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Old 02-13-2015, 06:40 AM   #41
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What is required to cruise , AICW , Loop or just to enjoy a season on board is hardly expensive.

A full time liveaboard tied to a dock is quite expensive to purchase , maintain and perhaps even move at times.

In Ct there is at a yard a 26-28? ft Baylinerb IO that runs.

Looks crappy but some love and the Loop or winters in FL become easy, total investment under $10 K upgrades , with sweat equity.

At my dock a 36 Albin went for $15K , with great systems .

Big enough to play house in and small enough to cruise , the boat went to St Thomas at times on her own bottom.

Deck leaks ? sure high labor low materials cost fix.

Crud in the fuel tanks ?sure , mostly a very messy time fix.

You do not find low cost boats on yacht listing sites for 2 reasons.

The commission is too low for a broker to bother ,

but mostly as low cost boats attract no money Looky Loos that want gold for free and even at 1c on the dollar cant pay for anything.

You have to dig out the bargians , all which will probably require sweat equity.

If you have no skills , just look at nice smaller boats.

If you have skills ,,try Florida Mariner or Boats and Harbors for Owner listed boats.

I would spring $100 and place an WANTED add in FL Mariner for a couple of months.

And remember you need a boat for cruising , not necessarily a "trawler boat".

Also remember in many areas the ability to live comfortably at a mooring ball rather than a dock will cost 1/10 the monthly rate.

And is 20x a better lifestyle than a dock Zoo .
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:25 AM   #42
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It's very possible.
One can buy a new Bentley to go to Burger King too. $2000 plotter, $1200 Ais, $1200 radar, $4000 autopilot, $2,500 TV set up, stir in another $1500 for extras and 2000 to pay for tech help. All fluid numbers but overall not far off for GREAT state of the art electronics along with a lot of unneeded fluff. That above is well below $20k..... $70k, I guess it is possible, but Ya would have to work at it.

The conversation is centered around a guy lookin for a $60k trawler. The aboved described seems extreme overkill. Kinda like the young guy that puts $7,500 rims and tires on a 2001 Buick Park Av.
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:11 AM   #43
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We are a retired couple living on less than $5/month. We have a 28 year old Mainship 36 and are quite comfortable in it. We paid $25K for it and spent another $25 in upgrading it - some before we left on our cruise and some along the way. This extra $25 was anticipated at the time of purchase so it was no surprise. The key factor in cruising if you are not rich or even middle-middle income is to leave the dock with zero debt.
Our first year (last year), we covered 1200 miles or so. We had a great time and met great people along the way. We settled into a really great state park in NW Alabama for $300/month slip fee. We had picked this place even before we left Texas.
In our nine months here, we did several more upgrades and are planning on heading out to Eastern Tennessee sometime in April. We plan on spending the summer and fall up there and then come back down here again for winter.
In the past 9 months we made numerous trips, both by car and by plane, to Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas and Missouri to visit friends and family. We have made many small boat trips in the area, as we are not dock queens.
I befriended a sailor and so got to spend almost every weekend available sailing.
Our standard of living is actually quite nice and we eat out at least twice a week. We are not hurting for anything.
We have no place to call home other than where the boat is. The poor economy hit me when I was supposed to be 'saving up' so we did not start out with any mentionable amount of money.
Prior to this, we were sailboat live-aboards for about 15-17 years.
As someone else mentioned, sailor just do it, so we are used to NOT having the latest and greatest electronic equipment and yet we are way above anything to be considered 'camping'. We have all the conveniences of home, just on a smaller scale.
So to sum it up, with the money you have to purchase a boat and your $5K/month income, you should be just fine. If you think you need more than that, maybe living aboard and cruising is not for you.
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:23 AM   #44
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One can buy a new Bentley to go to Burger King too. $2000 plotter, $1200 Ais, $1200 radar, $4000 autopilot, $2,500 TV set up, stir in another $1500 for extras and 2000 to pay for tech help. All fluid numbers but overall not far off for GREAT state of the art electronics along with a lot of unneeded fluff. That above is well below $20k..... $70k, I guess it is possible, but Ya would have to work at it.

The conversation is centered around a guy lookin for a $60k trawler. The aboved described seems extreme overkill. Kinda like the young guy that puts $7,500 rims and tires on a 2001 Buick Park Av.
Recreational boating costs are no different than the price variation seen when buying a car, house or airplane. What one chooses to spend is dependent upon desires and level of discretionary funds.

It is indeed easy to spend $70K on electronics. Look no further than the details for electronics in the boat ads. A TZ touch hooked up to dual APs and dual radars with two helm stations will be just a starter to get one quickly to the $70K number. The dollar list for gizmo trinkets and toys is endless.

