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Living on a Yacht?

Discussion in 'Popular Yacht Topics' started by DragonRyu, May 11, 2006.

  1. DragonRyu

    DragonRyu New Member

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    I'm new to this and actually never thought about it... but I got the idea of buying a yacht, instead of buying a house (and having to deal with the hassle of mowing lawns, patios, pests and noisy neighbours). Now, I would like to know if it is a good, bad idea, or is it going to be more expensive/cheaper, or anything else. I know it would be more exciting, since I like moving around and visiting new places. If there is anybody who currently lives in his/her yacht, please let me know how it's been for you, and if it was worth it or not, and what recommendations you might have (yacht size, number of floors, engine/fuel type).

    Thank you.
  2. sailronin

    sailronin Senior Member

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    If you are talking "yacht" it is MUCH more expensive than a house, upkeep is multiple times what a house is and dock rent is expensive. Many people don't realize that you can't just stop and set up "housekeeping" anywhere you please (see the post When is an anchorage not...).

    Living aboard a "boat" can be fairly inexpensive, although it is not free by any means.

    Good luck

    Dave
  3. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Few people can offer greater wisdom than Sailronin on this subject, but you’ve raised a question that more people are beginning to ask. With the price of waterfront property exceeding the cost of many yachts, the live-aboard concept is becoming an option that more people are beginning to consider.

    Much of this decision rests on your priorities (and abilities)…

    Yachting is a unique lifestyle. It may cost more than conventional housing, but there are many aspects that are beyond compare. You have the option of tossing lines and going in search of a new view! In that course, you also have the opportunity to meet some very interesting people, most of which share your passion… a love for boats and being on the water. For some of us, the latter is a form of therapy.

    Whether you live on water, or live on land, both require maintenance. Personally, I would rather polish, paint & varnish… then spend my weekends cutting, clipping & weeding. I also like the option of taking my home with me while I explore new vistas… not to mention the serenity that comes with being on the water.

    For a lot of people that have been tied to work, family and commitments for most of their lives, a yacht offers something of growing importance… freedom. The ability to leave it all behind, minimize the baggage and fulfill a dream. About the only thing you leave behind is the convenience of a garage.

    I think owning a yacht, or more specifically, living aboard… is becoming a more viable alternative. When you do a cost comparison between home ownership and a live-aboard, the numbers are beginning to narrow.

    For example, let’s compare a $1 million yacht to a home of equivalent value. If you are not in the position to pay cash, the purchase of either will require a substantial down payment. This is where one of the most noticeable differences will occur. A home mortgage can be obtained for 30 years, whereas a typical boat loan is only up to 20 years, which means a higher payment although both loans are available at similar interest rates. (Finance gurus; please correct me if I’m wrong on this). If we set aside the monthly payments, then we are left with taxes & insurance for the home… or dock rent and insurance for the boat. For the moment, let’s exclude maintenance.

    In Florida, property taxes are equal to approx. 2 percent of the assessed value. On a $1 million dollar home, that works out to $20,000 a year, or $1666 a month. With a boat, you don’t have yearly taxes… you have dock rent. Around most parts of the country, with the exception of the larger, upscale marinas, this amount is sufficient to cover a slip. In essence, you could say dock rent and property taxes are about equal and both represent money that we are throwing away.

    Next… insurance! In Florida, we have these waterborne tornadoes of magnanimous proportions that have been stopping by to visit more frequently. The cost to insure a home has been relatively affordable for the past, oh… 100 years. THIS… has all changed over the past 2 years. If you can even find/get insurance for a home in Florida, it will easily be equal to the policy for a yacht of the same value. Roughly speaking, I would consider the insurance equation a wash too. Boat or house… about the same.

    What remains is… maintenance. This is a HUGE variable, but one thing remains constant… boats must be maintained and it’s usually more expensive than a house. Without going into a long dissertation, a newer boat will cost less to maintain than an older boat, but of course the newer boat will cost more upfront.

    A standard, industry measure projects a boat will cost you 10-20% of its value to maintain on a yearly basis. This number usually includes the items listed above, in addition to a crew. If you purchase a yacht of reasonable means and size, this number can be greatly reduced by minimizing crew and performing much of the maintenance yourself. I can tell you the cost of maintaining our own boat is far less than the rule-of-thumb above. I would put the number at less than 5%. If you compare this to a house, it is probably higher. But this also has a lot to do with the condition of the house and your addiction to Home Depot. ;)

    I’m drawing simple analogies and using very rough figures, but living aboard a boat can be a reasonable alternative. Like a said earlier, it’s a matter of priorities.
  4. davidwb

    davidwb Senior Member

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    Eh, Yachtforums, aren't you forgetting Depreciation? That million dollar house will perhaps be worth more in say 10 years from now. In 2016 the million dollar boat will worth what, 200 grand?
    You do the math ;)
  5. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Hi David and welcome,

    You've raised a good point. However... because real estate is over-inflated and prices are falling (especially around our area), there has never been a better time to exercise the live-aboard option.

