living on a boat in san diego?

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Submitted by scaredyclassic on December 1, 2013 - 11:44am

hey therethis is an actual housing question. we were thinking about the viability of buying a boat for our kid to live in down in san diego. is that a realistic cheaper option? can you make it work with roommates.

http://www.nordhavn.com/news/pressreleas...

here's an article that makes it sound kind of fun.

hell. maybe i'll do it...

Submitted by spdrun on December 1, 2013 - 12:00pm.

Boat == "a hole in the water that swallows money." If you want to live on one for fun, that's fine, but don't expect it to be cheap. Remember that it lives in a corrosive environment, so it needs quite a bit of maintenance.

From a strictly financial standpoint, best to buy a condo in the low $100k range (they exist) with common charges in the high $100 to low $200 range per month. At least theoretically, it's an appreciating asset rather than a depreciating one.

Submitted by CDMA ENG on December 1, 2013 - 4:58pm.

I thought about it when I first moved to town and was contracting here.

I did it once for a friend when I was helping him start his company in upstate NY too though I didnt pay for anything. Its was lovely and peaceful.

My friend knew someone who was selling his boat and that coupled with the slip prices in Mission Bay (and insurance) made it very affordable. I am not sure I investigated everything but the initial cost was not bad.

But I think boat living would get old quick even on the biggest of boats and there are still up keep cost associated with it.

Plus it might be difficult to keep your kid from turning it into a "pleasure boat". Complete with his own little captian's hat, ascot, and smoking jacket... I see... Hugh Heffner...

But yeah the numbers work out intitially. That's all I remember. Sorry no specifics.

CE

Submitted by CA renter on December 1, 2013 - 8:16pm.

spdrun wrote:
Boat == "a hole in the water that swallows money." If you want to live on one for fun, that's fine, but don't expect it to be cheap. Remember that it lives in a corrosive environment, so it needs quite a bit of maintenance.

From a strictly financial standpoint, best to buy a condo in the low $100k range (they exist) with common charges in the high $100 to low $200 range per month. At least theoretically, it's an appreciating asset rather than a depreciating one.

Spdrun nailed it. My DH lived on fishing boats when he was working on them in his younger years, and the owners would let him stay there to keep an eye on everything. If you get the kind of boat that will have fairly comfortable facilities (bed, bathroom, kitchen), you're talking big bucks. Anything less, and the confined quarters and lack of amenities will grow old rather quickly. Either that, or you're buying such an old wreck that the maintenance costs will drown you.

We've known a lot of people who've owned/do own boats, with many of them being commercial or sportfishing businesses (so they at least have the potential to provide a positive cash flow). Even in the best of times, it can easily turn out to be a bad investment. Boats are a maintenance nightmare, and you're bound to lose money every year...possibly tens of thousands of dollars lost to maintenance and/or depreciation. Sometimes, you can buy a barge for a fairly reasonable amount, but you will still have maintenance and depreciation.

Definitely better to buy a cheap condo, preferably one that can at least break even if you had to rent it out for awhile. You will still have maintenance costs, and you still might see some asset price depreciation, but at least it's something that can provide some cash flow. Boats, unless you rent them out to fishermen and collect a portion of the profits (good luck), will almost always be a loss.

Submitted by flyer on December 2, 2013 - 12:02am.

Nice article, 6pack, and it does sound like this arrangement has worked out for them. We've owned boats for years, and know lots of people who do--primarily for recreational use.

Those we have known who have lived on their boats exclusively, have all ended up selling their boats, and returned to their homes after a year or two--citing many reasons for doing so. Some even tried the seasonal thing--moving their boats to the Bahamas, Lauderdale, the Riviera, etc.--yet even they again resorted to solid ground in the final analysis.

For the purpose you've mentioned, I agree with CAR in, that, another type of investment would make a lot more sense with regard to your son, that is, unless, you, and the rest of the family plan to also use the boat recreationally.

I definitely would not enter into this lightly, and would do a lot of research before you make your final decision.

Submitted by CDMA ENG on December 2, 2013 - 9:29am.

The Key is that you are not actually using the boat as a boat.

Just a floating house. That being said you still have to maintain it. Turn over the motor, keep fresh gas in it, empty out the shitter (to paraphrase Christmas vacation)...

For four years in college that is a long haul.

Wouldn't recommend it for anything more than a year or so.

CE

Submitted by jstoesz on December 2, 2013 - 1:43pm.

