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Living on a Boat
My husband is a sailing fanatic and is trying to convince me to buy a large sailboat and live aboard with our toddler and eventually go cruising around the world. I know that it is possible and have heard wonderful stories about families who have done this before but I am really new to the world of sailing and have the usual fears and concerns a newcomer might have. I saw some of the older postings in the archive and reviewed the pros/cons of living aboard with kids but I would really like to talk to the MOTHERS who have lived/are living aboard with a child out here in the bay area. I need to get some real mama-to-mama advice and get a good sense of how people live aboard daily with their family. How do you keep clutter down? How do you organize your kitchen? Are you comfy? Do you feel your kids are safe? Are they getting enough social interaction with other kids? Are you getting enough social time away from the boat and with non-boating friends? Is it really that cold aboard in the winters--do you ever get warm enough? If you're out there (or know of any), I would love to hear from you. Thanks! Future sailing mama?
The most challenging aspects of being a liveaboard for us have been maintaining the boat (all the maintenance issues of a car and a house combined together) and the long walk from the parking lot down the dock to our slip. The former is helped by having a husband who is pragmatic and very mechanically inclined. The latter is remediated by the marina's dock carts (my son initially enjoyed riding inside with the groceries and now likes to stand at the back). It is often cold and damp at the marina in winter. We stay warm by turning on space heaters when we're home (doesn't take long to heat and dry a small space), lighting an oil lamp, and using our oven to bake food. We miss not having a laundry machine, but have worked the laundromat (and, when necessary, wash-n-fold) into our routine. We enjoy hot showers on board, and my son takes a bath every night in a big plastic tub in the shower stall. We use all biodegradable washing products, and have our sewage tank pumped out every 2 weeks.
There's nothing like being surrounded by water - we started sleeping so much better as soon as we moved aboard. We enjoy the lapping of the water on the sides, the dancing circles of light that come through our portholes when the moon or sun are shining on the water, relaxing with friends on deck and watching other boats sail by. My son's preschool recently held a field trip to the boat, and the kids had a blast spinning the winches, ringing the bell, steering the wheel, and examining the engine room. We have found the marina to be a great community, with most of the folks friendly, adventurous, and clever. We love spending time and sailing with our boating friends but because we've been living in the Bay for ten years, we have many other friends and coworkers we see socially as well. They seem to enjoy coming to our boat, but we enjoy going to their places as well to give our son a taste of living on land.
So, we love living aboard with a toddler, and would recommend this lifestyle to any parents who think they would be happy with less stuff, less space, and less convenience in exchange for more beauty, adventure, and learning opportunities for themselves and their kids. happy boating mama
My husband and I are considering a big move....onto a boat.
My husband has wanted to do this for awhile now, and I have been very much against it. We moved into a house here in the Bay area about 2 years ago. It was our 1st home and we paid a lot for it..obviously b/c it's in the Bay area. It's really not in the best area, but it's what we could do at the time. Here we are 2 years later and we find ourselves unable to save any money, because it is constantly going towards the house and school loans, and car payments. We send our kids to a private school, but that's because we would never send them to the public schools where we live. That's not even an option.
My husband insists that a boat would be much less expensive and I wuld not have to work. He wants me (and I would love to) go back to school and get my PhD. Living in this house, it is not possible. I have to work full-time so we can meet all our bills.
For part me, the boat is starting to sound good. I can go back to school, I can spend more time with my kids instead of being so focused on work. We recently had our house appraised, and our equity would pay off all of our student loans that we have right now and our cars. So that would leave us with a small boat loan (we already have a boat that we are looking at buying) and slip fees. My husband can do all the boat repairs by himself so we would not need to pay anyone for that.
However, there is the part of me that is scared of what it will be like. The boat is big...it even has laundry on it! But it's still not a house and it's so unconventional. But then again, so are we in more ways than not. We are not worried about the kids living on it. They are VERY excited at the prospect. Maybe I am worried at what people will think of us living on a boat?? I am not sure.
All I know is that we cannot live the way we are right now. We just work to pay bills and can't afford to go on trips or anything. We are too young to be caught in a vicious cycle like that.
The plan... 5 years on the boat to save money. Then we will buy a house with a large down payment...most likely not in CA. The reason we don't just move from CA right now is because of my husband's job, he is self employed, and has a large client base. He does REALLY well. Plus, we really like it in this area! Anywhere else we would probably be upper class...here in the Bay area we are struggling. We did the math on house v. boat. The house (school loans, car payments, utilities, etc) costs us close to $10k a month. The boat would cost us about $1800 (boat payment, slip fees, utilities, etc) See what we can save??
Has anyone lived on a boat before. Any advice? What should I do?
1) Drowning concerns. Are your kids old enough and good enough swimmers so that they could get themselves out of the water if they fell overboard or off the dock? If they are small, I would guess the answer would be no, in which case, I wouldn't risk it.
2) It tends to be colder and damper on a boat...does anyone in your family have health issues (asthma, arthritis, etc.) that would be aggravated by dampness?
3) Salt air tends to really get into things, causing wooden cabinets and drawers to swell and stick, and a salty film to form on stuff.
4) Is there a way you could try out the housing situation without committing yourself to buying right away? A summer rental, perhaps? Teri
My husband and i have been considerig moving onto a boat. We have an alomost 6 year old daughter and a dog and my husband brought this up to me awhile ago. I REFUSED to even discuss it. I am self employed and work from my home, and like my job. I make good money, but if we move onto a boat,I cannot do what I do now.
