Living on a boat is a dream shared by millions of people. The goal of this website is to help you learn some basic facts about living aboard a boat. I will also give you tips about how to search for a boat and what to do before buying it.
I have tried to answer in advance some of the questions you might have about the live aboard lifestyle. I learned most of the answers myself by expensive and painful trial and error.
Even so, it was a lot of fun.
Most people who have lived aboard did not realize they were pioneers of the "tiny home" movement, but indeed they were. They were the trail blazers of the minimalist lifestyle and living off the grid, while having fun sailing or cruising in their home.
This website is about living on a boat, not necessarily cruising on a boat.
There are plenty of websites and published books that will teach you the basics of cruising. This website is more for the novice who is trying to decide if living on a boat makes sense.
There are seminars and courses that will give you hands on instruction about cruising. 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 and just go for an occasional sail.
Living on 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 and sailing, so that consideration drove my choice of boats.
Not counting my time in the U.S. Navy, the first time I lived aboard a boat was on my CSY33 "Silverheels".
She was a 33 foot cutter that I bought from a Bahamas charter company. The boat had been custom built primarily for sale to Carribean charter companies back in the late 1970s and early 1980. The name CSY stands for "Caribbean Sailing Yachts."
She had 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 too.
Living aboard wasn't on my mind when I bought her, but it worked out well when I did decide to live on her long term. She turned out to be an almost perfect liveaboard boat for me.
The second time was on my Island Packet 26 "AWOL". That's her in the photo above at Factory Bay, Marco Island, Florida.
Although it was 7 feet shorter on deck than Silverheels, it was 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 inches 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. Boating has been an important part of my life since I was a kid.
All of my experience living aboard full-time has been on sailboats berthed in Florida marinas along the state's Atlantic Ocean east coast. That's why this website is Florida Centric, although the information should be useful elsewhere in the United States, and in fact the world.
It seems to me that much of the art of living a good 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. What will be the costs of maintaining your boat? How much money will a marina or mooring cost? How high will insurance premiums be? Should I buy an new boat and look for financing, or settle for a less expensive used boat? And so on. You will probably make a list of the pros and 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 down stroke. 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 tattoo 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 always 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 in any location with water and a place to berth your boat. This includes most of the world. The sea is literally your back yard. When you travel, you take your home with you. You will also make good friends who also have floating homes.
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 and motor comes with an energy and maintenance price to pay. You will keep your clothing wardrobe to a minimum.
If you have a family, every member will learn how to live closely in harmony and pull their own weight. And no matter where you live, you will probably have a great view of the water.
But when all is said and done, you will feel it was not a sacrifice, but a logical result of the new floating freedom lifestyle you have chosen.
This website is designed to help you learn about the many types of boats available for you to consider as liveaboards: sailboats, trawlers, power boats, houseboats, catamarans or trimarans. You will know what you're looking for before you start browsing the "boats for sale" websites.
You will also learn some basic nautical terms such as forward, aft, starboard, port, galley, bow, stern, and other important words unique to the world of floating vessels. You'll learn about marine heads, interior layouts, and about some of the best production boats ever built.
Enjoy yourself on your journey through these web pages, and I hope what you learn will help you make the right decision.
Feb 15, 20 06:07 PM
There are many good books about living aboard a boat. Here are some of my favorite liveaboard books.
Jan 19, 20 02:33 PM
This is a motor yacht *only* marina, with yearly inspections by the dockmaster to insure the boats are in legal, functional, condition. There are two floating
Jan 19, 20 02:25 PM
Florida liveboard marinas are true communities of like minded supportive people.
Jan 19, 20 02:22 PM
I just called and they no longer take live aboard. :(( EDITOR SAYS: Thanks for the sad update.
Nov 15, 19 03:06 PM
There are many power and sail boats that work well as live aboards. Your choice will be determined by your passions, lifestyle, and comfort zone.
Sep 19, 19 08:17 PM
I have lived aboard several times at Dinner Key. It is a genuine liveaboard community. Not only are there more slips than just about any other place
Sep 19, 19 05:33 PM
Life on a liveaboard boat is a dream for many people. Here are some things to consider before making your decision.
Sep 12, 19 07:37 PM
Liveaboard dining and living areas are often combined, especially in smaller boats.
Sep 12, 19 07:21 PM
There are a few inconvenient things about living on a boat that you should pay some attention to before taking the leap.
Sep 12, 19 07:15 PM
This Living Aboard site map shows all of the pages on the website and allows easy navigation to the areas of your interest.
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By Mike Miller, Copyright 2012-2020 Living-Aboard.com