LIVING ABOARD A BOAT
The goal of this website is to help you
answer in advance some of the questions you might have about the liveaboard lifestyle. I learned most of the
answers myself by expensive and painful trial and error. Even so, it was a lot of fun.
The website is about living aboard, not cruising.
There are plenty of websites and literature that will teach you the basics of cruising. There are seminars and
courses that will give you hands on instruction. Some of this basic cruising knowledge will serve you well as a
liveaboard even if you plan to stay in the marina all the time.
Living aboard a boat was a dream of mine for years. I achieved it two different times in my life for extended
periods. In my case, I also wanted to do some cruising so that consideration drove my choice of boats.
The first time was on my CSY33 "Silverheels". It was a 33 foot cutter with a deck house
that let plenty of light below and had 6 foot 7 inches of headroom. I love a pilot house on a sailboat for that
reason; motorsailers usually have them.
The second time was on my Island Packet 26 "AWOL". Although it was 7 feet shorter on deck
than Silverheels, it was pretty close to having the same waterline length. That and it's beamy width made it almost
as roomy below as Silverheels, but with only about 6 foot 2 of headroom.
I've also enjoyed "living aboard" my various boats many other times during long cruises, vacations and on
weekends. Boats have also served many times as my office and guest room away from home.
I have a lot of experience around boats and love them, especially sailboats. All of my experience living aboard
full-time has been on sailboats berthed in Florida marinas.
It seems to me that much of the art of navigating through life involves balancing thinking and feeling. Too much
of either can get in the way of a life well lived. As an engineer I've done a lot of thinking, but have also been
lucky in getting in touch with my feelings.
The thinking part says that living on a boat is cramped, confining, damp, expensive and invites a feeling among
your colleagues that you are less than stable. This might not be good for business if you are a professional who
has to dress up and go to work each day.
I have been accused now and then by coworkers ashore of using diesel fuel for after shave lotion.
The thinking part asks where there are anchorages or marinas that are safe and close to
amenities. How much will it cost to maintain your boat? How much will a marina or mooring cost? How about
insurance? Financing? And so on. You will probably make a list of the pros of
living aboard and the cons of living aboard and assign
points. It doesn't matter what you do because the feeling part is going to win.
The feeling part enjoys sitting in the cockpit after a hard day at work unwinding with a
cocktail. Your old friend the green heron rides on your stern line bobbing up and down and spearing fish on the
downstroke. A mullet jumps up out of the dark water and lands with a splash. A large pelican spots him and crash
dives into the water to fill his big beak with a tasty meal.
The breeze kicks up and your boat begins to rock gently in her slip. The halyards all around the marina start
clanging against the masts and sound like distant church bells. The rain comes crashing down and you go below to
read a book, watch TV or listen to music. The rain beats a tatto on the roof of the cabin but you are snug and
secure and all is well. You can hear the shrimp nibbling on the hull of your boat. It's just you and nature.
There is a sense of freedom that you just can't get living on land. Your mind is limited
only by your imagination. If you can figure out how to work at home, or if you win the lottery, you can live
anyplace there is water and a place to berth your boat. This includes most of the world.
Living on a boat defies rational analysis. It can be just as expensive or more so than living
on land, and it can be real inconvenient. Unless you have a huge yacht you will learn where the best laundromats in
town are located. You will get rid of all your furniture and most of your books, knick knacks and art.
You will learn how to cook dozens of varieties of one pot meals. You will learn that every labor saving
mechanical and electrical device comes with an energy and maintenance price to pay. You will keep your clothing
wardrobe to a minimum.
You will feel it was not a sacrifice, but a logical result of the floating freedom lifestyle
you have chosen.
Enjoy yourself on your journey through these web pages, and I hope what you learn will help you make the right