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Old 06-02-2021, 04:22 PM   #1
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Where should I live???

Hey all,

Wow are there some incredible pieces of advice on these forums...I'm in awe! I have a question (that hopefully won't make me seem like the dunce of the universe).

I'm a single 57 year old man who currently lives in the Denver, CO area (can you say landlocked?). I have no family ties so you might consider me a free soul. I have a life-long dream to live aboard a trawler full-time and make it my only home. My apartment lease is up at the end of September.

My question is this: where in the country should I consider living? I know this is a loaded question, but here's the thought process.

I can go anywhere and don't mind pulling up stakes here in Denver and moving to where ever, USA. What I need advice on is where would I have the best chance of finding a "quality" used 30-35' diesel trawler? Gulf Coast? Great Lakes? PNW? Florida? Eastern Seaboard? It really doesn't matter to me the location.

What matters is that I have ample access to marinas and docks to check out in person various boats to see whether my narrowed list of choices are doable or even findable. I need access and I have none here.

My plan is to rent a studio apartment on a month-to-month basis while I look for a trawler to purchase. Once I find one, make an offer, the offer is accepted, etc., I plan on living aboard while I repair/restore/upgrade items in need. If the survey and mechanical survey pass muster, the vessel will be on the hard for the survey, so if the bottom needs attention (anti-fouling paint, thru hulls, etc., I'll take care of those while the boat is out of the water. All the rest I'll do either while in a marina or on anchor.

So with this plan in mind, where might I find the best assortment of trawlers that I can actually set foot on? I don't mind driving, but would prefer a nice selection of marinas, brokers, etc. to assist me in my adventure that aren't always a 4 hour drive away.

Thanks in advance, as I'm now moving from the research phase to the actual shopping phase and this is all new to me.
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Old 06-02-2021, 04:24 PM   #2
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You really don’t have an opinion on the weather? The PNW is a world apart from south Florida is a world apart from the New England cruising grounds.
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Old 06-02-2021, 04:43 PM   #3
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Anyway, the problem with the Great Lakes is the pretty-much-complete-and-utter lack of live aboard opportunities outside of late spring/summer/fall.

If you want to just talk inventory, I guess Florida takes the prize for the greatest concentration - at least in the US - for obvious reasons. That said it’s a big state. I might be biased by my own searches, but the Puget Sound and British Columbia might be number 2, at least for a concentrated area. SoCal, and the greater Chesapeake region also come to mind. But for SoCal, I have heard both on here and from others that liveaboard marinas are becoming few and far between, others can check me. OTOH the Bay Area still has quite a few.

There’s different types of liveaboard. Do you want to homestead at one marina year-round and then cruise mostly locally, or travel seasonally i.e. snowbird, or full-time it while moving often?
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Old 06-02-2021, 05:02 PM   #4
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Hey AlaskaFlyer,
You bring up valid points. My plan, since I can do my work from anywhere there is an internet connection, is to start out wherever the boat is. This is how I can be so flexible in where I go from Denver. If it turns out to be the Great Lakes at the end of the season, I'll simply move the vessel south in front of the crappy weather (hopefully), thus living aboard full time. I expect most of my time will be living on the hook.

I do want to move from here to someplace that has an abundance of boatyards where I can pull out onto the hard while working on things I can't do while in the water. I also want to be close to marinas where there are boats to look at, auctions, repos, quiet sales, etc. Ideally there are fair, competent and recommended surveyors (both general and mechanical) nearby.

Zooming in with Marinas.com, there doesn't seem to be a single spot of US coastline that doesn't have a gazillion marinas nearby, but that doesn't tell me much. For example, Galveston, TX has a lot of boxes ticked, but as it's on a thin spit of land, it looks like it's just begging to get creamed with every passing storm.

That's the kind of advice I'm hoping others on this forum had to consider and deal with as well and might have some solid suggestions as to what part of the country might bear the most fruit in my search.
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Old 06-02-2021, 05:03 PM   #5
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East coast anywhere. Move North in the summer, south in the winter.
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Old 06-02-2021, 05:06 PM   #6
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My thoughts EXACTLY...Soul Brother.
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Old 06-02-2021, 05:09 PM   #7
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That would also end the issue of full-time liveaboards not being welcome in many marinas around the country, but negotiating a 6-month contract on Lake Michigan from May-Nov, then another 6-month contract some cool place down south. That is my plan if it turns out I prefer the community of living full-time in a marina.
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Old 06-02-2021, 05:39 PM   #8
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Having traveled extensively across the southeast while visiting my kids that live in Biloxi, MS and Jacksonville, FL area and giving strong considerations to towing my boat to the Gulf and spending winters there I decided I would not enjoy cruising those areas when compared to the areas of the PNW I presently cruise in. I found from checking on marina costs of moorage that it was more expensive then what I'm used to paying. Fuel prices were much cheaper, marine repairs seemed about equal and insurance was a fair bit more expensive. The areas to cruise were by far much less exciting then what I am used to in the PNW waters of NW Washington and BC. Much greater quantity of seafood availability particularly in BC waters all the way into Alaska waters. I also found the areas to be much more crowded and having a hurricane season was all new to me. Having spoken to many boaters that have traveled from the east coast to Bellingham to charter a boat (sail or power) and hearing their positive comments of our cruising grounds finally convinced me that I would just visit my kids via flights into their areas. Just my 2 cents worth of advice.
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Old 06-02-2021, 05:54 PM   #9
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You know Bill, I'm actually Canadian and spent a ton of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm strongly considering the PNW, but it seems like quite an expensive part of the country so I'm guessing boats at a good value are few and far between.

