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Old 10-01-2023, 09:03 AM   #1
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RV life to trawler

Good morning everyone! Here to learn about trawler living. My family and I currently live in a motorhome and have traveled alot. Currently stationary in the Florida keys for now. We are considering switching it up to trawler living in about 12 months time. Plan to be in a marina as my kids go to local schools but boat will not be stationary by any means. We love boating and will use regularly around the keys and travel full time during summer months. Look forward to learning from everyone!
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Old 10-01-2023, 09:37 AM   #2
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Welcome.

Checkout Bumfuzzle.com. A family of 4, they are veteran explorers on land and sea with a resume that includes a circumnavigation (sail), lCentral America and Alaska via vintage travel trailer, 4-5 years in the Caribbean on a Grand Banks 42, and most recently a return to sail. Good writers and photographers. Their kids are now mid-teenagers.

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Old 10-01-2023, 10:41 AM   #3
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So, if I understand you correctly, you plan to keep your boat in a marina while your kids go to school, and unless you are loaded, work from the boat. Then when the kids get out of school for the summer, head out for cruising.

A couple of caveats:

Marina WI-FI is often marginal and probably won’t support a video conference. Your best bet is to install a Starlink system. Not cheap but fast and reliable and will continue to work fine while cruising and hanging out at anchor. Cell systems are hit and miss IMO.

Finding a liveaboard marina in S Florida or the Keys won’t be easy and definitely not cheap.

David
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Old 10-01-2023, 10:57 AM   #4
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Welcome aboard. Living on a boat with all of its attendant, unique maintenance requirements will be vastly different from RV living. Best of luck.
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Old 10-01-2023, 11:05 AM   #5
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Yes we work from home. We use Verizon Internet which has worked anywhere we travel in RV. Good points about maybe not working off shore. We are thinking to stay in something like founders park here in keys. Pools and courts for kids close to school district. We have been boating in anything from pontoons to 27ft centerconsoles. Family had a 33 Silverton few years back and we used that from time to time. We are looking for something probably 3 staterooms. 50-60 ft range. Hatteras... widebody vikings..Marine traders ( best layouts I've seen but mixed reviews)
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Old 10-01-2023, 11:08 AM   #6
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Thanks. While RV is constant maintenance to keep in top shape I understand the maintenance related items and costs on boat. I do most everything my self on RV including minor engine work ( water pumps..compressors..belts and routine maintenance). I think I could do most things my self but some stuff will have to be paid fornthats beyond my capabilities.
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Old 10-01-2023, 11:08 AM   #7
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Thanks. I will check them out
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Old 10-01-2023, 11:19 AM   #8
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Here in the PNW, which I suspect will be the same in Florida, finding a marina that will allow you to live aboard will be your biggest challenge.
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Old 10-01-2023, 11:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgano View Post
Welcome aboard. Living on a boat with all of its attendant, unique maintenance requirements will be vastly different from RV living. Best of luck.
I have done both, and overall not that much different if you DIY as the OP indicates he will. For example fixing electrical problems on a boat is easier as it usually is accessible. On RVs it is often buried.

But definitely unique differences. You donít have bilge pumps or prop shaft packing glands that you have to fix on a RV, nor an autopilot.

David
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Old 10-01-2023, 12:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM View Post
I have done both, and overall not that much different if you DIY as the OP indicates he will. For example fixing electrical problems on a boat is easier as it usually is accessible. On RVs it is often buried.

But definitely unique differences. You donít have bilge pumps or prop shaft packing glands that you have to fix on a RV, nor an autopilot.

David
Looking forward to learning from everyone. As I mentioned I'm planning a year out. Learning now. Checking out coast guard courses and captains license to learn as much as possible. While researching brands and engine combinations.
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Old 10-01-2023, 12:17 PM   #11
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If you want to do it, do it. Don't let anyone talk you out of it with tales of difficulty regarding maintenance/repair or anything else. If you're mechanically inclined enough to handle that stuff on an RV, you're good. Are there differences? Sure. But at the end of the day, it's just nuts, bolts, pipes, tanks, screws, wires, switches...etc.

There are tons of resources out there you can use to help you learn about how boat systems work. As long as you use them and don't just wing it, you will be fine. Do Google searches about boat systems and start reading now so you have an idea what you're getting into.

As others have said, the most difficult thing - by far - will be finding a marina that will allow you to liveaboard full time. You should solve that problem before doing anything else. Go out in person and meet with marina owners/dockmasters and tell them your whole story and let them understand where you're coming from with all the cards on the table. In your situation - wanting to send your kids to school - you can't really use the "long term transients" trick because you can't afford to get booted. Your best bet is being up front and honest.

