Living On A Boat All Year Round: Is It Possible?

Like many children raised on the dry plains of West Texas, I have always been fascinated by water, from rivers and lakes to mother of all, the ocean. My attraction to the sea was fuelled by television shows and novels from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s featuring characters with houses on the water.

There was Sonny Crockett of “Miami Vice“, the ultra-modern police detective who lived on an Endeavor 42 sailboat, and Quincy ME, the Los Angeles medical examiner in a series of the same name who lived on a sailboat in Marina Del. Rey. Qualif. John McDonald has written 20 novels about private investigator Travis McGee, who won his barge “Busted Flush” in a game of poker. Across the pond, Scotland Yard detective John Maven lived on a covered barge on the Thames in Donald MacKenzie’s Raven book series.

As these examples illustrate, we often associate living on the water with richness, adventure and freedom. But is this something that you could realistically do full time? Let’s take a closer look at what life in the water involves.

Popular places for water residence

Paul Miles, owner of a narrow boat (i.e. a canal boat), claims in the Financial Times that more than 10,000 people live on boats in London and that more than a quarter of the 33,000 English inland navigation vessels are permanent residences. There are similar boating communities around the world, including an ocean community in Hong Kong where overseas airline pilots live until the end of their contracts.

While there are no reliable statistics on how many people in the United States live on year-round boats, also known as “liveaboards,” the Better Boat blog notes, “there are all of them. kinds of good places to live [in the United States. Aboard a boat “thanks to 95,471 miles of coastline (including Hawaii and Alaska), many rivers and so many lakes, those who prefer salt water to fresh water may consider the following locations.

  • San Diego, California. The weather is hard to beat, never too hot or too cold, and the laws and regulations are good for life on a boat. Although it is illegal to anchor offshore for long periods of time, there are many clean, tidy and safe marinas. Expect to pay a premium for a jetty large enough to accommodate a boat suitable for full-time living. After all, San Diego is one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
  • Corpus Christi, Texas. Those who prefer to live on the Gulf Coast will appreciate this coastal town and its naval roots. Local laws favor boat residency, and the cost of marinas is cheaper than in popular areas on both coasts.
  • The Chesapeake Bay area. There are several marinas in towns around Maryland and Virginia that are generally protected from the elements. Expect to pay $ 5,000 to $ 8,000 per year for a marina and other costs here.
  • Tampa Bay, Florida. While insurance, fees, and access to close proximity to downtown are expensive, this area is one of Florida’s most popular harbors for boaters. The Tampa and St. Petersburg docks offer plenty of dining, shopping, and recreational activities when you’re off the ship.
  • Sausalito, California. Author Shel Silverstein and actor Robin Williams once lived on houseboats in this area across the bay from San Francisco. There are eight marinas in the city with over 1,899 berths. The average stay for a boat residing here is over 10 years, according to a city survey.
  • Seattle, WA. This town served as the backdrop for the houseboat from the movie “Sleepless in Seattle“. Houseboats here cost up to $ 1 million and more, but offer easy access to shops, businesses, and public transportation.
  • Portland, Oregon. There are nearly 1,500 houseboats in the greater Portland area, as well as on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. Several marinas are within walking distance from the center of Oregon’s largest city, which offers cultural services similar to those of a large metropolis in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Those who prefer fresh water can choose moorings on many of the country’s lakes and rivers, including the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Types of floating residences

It can live in water in a variety of different structures, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

1. Yachts (also known as Motorsailers)

The term “yacht” generally refers to boats with a minimum length of 80 feet, propelled by sails or motors and capable of sailing on the high seas. They also recall images of opulence, thanks to extreme examples like Tiger Woods’ Privacy Superyacht, where the pro golfer stayed during the 2018 US Open. This $ 20 million luxury yacht has a master cabin, an eight-person Jacuzzi, a three-person lift people and a home theater system.