Having said that, I seem to keep coming back to the Pacific Coast in my mind's eye. That doesn't mean I won't consider every other part of the country in which to narrow my hunt for the boat itself. I somehow can't shake the feeling that I'll get up there eventually.
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Old 06-02-2021, 05:55 PM   #10
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South FL? Yes, hurricanes but, you can move from one coast to the other, planning. Or north and find a hurricane hole. East coast, great A/Cs
PNW, you have to have a great furnace.

Remember, you didn't raise your kids to keep. They have and are building their own lives with their own responsibilities. You might get lonesome so just continue to live your own life as you wish and can.
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Old 06-02-2021, 06:13 PM   #11
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Finding a liveaboard slip in the PNW or San Francisco south is extremely difficult. I’m thinking the East Coast is going to be the most flexible.
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Old 06-02-2021, 06:18 PM   #12
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The great cruising areas in thr US are PNW, Florida, and Chesapeake area. There are many other pockets, but those are the large centers.

If yours Canadian and have flexibility to live anywhere, getting outside the gravitational pull of Seattle and Vancouver will help your budget in the PNW. But in all candor, slip rents do not vary nationally as much as housing costs do. A slip in a nice marina is going to run $15/ft per month almost anywhere.

Don't over think this. Getting an apt is a good idea.

Good luck

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Old 06-02-2021, 06:18 PM   #13
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I would also start looking into liveaboard slip availability in the areas you are considering. Especially recently, those slips have been gobbled up and are in high demand. That may change once we really come out of the pandemic (yes, I'm thinking optimistically that we will someday...).

For example, I was speaking with the marina manager at Boat Haven in Port Townsend a few weeks ago. He was saying that essentially Every. Single. Day. for the past year and a half he has had the following phone call, sometimes multiple times a day: "Hello, we have just purchased our first boat, a 45 foot motoryacht. Do you have any liveaboard slips?" He has to break it to them that there's a 6-8 year waiting list...
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Old 06-02-2021, 06:51 PM   #14
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Having traveled extensively across the southeast while visiting my kids that live in Biloxi, MS and Jacksonville, FL area and giving strong considerations to towing my boat to the Gulf and spending winters there I decided I would not enjoy cruising those areas when compared to the areas of the PNW I presently cruise in. I found from checking on marina costs of moorage that it was more expensive then what I'm used to paying. Fuel prices were much cheaper, marine repairs seemed about equal and insurance was a fair bit more expensive. The areas to cruise were by far much less exciting then what I am used to in the PNW waters of NW Washington and BC. Much greater quantity of seafood availability particularly in BC waters all the way into Alaska waters. I also found the areas to be much more crowded and having a hurricane season was all new to me. Having spoken to many boaters that have traveled from the east coast to Bellingham to charter a boat (sail or power) and hearing their positive comments of our cruising grounds finally convinced me that I would just visit my kids via flights into their areas. Just my 2 cents worth of advice.
I would totally disagree with the above. I lived on the Mississippi gulf coast most of my life. And yes, I have traveled and cruised in most places in the us including PNW and the east coast. Currently abode in LA (Lower Alabama) and love the cruising areas that are here. We have many hundreds of miles of inshore cruising and the same of coastal areas from Louisiana to and up the east coast of the US within easy access. Also there is cruising year round. Housing is much cheaper than most areas of the US in the northern Gulf Coast area.

Granted, there is hurricane season. It is something that a large portion of the eastern US cruising population puts up with but you learn to deal with it. Also from Anywhere east of the Mississippi River is winter cruising to the Bahamas within a reasonable time line.