Thoughts from personal experience.

I lived on a boat on Shelter Island (pt loma) from 2008-2010 and I wish it could have been much longer. I moved off because I got married and two people on my small sailboat is one too many (but many people do that too). I can honestly say that it was the best living experience of my life. I think it takes a certain breed of person to enjoy it though. You are living in an small RV, and not some sweet 5th wheeler kind. But marinas have great shower, laundry, and workout facilities. Many people live on boats for many years including happily married couples.

It was a great sailboat to live on a reasonably problem free. There is nothing like eating your breakfast in the morning sitting on the back of your boat looking out over pt loma with a coffee in your hand. Or looking at the hill of lights with a good beer. Falling asleep listening to the wind in the rigging and rocking ever so slightly. The quarters are cramped, but you have the whole bay to explore in your dingy, or if you want to live in Coronado for the weekend, just drop anchor at Glorietta bay and pretend you are on vacation (my wife and I loved that the most). If you have a long weekend head up to catalina and get away from the craziness in Avalon.

The cost breakdown was quite affordable. I purchased a $38k Catalina 34 from 1985. The Slip fees were $500 a month, another $150 for the liveaboard allowance, and 30 bucks a month for bottom cleanings. If you do the maintenance yourself, expect to pay 1-3k a year in repairs for a sailboat of my vintage and quality, cheaper if you do most things yourself but lots more if you farm it all out to contractors. Needless to say, that is the cheapest one can live anywhere near the ocean, let alone an inch away. Make no mistake if something serious is wrong, or you buy a total lemon, you could blow a lot of money. Not unlike a leaky roof or a broken furnace. But being handy and cheap helps keep the costs to a reasonable amount.

I transferred ownership of the boat to my parents because they wanted a winter escape in sunny SD. The boat market for this model is still what I paid for it, and I think we could get a bit more because of the work that we have put in. And with a sailboat gas is cheap. I think I put about 30 gal in a year, and we went out at least once a week, plus another ~30 gallons to go to Catalina and back.

I will be moving back to a boat one day, perhaps not until I am much older and a family is through the pipes, but it will happen.

I have lots of other thoughts to share on the pros and cons, so hit me up if you are seriously interested. Your inquiry is probably not serious, but I loved the experience so much I felt compelled to share.

Submitted by jstoesz on December 2, 2013 - 1:50pm.

oh, and a 40ft trawler is a freaking ginormous boat. I love sailing, so i am partial to sailboats, but a 30ft trawler is a very comfortable living for a single guy. 34ft sailboat is cramped but enjoyable.

Submitted by no_such_reality on December 2, 2013 - 3:22pm.

Times have changed. Maybe SD is different than OC and LA, but there are wait lists for live aboard slips.

Slip rental is now a beast in OC/LA too with the slip being nearly rent on a studio apartment.

A quickie check shows Shelter cove is varied rate but a 40' slip is $17.5/ft. or $700 for a 40 foot. Not sure a 40 foot will go in it, may need the 46' slip or 52' slip which are $19.5/ft and $22.5/ft and pricing is on overall length including all bolt-ons (swim platform, bow

Submitted by jstoesz on December 2, 2013 - 11:20pm.

OC and Sd are very different birds for wait lists. Long beach I believe is more similar to sd, but laguna, forgetaboutit!

My first marina was shelter cove coincidentaly enough. They initially quoted me a year wait list. But if you show up looking nice, polite, and you look like you pay your bills, you will find that wait lists for slips are not chronological, but a screening tool for deadbeats! In took 1.5 months to get a slip and live aboard, but it is a concern to be sure. Drop off enough applications and you will find this not to be the problem it seems on the face. if you are desperate in the short term, move to chula vista, because it's not a problem.

One other thought, the 40 ft slip will usually take much bigger boats. I was in a 30 ft slip with a boat that measured over 36ft with bow roller and all.

Submitted by jstoesz on December 3, 2013 - 3:53pm.

duplicate

Submitted by scaredyclassic on December 3, 2013 - 7:31am.

Maybe just a custom van

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 3, 2013 - 9:52am.

They thing about boats and motor homes is that they smell bad. It will be a clusterfuck in there if the resident is a messy horder.

You need at least in-unit laundry facility to keep it clean.

Boats are fine for rich people who can afford cleaning and maintenance folks.

Submitted by jstoesz on December 3, 2013 - 11:55am.

