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Planning a liveaboard boat in the future

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Jeff in SoCal, Oct 11, 2020.

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  1. Jeff in SoCal

    Jeff in SoCal New Member

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    Hey everyone.

    I have always loved the water and had this fantasy about the liveaboard life, but only recently have I really crunched the numbers and started to think it’s possible. I am still a ways away from taking the plunge and there are obviously a million steps in between now and then, but I wanted to find a good online community to help guide me.

    I am a 50 year old man and soon to be divorced. My youngest child is going off to college next year. I live in Orange County.

    What I’d really like to do, within 2-4 years, is get a 35-45 foot power yacht and live in a marina, here in the LA area. I am not rich, but it seems like if the boat is also my residence, it becomes affordable. A one-bedroom apartment where I live is $1800-2400 a month.

    I think the liveaboard slips are pretty hard to come by in LA, so that may be the biggest obstacle.

    I have been browsing around all sorts of web sites and I really like the Carver models, so something like that is what I had in mind. I don’t want to travel the globe in it, but I would like to take it out and cruise around up and down the California coast.

    I understand maintenance is a huge expense and the more you can do yourself, the more affordable it is. I am not super handy, but I did repair my washing machine and I’ve replaced the hardware in a few toilets. In any case, I would like the newest, most trouble-free boat I can afford. (In my browsing I’ve mostly focused on boats under $200,000.)

    Anyway, I will save the specific questions for later, but for now I am interested in hearing from any other liveaboard folks about how you got started?
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Welcome to YF Jeff.
    I once looked at a 26' with thoughts that I could live aboard her. After working in this industry for awhile boats shrank and I realized I couldn't live on less than about 70'. Since I'd never afford one my money went to a home on land that increased in value instead of depreciating and sucking the money from my wallet. That said you've got a good eye. Carvers aren't the best boat around, but they're ok and use space very wisely. They're also pretty easy to maintain and work on. First piece of advice is that if you're thinking 35'-45' forget 35 and look at the 45's or else 3 years later you'll be paying another broker's commission when you move up.
    Since you don't seem to have much boating experience and expense seems to be your motivation let me suggest you also check into "land yachts" (motorhomes). More versatile, cheaper to maintain and operate and easier to find a place to keep it.
    Good luck and come back with any questions.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I ve been living aboard for 20 Years and love it but I moved on a boat because I was a boater. So... I was already pretty much paying the expenses of a boat anyway... I saved money living aboard my 53

    and a 35/40 footer is not living aboard but camping aboard.

    If you think living aboard will save you money compared to ownership or renting you re doing it for the wrong reasons. You won’t save anything.

    By the time you add dockage, insurance, maintenance and most importantly the depreciation of the boat, chances are a $2000 rent will seem like a bargain. Do the math very carefully.
  4. Jeff in SoCal

    Jeff in SoCal New Member

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    I wasn’t thinking it would be cheaper to live on a boat, but if the expense turns out to be similar I could swing it.

    And I know I can’t afford a boat and a house, but I could afford one or the other.
  5. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Not to fill a dark cloud and rain on you;
    We have been living on a 58 footer for 17 years now.
    I may have 2 dimes to rub together, somewhere.
    Done some good cruising. It is cramp.
    At no time was any of this a smart investment.
    Lots of fun and thank goodness, the wife and I do a lot of our own maintenance (on a budget).

    If I put the same funds into a large fancy house, It would be paid for by now and a great investment.
    We would be lucky to get 1/2 cent for every buck we spent on this boat in 17 years.

    A house 100% + and talking to Tom Selick now days.

    When you consider a boat or a house, the smarter turn would be the house.

    Now, We are not to smart. It's been nice but hind sight sux.
    I should have kept a smaller house and got a smaller and faster boat.
    Next time 'round maybe.
  6. Jeff in SoCal

    Jeff in SoCal New Member

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    You guys are ruining this on my first day!

    To be clear, I am not looking at this as an investment or a way to save money. Just something I think would be a fun lifestyle at a "comparable" cost to my alternatives. That's all.

    As for the issue of the size, that is something I really don't know. I've watched a bunch of videos of 40-45 foot boats and "feel like" I could live on one, just me and maybe a significant other I may meet somewhere down the line. But I haven't really been on a boat of that size to know if that's realistic.

    If I'd need a 50-70 footer to really live, then it becomes unrealistic financially.
  7. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    That pool is somewhat limited.......
  8. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    And shallow.
  9. Jeff in SoCal

    Jeff in SoCal New Member

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    By the way, I am probably at least 14 months from having the kid off to college, the divorce finalized and the current house sold, so that is sort of the starting line for this project.

