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Live aboard powerboat?

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by newtoarea94133, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. newtoarea94133

    newtoarea94133 New Member

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    Hi all, I just signed up to the site hoping to get some education and insight into the boating world. I am a single guy, 40 years old. Just moved to San Francisco. Ive been renting a place here about 6 months and have been interested in living on a boat here. I know Im not interested in sailboats. Ive been checking out the 30' - 40' range flybridge style boats and they seem to have the most room inside. Im looking for something that has decent outside area also for laying out in the sun and grilling for instance. A good balance between the two if you will. My portion of the rent in this current apartment is $2300. So I would say anything for a monthly payment on the boat and slip below that is ok with me. Slips here at Fishersmans Wharf are roughly $400-$500 for the size boats im interested in. Ive never lived on a boat and wish I could find someone here to let me sleep on it for a weekend to see how I like it but I don't know how to find a situation like that. I found a boat that I think Im interested in, Ill post the link, its from this site. Its over priced, Ive contacted the broker and he said they are willing to come down to similar comps. 2006 Sea Ray Motoryacht Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
    Any recommendations on boats with what Im looking for? I don't have intentions on going out to rough seas but I would be interested in coastal cruising. I plan on taking boating lessons here and have spoken with them regarding this and they know what my intentions are. I have operated a smaller boat when I was younger, my fathers 22' Sea Ray on Lake Erie in Buffalo NY. But I really like to have a modern roomy interior and somewhere between a 30' - 40' flybridge around the $225,000 range appears to be in my monthly price range. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. If there is anything other that would be helpful for you to know please let me know, or any advice or tips about being a boat owner or other things/costs that Im not considering please let me know, any insight would be great. Thank you, Rob E-mail Address Removed; Read the Rules.
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    What you're looking at are called "aft-cabins". There are several manufacturers of the style. I'd recommend looking at Carver. They're a bit more roomy and less expensive.
    As for expenses, what you're not considering is maintenance (about $40K a year) and fuel (about 20-35 gph). You're also going to want to haul it for a few weeks every couple of years at least, to bottom paint and let the hull dry. You'll need another place to live while that's going on.

    I suggest you go to our SEARCH feature and key in the worlds 'live aboard' or any other such words. You're not the first one with this idea, and it often works out, bu there's a lot to consider, from freezing water lines to municapalities who don't like people living on boats to dealing with a 30 gallon holding tank instead of a 5,000 gallon cesspool.
  3. newtoarea94133

    newtoarea94133 New Member

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    40k a year

    Can you tell me briefly what the upkeep is that it totals to 40k a year. And is that for all boats in general?
  4. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    On average figure 10% of original purchase price. That's about 400K to 600K for the boats you're looking at. Start with an engine rebuild, that's about 30K each. If you're lucky that'll be years away, but one boat I run needed it 13 hours after purchase and someone here wrote about blowing an engine on the way home from the purchase. There's leaking windows, air conditioning repairs, plumbing problems, zincs, oil changes, and the list is endless. Also understand that as soon as you put the word "marine" before anything the price goes up. Boats are like mistresses. They'll give you the best days of your life. They'll also give you the worst days. And they'll both definitely drill a hole in your wallet. Boating is an expensive sport.
  5. newtoarea94133

    newtoarea94133 New Member

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    Haha nice analogy. Thank you. Im guessing/hoping there is some advantage on living on your boat and having it docked mostly with occasional cruises or playing around in the bay. San Francisco, on the bay anyway, rarely gets above 70 degrees. I don't know if that matters but Im pretty sure Im not gonna be using the air conditioning and probably the heat either all that much. Well looking at it from those numbers is enough to scare me off haha. Its seems like a strange trade off. On the one hand if I get a newer boat I could hopefully expect repairs further down the road. But the initial cost is higher and if I get an older boat ill save up front but should be worried that things are about to go bad. So then I guess my next question is this. You seen the type off boat and modern look Im going for and my budget, roughly $2300 a month. What would you recommend for a first timer owning and living aboard a boat in San Francisco? Year,make,model or forgetaboutit haha.
  6. chuckb

    chuckb Senior Member

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    Truly boating or just living aboard?

    At the risk of offending some, there are some marinas that are known a "floating trailer parks", with boats that never really leave the dock (and which should not given their condition!). That phrase may be a bit harsh... but it brings into perspective the realities of living aboard if you are not someone that has had salt water in your veins since birth. Owning a 3 bed, 2 bath vessel that is seaworthy is a major undertaking, basically a lifestyle decision that goes far beyond simply liking a boat layout and being able to afford the entry price.

    That said... there are beautiful boats that make great liveaboards... and which you can approach with a mindset of keeping it afloat... but not cruising. I look at the glut of megayachts out there and expect some of them will eventually become floating condos, and handsome ones at that. One doesn't need to go cruising to still have the pleasures of dinner on the deck, the lap of waves against the hull at night, and the knowledge that you're living in a special environment most never get to experience.

