not have paid the electric and water bills and wound up in the same shape. Not cleaning is not because you are broke, it is because you are dirty. It is a shame but some people just need more help than others. It does tend to give liveaboards a bad rap.

One does wonder if it was someone who posted on this site.

Police said they interviewed a previous roommate of the Kelly family, who said the parents expressed a strong hatred for the U.S. government and that they acted as if they were hiding from government officials. The man said both parents are mentally unstable and that he was concerned for the children.
Investigators determined that the boys' parents had multiple aliases and dates of birth with no fixed address.
So it sounds like they likely would have felt at home on the off topic here! But it does not sound like the issues they had were related to living aboard, but to perhaps mental illness.
 

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Hungry is hard. Hungry and cold is harder.

Sailboat or shanty or single wide or double wide or log cabin...makes no difference if you're cold and hungry.

Seventy five years ago most of rural America had no indoor plumbing nor electricity nor Wally World and Dollar General on the corner for instant food...and with no refrigeration sometimes only a small amount of food was kept. Many distrusted government.

A tough life but most made do.

Reports on this family are sketchy. Perhaps they were abusive of their teenage children in some fashion. Perhaps their indoor toilet practices were foul (at least they didn't discharge into the river and creek...choosing to live with it instead).

What laws did they break? Being hungry or stupid or cold isn't against the law.

Under some circumstances some of us might choose to sit cuddled topside in a blanket on a cold day or night with a close acquaintance enjoying the scenery and each other...

Just saying'...
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Must say that I too fail to get the link between this and Liveaboard as a general rule. No matter where these poor souls were living they would be way up the proverbial creek without an oar.
 
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This story is nothing about living aboard, it is about child neglect. This would be happening no matter where they lived. Not because they are on a boat, but because they are incapable of providing a safe home for there children. Lots of folks raise healthy smart well adjusted kids on boats, look at our own cruising dad here on the forum. Do you think he is being abusive to his children because he is subjecting them to life on a boat?

So it turned out worse because they were on a boat, but had someone given them a nice home, they likely would not have paid the electric and water bills and wound up in the same shape. Not cleaning is not because you are broke, it is because you are dirty. It is a shame but some people just need more help than others. It does tend to give liveaboards a bad rap.

So it sounds like they likely would have felt at home on the off topic here! But it does not sound like the issues they had were related to living aboard, but to perhaps mental illness.
No questions about it... many cruisers have sane minds and can cruise with children and live normal lives sometimes better than some living on land... I truly understand CD not leaving his area while his children play with and surround themselves with other other kids their age... I have done similar where I've traveled for years and never pulled my children from their home, friends, or surroundings... so we have a home base and I travel to my work sites.

You are correct that these people would do the same no matter what their lifestyle... but the article does not say whether these people had a home/apartment previously and lost it all due to unemployment or money issues and perhaps they owned a boat for weekend pleasure and saw this as an alternative to living under a bridge... but reality is they had children that needed some sort of structure with school, food and medical needs, a warm bed to sleep on, and these parents were not supplying those needs. Could be any of us, any day should the situation arise. By the way these are not the folks in the $500/month club at all... not for a minute. To be honest I hope it was a fellow cruiser that turned them in... it's what I would have done if they didn't improve their situation.

Miatapaul... the reference to the tiny house is many are also trying to beat the money game by going insanely small... we all want to have small footprint but it has done to living in truly ridiculous living situations.

 

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Old enough to know better
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Actually, it is, when you are stupid and make your KIDS go hungry and cold.... with no foreseeable change in that circumstance. It's child abuse.
That, and not educating your children. Either send them to school or home school them. It does not sound like they were in a position to home school them, or send them.

Sent from my ADR6425LVW using Tapatalk
 

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No questions about it... many cruisers have sane minds and can cruise with children and live normal lives sometimes better than some living on land... I truly understand CD not leaving his area while his children play with and surround themselves with other other kids their age... I have done similar where I've traveled for years and never pulled my children from their home, friends, or surroundings... so we have a home base and I travel to my work sites.

You are correct that these people would do the same no matter what their lifestyle... but the article does not say whether these people had a home/apartment previously and lost it all due to unemployment or money issues and perhaps they owned a boat for weekend pleasure and saw this as an alternative to living under a bridge... but reality is they had children that needed some sort of structure with school, food and medical needs, a warm bed to sleep on, and these parents were not supplying those needs. Could be any of us, any day should the situation arise. By the way these are not the folks in the $500/month club at all... not for a minute. To be honest I hope it was a fellow cruiser that turned them in... it's what I would have done if they didn't improve their situation.

Miatapaul... the reference to the tiny house is many are also trying to beat the money game by going insanely small... we all want to small footprint but it has done to living in truly ridiculous living situations.


Hey that is a deluxe house, it has a front suspension on it! I was looking to keep my place under 110 sq feet. In NY you need 120 sq feet to be considered a room to get a building permit, won't issue one for a 0 room house. I just don't need more room than that. But my kids live with there mother in the house we purchased and I refurbished for them. The lot was about a tenth of a mile down the road from there house, on a nice stream. They are almost in college now so it is time for me to fly to coop so to speak.
 
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