Due to their extended capacities, yachts of all sizes are generally more expensive to buy and operate than other boat accommodation. Since most marinas are not equipped to handle extra-long vessels of 100 feet or more, or drafts greater than 8 feet, larger boats must be anchored offshore in mooring bays. and be served by smaller boats and speedboats. .

2. Converted barges, tugs and trawlers

Many residents on the water buy barges, flat-bottomed tugs and older trawlers, sometimes removing the engines for more space before converting them into homes. Although barges are not designed for regular ocean voyages, they can be towed to new marinas and docks as needed. Tugs and trawlers are found both in ports and in coastal seas. Southern Boating details some of the options available in modern tugs and trawlers designed for long-haul cruises or for living on board.

3. Barges

Barges are specially constructed residential boats that are self-propelled and therefore capable of moving on their own. They are often mistaken for barges, which are permanently moored in a marina or aquatic community.

A barge is not designed to be permanently moored and has quick connections to disconnect from electricity, water and sewer lines provided by the marina. Houseboats, especially preferred on lakes and rivers for limited-time vacations, are generally less expensive but less spacious than houseboats.

4. Barges

While other water residences start out as boats, a houseboat is built on a floating foundation of floating material and is permanently moored (except in an emergency). Multi-story houseboats can often be as large as an average-sized house (about 3,000 square feet) and cost up to $ 700 per square foot. Some even have underwater caves with portholes to observe aquatic flora and fauna.

Advantages of the aquatic residence

Jacques Cousteau said that “the sea, once it casts its spell, keeps one in its web of wonders forever.” Joseph Conrad wrote: “The sea has never been friendly with man. When it comes to living in water, opinions are equally divided; the same characteristic that attracts one person may repel another.

Some, like Miles, the owner of a narrow boat, love the experience and claim that those who live on the water are members of a unique tribe of romantic nomads. Others cannot imagine everyday life in the tight spaces of most ships, constantly dealing with leaks and mold, as well as the inconveniences of cold showers and limited privacy.

Those who enjoy living in water cite the following advantages.

1. Freedom

The romanticism of the sea and the lure of evading civic and cultural expectations have captured the human imagination for millennia. From Homer’s “Odyssey” to Mike Fink’s tales, adventurers and rebels have looked to the sea for generations as a place where anything is possible.

“Type. John,” a year-round cruise ship, writes on his blog that living on a ship is “about freedom … Spending your precious time only with those things, people and places that energize and excite your life … De [b] In short, we are all millionaires, but what we share is absolute freedom, fierce independence, love of water and great respect for Mother Nature and for each other. ”

Life on a boat also gives you the freedom to live in many different environments. Bob Calves bought a used Great Lakes tugboat in 1992, remodeled it for everyday living, and has spent over 20 years cruising the East Coast. As PassageMaker reports, he spends most of his summers in Maine, the cold winter months in Georgia and the Carolinas, and the rest of his time in Kilmarnock, Virginia.

2. Simplicity

For many, modern life is about going faster, building bigger, and buying more in a frantic search for meaning. Too often, we don’t look for the pleasure of work, but the things that work allows us to buy. Despite the advice to “stop and smell the roses”, many of us are unable to break the clutches of the powerful marketing cabals that whisper in our ears, “Consume. Use.”

Living on a boat the size of an efficient apartment limits the attractiveness of owning things just for the sake of owning them. Even the most enthusiastic customer recognizes the necessary transition to a simpler life when living in limited space. On his Living-Aboard blog, Mike Miller writes that as a water resident, “you will get rid of all your furniture and most of your books, knick-knacks and art,” as well as ” learn to cook dozens of varieties of food in one pot. “And” keep your wardrobe to a minimum. ”

3. Way of life

Life is more relaxed in the water than on land. Chance is the order of the day for those without a job on land, and clothing is simple, especially in hot ocean climates. Captain John claims to have two pairs of shoes, a dozen T-shirts, two pairs of shorts, two pairs of jeans, a pair of sweaters, a windbreaker, a light jacket and an underwear drawer.