    So... I'd first try to identify where you expect to keep a boat, if purchased. Liveaboard marinas are getting rarer... and some are wonderful communities, others you might need to lock up everything 24/7 due to the quality of neighbors. Can you buy a boat with a lease in place? Or is there a 3 year waiting list? If you can have power and water at the dock then you don't need a generator or desal system, big savings but also quirks with their own learning curves. You'll still need bottom paint and maintenance to keep the rain out. The list is endless, but keeping on top of it all is also a great pastime!

    I think its a great idea worth pursuing, just be realistic about what you're really getting yourself into!:cool:
  7. newtoarea94133

    newtoarea94133 New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. The marina Im considering has a 1 year wait list. Its Fishermans Wharf. It has power and water and WiFi, along with other perks. Im 100% certain that Ill be wanting to cruise the coastline, but Im not interested or confident about going out to sea and say crossing the Pacific or Atlantic. Monday - Friday Im sure it will be docked and weekends Id like to take it out. On vacations or extended weekends that's when Id like to take a nice cruise. Most likely starting out with small cruises leading up to larger ones. I will be taking boating lessons and initially hire a captain to show me the ropes the first couple times. I have no desire to sink my boat or become fish food haha. Id like to keep costs to a minimum and have always been a handy type guy. I know I would want to learn how to maintain the boat myself as much as possible. I still have some time and plan on learning as much as possible before jumping in. Research, research and more research. I want this to happen so Ill make sure I try and cover all the bases before putting it all together. Ill take any and all advice, thx all
  8. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Being handy is of paramount importance unless you're rich. You will literally save yourself tens of thousands of dollars, depending on how much you can do yourself. If you're hands-on there is a wealth of free help available on the internet and at the marinas. Boaters love to help each other. I recently saved my employer probably about $5,000 and got a good education though a discusion right here on YF.
  9. Dsybok

    Dsybok New Member

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    I have been reading on here for a bit, but this post was interesting enough that I decided to register so I could comment.

    First off, living aboard in California can be a very economical way of life. We do not have freezing temperatures or extreme weather, so about half the trouble some other area boaters have to deal with, we just don't. There is no need to winterize your boat, run a heater in the bilge etc etc. Yet we don't have the damaging humidity or strength of sun of Florida either, so our boats tend to age/weather very well compared to some other parts of the country.

    While I have never lived aboard my 35 foot Sundancer except for a few nights, a friend of mine did for about 7 years on his 39 foot sportfisher. Slip fees are relatively inexpensive for these size boats, and you can pick up decent enough 80s and 90s aft cabins for under $100k all day long especially if you widen your shopping area to Stockton and the delta. Compared to the cost of living on shore in SF, you could potentially live aboard a boat for 1/3rd of the cost of an apartment ashore. The Sea Ray motoryacht you linked is a spacious if more expensive option and the best comparison I can make for non boat people is that it is a "Lexus". Its not really a true boat guys boat, but its well built, luxurious, and Sea Ray has a proven track record building decent quality mid range boats.

    As for maintenance, If you do not take your boat out much, (and liveaboards tend not to, once you realize all your worldly possessions are aboard, you tend not to leave the dock much from what I have seen) you will minimize your expenses. Gas is almost always the biggest expense for a typical frequent use boater. You would be surprised how much fun you can have even if you never leave the dock, or how a kayak can help you out in that department.

    Join some boat boards, read up and it will help you make an educated decision.


    Good luck!
  10. newtoarea94133

    newtoarea94133 New Member

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    Thank you, I def needed to hear that. Ive been doing as much reading as possible, what a great site this is. While I like the boat I linked it is missing the outside area to entertain. Any recommendations on a boat similar to this but have some kind of outside area with seating so I could grill and entertain also. Im trying to find a nice balance of inside and outside. Anything under $225,000. Up to 40'. Mostly at the dock and out costal cruising on the weekends. Heard diesel is a great option for boats over 35' so Ive been looking at those. I like the flybridge/aft cabin. Is that the same thing. I like being up high like that and dont care for the cave type dwelling. Well any recommendations are appreciated. Thank again, and thanks for the post DSYBOK. I feel better knowing that info. We have great weather here and its not humid or have bad weather really and with only taking it out occasionally the costs should be less compared to what others are experiencing living in harsher areas. My father had a slip for a 22' and it was in there for 6 months a year at $1600 for the year and he had to take it out every year and have it winterized and stored and it wasnt cheap. I wont have those costs and I enjoy learning and working on things myself. No If I could just find someone to let me sleep on their boat for a weekend to see how I like it haha.
  11. Dsybok

    Dsybok New Member

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    Well I agree with one of the others, Carvers are a nice option as well. I am not sure you can get the really nice 450 Voyager for your price, and its larger than you are looking for, but they have an under 40 foot Voyager that might be worth a look.

    If topside entertainment space is your focus and you don't mind less living accommodations below, you can also look at fast express style boats like my Sundancer or something from Cruisers Inc. I don't feel these boats are the right setup for living aboard, but people do it, it depends on your needs/tastes.

    One thing you can do , and you probably have, is go to yacht world and just type in advanced search for powerboats 35-45 feet with all the features you are looking for, and it will spit out quite a few options for you.

