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Downside to a live aboard

Old 01-21-2010, 05:59 PM
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Default Downside to a live aboard

Often thought I'd like to retire and live on board a boat. 45' - 50'.

What are some of the down sides to living on board?

Don't be shy, list them all. I'd hate to make a mistake that could cost me tens of thousands of $$$'s
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Old 01-21-2010, 06:57 PM
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from a guy that's thought about the same dream, here's a few with no practical knowledge:
a. cabin fever
b. marina rats (i.e. grungy neighbors that bum everything you own)
c. ...er, I guess there's only two that I could think of.

A Grand Banks 46 needs to be in your future!
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:05 PM
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There are a MILLION downsides....but no one I know has ANY regrets. It's really not any cheaper than living on land and you'll have plenty of "projects" to pass the time. If you're mechanically inclined, you'll save a fortune - if you're not - you could end up stranded in the South Pacific, never to be seen again......

GO FOR IT!
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:16 PM
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No grass to cut, no real taxes, you can move your house...what's the downside? When my kids move out, I'm moving aboard. I like getting rid of the excess crap keeping only what is necessary.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:37 PM
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I could never do it......for me it would be like living in a jail cell (I'm assuming). I'm far to productive to live without shop space....I'd go nuts.
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:47 PM
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best of both worlds: water front property with a private dock, what could be better. wishful thinking though!
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Old 01-21-2010, 08:39 PM
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lets see, after living aboard for 15 years now and looking forward to buying a house right now.

1. expense, boat cost + marina fees + storage building + electricity( higher rates & less insulation on a boat)

2. storage - having to get off the boat to get something all the time

3. parking at marinas, location and no garage

4. !!!!! Marina Managers (dock Masters) - worse than your worst neighbor ever

5. Weather - having other people's boats hitting yours, your house moving around at the dock, girlfriends getting seasick at the dock etc.

6. no private life - everyone on the dock knows your business

7. seasick friends

8. Dock water problems

9. Dock power problems

10. Most important - Marina Managers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Those are what I could think of in 5 minutes. All being equal I enjoyed my last 15 years and will do it again in the future. Being able to live in some of the best fishing spots in the world like St. Thomas, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mag Bay have been worth all the headaches that living on-board brings. Right now I am looking forward to having a large dog again, being away from the boat at night and taking a break from marinas. I still have 18 months left on my travels and plan to enjoy them.

BTW - if you decide to take the plunge buy larger than you think you will need. Boats get real small fast and you will want Laundry on-board and 2X the water than you think. Glad I have both.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sanchoco View Post
lets see, after living aboard for 15 years now and looking forward to buying a house right now.

1. expense, boat cost + marina fees + storage building + electricity( higher rates & less insulation on a boat)

2. storage - having to get off the boat to get something all the time

3. parking at marinas, location and no garage

4. !!!!! Marina Managers (dock Masters) - worse than your worst neighbor ever

5. Weather - having other people's boats hitting yours, your house moving around at the dock, girlfriends getting seasick at the dock etc.

6. no private life - everyone on the dock knows your business

7. seasick friends

8. Dock water problems

9. Dock power problems

10. Most important - Marina Managers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Those are what I could think of in 5 minutes. All being equal I enjoyed my last 15 years and will do it again in the future. Being able to live in some of the best fishing spots in the world like St. Thomas, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mag Bay have been worth all the headaches that living on-board brings. Right now I am looking forward to having a large dog again, being away from the boat at night and taking a break from marinas. I still have 18 months left on my travels and plan to enjoy them.

BTW - if you decide to take the plunge buy larger than you think you will need. Boats get real small fast and you will want Laundry on-board and 2X the water than you think. Glad I have both.
sanchoco - problems 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10 can be avoided by living on the hook and making your own electricity (solar and wind). i have been working towards this end since May getting the boat ready (had to build the interior, tankage, rewire, add solar, new stove/oven and propane system, recore deck yea it never ends...) but im almost done and a 130 watt solar panel will take care of this minimalists needs.

i can do most of the boat projects working off the sun power, anything that doesnt require constant sanding or grinding for hours. i dont even have a huge battery bank or inverter but i can run everything but 7" angle grinder and miter saw with it.

so yea i dont live aboard yet but cant f'ing wait to. ohh yea, also it helps if your boat has big stick and those big white floppy things, then you can take it where ever you want, for free!!!!

heres a few pictures of my new boat/home, someone buy my damn seacraft so i can get out there allready
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by spliffskiff20 View Post
sanchoco - problems 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10 can be avoided by living on the hook and making your own electricity (solar and wind). i have been working towards this end since May getting the boat ready (had to build the interior, tankage, rewire, add solar, new stove/oven and propane system, recore deck yea it never ends...) but im almost done and a 130 watt solar panel will take care of this minimalists needs.

so yea i dont live aboard yet but cant f'ing wait to. ohh yea, also it helps if your boat has big stick and those big white floppy things, then you can take it where ever you want, for free!!!!

2 different ends of the spectrum. Like living in a trailer or a house. If you can afford the house why live in the trailer. Not Being on the hook brings its own set of problems with it. Been there also.

Hook problems:

1. Need a dingy, outboard or strong arms

2. worse weather problems

3. wet AZZ returning to your boat in the evening

4. boat wakes at night

5. getting things to the boat on the hook

6. Marina Managers - dingy dock???

7. beach landings and walks to find a cab

8. inviting friends to dinner on the hook - many refusals

9-20. Theft!!!!!!


