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Live aboard powerboat?

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

  1. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Anyone who states that "Gas is almost always the biggest expense for a typical frequent use boater" (Dysbok) has not had a lot of boating experience.
    While fuel consumption is one of the major factors to consider in your annual boating budget, I can assure you that if you are not running the boat regular then you will wish you had.
  2. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Two comments. First, everyone is jumping as if he said "never take your boat out." He said not taking it out much as implying a low use boater but not one who let it sit and never used it. Second, I not the use of the word "gas." I would assume that indicates that his Sea Ray is gas and not diesel. That changes his equation and view of things rather significantly. In the 35' to 40' size range that can make a huge difference.

    Now, Kafue, what is your largest operating expense on your boat? No counting depreciation. Just curious as we recently updated our budget.
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Repairs is his largest expense.........
  4. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    I have lived aboard as single, married with dog, and married with kids and dogs.

    I currently live on land.

    It is a great experience, but over the long run it is no cheaper than living on land.

    It is great if you already have the boat, but it is not a cheap alternative to having an apartment or land house. You can get away "on the cheap" for a short period but sooner or later you are going to end up with a floating shanty.

    What is odd now is; that you can buy some really nice older boats at a very reasonable purchase price but it still costs a bundle to maintain the boat.

    A 40'er that you can buy for 100k is still going to cost you 20k a year.
    (not including fuel)
  5. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Living aboard a decent boat is never economical as simply a replacement for an apartment or a house. However, a liveaboard boat is cost saving versus a boat and an apartment or house. It makes sense if you already own or want a boat for boating. Then your incremental costs of living aboard are reasonably small.
  6. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Costs higher than fuel:
    1. Lately it is Repairs. Some years repairs will be the major, some years none at all. I consider it renewing old systems.
    2. Maintenance to prevent major repairs.
    3. For this year, a full repaint is planned. An internal upholstery renewal has already been completed.
  7. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    This is probably not the proper thread to respond to, but as for the new guy, a thought just came to mind...for those of you wanting to buy a boat to live aboard...try the land version first. By that I mean go buy a used Prevost 45 foot motor coach. You can buy a 10-12 year old Coach for around 200 grand, these Coaches sell for 1.5 million new, and have basically the same systems as a yacht...this will get your feet wet into on board systems. The upside to this solution, is that if you mess up...you can pull over to the side of the road and call AAA. If you mess up with a yacht (boat) you'll sink and you and your crew/guest have a much better chance of dying. I'm just starting to write checks for my new build, and I have several thousand hours both living aboard and pilot in command. Anyway, I live aboard my Prevost coach full time while my boat is being built, and strangely enough the costs are comparable with a yacht. Tires are a thousand dollars apiece, and the maintenance (other than washing off salt spray are about as close to owning a boat are concerned.
  8. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Tempted to follow your style and say that's a crock but instead I'll address it as kindly as I can.

    If you have a 105' boat being built and you think for one moment the costs of owning and maintaining a Prevost 45 are even in the same ballpark as maintaining a 105' boat, you're in for the rudest awakening you can imagine. How many engines does your motor coach have? 4? Well, two engines and two gens on the boat I'd assume. What size? Prevost have 1000 hp, 2000 hp? What about watermakers? Air conditioning for something at least 15 times the size of the Prevost. Ever had the bottom cleaned on the Prevost? Well, depending on where you use the boat that can be as frequent as once a month. And not cheap. Or painting? Do you set aside $25,000 or $50,000 a year for painting the Prevost? How many million did the Prevost depreciate the day you drove it off the lot? Bet nothing like the boat will. Do you have a crew on the Prevost? Typical crew on a 105' will cost you $200,000 a year when you include taxes, insurance, food, etc. Tender for the Prevost? Well, you might have that in a motorcycle or towed car. Oh and dockage? How much does it cost to park the Prevost at night? Typically around $30-40 per night. You'll spend more than that on electricity and water to dock your boat. Dockage when traveling will be $200-500 per night. Insurance. Are you paying $20,000 or more per year to insure the RV? Oh and communications equipment and connectivity. Now as simple as on land. If you want to be connected at all times add another $20,000. Well, unless you're going offshore then maybe a $50,000 a year service. Then there is fuel. Yes, I know the RV gets lousy mileage. Maybe 4 miles per gallon. Well, turn that around. Fuel for 100 miles in the RV then probably costs you 100/4 x$4 per gallon or $100 or $1 per mile. Now on the boat don't know the engines but lets just be conservative and say 3 gallons per mile at $4.50 per gallon, higher water price. So 100 miles now costing you $1350 or $13.50 per mile. Even something as simple as batteries.

