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    Is living on a boat cheaper?


    The answer is NO!!! It’s a life style and you will pay a premium for it.

    Can you live cheaply on a boat? Yes, you can. You can also camp in your car if you really want to live cheap. Is that living?

    So how do you compare living on a boat to living on dirt? I don’t know how you compare them. I once was a single guy living in a 4 bedroom house with a race car, a sports car and a boat in the garage. I gave it all up and moved onto a 34’ sailboat. Those two lives are not comparable. They are different, I loved them both and I don’t think I could enjoy the second if I hadn’t had the first.

    What about living on a boat appeals the most to you. Wow, that’s hard to answer. I like the people, the view, the security, the smells, the sounds, the work(boat maintenance) but most of all I think I like being able to leave the boat for extended periods of time and not having to worry about my home.
    Azzurra
    Seattle, WA
    Ocean Alexander 54

    #2
    It can be cheaper, it depends on the person. If you have to keep up with the guy that just bought a chrome anchor and now you gotta have one, No. But if you don't have to have the newest boat, dock at the fanciest marina, have the latest new marine gizmo, then you can live cheaper than a house. I look at a house as a money hole and it seems like a prison sentence. Besides taxes doubling every few years, there's always something to repair or replace. If you live with a woman, besides filling it up with useless crap, you're constantly replacing good furniture, carpets and so on. You spend your weekends in yard maintenance that goes nowhere because it all has to be done again next week. I spent much more time maintaining a house than I do on my 83' wood boat. And it's not your house anyway if you're married and a guy.
    I've been on the water since I was 13. I'm 70 now. Some of that was the USN, ships and commercial boats. In all that time, I only had a spot at a marina 3 years. The rest was at my own dock, a private dock or commercial docks that had no fee. I've always had big boats, so laundry, storage and comfort aboard. Whenever I moved to a new area I scouted out docks. They may not have had good parking, or a great gangway or even decent docks, but I didn't spend $1000 a month as I would have with this boat. My current dock cost about $5000 a year, not counting 100' I can rent out. And I have a large wood shop in a barge house. Because of past skills, there's nothing on my boat I can't fix or can't supervise fixing by less skilled labor. I am 70 and there are some things I can't physically do anymore.
    If you're smart, you buy a boat big enough to be comfortable aboard and safe in the ocean. You can have everything you had in a house except a garage. And I had that once in a big tug. I have a reasonable sized galley, double door reefer, 2 freezers, dishwasher, 50gl water heater, wood stove, diesel stove, pellet stove, boiler and hydronic heating thruout. And no mortgage.
    My actual monthly expenses don't hit $2000. The dock with a couple renters is really a profit and I only carry liability on the boat. And no I'm not wealthy to afford a large boat and a dock. About 20 years ago, when I retired because of health issues,now gone, I had to start over.
    And then there are the people that own their boat, anchor out and live really cheap. A couple are friends and come here to get water.

    Comment


      #3
      There is always an exception to everything. Problem is you can’t compare living on $30,000 sail boat to living in an apartment. You give up a lot of amenities when you move from an apartment to a sail boat. Now some people will be happier with the trade offs. For most by the time they find a boat that has the same amenities as a 1 bedroom apartment they will need to spend $150,000. By the time you make the boat payment and the moorage payment you will be paying more than a 1 bedroom apartment. Yes you can give up amenities to live cheaper and for many it’s worth it. We haven’t even gotten to the issue of maintenance.

      now I’m not saying that you can’t be as resourceful as Lepke. However If you read his posts, you will see a very knowledgeable boater, not your average boater.
      Azzurra
      Seattle, WA
      Ocean Alexander 54

      Comment


        #4
        I think you hit on something important here...

        Comparing a apartment to a small sail boat is not a valid comparson. Comparing a large boat to a condo seems to be a good comparison.

        Of course things vary in price but I have a a quarter million in my boat, and think I could probably buy a decent condo for that price. Probably not a waterfront condo though.
        Slip fees vary by location, but I think they are probably higher than most condo HOA fees.

        So yes, living on a boat is more expensive than a condo in town, but I’m guessing probably not much more that a waterfront condo, and maybe a bit less.

        Like you I like harbors. I am in a working harbor and like the sights, sounds and smells of a working harbor. I like the kind of people that work on and live on the boats in the harbor. Much better than a regular land based neighborhood.

        What I REALLY like about life aboard for a retiree is that I can take my house with me when I travel. I do not have to live out of a suitcase and eat out three meals a day while exploring. To me, that is one of the greatest parts of liveaboard life, and one I am looking forward to very soon.




        KEVIN SANDERS
        4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
        where are we right now​​​​​​???​

        https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

        Comment


          #5
          I just tried something. I did a zillow search fpr san diego waterfront homes/condos. The cheapest was around $750K and most were in the millions of dollars.

          I can get a 50’ Liveaboard slip for around $1300 a month in San Diego. Add say another $250,000 for a very nice liveaboard boat and you have something attainable, where the waterfront condo is unattainable.