4. Community

Most people who live in barges or barges are part of an aquatic community, many of which are managed by the equivalent of a homeowners association (or HOA). Wild parties are no more frequent than those you might find in a typical upper-class suburban neighborhood. Kim Brown, who lives with her family at a marina in Charleston, SC, told Sailing Britican that “if anyone has a problem, everyone helps them. Everyone is always on the lookout for others. ”

Many cruise ships enjoy being part of a community of people passionate about their lifestyle, including Susan Smillie, a single woman who has lived on a barge on the River Thames in London for over a decade. Among the many things Smillie tells The Guardian he loves about life in the water, it includes “the community of people, the wealth of knowledge and skills exchanged in one place: engineers, lawyers, doctors, photographers, people inspired and invested in their environment. ”

5. Proximity to nature

Smillie talks enthusiastically about his life on the river: “He wakes up to the sound of moorhens and ducks, or giant carp hitting the hull as they jostle each other; it is to see cormorants melting in search of fish, or to see a timid heron, motionless like a statue in the shade. “Those anchored off the west coast can be visited by loud seals, occasional otters, porpoises and a variety of loud seabirds. Fishermen can get up in the morning and have your breakfast before the sun sets. does not rise on the horizon.There is a closeness to nature that you just cannot find in a traditional home.

Proximity to nature also has its drawbacks, but most lifestyle cruises don’t care. Those who moor their ships in areas prone to occasional thunderstorms say they love the sound of raindrops hitting the deck. Others love the feel of the boat gently creaking through the waves while sipping on a hot punch to keep out the cold. Rainy weather is an opportunity to collect rainwater and boost your freshwater supplies (although the use of water purification tablets and filters is recommended to ensure cleanliness and purity). And everyone knows that fishing is always better in the rain.

Sisters Diane Hall and Julie Higgs live in side-by-side barges with attached floating bridges off the shore of Hayden Island in the Columbia River. As she told Portland Monthly, Hall was initially preoccupied with the cold winters, only to find that “every season offers its gifts: the songs of the red and yellow winged robins that stop as they head north. in spring ; glide in a summer kayak early in the morning before work; otters and beavers preparing for winter; low hanging sunlight shines on the water for the shorter days. ”

6. Physical and mental health

Science confirms that humans evolved to be physically active. For example, according to research by psychology professor Gene Alexander and anthropology professor David Raichlen, lack of exercise is genetically linked to Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, our modern sedentary lifestyle means that most Americans rarely have to do physical labor. As a result, we spend billions of dollars each year on gym memberships, fitness classes, and exercise gurus.

A boat residence naturally requires physical effort due to the need for constant cleaning and maintenance. Cruise ships generally walk more than owners on land due to the distance between their berths and trash cans and shopping supplies. Most people with waterfront homes do not own a car, but instead choose to walk, cycle, or rely on public transportation to get around the towns where they dock. Life on a boat requires reaching and stooping to reach objects that are necessarily stored in less accessible spaces, helping them to maintain their flexibility. And most cruise ships swim regularly, often snorkeling as a main course for dinner.

Most on-the-water homeowners appreciate the touch-ups and physical activity required to live in the water, especially since it takes place outdoors. Where else are you likely to attract a herd of young seals or a colony of waterfowl to applaud your efforts?

7. Cost

The cost of living in many major American cities has become prohibitive. A one-bedroom apartment in Seattle, San Francisco or New York costs a minimum of $ 1,750, $ 3,000 and $ 4,000, respectively. As a result, many residents choose to live in boat communities, often close to the heart of the city with easy access to public transportation. Cruise ships enjoy “oceanfront ownership” for a fraction of the cost owners pay on land. Brown says of his family’s sailboat: “Our shore neighbors are paying millions for the same sight as us. ”

Older retirees looking to live on a fixed income, as well as recent college graduates burdened with school debt, are turning to aquatic residences to save money. The Wall Street Journal reports that many people negatively affected by the 2011 recession hopped on their boats to save money, including David Rhoads. After their divorce, the 45-year-old vice president of a paper shredding company moved into a 39-foot yacht. She is currently paying $ 1,500 for monthly ship loan payments and mooring costs, less than half of her previous mortgage payment of $ 4,000.