Flyer, that is not at all my experience. Laundry is available at the marina, like most apartment complexes. One has to maintain serious descipline in throwing out old stuff when new stuff is purchased, but a good habit to be in at any rate.

They are also not terribly expensive. For my parents it is considerably cheaper than a snowbird retreat apartment. And when I lived aboard it was cheaper rent than a one bedroom in a nice neighborhood, not to mention on the water.

Boats can be kept very clean, and I was always able to set sail in under 10 mins.

If you pay someone to do everything for you, you can rack up the bills, but most maintenance costs little to nothing. And my boat never ever stunk!

Submitted by CDMA ENG on December 3, 2013 - 3:41pm.

6packscaredy wrote:
Maybe just a custom van

Cough Cough Rape Wagon Cough...

CE

Submitted by jstoesz on December 3, 2013 - 3:56pm.

Personally, I wouldn't mind living in one of these for a while either (although the wife might take it pretty hard).

unless it is one of these

Submitted by CDMA ENG on December 3, 2013 - 5:37pm.

jstoesz wrote:
Personally, I wouldn't mind living in one of these for a while either (although the wife might take it pretty hard).

unless it is one of these

Last time I checked these were 80K.

CE

Yeah I checked... 90K!

But pretty baddass!

Submitted by jstoesz on December 4, 2013 - 7:32am.

Sadly that is correct.

But oh how sweet it is.

Submitted by spdrun on December 4, 2013 - 6:56pm.

.

Submitted by spdrun on December 4, 2013 - 7:37am.

I'd go for an old Microbus or maybe a Eurovan conversion. That thing that Dodge is selling (front-engine, FWD, about as long as a normal car -- Promaster, I think) would also be a decent candidate for conversion.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 6, 2013 - 2:50pm.

jstoesz, you must be very neat.
I've been on boats and motor homes. I just wanted to get out as fast as possible. Maybe I'm too sensitive to funny smells. I don't know why they use carpet and upholstery that can absorb odors in those places. I would want everything vinyl so spills could be wiped off.

Can you imagine a college kids having a party in a boat? Add to that the humidity of the ocean.

Submitted by spdrun on December 6, 2013 - 5:57pm.

Party is generally on deck :) If the boat or RV is docked or parked, then you can always take a few steps and walk around outside. The boat or RV is just a place to sleep, cook, and pee.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 8, 2013 - 1:10pm.

Sleep, cook and pee all generate bad odors confined to small spaces.

I think it's just me being overly sensitive.... When I bought my apartment, the whole place smelled like a nasty human dog house. Ripping out all the carpeting and kitchen cabinets got rid if the smell. Cooking odors stick to the walls even.

Submitted by paramount on December 8, 2013 - 1:39pm.

House boats in Seattle seem popular:

House Boats Seattle

Submitted by scaredyclassic on December 8, 2013 - 3:17pm.

I want one!

Submitted by scaredyclassic on December 8, 2013 - 3:17pm.

I want one!

Submitted by FlyerInHi on December 8, 2013 - 4:02pm.

I like the house boats they have in the Netherlands.

Submitted by flyer on December 8, 2013 - 5:17pm.

paramount wrote:
House boats in Seattle seem popular:

House Boats Seattle

They are--have friends who live up there. Some are mcmansions on the water. As much as we love the water, and try to go out on the boat or take a run at the beach as often as we can, living there is a very different thing--especially where it gets much colder in areas like WA. That said, if it's what you REALLY want to do, it will probably work out just great.

Submitted by spdrun on December 8, 2013 - 5:20pm.

It's probably warmer on the water than on land, though, since water moderates temperatures pretty well. (Assuming a well-insulated cabin, since it also conducts heat away very nicely.)

Submitted by flyer on December 9, 2013 - 2:55am.

Google "Seattle or Washington houseboats"--if your looking 6pack--lots of choices.

Here are a few examples, and some interesting info on waterfront living. . .

http://cooperjacobs.com/seattle-houseboats

(I'm not affiliated with this company--just browsing.)

Submitted by Rspandet on March 18, 2016 - 4:24pm.

I just read your post and love the details on living on a sail boat. My wife and I live in Florida but want to relocate to San Diego when I retire in 9 yrs. we went sailing and absolutely loved it and want to purchase our own sail boat and live in it. Just the idea of the afordability compared to the housing market makes it very attractive. The idea of living on a sail boat is very appealing to us. Our issue we have know knowledge of sailing nor how to put our plan in motion. Any insite would be great.

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