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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-23-06, 01:36 AM   #1
yendor28
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Living on the water - house boat

Hi,

You guys would seem to be open minded enough to have considered this

How would this work?

Do you have to rent/buy a piece of water? *I know it sounds silly but seriously

Would you have to buy a special boat? How much do they cost? Is maintenance expensive/hard etc etc.

thank you
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Old 01-23-06, 04:12 AM   #2
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I was going to leave this forum because of all the recent trolling, but what the heck; I love this question, so here I am.

You have to rent dockspace/moorage. It is significantly cheaper than renting an apartment though. If you're in cold weather, you will want to take the boat out of dock in wintertime and either store it on stilts or put it up in a boat hangar, which costs more than the in-water moorage, usually.

I own a very nice 40-foot cabin cruiser ketch sailboat (I could easily use it to travel around the world), and since I telecommute for work, I've been giving serious thought to moving into it and doing my work nomad-style via satellite internet connection, and sailing port-to-port up and down the west coast while retaining a central bank and address, and then bicycling around from the various port towns to tour and buy supplies & amenities - essentially living a life of adventure and work intertwined. My only problem is my piano, which I don't want to part with. I'm working out the details now about that, but even studios in California are ridiculously overpriced and I don't really like the idea of giving that money to a landlord just to stow a piano away.

Costs depend entirely on what you're willing to spend or live in. My vessel is worth about $60,000, but you could find something like an old Erickson 32 from the 1970s with really bad Brady Bunch plaid everything on the interior and fixerupperness and an irreducible smell for probably about 10-15K. I don't know motorboat prices though, sorry. Sub-30-foot cabin cruisers from the 1960s-70s can be had for under 10K.

Maintenance is also subjective, but you definitely have to keep on it. Boats are all-weather objects and frequently have problems that tend to pop up out of nowhere.

Last edited by Alekhine; 01-23-06 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 01-23-06, 02:02 PM   #3
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Great idea for a thread. I really don't know much, but I would like some more responses.

Here's my 2 cents. Here in MN there are people who live aboard their boats on the Mississippi river all year long. There is something called a "bubbler" that keeps the ice from freezing around the hull of the boat. I tried to do a google search but didn't find much. Anybody know any more, like costs and upkeep?
Also I remember seeing a bunch of people/boats in Key West which people live on. These were not real nice water craft in my eyes and the people were pretty laid back. If fact some looked like they were barely afloat. It was like a community, but I can't remember much else. I also saw some show on TLC or Discovery about some people in Alaska or NW Canada who lived on these huge rafts with house's/loghomes built on top. Anybody know any more? Any links to some info?
Thanks
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Old 01-23-06, 02:58 PM   #4
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There are two ways to do this. One is rent a slip at a marina. That allows you to walk to land. The other is a mooring (you can buy or also rent) which is like a semi-permanent anchor, or you can just drop your own anchor line (that's isn't so stable, especially in bad storms). The advantage to this is the stay is free. The disadvantage is you need a way to get from land to your boat. The easist is buy a dingy. You either use a small outboard motor or row it.

Marina's cost money. Depending on where you are at, the annual slip fee for a 40 foot boat varies from a few hundred dollars a year to several thousand, like $3,000 to $10,000. But that includes electricity and water.

Boats are made to move occassionally. You need to run them or pay to have them hauled out occassionally. You also need to paint the bottom occassionally.

Maintenance also can be expensive. If you're reasonablly handy, you can do much yourself. But boat parts are very costly. Fittings and screws and other componets are made of stainless steel to keep from rusting and corroding. Even things that appear simple like an automobile starter for engines are costly. It might look like a car starter but it's enclosed so that sparks don't inginite gas vapors.

But there's nothing more relaxing and exciting as living on the water.
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Old 01-23-06, 03:11 PM   #5
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Sometimes you can find people with docks but no boat who will let you use the dock for less than what a marina charges. I know someone who picks up a little extra cash by letting people tie up to his dock.
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Old 01-23-06, 03:52 PM   #6
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man ive had the same idea for awhile ive been looking into house boats for awhile now most have heat and showers all the stuff you need you could get a decnt one for $15,000 give or take. a nice marine here is only 1,500 for the season wich is six monthes long. im going to do this in time, ill keep you posted as to what i find out. look on ebay for houseboats there are alot of them there, of course you would have to get them shipped to you and that would cost alot.
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Old 01-23-06, 05:13 PM   #7
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I've thought of this myself (when I was single). I settled on living in a run down beach shack for 450 /month. That was back in 1986-1990. I live in a nice townhouse now.

Heres the reality:
Boats are very cheap. Really. Three years ago I picked up a real nice 1964 Columbia 26 for $2000. Excellent condition, no weird smells, no wacky upholstery.I thought I got a deal until I went to a police auction and saw very similar Columbia 24 sell for $25. I would have picked it up, but I did not have a slip to moor it. Which brings us to the next item...

Boat slips (at least in this area) are very difficult to get. I waited 2 years to get a slip in Dana Point. I am paying $380/month. Larger slips are even more difficult to get. I also spend about $30 month for bottom cleaning. All brightwork needs a new coat of varnish every 5 or 6 months. I have to haul out his month for new boattom painting. That will cost about $800, but I won't have to do it again for another 4 or 5 years.

