Sailing 101: Want to Live the Liveaboard Life?
The alternative lifestyle of making your boat your permanent residency is a romantic and adventurous one. However, it’s a lifestyle change requiring significant preparation and adjustments to your daily regimen. Whether it is full-time or part-time, this article will give you advice for transitioning to the liveaboard life.
First, you need to consider finances. Just because you are moving on board does not mean you will be saving money. Consider possible new expenses such as slip fees, boat insurance, gas, boat mortgage payment, waste management, and of course, food and water. You’ll also want to research your tax and residence obligations. You can inquire around the marinas and ask what neighboring liveaboards are paying.
Fetching the mail is also going to change. When living onboard, you’ll have to either get a PO Box or ask a relative or friend if they can retrieve your mail.
Americans and seniors will also need to sort out health insurance as you’ll want to ensure your plan covers sailors aboard.
Once you’ve sorted it all out, list things that need to change, such as your address or canceling utility bills.
Once your living situation is organized, brush up on your handyman skills. Maintenance on a boat is different than around the house. Space is limited, and upkeep is specific. You’ll want to have basic plumbing, electrical, and mechanical knowledge, especially since boat systems are less reliable than those of a house. If you don’t possess the skills to maintain your boat, you’ll have to hire someone for maintenance issues.
For safety reasons, make sure you install CO2 and smoke alarms as well as a propane sniffer for gas leak detection. In addition, check your fire extinguishers regularly. If a fire happens on your boat, you have less time and space than in more open environments. Also, consider your location and be aware and alert. Are you going to be safe walking around the slips late at night? If you see something happen, do you have someone close by you can contact? Is your car going to be safe in the parking lot 24/7? These are all scenarios that you should have an emergency plan for. We recommend having evacuation plans written down, as well as emergency contacts.
The last tip for liveaboard beginners is about organization and storage. You’re losing a lot of square footage when you move onto your boat, so you’ll have to get creative. Prepare to de-clutter your life.
A lot more goes into the transition of becoming a liveaboard, but at least this article gives you a solid foundation to build from. If this is the lifestyle you want, you’ll learn how to make it work.