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Old 04-04-2016, 03:47 PM   #1
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Ready to start a new life as a livaboard

Hello All,

I've decided that I'd like to become a liveaboard on a houseboat. I've never had a boating license before or owned a boat for that matter. I've done a lot of research and I think I'm capable of owning and living on a houseboat. I think I would want to live somewhere where it's warm most of the year (for obvious reasons). I currently live in upstate New York. What I'm looking for from this thread is any and all feedback (good or bad) to get a full picture of the liveaboard experience. I realize that I can read all I want about the subject but until I experience it, I will not be able to think of all aspects. One problem I'm having is where to set up shop. As I said before, I would prefer warm weather climates. I'm thinking Virginia is as North as I would want to live and I am more of a fresh water person than ocean-ready. Thank you for any information you can provide.
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Old 04-04-2016, 03:57 PM   #2
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Do you want your houseboat to move? Or will it strictly be moored at a dock? If you want a boat to liveaboard and go cruising on, you'll spend a whole lot more money (not just initial cost, but ongoing costs too) than if you're just looking for a floating home.

I've been living aboard for a couple years. I love it, but the compromises of living on a boat wouldn't be worth it if I couldn't use the boat as a boat.

What's your budget? Why are you attracted to the idea of living aboard?
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:01 PM   #3
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What will be your job status wherever you wind up?

It is one thing to live aboard and be retired or cruising...and another to liveaboard but hold a steady off the boat job.

I am on my 3rd liveaboard where I worked full time the first 2 and part time the third.
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuajared89 View Post
I've decided that I'd like to become a liveaboard on a houseboat.
Why?

You might hum a few bars about what you'd be trying to accomplish. Lots of good reasons to live on a boat, but then there are also some reasons that don't necessarily pan out all that well for everyone. If you can say what you're end goal is, or what "problem" you might be trying to "solve," or maybe what itch you're trying to scratch, that might help folks respond better.

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Old 04-04-2016, 05:37 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by joshuajared89 View Post
Hello All,

I've decided that I'd like to become a liveaboard on a houseboat. I've never had a boating license before or owned a boat for that matter. I've done a lot of research and I think I'm capable of owning and living on a houseboat. I think I would want to live somewhere where it's warm most of the year (for obvious reasons). I currently live in upstate New York. What I'm looking for from this thread is any and all feedback (good or bad) to get a full picture of the liveaboard experience. I realize that I can read all I want about the subject but until I experience it, I will not be able to think of all aspects. One problem I'm having is where to set up shop. As I said before, I would prefer warm weather climates. I'm thinking Virginia is as North as I would want to live and I am more of a fresh water person than ocean-ready. Thank you for any information you can provide.
Wifey B: Whoaaaaaaaaaa Nelly. Back up a second and take a deep breath. Live aboard? Why? Houseboat? Why? Think you can do it? Why? Do you work? Will you? How much can you pay? Any idea how much maintenance will be? Lake worthy or permanently stationary? Why fresh water? Small lake or big river? I'm sorry but it sounds a bit like me saying I'd like to go into space or visit the moon. Actually do have one thing I'd like to see how it is to do weightless. Nevermind that.

Help us a bit so maybe we can help you. You may have thought it through far more than it looks like but just not shared all that in your post.

There are places with lots of houseboaters living aboard like Cumberland River, Kentucky Lake, Lake Lanier in GA.

Might be a good idea to go rent a houseboat first and maybe spend a week on one or a month or something. They have them for rent in the places I mentioned. Cumberland gets shivery cold in winter. Kentucky lake too a bit. Lanier is tolerable in the winter but I see icicles in your future.

Tell us a bit more and we'll try to help.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:12 PM   #6
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My forensics are leading me to say that based on the email signature, this chap is around 27 or so. My youngest and his wife ( same age ) would move onto our boat in a minute. If you can live light, it may be for you. I've been in sales for 32 years, and being close to an airport and having WiFi are a prerequisite- therefore I could get away with it- except I love cutting the lawn and having a house.

If you think about it, a younger person with enough money to get into boating would probably get on better than young home owners. Even slip rent, utilities, etc., would be less than renting an apartment and paying utilities. Park the car at the marina.

IMHO he has not given enough info for any of us to render an opinion but should be encouraged to provide more of what he is looking for. Maybe finances and a job are not an issue with him.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:15 PM   #7
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except I love cutting the lawn .
Wifey B: You are a very sick man.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:23 PM   #8
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Cutting grass puts me into my zone. Zero turn, 2 acres, sunny and warm, a cigar.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:25 PM   #9
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I have spent more than a fair share of time on the water.....but I can relate to a great lawn tractor and a couple cool ones for the ride....