Boating is not inexpensive and in my many years on the water never has been if one pursues long passages, newer vessels, more volume, better gear and better located marinas. But deals abound if one is patient and knows what to look for and where to chase these nuggets of joy.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:19 AM   #45
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Um, no it doesn't. The average American income was almost $43k in 2012. https://bber.unm.edu/econ/us-pci.htm

Average is a tricky word, skewed by outliers, so median is more often used.

Well way too many other gvt sources disagree with your link. The average American HOUSEHOLD (not individual) brings in 40k a year. That aside, was that really all you had to offer to the thread? Frankly it was no help to anyone.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:21 AM   #46
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Yes, it is one of the most unique television series I've ever seen. Terrific imaginations, that bunch. As a film/video producer/director/writer I'm always looking for the clever little touches. One of my favorites is how Julian is always portrayed with a drink in his hand no matter what he's doing and he never spills a drop, even when he rolls his vehicle.

And I did not realize that they made a new season last year. If you've seen it, is it as good as the previous seasons in the earlier 2000s?

Its still being made and each season is as funny as ever.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:34 AM   #47
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Boating like anything else depends on your expectations. I see many cruisers on the ICW doing it on far less than your budget. It will depend entirely upon what will satisfy you.

The same goes for RVs, homes or anything else. As others said, you can find a boat that will take all you have to run it. You can also find a boat that you can operate comfortably within your budget.
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Old 02-13-2015, 11:35 AM   #48
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Mick

As others have said, you can boat on a modest retirement income but it takes planning. Pre-retirement planning.

I am pretty sure that my boat is one that you mentioned as being bought for $140K then sinking another $200K into. Yes, that's close, but I planned this out many years in advance.

In my late 40's I stuck a pin in the calendar and decided that day would represent the end of my working career. That day was my 58th birthday which also happened to correspond to when one of my pensions became fully payable.

So, to get ready for that day we sold our 28' cabin cruiser, bought a larger boat and fixed it up. We did that while I am at the top of my income producing years knowing full well those days are numbered. Like many others we borrowed the money to buy our boat, but not the money for the refit. We structured the loan to be paid off by my planned retirement date.

We also set into place a series of steps to reduce our need for money, non boating money. Paying off our home, things like that. Now when we look at big things we might want the first question is "can we afford this and still retire at 58" Our answer to that single question becomes the deciding factor in our even thinking about things.

So, the point is whatever income level you are at, you can plan on boating during your retirement years, but you need to plan now. If you jump into this too late in the game in terms of years before retirement then you just limit your choices.
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Old 02-13-2015, 01:18 PM   #49
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First real post on here, and I have to say I agree with those who say that managing expectations is the key. I grew up cruising around coastal NC, the ICW, and later in Puget Sound on a 30' sailboat that I think cost my father around $9000 in the early 1980s (equivalent to roughly $25k now). Not much to look at, but solid and reliable. Many, many good memories on that boat.

Fast forward to last year, as my wife and I were heading through the Dismal Swamp Canal on our little 25' Nimble sailboat, feeling like the smallest and cheapest boat on the ICW. Until, that is, we met a couple on an ancient Columbia 22' sailboat doing the same thing, probably for about half of what we were spending. It's all about what makes you comfortable within your defined price range.

My theory as we get ready to move up to a large(r) trawler in the next few years is that we will sacrifice bells and whistles in order to find a sound, reliable boat, perhaps needing some cosmetic work that we can do in our own time and still have $$$ left over for the cruising kitty and any major "oh s**t" repairs that crop up.

My military pension after retirement in 5 years will work out to around $4K/month...I'm not worried about that...cruising can be relatively inexpensive if you don't want to live like royalty on the water.
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Old 02-13-2015, 01:26 PM   #50
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Cruising to me is shoving off and not planning to return home for months at the very least if not years. Bahamas, Caribbean, up the ICW through the Canadian Maritimes, things like that. Very few marinas, mostly anchoring and no time limits for anything. What's a comfortable size? In both sail and trawler I would put it at 35'.

I prefer 34'.
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Old 02-13-2015, 07:05 PM   #51
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Having spent 8 months over the last two years on our boat in SE Alaska, I never really looked what it cost. My theory was if I had to worry about it, I wouldn't do it. That said it looks like we covered 4800 miles over 8 months. All in with food, fuel, dog food, insurance, moorage, whiskey, beer, electricity, eating out, bait, broadband, and probably a few other things, I think we are under $3000 per month. Since food, booze, dog food, and eating out would be about the same wherever we lived, and I would be burning about 150 gallons of gas a month in truck running around Alaska, the marginal cost of living on the boat over at home is under $1000 a month. Not much more expensive than a motorhome and whole lot more fun. I can't stand on top of the motorhome and fish.