There is no answer for the problems of living on-board, Marina or Hook. BUT the advantages may be more than the disadvantages. The poster only asked for downsides
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:27 AM
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spliffskiff20, I sure hope your seamanship skills are a whole lot better than your wood working skills!
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:47 AM
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This is so much a personal decision type of thing. What one guy might hate another will love. I think I would rather go to a minimum security prison than live on a little sail boat (i.e. cave) on the hook. Unless spliffskiff20 is both single and a very unusual person (and we have met a few guys who are), I don't see that experiment lasting long.

We (my wife and I) have lived aboard and cruised full time now for over 2 1/2 years. We have spent several months at a time on a mooring, both in Westport, MA and Marathon, FL. with a lot of anchoring and mooring in between. It has been wonderful, and the main reason is that we have the right boat (for us) to do it in. The advice to go bigger given above is well founded. We lack for nothing; three bedrooms three baths, full size kitchen with dinette. Two indoor living areas with real furniture (salon and aft deck) two outdoor living areas (flying bridge and fore deck).
Lots of natural light with the big windows. The only downside is that with a bigger boat comes more complexity and maintenance cost/time.

Like many things in life, location is the other huge factor. There are few ideal year around spots to do this on either coast. This winter, for business and personal reasons, we did not go down tho Florida, but are staying here in New Bern NC. For us, being stationary AND being in a place that has a winter sucks, or should I say tolerable, but not fun. We do have a nice slip with great views, so are not subject to the claustrophobia of being between two other boats. In our case we would actually like to have a few more neighbors in the marina. We had a great social life with the other boaters at marinas in Florida and the mooring field in Marathon. We do take the boat for weekends on the hook somewhere just to keep our sanity.
Anyway picking your location is as critical as picking your boat, or you can have the issues that others mention with people.

None of Sanchoco's issues have bothered us. None of his issues with being on the hook/mooring have either, but again, having a nice big boat, in the right location and a nice Boston Whaler for a dinghy mitigate those issues greatly, as do being in a harbor with tender or water taxi service and that is live aboard friendly (ie pump out boat service, and easy access to fresh water, though if you are in a clean enough harbor you could spend the big bucks on a water maker).

Anyway, I am all for it if it means cruising full time as much as living aboard full time. "Snow birding" between the Keys and New England has been an absolute gas.

George
Hatteras 56MY
Boston Whaler 130 Sport
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Old 01-22-2010, 05:10 AM
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haha yes, you hit the nail on the head, single, and unusual indeed, and living in a sardine can will limit the number of applicants, but like my grandma said "theres a customer for every article" anyways caltex - you make a great point. it would be senseless to liveaboard and not cruise
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:55 AM
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Thank you to all! Funny thing is my wife worries it will be damp and musty on board, yet knowone even mentioned it.

I'm not handy when it comes to eng. work but the Mrs. has a strong back and knows what an oar is for!!!!!!!!

I get you on the dock master crap as I've seen it happen. In my mind i'd spend a good deal of time going from one local to the next and the whole plan would wrap up after10 yrs. or when her back gives out.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:02 AM
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Been there and done that in a Morgan never again.
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Old 01-22-2010, 11:22 AM
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For those who might not have noticed sanchoco does not have it bad at all. If he is living aboard that 70 Tribute in his signature!
DT
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:25 PM
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Spliff; if you are an east coaster, I hope we meet you along the way. We've taken in many a bachelor sailboat cruiser for whiskey and steaks on the aft deck and use of the washer/dryer. Whenever we do so for a similarly situated couple, at some point in the proceedings the woman gives the guy "that look" while she says through clenched teeth "gee, THIS is nice......"

BTW Spliff, I really do like your boat; what is she? You will thank yourself many many times for having that pilot house; you will likely be about 90% under power anyway.

0807, cold and damp doesn't have to happen. Warm and cozy is the only way to go. And don't get me wrong, you don't need a boat our size to be happy. Some of the sagest advice in boating is "don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, buy the smallest boat you can be comfortable in". You just have to be darn certain what the definition of "comfortable" is for you and yours. Spend as much time as you can on different boats; we bare boat chartered for years and had very definite ideas on what would and wouldn't work for full time living aboard. Boats that were great for one or two week vacations were "no-ways" when it came to that criteria.

George
Hatteras 56MY
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:53 PM
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if you cruise its really great. you always feel at home in a new place. if you live in a marina its like a damp condo without the privacy.

there are exceptions.
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by captdbt View Post
For those who might not have noticed sanchoco does not have it bad at all. If he is living aboard that 70 Tribute in his signature!
DT
Yes, don't feel too bad for Tony(sanchoco). His boat is plenty comfortable! Oh, and beautiful also!
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:34 PM
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I've never done it but its my dream also and I will be doing it before the year is out, looking at between a 35 to 40 foot seams like a good size!
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:12 PM
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Sounds like a thorough reading of the Travis McGee novels is in order. Truly the issues revolve around you and your spouses ability to forgo space and possessions in order to enjoy the water. Some people can live in a minimalist galley kitchen with no foos storage to speak of and limited laundry facilities. Others cannot. Know thyself truly before you commit.
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