Visit and check it out. Bring summer clothes as it is hot here for a few months out of the year. The other half is great. Just ask all the new people moving to Florida!
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:09 PM   #15
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I would totally disagree with the above. I lived on the Mississippi gulf coast most of my life. And yes, I have traveled and cruised in most places in the us including PNW and the east coast. Currently abode in LA (Lower Alabama) and love the cruising areas that are here. We have many hundreds of miles of inshore cruising and the same of coastal areas from Louisiana to and up the east coast of the US within easy access. Also there is cruising year round. Housing is much cheaper than most areas of the US in the northern Gulf Coast area.

Granted, there is hurricane season. It is something that a large portion of the eastern US cruising population puts up with but you learn to deal with it. Also from Anywhere east of the Mississippi River is winter cruising to the Bahamas within a reasonable time line.

Visit and check it out. Bring summer clothes as it is hot here for a few months out of the year. The other half is great. Just ask all the new people moving to Florida!
Not sure how you can "totally disagree" to the facts. Is fuel cheaper in your area then the PNW or not? Are there not hundreds of miles of cruising in the PNW, at least from Seattle to SE Alaska? Is your insurance the same costs as it would be in the PNW? I never said anything negative about your cruising grounds, just that "I would not enjoy cruising those areas when compared to the areas of the PNW I presently cruise in." I tried in no way to speak negative of your cruising grounds and just stated my opinions from my prospective. Seems I touched on a sensitive nerve eh Capt. Jon? Sincere apologies.
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:20 PM   #16
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There are many quality trawlers for sale in the PNW that have been used and maintained. But as others have said, you don’t have much of a chance finding a live aboard marina without waiting many years. If you are able to work remotely or are retired, you could live aboard and roam the PNW, but you would need a quality vessel for that and a greater initial investment, not a fixer.
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:31 PM   #17
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Greetings,

Mr. RR. I may have missed it in one of your former posts but what are your skills (repairs etc) and what is your budget?


I'm getting mixed signals about buying a "fixer-upper" in the Great Lakes then "...simply move the vessel south... A low cost vessel may not be ABLE to be "simply moved". Hence the budget question.


Where to live? In the moment, I suppose.


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Old 06-02-2021, 08:13 PM   #18
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Since you will be getting an apt during your search, I would head to the popular boating areas on the great lakes. Search out a freshwater used boat and they get cheap near winter haulout time. When you find your boat, arrange your life to get it in the next season to whatever your choice of destination/cruising area is...or don't. You may find a great life in the lakes and not leave for years. Lots of low houred used boats there.
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:37 PM   #19
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Not sure how you can "totally disagree" to the facts. Is fuel cheaper in your area then the PNW or not? Are there not hundreds of miles of cruising in the PNW, at least from Seattle to SE Alaska? Is your insurance the same costs as it would be in the PNW? I never said anything negative about your cruising grounds, just that "I would not enjoy cruising those areas when compared to the areas of the PNW I presently cruise in." I tried in no way to speak negative of your cruising grounds and just stated my opinions from my prospective. Seems I touched on a sensitive nerve eh Capt. Jon? Sincere apologies.
Fact, less quantity of seafood? Gulf of Mexico supplies a large majority of seafood in the US.

As for insurance I pay about $1600 per year for a boat with an agreed value of 300k plus. However I do have a 10% deductible for named storm.

Moorage, really? This area of the US is probably the cheapest in the US. Many marinas don’t even charge by the foot. It’s based on a flat fee of generator size. Docking a 50’ boat in many marinas I the northern gulf areas of Mississippi can be had for less than $500 per month. I will say however Since this last storm season the ones with space are increasing pricing. However as more marinas come back on line after rebuild the price always comes back down.

As for crowded Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are some of the lowest population states in the US. Considering that Washington state has almost 8 million people and Oregon has around 4.5 million I think that is not much less than Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi combined.

You made the quote” The areas to cruise were by far much less exciting then what I am used to in the PNW waters of NW Washington and BC.” Since you did not say you had ever cruised the Gulf Coast area I cannot see how you can say it’s less exciting! The gulf areas have many barrier island that are not populated and have some of the nicest sugar white sand beaches in the world. Many of the areas are declared wilderness areas and have some of the highest population of shore birds and other wildlife (since many of the birds in other parts of the US maybe even some from your area) winter here. The gulf also has a much diversified population of wildlife protection areas that can be great for observing nature lovers. The norther gulf area also has many river system including the Tenn-Tom which opens up most of the eastern US.

All the above is based on the statement you made about “towing my boat to the gulf”.

Personally I know a little about the Jacksonville area of Florida. And as for crowds it’s an area of Florida (as compared to other areas of the state) that’s a boaters paradise and lower population than than the southern section of the state. Great area to boat in.

So, if you think I took a little offensive, you would be correct! I live here!

P.S. apologies accepted.
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:47 PM   #20
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In the Great Lakes?
IMO, the first thing you want to do is get it out of the Great Lakes now, head south to an area that does not freeze over.... SC? so you can work on it.
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