    I'm just astonished that you think the Prevost is comparable to the 105' boat in terms of cost to maintain or the effort involved.

    One other thing. For those of us who boat because we love being on the water, then the RV in no way substitutes. Sorry, I know many love it, who just want to travel. But we love the water and the Prevost I suspect performs poorly on it.

    Good luck with your boat build. But please you've jumped in here attacking another poster's opinions in your very first post and now you post saying the costs of operating a boat and RV are the same and you suggest an 80' boat to someone looking for something 55-65' in length.
  9. Dsybok

    Dsybok New Member

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    I don't pay much attention to what some guy with a 6 or 7 million dollar boat has to say, its not relevant to the original guy posting who was looking for a $250k boat. Most people who choose to live aboard boats at this level are not going to take their boats out much while they live aboard. Hey, you might not like that, oh well, fortunately its not your boat. My friend who lived aboard for 10 years hardly ever left the dock, he didn't have the desire to put everything he owned at risk on the open ocean. He had a 15 foot whaler for tooling around the harbor. I can tell you he sold his boat for about what he paid for it and put very little money into it during that time. Not atypical for the type of liveabords we are talking about here, these are not guys who are walking around with 7 figure bank accounts paying cash for yachts. I am guessing the guy who originally posted is not considering cruising the Carribbean in the winter like our custom 105' muti millionaire.

    Yes my boat is gas, and in a typical year if I use it a lot, at .6 MPG the fuel costs rack up a lot faster than my maintenance costs, except in a year like this where I have to replace my complete canvas. For my boat that's about every 7 to 9 years, and when amortized out over that period, it doesn't even come close to my gas costs. My biggest expense is gas when I am using the boat regularly, when I am not its lack of use maintenance, as others have said.

    You also need to take into account the ridiculous real estate prices for a waterfront condo or apartment in SF and factor that in. His costs for a comparable view/experience on land will be much higher I suspect. One of the reasons people contemplate this option here.
  10. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Certainly one of the differences between California and other areas is the cost of rent or real estate. At the same time I'd imagine dock space is considerably higher too than many areas.

    It largely becomes a matter or preference too. Some want to live on boats and others don't.

    I would caution you not to dismiss anything someone with a more costly boat has to say. They might actually know what they're talking about. Or they might not. Perhaps they once owned a boat in your price range.

    Since I asked Kafue his biggest expenses, I'll answer as well. Fuel costs, and I'm a high usage owner, are a relatively small portion of my total expenses when I consider an accrual for future engine rebuilds and painting and other periodic but not annual costs.

    Still, I can see if you do most of the maintenance yourself how fuel would be your greatest cost. Just not true for me.
  11. lovinlifenc

    lovinlifenc Member

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    It is very feasible that someone who is in their early 40s, is single, currently sharing a rental, and who is paying a ridiculous sum to be a roommate, would find great appeal in the liveaboard situation.

    I believe that the OP is paying rent of $2300/mo to share a dwelling with a roommate, or possibly multiple roommates.

    Across the bay in Sausalito, the average home is listed for 1.8mil, so you would expect dockage to be astronomical.. but it is suprisingly reasonable. You would think, especially given the regulatory impossibility of building a new marina on the San Francisco Bay, that marinas would be very expensive. That is not the case. Marina dockage is its own market, and the value doesn't necessarily correlate to the value of real estate in the surrounding area.

    The reality is that what one person belives to be a good lifestyle decision, another person believes to be a waste of time and a poor financial decision. I don't recall the OP asking for financial counseling.
  12. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Actually the OP was the one who introduced all the financial aspects into the discussion. And asked for "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." The OP very much turned it into a financial discussion.

    Now I do agree with you completely that it's a personal preference as to lifestyle. If the OP wants to boat and needs a place to live it sounds great.

    Certainly other posts strayed off of helping the OP into other's situations and discussion over further numbers and Motor Coaches vs. 105' Yachts which neither is even relevant to what the OP is looking for, but that often happens.

    Some things are definitely SF specific. He can buy a boat cheaper than a condo there.