    I can do lots of thinking and dreaming until then.
  10. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Dreaming is cheap.
    Collage is not.
    Move in with your daughter. Tell her it's payback time.
    This will give you the feel of the spacious of living aboard.
    Remember, only 2 feet between boats in a marina, that allows live-a-boards.
    Ah, in line at the marina showers, restrooms and laundry machines.

    Yes, were raining on your first day. Don't feel pregnant.
    Lots of folk dream of living on a boat. We did.
    It has moments of great fun.
    While dreaming, insert more reality when you can.
  11. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

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    You got the wrong boat.
  12. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    What standard of living do you require? I’ve lived on my boat but when I did it I knew it was only temporary for a specific time. I didn’t need a live aboard slip I just happened to be on my boat a lot. Easy.

    45’ sport fisher it was very comfortable but I was by myself. I can’t imagine being with a significant other on anything under 50’ at a minimum.

    Do you work from home or commute? You mentioned Orange County CA where a live aboard slip will be almost impossible. San Diego better odds. Oxnard -Ventura even better odds.

    Laundry will likely be a PITA. Groceries too. Depends on slip location and parking.

    CA coastal marine layer, salt air, wet nights your car will always be dirty. I hated that part.

    I know people in your situation who’ve done it. Some love it. You may love it. If not you can always get back on the beach.
  13. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Look on Air B+B and VRBO, and I've seen several boats offered as rental hotel rooms.......rent one.... and try it and the different sizes, then say can I do this all of the time....... I think it's easily do-able, but I find it to be a pain in the rear......carting groceries, laundry etc. 1/2 a mile from your car, alarms or weird noises at night, low water pressure, small heads (bathrooms), small toilets, lots of steps.......rain is noisy.......smells

    Here are a couple boats in San diego
    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/457010..._impression_id=p3_1602471383_ShhTQwRHPeINfZVN

    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/348700..._impression_id=p3_1602471431_coR/tb5j134zxjSh
  14. RER

    RER Senior Member

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    One more thing if you ever do it you really should consider keeping a land based address. A parent, or sibling, if they are close by or if you own a brick & mortar business ...someplace for drivers license, vehicle and voter registration, but also for lenders/banks, and insurance companies, any entities that have a financial interest in you. They hate people who don’t have a bonafide residence.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
  15. Jeff in SoCal

    Jeff in SoCal New Member

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    You guys have totally ruined my dream on the first day. :p

    I think the lack of liveaboard slips in LA probably made the whole thing a nonstarter to begin with. I guess if I lived somewhere cheaper, I could probably do the boat and still maintain a land residence.

    I really wanted to have some kind of boat and I just figured if I couldn't afford the boat+house that maybe I could combine them.

    But maybe what I ought to just do is get much smaller boat, without living accomodations, and see if I can swing that. I definitely could afford the boat, so it would just be finding a reasonable marina.

    Back to google....
  16. Jeff in SoCal

    Jeff in SoCal New Member

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    Maybe like a Sea Ray Weekender.

    I'd like to be able to go out in the ocean for the day, maybe bring 3-4 friends and have lunch. Have some shade. Can boats that small make it like 100 miles if I wanted to go from LA to SD? Or up to Santa Barbara? Or would that take forever and I'd run out of gas?

    Have I left the jurisdiction of this board if I'm below yacht level now?
  17. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Pascal said something important earlier, that it works for him because he's a boater. You're not. You may find boating romantic, but you're not a boater. Buying a boat isn't the way to work through a midlife crisis. Sorry to rain on your parade. Fine to dream but don't make a major decision to buy a boat to live on within one year after the divorce. Think about it, explore, evaluate, but wait to do anything that major.
  18. Jeff in SoCal

    Jeff in SoCal New Member

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    That’s what I’m doing.

    Like I said, all of this is at least a year away. I figure to do a lot of thinking, research, talking to boaters, classes, etc. between now and then.
  19. Brian G

    Brian G Member

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    Here's a thought, Jeff. Have you considered a houseboat? Find one for sale on a lake in your area and take a look. It's a bit safer than ocean boating and easier to learn, IMO. You will also find them to be more affordable, in general, with a lot more room. You just can't go cruising long distances. I had one for 8 years and used it mostly for motoring out to a cove on the weekends and tying up with friends. It was also a great place for my kids and their friends to have some enjoyable times. Might be worth considering.
  20. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Let me tell you; This is important.
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