If you are caught living aboard in most harbors and marinas in SoCal without a permit, you will be given a three day notice to quit and be evicted. If you are behind in your slip fees, and caught living aboard, you boat will be impounded, with a lien against it, and most like sold at an auction. Since slips are at a premium here, there is always somebody that will move in the next day.

The waiting list for legal Live aboards are usually 3 years, and many require that you already been a tenant of the marina. Many Marinas do not allow anything smaller than a 32 foot boat to be used as a live aboard. (I would probably go crazy If I had to live on my 26 footer, but would have nor problem on a 37 foot + boat)

Most Smaller Boats do not have proper shower facilties. This means showering in the marina restrooms. Although most are very clean, the people using the facilites in Marina Del Rey were one step away from street living.

I know that some marinas in Marina Del Rey rent houseboats, with full live aboard priveledges. These run about $1000 month, but are more barge than a boat.

Last edited by RocketsRedglare; 01-24-06 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 01-25-06, 02:25 AM   #8
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great replies - thank you!
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Old 01-25-06, 10:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alekhine
My only problem is my piano, which I don't want to part with. I'm working out the details now about that, but even studios in California are ridiculously overpriced and I don't really like the idea of giving thatwouldmoney to a landlord just to stow a piano away..
I know they aren't even close to the feel of a piano, but what about getting really good keyboard? It seems like you almost have a great situation going on, living on a boat, ability to telecommute, etc.

Also, wouldnt a boat thats in constant use need a lot of maintance, especially since its gonna be in the (salt) water so much? Haha, i'm reminded of the saying "The two best days of a boat owner's life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells the boat", hope that doesn't apply here.
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Old 01-25-06, 10:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN Dan
Here's my 2 cents. Here in MN there are people who live aboard their boats on the Mississippi river all year long. There is something called a "bubbler" that keeps the ice from freezing around the hull of the boat. I tried to do a google search but didn't find much.
I've such things advertised, but the ones I've seen were a type a fan the moves the water around, but I guess bubbles would work too. I should head down to the docks by my house and see how all the commercial fishermen keep their boats ice free.
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Old 01-25-06, 02:06 PM   #11
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Any good websites about houseboats? I googled houseboats but most of the boats were luxury ones for over $150,000. My price range would be around $20,000.
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Old 01-25-06, 02:37 PM   #12
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Wow, I'm not believing this thread! Scary to think there's people like this(like me) living around.
Anyways, to the guy not wanting to part with his piano. I had to do that same thing a couple of years ago. I got a regular old Yamaha P-60. Amazing sound quality. Not quite as nice as my old piano, but pretty damn close. Does your inspiration come from the instrument, or from you? How are you? You only....live......once.
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Old 01-25-06, 04:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseysbest
I know they aren't even close to the feel of a piano, but what about getting really good keyboard? It seems like you almost have a great situation going on, living on a boat, ability to telecommute, etc.

Also, wouldnt a boat thats in constant use need a lot of maintance, especially since its gonna be in the (salt) water so much? Haha, i'm reminded of the saying "The two best days of a boat owner's life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells the boat", hope that doesn't apply here.
See below. And yea, it's very tempting to do it, but I'm not exactly in any distress living in my little cottage at this very moment. I just sometimes get the nomad bug, which is why I like bicycle touring so much.

Boats can be tremendously expensive in maintenance (general rule of thumb: expect to sink at least 20% of what you paid for the boat into maintenance), but I've been able to hack it okay and my needs are such that those kinds of things become worth it to me, although I really hate re-staining teak because it makes my sinuses act up. I make a decent wage and come from a moneyed family, so I got lucky as far as being able to deal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
Anyways, to the guy not wanting to part with his piano. I had to do that same thing a couple of years ago. I got a regular old Yamaha P-60. Amazing sound quality. Not quite as nice as my old piano, but pretty damn close. Does your inspiration come from the instrument, or from you? How are you? You only....live......once.

Thanks lots for the recommendation. However, I've already owned (and still own) my fair share of keyboards and digital pianos over the years, and they just don't cut it for me. In fact, I got the piano (a Steinway model M parlor grand) because I got sick of the inadequacies of the digital instruments that I had to deal with when I was a college student, as impressive as they are for their purposes, and believe me - I am utterly impressed. Honestly, one of the things I've been considering is devoting more time to violin and scrapping piano, but that would be a great loss.

As for inspiration versus instrument, it's not as simple as that for me. I like my nuances, particularly natural resonance. On my Steinway, I can use the overtone series to great effect in achieving certain layers and quality of timbre through sympathetic resonance in the soundboard with the strings. It is utterly impossible to get the same effects out of a digital, and a lot of the music I play - Debussy and Ravel in particular - makes extensive use of those effects. So it's not an inspiration issue, but one of achievable quality of sound. You also can't half-pedal on a digital (this is when you just barely touch the strings with the dampers, but don't press into them; a very unique tonal quality is produced), and the sostenuto (middle) pedal is almost worthless in attempting to imitate the actual function of this pedal on a grand. Action is another difficulty. I have yet to be really impressed with an artificially weighted action. So it's a tough thing unless I just want to devote myself full-time to composing or something.

Here are a few examples of me playing music on my piano that wouldn't work well on a digital:

http://www.clan4m.com/oistrakh/Ravel-Ondine.mp3
http://www.clan4m.com/oistrakh/Szymanowski-Mazurka.mp3
http://www.clan4m.com/oistrakh/Ravel...es-Cloches.mp3

Last edited by Alekhine; 01-25-06 at 04:26 PM.
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