The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat

The uber dream: to live aboard a boat. This book’s job is to wise you up about the reality of ...

The uber dream: to live aboard a boat. This book’s job is to wise you up about the reality of that fantasy. It will equip you with essential facts for this grand adventure, or else it will graciously eliminate the notion from your head forever. In either case it deserves a medal. This kind of clarity and sound advice is in short supply. Marina bookstores overflow with practical memoirs by salty authors, few of them with a view wider than their own hulls. This one is based on the experience of many liveaboard practicioners in many styles, and is the most useful way to answer the persistent question: “What is really involved living full time on a boat?” To clarify: The Essentials of Living Aboard is concerned with life on a boat that spends the bulk of its time docked, and only cruises occasionally. Your neighborhood will be other boats instead of open water. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say this lifestyle is less about living on a boat and more about living in a marina.



from The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat

Speaking of investments, in general, boats are not good ones. Not only do boats depreciate in value, but the difference in value between a boat that is 19 years old and 20 years old may be significant, because many financing companies will not lend money for a boat that is 20 or more years old. You may find that you own a boat you cannot one day sell, which makes your boat virtually worthless.

Even adding electronics and fancy gear to your boat won't help much in maintaining value. Once installed, the electronics will immediately depreciate. This isn't like a house (on real land) in which a $15,000 kitchen renovation might bring about $35,000 in increased market value. On a boat, a $2,000 radar system might bring an increased market value to the boat of $500-$1,000. That's an immediate net loss of 50-75 percent. Then, after just a couple of years, the electronics, valuable if separated from the boat, will bring no market value increase at all to the boat.

A better deal will always come along, even if that deal does not exist today. When you think that a great deal is passing you by, don't be nervous, because there is another one coming. ... So be patient, my liveaboard brothers and sisters. Relax and enjoy the ride. Don't panic. A better boat is right around the corner. If you remember that, and learn to believe it, this process will be less stressful and more fun; you will be a much better negotiator knowing that you can walk away and still have terrific options. And you will be more emotionally willing to take the time necessary to choose for yourself the best possible boat.

We already talked about how accessories are not worth their original prices once installed. Good accessories do not make for a good boat. A good boat is a good boat whether or not it has a good radar system. Unfortunately, a bad boat does not become anything other than a bad boat just because it has a $2,000 chartplotter.

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