Sam Train, a naval officer, lives on a 40-foot Catalina cruise ship with his wife and newborn baby. He tells Business Insider that they spend about $ 2,200 a month on the boat mortgage, marina costs, including utilities, and monthly maintenance expenses. In San Diego, where they live, they could spend over $ 2,350 a month on an apartment.

8. Security

In many ways, living in a houseboat community is safer than living in a land-based neighborhood. Strangers on the docks are immediately noticeable, and most marinas and boating communities restrict access to docks and piers. Many cruise ships don’t even bother to secure their cabins, which most traditional owners have not done since the 1950s. According to Brown, “Crime rates are much lower in marinas than in marinas. residential states. People are rarely assaulted, murdered or raped in a marina! ”

That being said, navigating certain parts of the world can be dangerous due to known pirate or drug trafficking activity. Unless you have an extraordinary need for adventure and unwarranted self-confidence, avoid venturing into deemed dangerous waters.

9. Popularity

Many ship residents find entertainment on their ships popular with customers and increasing business. The relaxing environment of being in the water facilitates relationships and builds trust; As Jim Harrison, author of “Legends of the Fall” said, “You cannot be miserable in the middle of a great and beautiful river.”

However, remember that too much alcohol can easily turn a pleasant evening into a tragedy. When entertaining guests in the water, set limits on your consumption and that of your guests to ensure a pleasant outcome for all.

Disadvantages of the aquatic residence

While the advantages are many, there are also drawbacks to life in water that are worth considering.

1. Social stigma

For some, “freedom” means “giving up” or withdrawing from family and friends to pursue selfish goals. Owners living on the land complain that cruise ships are profiteers, using the same municipal services as other residents, but paying less than their fair share of the costs to maintain them.

The conflict extends to the right of owners to protect their view of the ocean. In 2016, the Broward Palm Beach New Times reported a growing brawl between an owner and owners of “Gypsy” boats that docked in the narrow expanse of ocean behind their home. As a result, the Florida legislature has banned anchoring in specific areas, forcing cruise ships to use expensive marinas or overcrowded public anchorages.

Some fear that traveling from one place to another will discourage relationships, turning people into nothing more than “overnight ships,” as Longfellow put it. While Smillie loves living in water, she admits, “I wonder if it’s potentially limiting. There are perceptions of a bohemian lifestyle; I suspect that people imagine a narrow, sturdy existence unlike mine, that I am leaning in the damp and dark, bathing in cool sponge in salty brine. Or that I am constantly on the move, homeless, like an aquatic tramp. What would you do if you met someone who hates water? Or did you get dizzy? It probably wouldn’t work. “Your loved ones may question your sanity or put you in the same class as skiing and snowboarding.

2. Lack of space

Even a large boat cannot be compared to the stowage and storage space of a small house. People taller than six feet need to learn to bend down quickly when moving. While some aquatic communities have onshore storage lockers for residents, these lockers are rarely large enough to store a lot and are always in high demand.

Cruise ships should forget about luxuries like roomy refrigerators, as appliances need to be the right size to fit into a small space. Ship bathrooms, for example, are smaller and more complicated than house bathrooms. Captain John notes that he considers the space requirements of any purchase before the costs; if there’s no room, he said, “then I just can’t buy it.”

3. Lack of privacy

Lack of privacy can be a problem when homes are moored 10 feet apart and open windows are the norm. Residents are aware of their neighbors’ family chats, loud music, and occasional demonstrations of intimate activities. Having a sense of humor is essential when living in a marina or houseboat community. Larger boats are usually moored further away from neighbors, but this insulation is usually much more expensive.