    As for engines, diesels are more common, more efficient and economical on larger boats, the cutoff for diesels is about 35 to 40 feet. Most boats smaller than this will have gas engines most larger will have diesels.
  12. newtoarea94133

    newtoarea94133 New Member

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    Thanks, Its a tricky balance. Im def dont wanna sacrifice living space too much since that will be my home basically. But a nice outside area even if its small is better than none. After looking at the boat link I posted it doesnt look like there is that much space outside of the saloon to hang out. Except for up top the flybridge. When its docked Id like an area to sit around with friends and have drinks and bbq. The search continues....
  13. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    Yachtworld search results will show you a number of aft cabin Ocean Alexander 42' to 44' around the bay in Sausalito, Emeryville, Alameda, etc... you may want to check them out.
  14. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I definitely recommend that you spend some time wandering the docks and talking with people. You might even want to charter a boat dockside for a weekend.
    You also have to determine how much and what kind of cruising, and how much time you want to spend at the dock with friends. The maximum interior and exterior space you'll find is on a houseboat, and they run the gammet from garbage to some really nice custom jobs. However most are designed for calm water cruising. Three Buoys has interesting houseboats. A step more towards cruising will find the house-yachts like the Harbor Masters and Holiday Mansions. Next up the cruising capable scale with maximum space is the aft-cabin with raised bridge (Carver, Sea Ray, Silverton). With all of these keep in mind that they all draw about 3' to 40" of water. The more weight and area you put above the water line, the harder she'll be to handle in heavy winds or rough seas.

    Boats like the S.R. Sundancer mentioned earlier are "express cruisers". Easy to handle, but not much entertaining or living area. "cave type dwelling" as you put it.

    One other thing to consider when looking at deck space is that most people close in their exterior spaces with canvas and isinglass to give them more all-weather living space. Most of that can come down with not too much work when the sun comes out.
  15. Beau

    Beau Senior Member

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    keep up the search and the attitude. But check the standard marina rules, you may not like some. Most will not let you BBQ at the docks.

    BTW, my wife and I (and the kids until they got older and on their own) live aboard from Fridays til Monday mornings from May until November. We all have made life long friends in the NE cruising corridor as well as on the dock. It's not full time but we love it. We are fortunate to having the boat located central to our home and office. In the Winter's I come down to check the shrink wrap, yearning for April to arrive when we open her up. We started out on a 28 foot Silverton with a single 318 chrysler in the mid 1970's and thought that was a manse! We still read our old log books at Christmas....
  16. Dsybok

    Dsybok New Member

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    Make sure when you look at a marina's rules you understand what they mean too, for example, you can't fish off the docks or BBQ on the docks at my marina, but you can fish off and BBQ on your boat. Really a minor issue for the most part. Most marina's discourage liveaboards as much as they can, they use more resources and cost more money, and general the surcharge they get doesn't always cover the costs. In my marina live aboards pay a $125 a month surcharge over the normal slip fee.

    Typically a marina that has live aboards in our area will be no more than 30% of the slips, they try and stick to whatever ratio they came up with, and there could be a much longer waiting list for live aboard slips versus just a regular slip.
  17. Caltexflanc

    Caltexflanc Senior Member

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    One of the key issues in the SF Bay Area is finding a marina that allows full time live aboards. As for "try before you buy", go talk with Club Nautique in Alameda. They have a fantastic training school, and some power boats in your size range you can rent at great rates if you are a member.
  18. brian eiland

    brian eiland Senior Member

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    40' Liveaboard

    I can't believe some of those scary figures that some were quoting,...enough to put you off the idea of living on a boat forever.

    Back long ago while I was still in college I started thinking about living aboard a boat as well, ...here on the Chesapeake Bay, near Annapolis MD or right up in Washington DC. I was real attracted to these old classics like the ACF's, Elco, Trumpy-Mathis houseboats, etc....most all wood vessels. Well I would not recommend wood for a beginner, nor in this current day.

    But I would recommend something like this 40 footer, a Pilgrim 40. Here is one for sale out in Calif
    1987 Pilgrim 40 by North Castle Marine Pilgrim 40 Power Boat For

    I'd be willing to bet you could buy it at a decent price, but first get a good competent survey to let you know right up front any particular problems. And I bet if you keep it in reasonable condition you could likely resell it for very little lost, and very likely right along with your live-aboard slip, if you are lucky enough to get one.

    This is a real 'livable' design. take a look at some pics over HERE,
    http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/general-trawler-discussion/19252-trawler-houseboat.html

    or send me a private message and I'll send you some I've collected up.
  19. weto

    weto Senior Member

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    It says : Located in Sag Harbor,NY. Or am I reading it wrong ?
  20. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You're not. She catches my eye every time I go to the marina (way more than the Rivas and Azimuts there). I think Brian was pointing it out as a type more so than the one, although it could possibly be trucked. (On its own bottom it would take about a year if you got there at all.) This type boat is better suited for a couple cruising the ICW at 7 kts. than a single guy cruising SF Bay with a bunch or friends though.