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Old 01-19-2017, 01:32 PM   #1
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Live aboard @ middle-age

Hi everyone!

I wanted some feedback , reality check, or any advice.

My story is simple. I'm 47 and my fiance is 51. We are getting married in April. We only have one grown child between us. We have a new house, pets etc. But we're tired of the "rat race" . We had been looking at tiny houses for the last 2 yeas, but a few weeks ago we both discovered we have dreamed of living on a boat full- time, but were always told it wasn't realistic . So two crazy people have started putting a plan together.

So are we crazy at our age taking a chance no matter what people say?

We are looking at 44ft Trawlers under $60, this reasonable?

Anyone in there 40's / 50's that are still working and took the leap? Any regrets?

Thanks in advance for the response!

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Old 01-19-2017, 01:38 PM   #2
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No, it's not reasonable. There are boats you could have in that price range, but they would be immensely labor intensive and it doesn't sound like you have the experience you would need to take on that kind of a project.

By the time you could live aboard you would have easily doubled your purchase price in repairs, upgrades, and renovations. This is assuming that you want to live aboard a boat that can actually be used as a boat rather than a floating house...

Not wanting to rain on your parade, but...

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Old 01-19-2017, 01:52 PM   #3
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What's the goal with living aboard? Will you be using the boat as a condo, or actually going boating? What kind of boating...cruising for months or years, or weekend hops to nearby harbors? Will either of you be working?
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:01 PM   #4
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At your ages living aboard is not the issue. I have good friends (both in their late 50s) that purchased a 53 Hatteras last year and live aboard and are thrilled with their decision. That being said, I think you'll probably need to triple your budget to find a 44' seaworthy boat in reasonable condition that you would want to live aboard. I wish you success in following the dream.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:04 PM   #5
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AKDoug is right. Living aboard sounds very romantic, but the reality can be quite different than what you imagined. After the boat, you must determine where it will be kept and under what conditions. For example, at my marina we have several live aboards. The walking distance out to the boats is considerable and you get the full experience of hot Summers and cold Winters along with rain and snow. Taking out groceries when its cold and rainy ain't fun. Where will you take showers? If on the boat the marina may shut off the water in the winter. What about pump-outs? In cold weather many boats have considerable condensation and that can be unpleasant. How will you heat the boat? At some marinas electricity can go out frequently. Are the docks floating or fixed? Fixed docks can sometimes make it tough to board your boat depending on the state of tide.

All of these thoughts are things to consider. There are many great experiences to be had living aboard, you just need to know it isn't always all roses. I have cruised aboard a boat for almost a year - but down in the Caribbean. And it was great. But I did not have put up with a cold winter.

Go visit marinas and find live aboards to talk to and then you can have some factual information to think about.

Good luck.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:10 PM   #6
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There are quite a few people who are live boards on here, and heavy cruisers, so you are getting good info. We don't, but spend about 100 nights per year aboard. Personally, that is plenty for me, and after a few nights on the boat I am ready to go home. Don't get me wrong, I love the ocean, but I also like getting off the boat. You may want to spend some time on a boat, rent one, etc. There is always a honeymoon period, but longer term can be a different story.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:22 PM   #7
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I see nothing about boating in your post, only you want to live aboard a boat. To me, you do that if you love the water, want to boat, and don't want the double expense of a house/apartment and a boat. The cheapest apartment in town is nicer to live in than the boat you'd buy in your price range.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:23 PM   #8
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Living aboard thinking you are going to have this Jimmy Buffet life and it will be relaxing and up to you.

The vast majority of people I know that have talked about it...then actually dug deeper and saw what most of us liveaboards really live like...they change their minds.

If you don't know anyone that actually has done it in a similar circumstance that you see yourself in...then all the advice in the world still has to be fine toothed by someone familiar with what your plan/goal is.

Generic liveaboard advice is just that....unless it applies in your is valuable but not necessarily gospel.

Heck there are people that come on here thinking it will be great, then find out they cant liveaboard anywhere close to their chosen place and give the higher priority to location than lifestyle.

So prioritizing many important things to you comes first...then the matching up of where, when, what boat, finances, etc..etc...

Without knowing a lot of this....its hard to even start for me...I am better at answering specific questions.

