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Anyone lived on a houseboat?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by malleable, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. malleable

    malleable

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    I've always dreamed of living on a boat but don't really know what the actual experience would be like., costs, maintenance, etc. Please school me, all experiences & tips appreciated.
     
  2. schild

    schild

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    I lived on a 40' houseboat for a year in the late '70's, my son was conceived on it. It was a cheap way to live back then, but with current regulations I bet it's no longer cheap and probably not easy to find dock space that allows live aboard.

    After a year living on the boat and having a pregnant wife I was lucky to sell the boat for the $5000 that I paid for it, idiots that bought it sank it 6 months later.

    We were docked at a private secluded dock on the back bay at Ft. Myers Beach.
     

  3. FL Airedale

    FL Airedale Dog Breath

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    Oh... I guess you didn't mean live on an 800 foot ship. :whistling:
     
  4. mrdinks

    mrdinks

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    I owned a houseboat for 5 years, did not live on it but spent a lot of time there. keep in mind they are not cheap and dock rent is not either. It a luxury so the price of everything goes up.
    It is fun so if you have deep pockets go for it :cool:
     
  5. MtBaldy

    MtBaldy Obie Wan, RIP

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    I've lived on a boat before. Some questions that come to mind for you are:

    Why do you want to do this?
    Are you trying to save money?
    Are you still going to have some place on shore to store stuff?
    Do you know anything about boats?
    Do you have a car?
    Can you move the boat if weather, accident, or the marina staff require you to?
    Are you ok with walking some, maybe a long, distance to use the bathroom and/or shower?
    Were you going to buy a boat or try to rent?

    Answer these and I'll talk some more about living on a boat.
     
  6. MtBaldy

    MtBaldy Obie Wan, RIP

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  7. malleable

    malleable

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    .....
     
  8. MtBaldy

    MtBaldy Obie Wan, RIP

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    Ok, I love boats and have been on them since I was a child. My parents took me sailing (in my playpen) on Augusta's Clark Hill Reservoir before I could walk. I learned to sail when I was about 8 and was let loose with my younger brother on the Wilmington and Tybee rivers in a 13' Boston Whaler when I was 12. My father, mother, and I lived on a 60' house cruiser for a year when I was 20 years old. I also was a licensed Captain (with a 50 ton Ocean Operators License) in the 1980s. I'm without a boat now but thinking of fixing that since I plan to stay in FL.

    1) Fair enough. I like the lifestyle and recommend it to others but it's not for every one. Biggest difference is boats sink and houses don't. Boats drift off too if not secured to something. This means you have to constantly check the lines and pumps and bilge. It's not like cutting the lawn. Your neighbors might get annoyed if you don't cut the lawn. You can die if you neglect the boat. They also move all the time, sometimes a little sometimes a lot. I sleep better on a boat than almost anywhere else.

    2) That's good. Boats rarely appreciate and they require constant maintenance. A figure you used to see was 10% of the purchase price annually. One I saw recently that makes more sense is 10% of the boats actual value annually. Some maintanance can be skrimped on or skipped but you will pay for it eventually either through loss at time of sale or loss of the boat in some cases. You're going to have to pay for docking and in some places metered water and electricity. It's a cliche but a boat really is "a hole in the water one throws money into".

    3) Again that's good. Even big boats are small compared to a house. To live on a boat you either get rid of a lot of stuff or pay for onshore storage.

    4) You need to learn. Even if you are going to rent and never plan to leave the dock you should at a minimum take a USCG Power Squadron Safe Boating course. You know like in case you go to bed one night at the dock and wake up in the middle of a sound? Don't laugh, it's happened.

    5) Your boat (unless you spend millions) is not going to come with a garage or even a carport. If your boat is at a marina your car will be in a public parking lot maybe hundreds of yards away from your boat. Aside from the pain of carrying everything you buy from your car to your boat odds are very good you will not be able to watch the car from the boat.

    6) I wasn't even considering a trailerable vehicle, most of them are far too small to live on. I meant if the marina wants to move you to a different slip to accomodate a larger yacht, or make repairs on your dock, or if there's a fire, or an approaching hurricane, etc. You need to be able to drive the boat safely and competently even if you rent and never plan to move it.

    7) EPA regulations, and common courtesy, will not let you discharge human waste overboard. Most liveaboard size boats have holding tanks and waste treatment systems with finite capacities. Eventually they need to be pumped out and you probably won't have, or want, a pump out station within reach of your slip. Shower and sink drainage water is called "grey" water. Some places you will be able to discharge it overboard and others won't. What that means practically is you will probably have to go some distance to do your business and shower, day or night, hot or cold, rain or shine. If you think you're going to ignore the law and use the boat's facilities anyway make sure you have lots of money put away for fines. Someone will notice and rat you out.

    8) I would suggest you try and rent for a year or so first. You won't lose so much money if you decide the lifestyle is not for you and you will get a better understanding of what you need in a boat.

    I realize this sounds negative but I don't mean it to be. There are usually great people to be found living on boats. Sitting on deck overlooking the water with cocktails at sunset or coffee at dawn is a rare treat. The ability to change your surroundings just by casting off is something that can never be appreciated by those confined to a house. Again, it's a great lifestyle if you can afford it and know the drawbacks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  9. SonOfMallNinja

    SonOfMallNinja

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    Mt Baldy nailed it with his response. My parents lived on a 60 footer for eighteen years after they retired. I am absolutely convinced it added that much time to my father's life span. In fact, he ended up getting a Operator's License and running a dinner cruiser on the Ohio River for several years.

    The only thing I could add would be to adjust your time frame. If you have no boating experience, you should own one for at least a year before even considering living aboard. It will take that long to prepare both yourself and the boat.
     
  10. Luvdux

    Luvdux

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    Does this count?
     

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  11. MtBaldy

    MtBaldy Obie Wan, RIP

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    Ummm, wasn't what I had in mind but if you wanted to I suppose you could.

    This was the last boat I spent any time on:

    [​IMG]

    Never actually lived on it but took several cruises of a month or so. Since it was docked about half an hour from the house I frequently spent the night on it after working on it all day. The marina had one of the best seafood restaurants in town just a short walk up the ramp from the boat so food was no problem. Neither was a trip to the bar afterwards since the biggest risk was falling on the way back to the boat. The boat was actually my mother's but since she was in St. Croix most of the time and couldn't drive it anyway it might as well have been mine. At 30 years old and single it made for some fun times.
     
  12. GlocknSpiehl

    GlocknSpiehl NRA Life Member

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    This whole thing has so made me want to dig out my "Travis McGee" series and read them...
     
  13. malleable

    malleable

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    MtBaldy
    Thank you, that gives me some things to consider.
     
  14. true believer

    true believer Super Moderator Moderator

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    i did for 2 summers...80 and 81...it was great..boat didnt have a engine but the women didnt know that..
    all we did was, drink, fish, crab and have lots of partys..best 2 summer i ever had!!
    :crying::whistling:
     
  15. malleable

    malleable

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    What area were you in?
     
  16. true believer

    true believer Super Moderator Moderator

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    north wildwood marina..:cool: the boat was called ajt...
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  17. Blunt object

    Blunt object

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    First thing that crossed my mind.......The Busted Flush. :D

    My older brother lives on a small houseboat up in the Pacific Northwest.
    He worked much of his life as a long haul trucker, so after mostly living out of a truck sleeper the boat is pretty roomy.
     
  18. malleable

    malleable

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    If it's your primary residence you still don't pay real estate taxes on a houseboat do you?