PSYCHOLOGY OF LIVING ON A BOAT


There is a psychology of living on a boat that is important to consider.  Many people find it interesting to see how they fit into the idea of being a full time liveaboard.

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.



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