Most marinas ask you to fill out an application before you may go onboard permanently. Liveaboards are not permitted in certain places, or there are significant waiting lists. The prices for liveaboard slips are often higher, and your insurance premiums may rise if your yacht becomes your primary abode. But if you can afford it, a liveaboard is an amazing way to see the country.
The ability to travel where others fear to go is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your family. However, yachting does come with its own unique set of challenges - not the least of which is finding safe, legal, and affordable housing when you need it. Before you pack your bags, try to think of some alternatives that might be available if you can't make a full-time living at sea.
Living aboard a small vessel is not for everyone. If you're looking to make a permanent move, or just want to test out life at sea, consider these options first.
Storage containers offer a convenient, cost-effective solution for storing your stuff while you look for a new home. You can find storage containers for rent in most cities across the United States. These shelters can usually be put up in less than an hour and can be taken down in only a few minutes too!
It's tough to locate a legal spot to live aboard a boat. Living legally aboard a yacht is extremely difficult, especially in a city like San Francisco, where everyone is seeking to avoid exorbitant rent. Many marinas have years-long waitlists for liveaboard spaces, which cost twice as much as conventional docks. Even if you find a space, you can never be sure that you'll be able to return home at the end of the day.
Living aboard a boat comes with many challenges. You need to be aware of the local laws regarding mooring and anchoring vessels, and make sure that you follow them. If there's no dock available, you may have to anchor farther away from shore. This can be dangerous if you don't know how far out you went; during storms or high tides, it's easy to be dragged away from land. Vessels living in these areas should always have chartered captains or pilots.
There are also health concerns associated with living on a boat. The moving parts inside a vessel can lead to serious health problems if they aren't maintained regularly - instrument panels tend to go out of tune very quickly due to the stress of sailing. Having a doctor onboard is important because you won't see any symptoms until it's too late. Proper vaccinations should be given for issues such as Lyme disease and malaria.
The first option is to rent a space on a boat at the marina. The second alternative is to relocate your own boat into a live-aboard spot or to request live-aboard status from your present dockmaster. Both of these options are legal under U.S. law.
There are several types of marinas, but they can be divided into two main groups: those that offer storage space for boats awaiting mooring and those that provide direct access to water. If you store your boat at a marina with storage facilities, you will usually have the choice of parking as close as possible to an outside walkway or elevator, or a little further away where there is more room. These places are called tie up spaces or tiered spaces. Tiered spaces are the most expensive because they give you the most distance between your boat and another vessel's hull. They are also the most secure because other people cannot park as close to you.
If you store your boat at a marina without storage facilities, there are generally only a few spots left when others like yourself arrive at the same time. You will need to make sure you get a spot close by so other people do not block each other out. These places are called floating docks and they are the least expensive type of marina.