4. Wild animals and insects
Prepare for unexpected encounters with wildlife, especially pest waterfowl, which are apt to steal any unprotected food and leave unwanted deposits on exposed surfaces. Seals and otters are known to climb the floating bridges. Rodents (eg, rats and mice) will move on board unless discouraged, attracting larger creatures (eg, feral cats, raccoons, and stray dogs) to feed on.

Insects like cockroaches, flies, spiders and ants can quickly infest a houseboat or boat unless they are regularly cleaned, disinfected, and treated. This cleaning includes under floors and in nooks and crannies of the boat. Garbage management is essential.

Mosquitoes can be irritating when mooring near shore in some parts of the country, requiring screens on ports and hatches and mosquito nets on beds and decks. It is convenient to have a DEET vaporizer on board.

5. Bad weather

Bad weather affects water residents more than those who live on land. Moderate winds and tides can shake boats and barges, causing objects that are not attached to the ground to crash and carry items left unattended on decks. Watching the weather is crucial whether you are sailing, at anchor, or moored in a marina, and “closing the hatches” is key, as a storm can sink ships or cause them to run aground.

Winter can be particularly harsh, with frozen water lines, insufficient fuel to run heaters, and the danger of hitting piers and icy slides to shop for groceries. Some who live on their boats year round in cold climates wrap their boats to protect them and keep them warm. A better solution, if possible, is to navigate to warmer climates during the winter.

Lightning and hurricanes are dangerous for anyone in the water. For those who dock close to shore, experts recommend leaving your boat ashore until the danger passes. Every boat and barge should have a well-designed lightning protection system, the equivalent of a floating “Faraday’s cage”.

If you are faced with an oncoming hurricane, you may not have time to get your boat out of harm’s way. SAIL Magazine offers great tips to save you and your ship from a tropical storm. No matter what steps you take to protect your property, keeping it safe should always be the top priority.

For those who can spend $ 1 million or more on a residence, a Miami New Times reports that startup Arkup offers a 4,350-square-foot, four-bedroom houseboat that includes a 272-horsepower engine, solar panels, and hydraulic feet. retractable. (or “Arcas”) which elevate the structure 40 feet above the water. These chests are designed to withstand Category 4 hurricane force winds.

6. Maintenance

The required maintenance deters most people who plan to live in the water. Constant humidity and leaks promote mold and rust. Almost everything in the water seems to rust unless you are more careful. Corroded hose clamps on connected lines can leak, sink your boat, and require the ubiquitous bilge pump. Rusted electrical terminals can sparks and ignite the boat.

Maintenance and repair costs are unpredictable but unavoidable due to the complexity of a boat’s different systems, as well as the harsh conditions of exposure to sun and salt water. In addition to repairs in case of breakage, boat owners should perform regular maintenance. Kim Kaslick, who lives on a 40ft trawler based in Florida, explains that this interview may include:

  • Take out the pot every three years to paint the bottom (around $ 3000)
  • Routine work on the engine and generator (for example, changing oil, oil filters, belts and transmission fluid)
    Varnishing of wooden railings and other upper woods once a year to protect them.
  • Hire a diver once a month to clean your boat barnacles if you live in salt water ($ 50 to $ 80 per month)
  • Tarp and fishtail repair (transparent vinyl windows on a boat)
  • Rinsing the AC line with muriatic acid
  • New commissioning of water tanks
  • Cleaning the salt water filters in the boat’s air conditioning system
  • Replacing the impeller (the small rubber vanes of a water pump that suck water from the lake or ocean to cool the engine)

Kaslick notes that most boat owners learn to do most of this maintenance themselves to avoid the added expense of hiring help. The ability to make necessary repairs is also essential, as there is always the possibility of breakdowns during navigation.

7. Inconvenience

You will no longer need to mow when you are on a cruise ship, but you will need to take frequent walks along the docks between your boat dock and the garbage cans and grocery stores ashore. If you have a car, the walk to the parking lot is usually long.