    It's hard to say where prices will be in 10 years, but I would have to agree with you... it's likely they'll be higher. However, for the next few years... I wouldn't count on homes appreciating.

    In contrast, if you buy a boat right, you can sometimes break even when you sell it. Over the past couple of years, a number of megayachts have sold to secondary buyers for more than the original price when delivered. But truthfully... that's a richer man's blessing.

    I certainly can't disagree with you... homes have a proven track record, where as boats are considered a depreciating asset.
  6. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    This is almost true, but I think the house itself and a yacht can compare in costs and value. The long term difference is the land, and the location.
  7. davidwb

    davidwb Senior Member

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    One of your wise countrymen once said that "If it floats, flies or f***s, RENT IT!"
    I'm afraid he was right.
  8. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Yes, this will take care of all your problems. And all of your money!:D
  9. C4ENG

    C4ENG Senior Member

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    You also have to remember that there will be times that the vessel will have to go to the yard for repair. Some of the repairs that might be needed may have the vessel in a unlivable situation for a while (example; you can't use the sinks or drains becuase you are repairing the tanks, or the A/C might be down for repair and or maintenance). Does not mean you can't still sleep on the boat but it certainly would not be as comfortable and not to mention how dirty it can be having to do that yard time. A second home away from home is much more realistic on a yacht.
  10. The first thing to investigate is your financing for a boat. Many marine lenders will not lend to a livaboard, so you will need to find a lender before you can even look at boats.
    Plus if you are pre-approved, you will be in a much stronger position to negotiate when you do find the right boat.
    Yachting has never been a good way to save money!
    Tucker Fallon Yacht Broker Fort Lauderdale
  11. sailronin

    sailronin Senior Member

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    "How do you make a small fortune in yachting?"










    Start with a large one
  12. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    ..... :D
  13. x_shadow666_x

    x_shadow666_x New Member

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    well first of all u need sm1 to work and ''drive'' the boat n fix the machines n stuff, thats very importnat
    secondly u must be able to pay a place in a harbor
    and then it becomes like a home
  14. reidsatsea

    reidsatsea New Member

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    Running costs

    I see no one has been active on this thread for a while, but I thought I'd add my piece....

    I think it more accurate to work on 10-20% of the REPLACEMENT value of the vessel per year in terms of running costs, as opposed to the current value or purchase price.
    This "formula" has proven to be fairly accurate for us - and we've run boats of varius sizes and types.

    At the end of the day tho, you can't beat yachting for it's way of life.
  15. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    DragonRyu:

    Over the years, there have been quite a few editors of magazines covering our favorite sport, and one or or two have tried the liveaboard experiment.
    I forget which one, but he did a stint aboard a 42 or 46 Grand Banks up in Conne cticut and wrote of his winter experience in a marina there.
    In short, it seemed pretty cool compared to a 'normal' ho-hum life ashore.

    Forget all the 'practical' reasons as to why you might consider this or not---
    take the chance and learn something about your persona.
    Too weird? OK, Maybe you ought to take up more lanlubber-ish concerns.

    On the other hand, you might discover something adventureous in yourself.
  16. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    During the 90:s I was living on a motor yacht on the French Riviera. Slept onboard every single night for five consecutive years. Most of the time on an 85´Moonen and later on an Italian GRP 66´.

    Mainly good experiences although quite a lot of work to keep up the maintenance, probably a half time job if you are alone. The best is that you have all you need in a small place that you can take anywhere.

    Worse are that harbour fees are going up with demand and making it very expensive for bigger yachts.

    But the last two weeks I have spent on a small 33´motor sailer and found that she can offer a pretty good home as well. At least in warm waters...

    Attached Files:

  17. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Welcome back Lars!!! Glad to see you have returned home safely and aquired a token of your travels. That's a sweet little motor slooper. Care to share more about her?
  18. Kevin

    Kevin YF Moderator

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    I envy you Lars! :)
  19. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Thanks guys!

    It was a nice trip in the midnight sun from northern Sweden to Stockholm. Today I flew back there in 50 minutes, picked up my car and was back after seven hours (650 km:s) as compared to the two weeks cruising down the coast!

    She is an old Lady from 1974, 10 x 3.2 m, Colin Archer style built by Fjord in Norway. Has a Perkins 54 hp of which I need about twenty to reach 6 knots.

    The rest I´ll save for a report later this season...:)

    Attached Files:

  20. Loren Schweizer

    Loren Schweizer YF Associate Writer

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    Lars, that is a pretty little boat. 1974? The refit (assuming you didn't find her in a barn somewhere in like-new condition) looks great from the photos.

    I know more people in this business, who are associated with large yachts, and who yet choose to "mess about in small boats", as the saying goes, on their own time.

    As Lars points out, big boats are a lot of work and, maybe, just maybe, are not quite the fun that small boats offer.

    Don Patton, our local legend surveyor who regularly heads across the pond to inspect quite large new builds in some rather important yards, can be seen on occasion rowing his tiny skiff to breakfast at the yacht club down from where he lives.