    I will still say this. If one likes a boat and wants to combine that pleasure with a place to live, then living on a boat in SF sounds great. If one isn't a boater or doesn't intend to be one then investing in a boat probably wouldn't be. A condo would appreciate, a boat depreciate. Monthly costs on a condo in the same price range would probably be less. There are condo's in SF for nearly the same price. On the other hand, a condo on the water would be many times more in price. Me, personally. If it was between a $225,000 boat and living on it versus a condo in SF in that price range which would be at most 500-700 sq ft., I'd pick the boat any day.
  13. Dsybok

    Dsybok New Member

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    Surprisingly our dockage, with a few notable exceptions, Newport Beach for example, is very reasonable compared the costs of living on land in the same area. You can get a 35' slip in Long Beach for example, for ~$500 per month, and find a whole lot of $35,000 to $75,000 boats on the market for live aboard use, whereas the condo a few hundred yards from the Marina, is going to run $400k and up. From a financial standpoint, in our market, live aboard can be a very economical alternative to an expensive waterfront condo. SF is a similar market, the marinas are surprisingly not as expensive as you would think.

    When I run the final calculations though, my biggest expense is actually slip fees at $6200 per year.

    For the same $2300 per month that this guy is shelling out for a room, you can get, in my area, a slip, make a payment on a $100,000 ~40 foot boat, plus cover your maintenance and fuel, buy a kayak, a little runabout, and be ON the water. I don't think that's such a bad tradeoff.
  14. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    Sorry about that, I didn't clarify properly older boater...I likened the Prevost to a 45 foot boat. And no....Coaches don't have water makers, and it only has one Detroit diesel (515 hp) and one genset. It wasn't my intention to attack any poster here. But for the novice boater who hasn't a clue as to on board systems, the Prevost has similar parallels to an Ocean going vessel, at least it's an opportunity to get acquainted with holding tanks, power systems, generator, inverters, AC systems married to DC systems,and basic power management, and living in somewhat confined spaces. I'm sure my post had something to do with in addition to thinking out of the box, being the victim of several Vodka and waters!

    Think back to when you were first exposed to systems I just mentioned. Just looking at a breaker panel was mind boggling (at least it was to me). I was just trying to produce a vehicle that would help to flatten out the learning curve for the clueless population who is considering living aboard full time. If I offended anyone, I apologize.

    I'm fortunate to be able to write off things like depreciation, portions of fuel and other items, as I will open my house to business associates for the purpose of entertainment. The boat I'm building is a first for me, and I'm experiencing mild panic attacks along the way. Having owned several larger boats, I'm fairly certain that I know what I want on the boat as far as systems are concerned. My biggest concern right now is the interior layout. I know that sounds trivial, but both of us have been aboard boats who's interior just didn't work. There are things I really want to do...but my Agent is always sitting on my shoulder repeating the words.."It's all about resale" He ignores my contention that I'll probably die aboard this boat....I certainly will not be trading up! And it was my intention to build an 85 with a 10 foot cockpit, but it was mentioned that they had a 105 mold with a 24 foot beam...which sold me on the bigger boat. I have to admit to being claustrophobic and a bit envious of people who can live aboard a 50 footer and be completely happy.(I wish I was one of those people) Anyway, once construction starts, it's my intention to start a website to share the joys and headaches of building a boat from the keel up.
  15. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Understood. Just didn't want anyone to think for a moment that a Motor Coach was nearly as complex as a Motor Yacht.

    Good luck on your build. We figured out early in the process a fully custom build wasn't for us. We've also never built a house.
  16. Dsybok

    Dsybok New Member

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    If you sunk the motor coach in corrosive saltwater 24/7 it might be as complex as a motor yacht.
  17. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    I had forgotten about this thread, but just for the OP, I met a couple who lived aboard a 40 something Californian which had an aft stateroom, with a spacious aft deck above that, and three step up was a flybridge. All in all a very spacious live aboard boat. I don't know about the quality of the boat.. but was very impressed with the layout. I will do some research to see if any are on the market. I'd also take a look at a Viking cockpit MY...not sure if they are in your price range....but a nice live aboard nevertheless.

    Found one:
    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/198...29/Jacksonville/FL/United-States#.U_2AHGMXN2Q

    Here's another nice one...this one had new Cats installed in 1999. It's a 52' but seems well kept.

    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/199...2685078/Wabasha/MN/United-States#.U_2Bq2MXN2Q

    Hard to beat for 159k

    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/199.../Marina-del-Rey/CA/United-States#.U_2DNGMXN2Q