Life Onboard

At a certain point the vague feelings of wishing to live an alternative lifestyle became the cold hard fact that I wanted to live on a boat.  Having made that decision I took to the internet with the intention of gathering as much information as possible.  Despite so much time spent hunched in front of computer screens however I came from my searches left wanting.  Oh sure, I found a ton of information about sailing around the world and living aboard in the Caribbean, and in time I hope to take my floating home and live aboard amid those tropical isles. For now however, while I save and learn to sail I shall be inhabiting those waters located beneath the grey skies of the British Isles and working my nine to five.  Now I am sure the UK has its share of live boards but for the life of me I can’t find a web presence from them.

So now I am doing it I will try to provide all the answers I went looking for and couldn’t find.  If you are thinking about this lifestyle and want to know more then just get in touch.

Why live on a boat?

This is personal.  You are obviously considering it otherwise you wouldn’t be here and you have your own reasons.  Only you can decide if it’s right for you.  I feel it’s right for me, but for you, who knows?

Some of the reasons I do it for are that it’s cheap, beautiful and provides a wonderful connection to the sea.

What Boat?

Probably smaller than you think.  Isabella is 9.3m long and 3.2m wide.  The width (beam) really makes everything feel a lot roomier.  Get a wide boat.  Skinny boats feel like you are living in a floating tube.  A lot of choosing a boat comes down to feel.  I had a list of boats I went to see and the ones that looked great on the internet felt all wrong when actually viewing them.  Isabella was at the bottom of my list but felt right the instant I stepped aboard.  When you know, you know.  It really is all about feel.  I will reiterate the first line, go as small as you think you can.  This will save money in the initial purchase and then on berthing and maintenance.

How Much Should I Spend?

How much have you got?  I had £12k and so I spent £12k.  A lot of that was because I really liked Isabella.  Many of the other boats I was looking at were similar sizes but three or four grand cheaper.  You can get a lot of boat for £10k – £15k.  If I had had £25k then I probably would have still spend the same and allocated the extra for a years cruising around the Mediterranean or Caribbean.  I still look at boats and wonder what I could get if I had £30k and feel glad I bought Isabella.  Look around and you will see the same boats for sale for 10k, 30k and 50k all in different states and requiring different levels of maintenance.   If you like maintenance then get a cheap boat and get it sorted the way you want.  The things you learn will be invaluable.  Even if you don’t like maintenance then get a cheap boat and learn to like it.  If you own a boat and don’t like maintenance then you will be needing some deep pockets to pay boat yards to take care of all the painting.

Where can I keep my Boat?

Basically it’s either a marina or mooring.  I spend the summer out on the mooring and the winter in a marina.  I don’t want to be rowing out to Isabella in the cold dark of December.  Similarly I want to be able to swim off the boat when the suns a blazing and I don’t want to be taking a dip in the marina.  I love being out on the mooring.  Even though I can see, hear and smell the city I feel like I am away from everything.  You meet more people in marinas because they are essentially housing estates for boats so I find the mix is quite good.

I pay £350 for my mooring for 12months and £180 a month for a marina berth for however long I decide to stay.  Generally 4 months over the winter.  That adds up to just over a grand a year on rent.  I am pretty happy with that.

What’s the deal with washing?

Isabella has a toilet but no shower.  My washing needs are taking care of by morning visits to the gym.  I get up, I swim, I shower and I go to work.  Sorted.  Gyms are the saviour of all those living in a non-traditional manner.