Sunday, September 6, 2009

Living aboard - a question

Like many young couples (30 is still young, right?), our lives are full of job obligations, parenting, and financial strategizing. Beneath the surface, though, runs our desire to cut the literal and figurative docklines and go sailing. It's something I think about every day. It's what motivates us to work hard, play frugally, and spend wisely (well... usually).

We talk about selling this place in 3-4 years, purchasing a boat, and living aboard. From my landlocked vantage point, I get the impression that we should be able to manage it, especially if we either buy the boat outright or put a big down payment on a loan. As long as we have Internet access, we should be able to keep the jobs we have now, meaning we won't lost any (or much) income. We wouldn't have a mortgage or the house-related expenses, though of course we'll obtain plenty of boat-related financial obligations.

When it comes to money, I sometimes overlook the finer details. I'm often overly optimistic and fail to realize it until I'm drowning in unanticipated expenses. So I'm just trying to get a better sense of whether our plan is really feasible.

A couple of questions for those of you who live aboard: how much do you spend per month on marina fees? What do those fees include? And - do you think you spend less living aboard than you would if you lived in a traditional home?


  1. Would you be tied to living in a marina b/c of jobs? Many liveaboard couples, even those with children, travel about and spend most of their nights at anchor. Obviously there are some costs involved with that (fuel, etc.), but it's a less costly way to go than marina living.

    As for your original question, we don't live aboard, but our marina fees are just $150 per month plus electricity. Water is included. We are fortunate to live in a pretty cheap area for marinas, although ours is quite rural. It would definitely be less $ to live there than in our house. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of marinas do not allow liveaboards.

  2. P.S. If you haven't been to this blog, you might enjoy it and glean some good info:

  3. Hello,
    We live aboard in Charleston. We are at one of the few marinas (Charleston City Marina) that has spots for live aboards. Marina slip fees depend upon the size of the boat. Our 33' boat slip costs $625 a month. That includes parking for one car, dock box, slip fee, environmental fee, electricity, water, and supposed Hi-speed internet (WiFi).
    Other marinas cost less. Bohicket doesn't charge as much per foot and doesn't charge for parking.
    Also, it depends on the contract. By day, by month, and annual contracts have different pricing.

    1. Hey I'm looking to find a boat to rent to live on in Charlesto do you know anyone who has on. Thanks Sandy

  4. Other costs to consider are:
    If you live in warmer waters, you will need to dive or have someone dive and scrape the bottom of the boat every 3 weeks during the summer. You have to keep the barnacles from growing around your prop and/or rudder.
    Depending on the bottom paint, you may have to haul out once a year to scrape and repaint the bottom with anti-fouling gear.
    If you live on the hook, you need a generator or lots of solar and wind generators and batteries. You will also need a tender or dinghy with a motor.

  5. Pick up the latest Intercoastal Waterway Guide. It has the marinas and good anchorages along the ICW.
    Good luck and if you have any more questions, feel free to ask me.

  6. Very interesting. The standard conception is that the family lives in the HOME and the BOAT is only the vacation. I cannot imagine how people can live in the boat. I was in Bahamas last year thorough ECT for 2 weeks and it was really enough of sea around me. Wish you good luck.

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