WHERE TO LIVE ABOARD
Marinas can be found almost anywhere in the world, but not all of them allow liveaboards.
Sometimes government regulations do not permit marina liveaboards. Other times government will limit
liveaboards in a marina to a certain percentage of slips.
A good marina is a fine place to live aboard. The one pictured above is Grove Isle Marina in
Coconut Grove, Florida.
You will enjoy not only most of the amenities you did ashore, but you will be part of a unique
community. I usually feel I have more in common with fellow boaters than any other group I identify with.
The common joys and problems of boat ownership transcend almost any other aspect of your life.
The marinas I've enjoyed the most have clean restrooms, responsible liveaboards, good staffs who
care about the marina and a great location that allows you to be a part of the community.
The marina pictured above is in Dania, Florida.
A nice place to park your car and 24 hour security are super nice bonuses that some marinas
These are areas with permanent moorings. You hook up to a buoy and usually pay the city,
county or local marina for the privilege of staying there.
Many areas no longer allow boats to be liveaboards at anchor. They have passed laws that make
you live in a mooring field.
Some of the best mooring fields will have water taxis that will take you back and forth to your
floating home. They also will have a place ashore where you can store your dinghy, do your laundry,
use your computer or just hang out.
The photo above is from the website of the Coconut Grove Sailing Club in Miami, Florida.
The mooring fields have some of the same disadvantages you will read about below if you are a
liveaboard swinging on a hook. But they are quite often less than half as expensive as marinas in the same
Some people feel that living on the hook is the ultimate freedom. It's certainly cheaper than
a mooring field or marina, but there are some disadvantages too. You get what you pay for.
There is the problem of where to land and store your dinghy when you are ashore. You will be
making a lot of trips to your boat to haul groceries and water. You will be making a lot of trips to the
shore to get rid of garbage and walk your dog. You have to find a place that will take your garbage.
And you have to routinely empty your holding tanks and not in the water where you are anchored.
Energy is a problem. You will have to run your engine every day to keep your frig and freezer
cold and to charge your batteries. You may need to add solar panels and wind charges to supplement your
And just finding a spot to live on the anchor is becoming a problem just about anywhere in North
America. People who live ashore on the waterfront seem to have a natural antipathy for carefree liveaboards
enjoying the same view for a fraction of the cost.
People who live ashore vote, and politicans know it. Liveaboards are usually too disorganized
to form a voting bloc, so you see more and more laws against living aboard.
Private Home or Condo
There are many neighborhoods on the water that have homes or condominiums with private docks.
The problem is that liveaboards are usually prohibited by local laws and/or neighborhood
There are some exceptions, like the "Isles" area of Fort Lauderdale along Las Olas Boulevard.
A couple of neighborhoods are permitted to have liveaboards on the docks behind small condos or houses. But
there are not many places like this and you will have a hard time finding anything in most of the areas you are
interested in living.
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