Living on a boat
Life onboard a boat has its rewards and challengesLiving on a boat can feed many an adventurous and romantic spirit but it also has its down side and can be more work than you would have imagined. Adjustments are necessary, as it is quite different than living in a house. Safety equipment must always be in place and there is never any wasted space on a boat. People who call boats ‘home’ learn quickly how to best utilize available space and how to conserve a limited supply of water and power.
Every inch of space on a boat needs to be used effectively. For most people, no matter how organized they may be, living on a boat requires considerable downsizing. Water and weather are always lurking nearby, threatening the security of your life aboard. Newer boats are much better equipped for comfort and accessories, but some of the older, less expensive models may need constant care and maintenance. If you can make repairs yourself, living on a boat can be economical.
What are some things you need to know about living on a boat?
1- Selecting a marina or dock
If you plan to be living on a boat, you must find an appropriate marina or dock that you can either buy or rent. Prices vary according to different locations and are also usually priced either by the foot or the yard. You have to search carefully, as many marinas may look pretty but not be living-on-boat friendly. Some places consider those who live on their boats as transients, while others are less judgmental and offer amenities like showers, storage, laundry facilities and sometimes even cable television.
2- Understand what you are really getting into by living on a boat
Living on a boat and sailing across a magenta horizon may be an escape by some definitions, but there will still be more problems than you might have expected. A weekend cruise and an extended one are two different things for a myriad of reasons. For example, it’s much easier to do without some of the “creature comforts” for just a weekend than it is for months at a time. The party atmosphere doesn’t fare well after a few days and you better think about things you can do for long periods of time while living on a boat. Brings along more than your blithe party spirit; books, hobbies etc.
If you are able to create your own power (many boats come with solar panels), haul your own water and wastewater and be as self-sufficient as possible, you may find living on a boat very economical. A boat needs frequent checking for wear and tear. Inevitably, things deteriorate faster in a salty environment. Take a course on how to maintain the systems and engines on your boat and understand the tools and spare parts you may need if something breaks. Your ability to know how to fix things will only make you safer and it will save you the cost of a mechanic as well.
3- Remember that weather rules and also that weather rules
When on land, checking the weather may reference how to set your air conditioner or whether or not to carry an umbrella. On water, weather is king and it keeps those who sail on their toes by putting them in sync with nature’s endless rhythm. If you live on a boat, you have to learn how to interpret underlying data as “partly cloudy” just doesn’t cut the mustard. You also have to be able to look out the hatch and assess what’s happening immediately. Subscribe to a weather service and learn all about how to do this.
Remember that home is always where the proverbial heart is. If for you that translates into living on a boat, then make that home as safe and enjoyable as you can. Living on a boat can reap some unexpected rewards such as the honing of the principles of acceptance and patience. Watching a sunrise or sunset from the water may or may not be a close second, but it is certainly enough to make one humble in the light of the wonders of Mother Nature.