Boat size can be pretty wide open depending on where you will spend most of the time geographically. The boat can be much smaller if you live where it is mild temperatures as you can spend more time outside.

You can get a pretty decent houseboat in the 40 foot range for around $60,000...but decent trawlers over 40 feet and around $60,000 are going to be pretty rare. If you hold out, you can be happily surprised...but a lot of time, travel and frustration will happen looking for the bargains. If you are willing to be a slave working on her and have the skills...different story.
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:46 PM   #9
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Well, it needs to be said....Welcome aboard!
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:15 PM   #10
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Living aboard at midle age, yes of course you can do it. Several prople I know are middle aged and live aboard.

Living aboard with a $60,000 budget is going to be problematic.

The boats going to be a problem.
Finding a liveaboard slip for a budget boat might be a problem.
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:23 PM   #11
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Well, I mostly agree with the foregoing, but let me relate my buddy's story:

At the age of 65, seven years ago he bought a rather neglected but sound CHB 45 for 2/3 of the budget the OP is looking at. He has cruised and lived aboard full time ever since. In the last seven years he has probably cruised 5-10,000 miles and only stayed at a marina during the 4 winter months.

When he isn't at a marina which is 2/3 the time, his boating expenses (ex maintenance) are very low- maybe a few hundred a month for fuel, and no docking expense. When he is at a marina he pays $300-400 per month in addition. He stays at family run marinas in out of the way places during the winter.

Maintenance cost is up and down. Unfortunately his idea is if a system fails, then do without it. This means that the genset doesn't work, one of the two reverse cycle A/C units is junk, etc., etc. So he has had no large maintenance expenses as a result. I am guessing that his yearly outlay for maintenance and minor upgrades is $2,000 dollars a year.

If he had kept the systems in good shape and replaced those that had failed, his maintanance cost would be $3,000 per year more.

So, extrapolating these figures to what I suspect is the OP's situation: full time living aboard at a marina near a big city, this is what I get.

Maintenance- $5,000 per year
Marina (big city), $15/ft/mo- $8,000
Insurance- $2,000
Property tax (if required)- $500-1,000
Opportunity cost and depreciation of $60,000 purchase cost- $5,000

So the total costs would be near $20,000 a year. You can buy a decent house and live for that much. And houses don't (usually) depreciate like boats.

But I must disagree with some of the lifestyle observations above. Living aboard, even at a marina full time is nice. A 45' trawler is big enough not to feel constrained. You probably have a swimming pool close by. The view can be gorgeous. Your neighbors are usually really nice people. You live in a unique community. Sit out in your cockpit or fly bridge with a beer/rum punch or whatever in hand and forget about the world. It can be a Jimmy Buffet experience. I have done it myself.

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Old 01-19-2017, 03:25 PM   #12
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When my wife and I started searching for a Trawler a few years ago, we were both still working full time and thought that we were ready to buy. We found a boat that I thought was a deal and was very excited at the prospect of getting her "ship-shape". We asked a friend who owns a 30+-year-old Hatteras to come and look her over before we made a deposit and asked for a surveyor to do their thing. Our friend looked over the boat and smiled and asked many questions and eventually sat in the galley with us and said (I'll never forget this), "you need just two things to make a dream come true," "time and money," "and plenty of both." My wife and I took that advice and waited a few more years before we took the plunge. It took us a few years longer to start our adventure, but the advice was sound and realistic. That is a long way around to answering the $60,000 question.
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:31 PM   #13
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Welcome to the forum! There are lots of things to consider when living aboard. To help with suggestions, tell us where (approximately), the comfort level you need, and describe how large your place is now. Size matters!

I'm tired of fast moves, I've got a slow groove, on my mind.....
I want to spend some time, Not come and go in a heated rush.....
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:40 PM   #14
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We been a live aboard for 21 years, we boat the boat in 1995, at 47 years old. My advise is to let her have a majority say and the final say. The marine, slip/dock and the area/climate are more important than the boat. Also made sure your child and spouse can get on/off the boat with one hand and every day clothing. Living aboard usually is more expensive and difficult. Most boats are not live aboard ready, but a lot depends on the above mention.

Additional information would be helpful. Bottom line is yes it can be done, but don't force it.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:35 PM   #15
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Age has little to do with it...