Owning a boat, a small boat that can be used to move people and small loads of goods, is necessary for cruise ships, barges, and barges because moving the larger boat is cumbersome, expensive, and impractical for small trips around a marina or to the shore. Boats should be moored when not in use, as small waves can move a light, loose boat to remote locations and require extensive research to recover.

8. Liability of the guest

For most cruise ships, the dangers in the water are similar to those faced by a pool owner. Many aquatic residents require that children and pets wear life jackets on the deck and be strapped in while the boat is in motion. It is good practice to prohibit swimming while the engine is running to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and propeller accidents. As with any home, you will need to purchase insurance to protect yourself.

Having a complete medical kit on board is a matter of course, as is knowing the basics of first aid and CPR. People drown every day, so generously place a guide rope, handrail, and handrail around the exterior of your houseboat to prevent accidental slips and falls. Keep flotation devices and rescue hooks visible and easily accessible.

Considerations before going in the water

If you are considering becoming a full-time aquatic resident, ask yourself the following questions to determine if this is the best option for you.

1. How will you use a floating residence?

Long term leases for boat and barge owners are impractical due to the need for ongoing maintenance; Lack of proper care can quickly turn into expensive checks and repairs. Therefore, your best option is to purchase the boat or barge that you intend to occupy.

Before purchasing a place to live, future cruise passengers must decide how they plan to use their craft. Those who plan to sail (i.e. move regularly from one place to another) need a vessel that can run on internal power, such as a yacht or a trawler. Those who intend to stay in one place permanently can choose between barges, barges and barges.

While there are wide variations in cost, a self-propelled vessel, such as a yacht, trawler, or tugboat, generally costs more than a barge or barge with the same living space.

2. How much space do you need?

Most cruises are for singles, couples, or small families. While the extra space is valuable, it comes at an additional cost and can affect the handling of your boat.

Experts recommend that any boat intended for open water navigation should be maneuverable by one person, as there is no guarantee that there will always be two parts available. According to BoatSafe, your ability to “handle a boat with one handle” depends on “the design and layout of the boat and [your] physical condition, strength, experience, nautical cunning and determination”.

Sailboats are generally more difficult to maneuver than motorboats, while anchoring or mooring is exponentially all the more difficult the larger the vessel. Mark Nicholas, a cruise ship in Southern California, says a minimum length of 33 feet is needed for basic needs, while Captain John recommends a maximum length of 50 feet for a single person to handle in completely safe.

Houseboats are generally not limited to berth size, as the extra space is vertical (i.e. more levels) rather than horizontal. In such cases, the pocket is often the deciding factor.

3. What is your budget?

Boats and barges are available new or used. The Zillow real estate website lists houseboats on inland lakes, rivers and both coasts for under $ 100,000 to over $ 1 million. A new boat is generally more expensive per linear foot than a used boat, but allows for customization and comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.

The condition of a used boat depends on previous wear and tear and the diligence of the previous owner in maintenance. Used boats, like other personal goods, sell for less than new boats, but they can be quite useful. Always have a land surveyor examine the condition and value of a used boat or barge before purchasing it. This reconnaissance must include an underwater inspection of the hull and flotation devices.

When buying a used boat, keep in mind that there will likely be additional costs to make the structure liveable and comfortable. Yacht broker Jack Kelly recommends that a new buyer spend no more than 60% of their buying budget on a used boat, reserving the rest for necessary repairs, any necessary custom equipment, and unforeseen costs. Those purchasing barges or barges should also consider the cost of towing the structure to its permanent berth.

Motor vehicles are considered personal property and are subject to sales tax. Boat loans (including barges) are similar to short and medium term auto loans. Houseboats are considered real property and, as such, are financed by mortgages and are subject to property taxes.

When looking for financing for any type of vessel, look for a lender who is familiar with the asset you are purchasing. Expect to make a 20-30% down payment and pay 2-3% more than the mortgage interest rate on land of the same duration. FHA and VA funding is not available for barges as they do not have the permanent foundation required by law.