          Now consider this...

          Moving is no problem. You get tired of the neighborhood, or get a new job somewhere else (along a coast), or just want to change you climate. All you need to do is untie your dock lines and you are on the road. Yes you will need to arrange for a slip, and it might be a PITA, just like it would be a challenge to move anywhere, but your basic life is uninterrupted as your home goes with you.


          KEVIN SANDERS
          4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
          where are we right now​​​​​​???​

          https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

          Comment


          • MOORTIME
            MOORTIME commented
            Editing a comment
            I was hoping it was going to be cheaper we own the boat slip and the boat will be paid off by the time I retire

          #6
          Comparisons are a bit useless to me. Ive always said and still do 'ride what you can afford'. Those where my younger years riding motorcycles. The bottom line is you like or want or need to be on the water, then you can. Simply depends how badly you want it.

          to be fair, very little in life is free, thats why you build up skills over your life and use them as best you can. So we uses a lifetime of skills and knowledge to live the life we want.

          when the conversation turns to money, often it really only means the desire is simply not strong. I rode an 800$ bike over hells half acre, as that is what i had. So when i hear lepke or janice, i listen carefully because boats have an extra component, you really need to be self suficient, and you cant buy that. I offroaded a lot and learned this the hard way over years. I peronally hate working on mechanical things, its just not in my dna. But i do it because i must, hating it the whole time, almost funny. Gets better, i learn and feel better and more confident.

          on the topic at hand, heck im in the most expensive marina in the country and have a pricey boat to. If i compare, a 2 bedroom condo on the waterfront in my area is over 2 million, so hey ITS cheaper lol.

          then again the guy down the next dock has a 130 footer with a crew, so im really not doing so good. Nah, its all neither here or there. We have prefernces, for example im a bit like lepke, id rather have bigger vessel but nit as shiny if thats the chouce i have to make. Others will have different choices, point is the price of the lifesttyle can be low enough for most responsible people. If you are young and broke, then you can still work on a boat.

          Comment


            #7
            Can you afford to live on a boat? Yes, we have all proven that. Are you willing to give up amenities to do it? Yes, we all have done it but to all of us there was such a net gain. In fact most of us live on large boats with an unusuall amount of amenities.

            i’m not Trying to pick a living expense argument. I’m trying to point out how hard it is to compare apples to apples when it comes to living aboard. In my case it’s more like comparing apples to bananas. You can like them both, they are just different.
            Azzurra
            Seattle, WA
            Ocean Alexander 54

            Comment


              #8
              Does your marina turn off the water when it gets cold (mine does)? That's what I find to be the crux- is showering. On a boat, being judicious with your water in the winter is tough, especially if your marina turns off the water. Also, your waste/waste treatment/black water tank. Onboard living requires me to think ahead and not use my onboard facitlites to avoid filling up the holding tank (Advantage-condo). No shared walls onboard (Advantage-boat).

              Comment


                #9
                Originally posted by cory View Post
                Does your marina turn off the water when it gets cold (mine does)? That's what I find to be the crux- is showering. On a boat, being judicious with your water in the winter is tough, especially if your marina turns off the water. Also, your waste/waste treatment/black water tank. Onboard living requires me to think ahead and not use my onboard facitlites to avoid filling up the holding tank (Advantage-condo). No shared walls onboard (Advantage-boat).
                Cory

                In most places where the water does not turn to ice the marinas operate year round, and pumpout services are either dockside or actually come to your boat for you.

                KEVIN SANDERS
                4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
                where are we right now​​​​​​???​

                https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

                Comment


                  #10
                  At the end of the day, it's a lifestyle choice. From the professional viewpoint, I see too many that buy into the fallacy that living onboard is cheaper....and they start by purchasing a vessel that is held together by luck and Elmer's glue.

                  As long as one goes into the endeavor with open eyes, there should be minimal issues.

                  As far as being cheaper- it can be. Dave put it perfectly in the first post.
                  Pete
                  Marine Insurance Guru
                  1989 PT52 Cockpit Yachtfisher

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Originally posted by Pau Hana View Post
                    At the end of the day, it's a lifestyle choice. From the professional viewpoint, I see too many that buy into the fallacy that living onboard is cheaper....and they start by purchasing a vessel that is held together by luck and Elmer's glue.

                    As long as one goes into the endeavor with open eyes, there should be minimal issues.

                    As far as being cheaper- it can be. Dave put it perfectly in the first post.
                    Thanks Pete!

                    Part of the perception challenge we face is the “hobo liveaboard” concept, where people have a basically derelict boat and choose to stay on it. I think there are a few in every harbor.

                    KEVIN SANDERS
                    4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
                    where are we right now​​​​​​???​

                    https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

                    Comment


                      #12
                      The problem is the boat bums, compounded by addictions. Around here (west coast of FL, near Tampa Bay) we have a large VA Hospital. There are a lot of mentally ill fellows out here on boats anchored near the VA. They drink themselves stupid and that does not help one iota.