We bought our house 2 years ago in not the greatest area because it was what we could afford,and we both feel like we are slaves to it. It is expensive, our mortgage is ridiculous, we are always working on it (its a fixer-upper). We have lost any time to do the things we love. We both work too much to pay for the house to do anything fun.
Our daughter goes to a private school and she would continue going there so I am not worried about her having to make a transition. She is actually VERY excited about the prospect of living on a boat.
The boat is MUCH less expensive than where we are now,we have done all of the finances on that. The maintenance on the boat wold be next to nothing. If we sold our house. The equity we have in it would pay off both of our student loans and we would still have money left over,and i may actually go back to school and get my PHd.
So, it all sound great. No huge loans debts like we have now,much more time together, living on a great big sailboat and being able to take off on the weekend to sail in the bay. I am just very worried because I think that it's such a HUGE transition from living in a house, when in reality it's not. There is a dishwasher on the boat which i dont even have one in my house! 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms and a washer and dryer. So, all the comforts of home.
What is my problems with this?? I have no idea!! I am much more ''pro-boat'' than I was a few months ago, but I need someone to help push me to being 100% sure about living on a boat. Has anyone ever done this before? Any suggestions?? I would appreciate it! confused
Here's s what I saw. They froze in the winter, on weekends fellow boaters would start out early and return late. They had a tiny kitchen, tiny refrigerator that didn't keep stuff cold in the summer, no laundry; it wasn't fun when it rained, and I assure you, you will not be rocked to sleep when the winds pick up. No room for friends or for the kids to play especially when it rained. Some nights they would sleep where they worked or would crash at friend's houses.
They were always working on the boat, sanding, painting, polishing, scrubbing, etc, and then thereare the smells, bilge, diesel, the bay. And least we forget about the bathroom arragements? You are not going to want to pump the tank all the time, so everytime you need to go you have to run from the boat to the on shore head and showers. (Can't use the poop deck while docked.)
You will have fun times, and kids will have respect the water. There's a lot of comradary with boat owners. If you do decise to make the change, I would condiser buying another house for a weekend escapes (from the boat) and to use a sound investment.
Boats and cars generally decrease in value, ulike houese which increase.
Think hard before you commit. It's not always sunnay days and calm water Anon
Living on a boat can be wonderful but, like everything, has its downsides. Good luck deciding. anon
I have been renting for a decade and am really feeling that this is not the best way to be spending my money esp. now that I have a wonderful little 6.5 month old. So, it has come to my attention that making payments on a boat ie instead of rent would possibly be a better choice. What do you think community? Any experience, thoughts or do you know anyone who has done this? I figure a boat does not appreciate like a house but I could at least get the money back. Much joy and thanks for your input!
Her kid LOVED living on the boat - it was an adventure, and very ''cool''. Problem is, there is no control of the slip costs. She was paying $200/month slip fee in Martinez, and suddenly, the slip rents went to $350/month. That's a little scary, especially if you're on a budget. She ended up moving into an apartment close to her daughter's school [her daughter was NOT excited about this, but came around after a few months], and now rents out her boat to a friend for just the slip cost, until she can figure out what to do with it.
BTW... she has an inexpensive boat, and had to do all Number Twos, showers, and laundry up the dock. anon
The pros : 1. The dock community is wonderful (we are much closer to our boat neighbors than we are to our Berkeley neighbors by a long shot); 2. Living by the water is peaceful and the gentle rocking of the boat lulls everyone into a good mood. ! 3. Babies love boats and, once you safeguard against the obvious safety risks, it's a great place to raise a child. 4. Because you have such little space, your lifestyle will become (more) free of the all the stuff people in houses tend to aquire.
The cons : 1. Having a boat is expensive ! The dock fees will be much less than rent but the amount you will spend on basic maintenance of a boat is horrendous. Most boat magazines estimate maintenance at 20% of the cost of the boat each year - and that is what we've experienced in the 10 years we've owned a boat. 2. There will be unexpected expenses which will add to the tally of costs. 3. When you need to get maintenance, people who work on boats are notoriously unreliable and the boat yard prices are outrageous. You can do some of the work yourself but you have to love to tinker and, with a small child, you! probably won't have the time. We loved to work on the boat until we got our two kids (ages 4 and 8 months) and now we have to rely on other people (and pay more $$) 4. You will not re- coop the cost of the boat after you consider what you've put into it. Boats (to my knowlegde) do not go up in price - you will be lucky to get the same price you paid. 5. Beware of boat dealers ! There are dishonest dealers out there who would love to take advantage of someone unknowledgeable about boats (we know from experience).
Also, most harbors have live aboard dock licenses and then there are the sneak-aboards. In our harbor, it's a don't ask, don't tell policy but some harbors might be more strict and you might find getting the live aboard license rather difficult. All in all, boats are wonderful but you are better off financially with buying a condo or house if you can afford it. - anon
Does anyone have experience with owning a sailboat (38ft)with 2
children (6 & 3). We are thinking about it and wondering if we
would use it or it's just a fantasy. We've heard good things
about the Richmond Yatch Club's sailing programs for kids. We
are a definate water family;motor boating, swimming, surfing,
kayaking,wakeboarding etc. I should mention the boat is being
given to us and while we wouldn't buy a sailboat...seems a shame
not to seriously consider this. Thanks for any thoughts.
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