At our marina, most of the live aboard boaters work full time jobs. Most of the couples both work. Not any different than the rest of society. There is little cost difference for us to living aboard as opposed to living on land. Both a house and boat need to be fixed up. And most of your other expenses are the same as they are now now.

There are a lot of people that say your have to have this kind of boat or that kind of boat. It is nonsense. There are live aboard couples at my marina in a Westsail 32 foot sailboat. Been living on that boat for over 10 years (3 different Westsail 32 live aboards). There is also a live aboard couple in a 57 foot trawler. AND everything in between.

We live in a wet cool climate here in W. Washington. This week I got my first gripe from my wife about how wet the 150 yard walk to the boat was from her car after work, in the dark, while blowing a steady 30 knots of horizontal rain... I think the gripe was mostly because it trashed her second umbrella this winter from the wind...

We bought a fixer upper that was in overall great shape. It took me about a year to get it all put together in order for my wife and I (middle aged couple with a dog) to move aboard full time. We spent around 115K all fixed up for a 1986 41 foot sundeck trawler. That includes all the purchase, taxes and fixing up. All the work done by me... So, sure you can purchase a less than perfect boat and do the work yourself. Here in the PNW, a 40 ft, fixer upper will run you about 80-100K. Then, you will have to do your own sweat equity to bring the boat up to being a nice live aboard. OR you could purchase the same vessel already in great shape and pay 135K-200K. your choice. But the more expense vessel will still need to be maintained the same as the one that was less money..

As has been said here already, make sure your spouse is where she wants to be (marina, distance to the boat, kind of boat, comfortable walking with groceries in the rain). In a boat with the amenities she wants (shower, large fridge, etc). With the power available to run a hair dryer and heater (or air conditioner), battery charger and hot water heater at the same time...

Best thing I could suggest is to start walking marinas and going to boat shows to get an idea of what you like and don't like. Then rent that type of boat for a weekend or a week. Worst case is you have a nice vacation and choose to not get a boat. Best case (in my mind) is that you end up with a nice boat and the adventure starts..
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:15 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Well, I mostly agree with the foregoing, but let me relate my buddy's story:

At the age of 65, seven years ago he bought a rather neglected but sound CHB 45 for 2/3 of the budget the OP is looking at. He has cruised and lived aboard full time ever since. In the last seven years he has probably cruised 5-10,000 miles and only stayed at a marina during the 4 winter months.
The difference is that the OP and his wife are going to be working. That is a huge difference! It limits where you can practically keep your boat. It usually means needing to be tied to land in some way. It also means less flexibility. Regardless of weather you still have to leave the dock and get to work.

Living aboard as a worker bee and cruising full-time as a retired person seem to me to be two entirely different things. Of course there are always those fortunate few who can work WHILE cruising full time but that is entirely different.

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Old 01-19-2017, 07:21 PM   #17
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My $0.02 starting with a lower budget without having done it before is a hell of a lot better idea than plunking down a buck twenty five and not liking it.

Plan for 50% purchase price in maintenance first year tho :O
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:33 PM   #18
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Our house is worth at least 4 times our boat value. The boat easily costs 3 times as much to own on an annual basis. Both are paid for. The house is appreciating, the boat depreciating.

I'll leave the rationale to you seashar
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:33 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by kev_rm View Post
My $0.02 starting with a lower budget without having done it before is a hell of a lot better idea than plunking down a buck twenty five and not liking it.Plan :O
Agree, that may be a good plan.

It is common to hear about people who get in to boating, whether its for the weekend, or to live aboard, and end up not liking it and pull the rip cord within a year or two.

I think most people who are all in, have some type of water background dating back to when they were younger whether its on boats, a kayak, surfing, whatever. I know, there are plenty of exceptions, its just a generalization based on my observations.

But, you don't know until you try.

OP, I am not trying to dissuade you - keep doing your due diligence, and if makes sense economically, logistically, etc., then go for it!
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Old 01-19-2017, 08:01 PM   #20
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Thread is 6 hours old and 20 replies.

Welcome to the OP and goodonya for having the good sense to start a thread like this in January! The rest of you need to take your boat out and have some fun


It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they've been fooled - Mark Twain
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