                      For me, Seaweed is home. Frankly I could not afford to live in an apartment. My income is not great -- it'll get better when I get to the age for social security. Then again I have lived below the poverty line most of my life so I am good at budgeting and figuring out ways to save $$..

                      Everybody I know buys paper towels and Kleenex. I have a roll of blue paper towels I've owned for at least 3 years. Did you know you can wash them? My Kleenex tissues are scraps from a fitted flannel sheet. The tissues I'm using are only a couple years old. I upgraded to flannel because it is softer. I use rags in lieu of paper towels and throw them away if there is diesel of oil on them. Otherwise they get washed.

                      On the other hand, I've tried discount tea bags and they are awful. I buy Lipton. And occasionally a box of Bigelow's Constant Comment. That's my treat tea. I don't have CC every day. I don't drink alcohol (much -- I did have a glass wine a year or so back) nor do i smoke. My only vice is my Kindle books. I do use Gutenberg and the library's Overdrive system too, plus Amazon.

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Originally posted by ksanders View Post
                        Part of the perception challenge we face is the “hobo liveaboard” concept, where people have a basically derelict boat and choose to stay on it. I think there are a few in every harbor.
                        And they are not using anchor lights. ARGH.

                        I do believe being homeless on a boat is perhaps a bit safer for the fellows than in the woods. At least they have shelter. Unfortunately it is the one bad apple that spoils the bunch. A thief or a drunken boat bum makes all the rest of us suspect. I have noticed in crowded anchorages boat bums tend to congregate together, sometimes rafting several boats together.

                        Comment


                          #14
                          Originally posted by janice142 View Post
                          The problem is the boat bums, compounded by addictions. Around here (west coast of FL, near Tampa Bay) we have a large VA Hospital. There are a lot of mentally ill fellows out here on boats anchored near the VA. They drink themselves stupid and that does not help one iota.

                          For me, Seaweed is home. Frankly I could not afford to live in an apartment. My income is not great -- it'll get better when I get to the age for social security. Then again I have lived below the poverty line most of my life so I am good at budgeting and figuring out ways to save $$..

                          Everybody I know buys paper towels and Kleenex. I have a roll of blue paper towels I've owned for at least 3 years. Did you know you can wash them? My Kleenex tissues are scraps from a fitted flannel sheet. The tissues I'm using are only a couple years old. I upgraded to flannel because it is softer. I use rags in lieu of paper towels and throw them away if there is diesel of oil on them. Otherwise they get washed.

                          On the other hand, I've tried discount tea bags and they are awful. I buy Lipton. And occasionally a box of Bigelow's Constant Comment. That's my treat tea. I don't have CC every day. I don't drink alcohol (much -- I did have a glass wine a year or so back) nor do i smoke. My only vice is my Kindle books. I do use Gutenberg and the library's Overdrive system too, plus Amazon.
                          Good morning Janice!

                          Thans for the thoughtful insight!

                          One can live a modest lifestyle quite successfully on a boat, and one does not need to have a zillion dollar floatiing home to be happy. I’ve always said that the view looing out from my boat is the same as the view from thre zillion dollar boats.

                          In my harbor we have a very nice older couple that lives full time on their 32’ Bayliner. They look like they have a pretty comfortable life. Their boat is in reasonable shape, and they look happy. Our slip fees are very reasonable here and our temperatures moderate making for a pretty good liveaboard life. Seward Alaska is not where I would choose to spend every winter, but if you look at it objectivly for them moving somewhere apreciable warmer would increase their costs dramatically, so they are here and happy.

                          KEVIN SANDERS
                          4788 LISAS WAY - SEWARD ALASKA
                          where are we right now​​​​​​???​

                          https://share.findmespot.com/shared/...j23OquWOj2N3Xe

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Living aboard for the past almost 4 years in different areas of the Caribbean and now Florida the costs definitely vary. Do they compare to Dirt Living? As has been said before, there really is no comparison because this is a lifestyle. We had a condo on a small bay in Oregon and between mortgage, taxes, HOA fees, cable, garbage fees, and HOA Assessments we determined that the costs for the first part of our adventure were definitely less. Sailing to islands and dropping anchor in the Caribe and running ashore for groceries and stuff was much less expensive, even with the cost of entering and leaving countries (customs, immigration, etc) we were still ahead by a reasonable amount.

                            Fast forward a couple of years and we now own a powerboat that we operate as a trawler and our fuel costs, slip costs, and other upkeep costs are definitely higher. But they are still a bit less expensive and we have the ability to move to "where the weather suits our clothes". We still drop anchor where legal (FL Issues...ugh)....and enjoy the balmy weather. When summer hits we end up in marinas that enable us to have pwer for the AC (it does get hot here in FL).

                            The lifestyle is what we really are after and being able to do it less expensively means our retirement can go further as we enjoy it.

                            Good Luck To All!

                            Kevin
                            m/v No Plan
                            1997 Bayliner 4788
                            Somewhere in the Florida Keys
                            We have No Plan and we're sticking to it...,

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