As my wife says, just do it, the money will work itself out. The reason she says that is I plan things a little more closely.

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Old 02-13-2015, 08:57 PM   #52
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We bought an older Californian 34 in 2005. Probably paid a bit more than we should have, but it does everything we need to have done. Our total cruising costs seem to be running around $2900/month. Granted, the boat is basic; no TV- books & scenery. No AC - cut in extra hatches & use awnings. Have no onboard generator; use an inverter, large battery bank, and a bit of power planning; backed w/a small Honda generator. Last cruise was 4.5 months of absolutely the most fun We've ever had. No expectations; or big planning sessions, just went for it.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:18 PM   #53
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One perspective yet to be mentioned is time. For the OP, retiring in early 50's allows time to spend the first few years of retirement fixing up an older boat. But remember that materials cost, so doing it all yourself does not solve everything if its too much of a project boat.

I was early 60's when I bought. I have good health but none of us know how long we will keep that, so my decision was to spend money rather that time to get cruising ASAP. The boat was more of a project than I realized, in part due to my expectations. So instead of being a stretch to complete it became a big stretch. I suspect that is a fairly typical experience. As Ksanders noted, a boat will take as much as you let it.

I had a yard do the refit - a $60/hr yard. Using a $100/hr yard for anything but minor convenience work is just nuts. Materials came to a bit over 40% of my refit cost. But I ended up with a 20 year horizon where only routine maintenance will be required, and I can confidently cruise to remote locations. I am happy, but just wish I had spent less!
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:52 PM   #54
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Hi Mick,

Being rich never hurts. But you don't have to be rich to cruise, even today. What you have to be is smart about the choices you make. I bought my modest cruising boat 3 years ago now and sailed it from SF Bay to Seattle which gave us some fantastic experience and confidence. Since then I have been slowly upgrading systems, but still trying to keep things as simple as I can. We will likely never do an ocean voyage again, because where we boat there is no reason to. If I ever want to make a passage I would do it on a sailboat, not be dumb enough to go on a "trawler". We will never be full time liveaboards either because well, we just like our nice dry house. But I will always have a boat until I take the dirt nap.

Good luck!!
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:05 PM   #55
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One perspective yet to be mentioned is time. For the OP, retiring in early 50's allows time to spend the first few years of retirement fixing up an older boat. But remember that materials cost, so doing it all yourself does not solve everything if its too much of a project boat.

I was early 60's when I bought. I have good health but none of us know how long we will keep that, so my decision was to spend money rather that time to get cruising ASAP. The boat was more of a project than I realized, in part due to my expectations. So instead of being a stretch to complete it became a big stretch. I suspect that is a fairly typical experience. As Ksanders noted, a boat will take as much as you let it.

I had a yard do the refit - a $60/hr yard. Using a $100/hr yard for anything but minor convenience work is just nuts. Materials came to a bit over 40% of my refit cost. But I ended up with a 20 year horizon where only routine maintenance will be required, and I can confidently cruise to remote locations. I am happy, but just wish I had spent less!
You bring up a good point there...

If a person wanted a change of pace and decided to retire to fixing up a boat for a year or two then go cruising that would work, and save a bunch of money.

Personally I love working on boats and doing projects large and small. I could see that as a viable option for a DIY guy like myself.

The only caution is to be careful with that time. I can see where working on the boat could trump the cruising dream, but I supose if you were happpy puttering on the boat, nothing wrong with that either.
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:11 PM   #56
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Yachting is for the rich. Boating on the other hand covers a large varied population. There are many places where large populations of relatively poor people live on boats. Even in the US there is a population of not so well to do live aboards. Most of these individuals have water smarts the same way many not so well landlubbers develop street smarts and they learn how to make do with less.
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Old 02-15-2015, 06:13 AM   #57
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The real question is the std of living required to be quite comfortable.

For this Yankee , a central heat system , refrigeration an auto pilot and a comfortable shaded deck area are required.

All could be added for under $5k to most boats , and with no leaks over the bunk, cruising awaits.

At retirement , no one wants tent camping for a lifestyle , but its a long way from a tent to require 70K of electric toys , that are outdated by time they are installed and operating.
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Old 02-15-2015, 07:25 AM   #58
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The real question is the std of living required to be quite comfortable.

For this Yankee , a central heat system , refrigeration an auto pilot and a comfortable shaded deck area are required.

All could be added for under $5k to most boats , and with no leaks over the bunk, cruising awaits.

At retirement , no one wants tent camping for a lifestyle , but its a long way from a tent to require 70K of electric toys , that are outdated by time they are installed and operating.
Do you spend July, August and September in FL? Methinks not.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:11 AM   #59
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I have been researching cruising for a few years, doing lots of reading and investigating. For the last 3 months I have been reading about trawlers.