I have already offered my son trading time on his tractor cutting his lawn for helping me paint my trawler's bottom this summer....that would be a GREAT deal....


But back to the OP.....start small...ask specific questions and you might get specific answers instead of grasscutting info...
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:29 PM   #10
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Go for it !
Been doing it for over 20 years. One regret ..... I didn't do it sooner.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:49 PM   #11
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:28 PM   #12
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RTF, I think you have outdone yourself on that one!!!!
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:18 AM   #13
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Ok. Thank you all for your responses. I will be working full time. I make a little over 50 k year so I have some disposable income to fix a boat up. I'm mechanically inclined with combustible engines and I've owned rental properties where I've done all the work myself. I'm 42 years old, been single for 15 years, raised an 18 year old on my own, and have a zest for life. Geez, I feel like I'm filling out the "about me" section of an online dating site. Lol. WiFi and electric is a must at a marina. Freshwater because I'm more confident around freshwater having grown up on Lake Ontario and the finger lakes in NY. I prefer to fish and swim in freshwater. The reason I want to liveaboard is primarily because I'm a minamalist. I don't need much. I live in a 1000 Sq ft house right now and except for my weight room, it seems big to me. What else would be pertinent to helping me make a decision? This is good stuff, guys (and girls). Keep it coming!
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:21 AM   #14
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I'm asking for general help because I'm sure there are people out there that went into living aboard a little blindly and it either worked out for them or it didnt. I want to hear both sides. What was something you'd never do again? What was something you regretted? What would you do more of?
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:43 AM   #15
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I think you can do it. I lived aboard for 5 years and didn't really regret anything. Storage is a BIG thing. Some boats boast of "lots" of storage but that storage ends up being in numerous small compartments....instead of nice big drawers and closets. Drawers and closets are a big deal. Also, the great lakes are not really "lakes" in the sense that they are big water. You can get yourself into just as much trouble out in the Great Lakes as you can in the ocean. Anyway, go for it. I'd go with a real boat instead of a house boat but that is just me. I would want to get the boat out of the slip and cruise around...especially the Great Lakes. There is some very fine cruising around there.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:44 AM   #16
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Thank you!
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:46 AM   #17
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OK, that's a useful start...


I suspect the largest hurdles will be about winter, and winter, and winter...


Heat onboard. (Or AC, way south.) Waste disposal. Freshwater supply. You'll face those everywhere...


And mold...


But yes, further south would help mitigate some/much/maybe all of that. Northern VA isn't too far from where we are, and I'd suggest further south...


Waste disposal complicated further if your target is fresh water lakes.


(Lots of coastal areas, tidal rivers, etc. might be very similar to your lake experience, and you don't immediately transition to open ocean in areas like that, so you might consider expanding your analysis to include areas like that.)


Lots o' work maintaining a boat yourself. Almost daily maintenance on something or other. Usually fixing or replacing something that needs you to bend into pretzel shape, get yourself upside down in an area you can't quickly get out of (don't forget a key tool), work on a part you can't see and which is beyond your reach... and replacement parts almost always cost 2x or more compared to residential stuff.


OTOH, it's not rocket science.


Do you want to go places in your house (boat)? Or always keep it at a marina, never moving (aka dock queen)? Or somewhere in between there?


A matter of terminology: a houseboat is often thought of as a rectangular boat with a flat hull, suitable for lakes and inland rivers and so forth. (Lots of latitude in definitions like that, though.) Lots of other boats are also suitable for living aboard, but have different names. If you really mean the former, fine. If you're really more focused on living aboard on something that floats, that can open the discussion in several directions.


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Old 04-05-2016, 09:04 AM   #18
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Thanks chris. Very helpful.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:08 AM   #19
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Greetings,
Mr. 89. Some pretty good suggestions so far and mine would also be: Locate somewhere WARM. As mentioned, freezing temperatures add a whole different level of problems and complexity. Trust me, it's no fun trying to navigate along an ice covered dock for your morning ablutions because your water supply is frozen up not to mention the possibility of falling in. A few years back a live aboard neighbor slipped on his icy swim platform and took an unscheduled bath in frigid waters. It can and does happen. His shoulder, which he injured in the fall still troubles him to this day.

Don't discount salt water offhand. A lot to be said for a bucket of fresh crab caught off the side.
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:11 AM   #20
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Hmmm. I DO Like crab. Interesting sentiment. What are some pros and cons of living in salt water? Actually, I can imagine the pros, what are some major cons?
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