4. Can you afford the current costs?

The cost of living aboard a floating structure depends on the lifestyle you choose, the amenities you require, as well as your ability and desire to perform regular maintenance. In 2015, Houseboat Magazine featured four couples and a single man living on barges across the country whose living expenses ranged from $ 25,000 to $ 100,000 per year.

When preparing to move from a lot to a residence on the water, consider the following monthly expenses:

  • Assurance. Whether you live on a boat or a barge, your lender will likely need insurance protection for potential loss and liability claims. There are many options for boat insurance from various companies, but Red Shield Insurance Company is the leading source of floating home insurance in the United States. According to OregonLive, floating home insurance is “slightly higher than for land-based homes.”
  • Anchorage and mooring rates. Expect to pay anchoring and mooring fees if you are sailing to popular spots. Mooring fees often include water taxi service, free pumping of storage tanks, boat storage, and access to toilets and laundry facilities. They are usually around half the cost of a slip in a marina.
  • Slip rate. Marinas charge lodging fees on a daily, weekly, monthly or long-term basis. Slip rates vary depending on berth size, services offered and location. For example, rental rates for slides on the Columbia River in Oregon ranged from $ 255 to $ 1,250 per month, according to a recent study. Cruise ships may be charged additional fees as they typically use more facilities than those who use their ships occasionally. Some marinas include utilities in their rates; for others, you must arrange for these services. Some marinas allow boat owners to purchase their cards instead of renting them.
  • HOA fees. Most houseboats are moored together around a wharf in an organized community, often run by a homeowners association (HOA) that collects fees from residents to cover common expenses such as utilities and general housekeeping. mooring. Private docks charge residents a mooring fee similar to a private marina. Collateral can be held or rented. Expect to pay between $ 200 and $ 600 per month for HOA rates or between $ 550 and $ 750 for monthly mooring fees.
  • Utilities. The barges are attached to the quay with adjustable mooring arms and permanently connected to utilities, much like a house on land. These services include cable and Internet, electricity, gas, water and sanitation. The lines are usually located under the docks that line the ramp and have separate meters. Ships rely on internal power for utilities, with toilet systems similar to those in a motorhome. When moored to a quay, temporary pipes and quick connections provide electricity, fresh water and the ability to pump sewage from the ship’s tanks.
  • Maintenance. Ongoing maintenance, including an annual underside inspection, can cost between $ 1,000 and $ 5,000 per year, depending on the condition of the boat and the owner’s ability and willingness to do the job.

Look before you jump

Before diving deep into the full-time Aquatic Residence, consider chartering or renting a boat for a trial period.

Boatsetter is the Airbnb equivalent for boats. The world’s largest peer-to-peer yacht charter company, it offers more than 5,000 cruises, yachts, barges and sailboats at 2,300 locations across the United States for full and half-day rentals.

Internationally, Click & Boat announces that it has around 8,000 sailboats, motorboats and barges in 100 ports around the Mediterranean Sea. You can rent boats with or without captain or crew for European river and deep sea cruises. The company has also launched a yacht charter service for Croatia, one of the most popular sailing regions in the world.

You can also get a glimpse into the reality of life on the water by checking out the accounts of other cruises online. The Tula’s Endless Summer website features over 100 YouTube films that depict the daily lives of two young adults living, working, and traveling on a boat. Another group of recent college graduates, who have lived year round on a Juneau, Alaska-based sailboat since 2015, provide a video description of their life on YouTube to Venture Lives.

Last word

People who spend their lives in the water will be the first to realise that the experience is not for everyone. While technology has eliminated some of the negatives of confined spaces, living on the water still requires a minimalist perspective. Some people cannot physically adapt to the occasional wave movement, and many do not like the lack of privacy that life on a boat and in a marina brings. That said, if you have the right mindset and the right personality, there is nothing more liberating and exciting than living on the water full time.

Are you drawn to life in the water? Have you thought of a houseboat as a way to save money?

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