The one thing I am taking away from this is boating has become a rich man's lifestyle. What's changed? It didn't used to be like that.
Hello Mick. I grew up on the water (born and raised aboard a 40'er) and you are correct: boating has changed. Folks (including ME!) expect the niceties.

For instance, we didn't have refrigeration until I was a teenager. Ditto television -- my dad didn't want one so that was that. Oil lanterns were the rule and power was not available. We didn't have a VHF radio until we were caught in a hurricane (weather changed) and so it goes.

Now I do have a refrigerator and a great deal of my thinking/planning concerns how to provide power so I can run it 24/7 even in the summertime. I think (hope) that with the addition of three more batteries I'll be able to swing it. However until the final bill is in on the new engine swap... no spending.

As Mother used to say:
The ideal boat sleeps two, feeds four and drinks six.

You can go as fancy as you like/can afford however I would encourage you to go small. Not as small as I have, but smaller is better in any number of ways.

For instance, when it comes time to wash the boat it takes me less than an hour and from stem to stern, she's scrubbed. Making the windows sparkle (which I really ought to do soon) is at most a 30 minute job.

You'll want to decide if you prefer a galley up or down. The top priorities need to be (in my opinion)

#1) Access to the engine. If you cannot reach the impeller easily, you won't change it. Ditto oil, etc. Maintenance delayed is co$tly. Very very $$$.

#2) No iron fuel tanks. That's an expensive fix when (not IF) they fail.

#3) Safety. Can you go forward in a blow to reset the anchor? (If you're a marina hopper that's not as critical.)

#4) Planning on anchoring a lot? Buy a too-big anchor, G4 chain and a windlass. You're not getting any younger and hauling in the chain/anchor sucks after the first time. Heck, during the first pull!

#5) A nice ride. She shouldn't roll your eyeballs out. You want to feel safe/secure aboard her, even if the seas kick up a bit.

#6) Of course the motor needs to be in good working condition, but you knew that.

#7) Don't ever buy any boat that needs extensive anything. You're not getting any younger. If you cannot take her away from the dock tomorrow, she's the wrong boat. And don't spend a dime on anything major until you've used her for at least six months (preferably a year)

Your wants and needs WILL CHANGE.

Okay, well, if that particular boat is The One, #7 can be tweaked. You can do whatever is minimal to make her yours/safe, etc. Every job has "While we're at it we really ought to do X, Y, and Z is a good idea too" along with unexpected problems. Escaping a boatyard is often far costlier than expected.

You can find a boat that meets your needs (and is close on the wants category) but it won't jump out in front of you. Be careful. Be smart. And realize unless the boat is a custom one-off, there is a sister ship out there.

As for doing it on $5k a month. In style you can -- fixed costs for life remain the same. (Insurance, taxes, maintenance be it a boat or a house)

What changes is the view. Mine's pretty decent. The view is the same, be it from a half-million dollar yacht or a 23' mini-trawler. The difference is the yacht probably has ice and lots of fresh, hot water. He's probably got some Porterhouse steaks in his freezer too.

I'll have to manage with freshly caught sheepshead. Yummy!

Goodness gracious, I sure did run on at the fingers...

Yes Mick. Boating has changed. It is still for plain folks. The Burl Ives of the world were something else. I suspect the generation they came from appreciated the anonymity that came with boating. We were "regular folks" and I've found boaters to be right nice -- those from all walks of life.

Boating unites and you will be able to spend what you have. It wouldn't be difficult to spend more, and I can guarantee it can be done for far less that your retirement income. With my budget, I don't eat out, seldom dock and keep expenses to a minimal. My "extravagance" is the internet -- $50 a month for five gigs.

That and engine swaps. My credit cards are not happy with me but I know by knuckling down I'll be back to debt free again. The burden of debt is not much fun so your plan to pay cash is just about perfect.

Good luck and I hope to see you along the waterways...
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:21 AM   #60
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Ok Mick, by now you have noticed the reoccurring theme that any project, as a general rule the cost and amount of labor required, labor be bought or self, is much more than the guesstimate. You can cruise or you can work on the boat. You WILL work on the boat, cruising or not but it so often happens working on the boat is all you do. You find you did not buy a boat, but a job.

From one who knows, be VERY careful of fixer uppers. Recoring decks, removing teak decks, redoing plumbing,tanks, electrical, solar, and other turns out to be a much, much more than anticipated. I found mechanical to be the least troublesome.

Good luck, be careful. BTW. I mentioned Elete Marine in St Pete. That is a Boatyard and Carl is the owner. Straight shooter and very ethical.
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