I work from my boat as well, and as someone else said, if you need Internet access, most marinas have WiFi, but it's not something you want to rely on. Starlink isn't just a "nice to have," it's a "must have". I use 4G as a backup, but it's ONLY a backup.
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Old 10-02-2023, 07:00 AM   #12
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Have covered every corner of the country by boat and also by RV, had an Airstream for 5 years and a 5th wheeler for 5. A boat gives you a lot more room, more privacy, and accessibility to places you might otherwise miss. A boat feels like home, an RV, regardless of accommodations, is still like camping. The boat can also offer private spaces and areas for escape. The boat takes a lot more work, planning, and forethought. The repairs are more complex and hugely more expensive. I repeat: expenses and repairs on a boat are humongously more expensive than on an RV. Budget accordingly even for a DIY-er.

Boaters are family. You will feel a connected community. The experience on a boat for children is life-long. They will learn skills and hands-on experience that become real assets in problem solving later. Boating is much more active and gobs more fun! Good for you!!
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Old 10-02-2023, 07:32 AM   #13
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Also, keep in mind that insurance availability and cost will be vastly different on a boat vs rv. You will be limited in your choices and it will be much more expensive.
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Old 10-10-2023, 12:32 PM   #14
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Old 10-10-2023, 02:09 PM   #15
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Having done both liveaboard and spend 4-5 months per year RVing and covering around 7000 by RV and the better part of the last decade back and forth from NJ to FL snowbirding..... I see it this way.

My boat and my RV equally are homes to me.... I am a simple guy. Obviously a 50+ footer boat might sway that thinking.

When cruising I never worried too much about destination....if I couldn't get into a marina, I would just anchor out. Today, RV spots are more scarce than everr and all those great free and easy spots like Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, etc are giving way to "no overnighting". For me, I wind up doing a lot more planning when RVing....and often 6 months to a year in advance for reservations in high demand spots...similar to Fl destinations for winter boating. That may be a bit unfair because of my background in boating and my relaxed attitude towards it.

As far as family...boaters aren't...cruisers are more likely...just like old time campers are different that the weekenders at local parks/campgrounds. I seem to find the true believers in both worlds about the same because identifying people who are "been there done that" types that say things in very particular ways. Easy to pick out of a group conversation.

The vast majority of the US is not on the coast and has plenty to see. Yet boating does allow you to often stay right downtown in coastal/on the water cities while RV places are often way out of the city.

Most of my friends and relatives are not on the coast.

Some RVs have separate spaces if you wat and you can always get out and go for a walk....somewhat true of boats but sometimes a lot harder.

As far as things to do when boating and camping...guess that depends on your hobbies/activities. I fish when doing both, I also have small boats along with both, walk as much as each allows, stargaze at night, visit family, socialize...etc..etc.... really can't say one is better than the other for things to do.

So my bottom line is both are great and both should be done if one has the chance. Really not that much difference in my mind...but both depend on your mindset to be all they can be. Some will love one and never the other. While I don't really understand...hey as long as they are enjoying what they are doing....good deal.
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Old 10-10-2023, 02:26 PM   #16
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First off, Welcome to the Forum!

We RV'd for about 11 years, but not full time. Most was about 6 months out of 12. First in a 27' Travel Trailer (TT), then a 40' Dutchstar. The TT was more like camping, but the Dutchstar was living large!

Now we're in a boat. We've been full time cruisers for the past 2 years. Bought the boat in WA State, cruised Puget Sound, and up as far North as Glacier Bay Alaska. We're currently in Mexico, slowly making our way over the Bahamas, East Coast, etc. much, Much, MUCH more comfortable in the boat than in the RV(s). Then again, we could relocate in the RV at 60 mph! And at 7.5 miles/gallon. The boat is 7 kts, and 2.5 nmpg.

One of the biggest problems you may run into is insurance. You will be going from a smaller boat, to a 50 - 60 footer . . . . and your experience is not easily documented, and not what they're going to want to see for a larger boat. AND you're not planning on relocating the boat (kids in school) North, out of the hurricane "belt" June thru November. . . . . not sure if you can even get insurance, let alone "affordable" insurance.

I'm 64 years old (as of today), and I wish we'd done this 15 years ago, rather than 2 years ago.

Your plan sounds wonderful, don't give up on it, but the logistics of it may be daunting at times. Best of luck in whatever you decide!
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Old 10-12-2023, 03:16 PM   #17
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OP, depending on your financial situation and risk-tolerance, you may consider liability-only insurance (with enviro & wreck removal). That simplifies life a lot.
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