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Author Topic: full timing on a boat  (Read 584 times)


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full timing on a boat
« on: October 15, 2020, 09:00:32 AM »
I remember reading that a few of you here have previously full timed on a boat.  I'm curious about your thoughts...and don't recall a recent thread on the topic.  Similar to RVing but different....

We are still working office jobs, but as weekend RV'ers have discussed many time doing a retirement or semi retirement to perhaps part time RV life.
I've been around small boats my whole life, but not sailing and not larger ones...  Lately, I've been switching a lot of my daydream on youtube efforts to all of these folks full timing on boats.  Mostly sail boats, but I've been watching a couple on a trawler as well.  One couple in particular was doing a pretty good job for a while spearfishing and living partially off the "land" for a while, which seems pretty great to me!

Recently followed a couple's journey on their sailboat through some canals in France.  My wife's ears really perked up with that idea!

Anyway, seems like it could be fun for a while anyway. 
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
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Re: full timing on a boat
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2020, 10:00:37 AM »
Living on boats is popular in Europe. Long boats or barges were used to carry coal and other materials from town to town utilizing the many canals. Now folks are using the long boats as homes and cruising the canals. Sorry, just looked it up. They are called narrow boats.

« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 10:02:45 AM by Oldgator73 »
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Re: full timing on a boat
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2020, 10:52:44 AM »
Brad, you are a brave man, or I watch too many Discovery shows with modern day Pirates robbing people of everything they have in desolate areas.  My idea of living on a boat is a Houseboat on Dale Hollow Lake, or the likes  8)
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Re: full timing on a boat
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2020, 10:59:35 AM »
There are numerous YouTube videos, and even video series, on folks' full time adventures on narrow boats.

We've not fulltimed, but have spent several months at a time on our 51 foot power boat. It provides very comfortable living, with more room and more/better appointments than our 38 foot motorhome. But there are numerous caveats, including: 

Apart from the obvious difference in fuel costs, the waters/conditions where you plan to live/travel have a huge impact on the choice of vessel. I won't attempt to talk about sailboats, but a trawler would be a very good choice for coastal travel. We've taken our 51 foot powerboat down the California coast (to Baja California, MX) multiple times, in addition to making the trip multiple times on friends' boats. But it required continuous  monitoring of weather and sea conditions. Weather forecasts can't be relied on, as we've found out more than once.

Another consideration is what happens when you experience mechanical problems.
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Re: full timing on a boat
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 12:08:38 PM »
It is too bad DearMissMermaid is no longer with us. She full timed in a boat for many years.


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Re: full timing on a boat
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2020, 08:05:26 PM »
The life you are looking at can be rewarding and interesting, but I suggest that you do a great deal more research. 

As yougun, we lived aboard a 13 ton ketch (sailboat) on the east coast.  Kind of like snowbirds, we went from Maine to Virginia with the season.  Nothing that I could relate would have any bearing as it was all 60 years ago.  50 years ago I became a licensed marine engineer (boil water and keep big motors running).   When I started a family, I came ashore and still worked, but mostly sailed and maintained other people's small (less than 100 ton) boats.

I can tell you that the BIG difference between an RV and a boat is that water can leak out of an RV.  There is almost no other difference that matters except the highway is less likely to kill you if you make a simple mistake.  The ocean isn't trying to kill you, it just doesn't give a damn about you.  There are no lines on the water and no guide rails to save you.

I have been on the European canals (the German side of the family lives on a Rhine boat).  If you want to go there, buy a ticket on a canal cruise.  You could not learn enough to survive in the time you have left.

I hope you have a good life wherever it takes you.

Fair wind and Smooth sea

A lifelong waterman with a trophy wife and a pair of mutts going places we cannot get by boat.

Lou Schneider

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Re: full timing on a boat
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2020, 10:22:20 PM »
You might want to take a look at technomadia.com.  Chris and Cherie have been RV fulltimers for 14 years, then 3 years ago they purchased a Bayliner 4788 motor yacht with the intention of splitting their time between their bus conversion and the boat, living on the boat in the summer while spending several years cruising the Great American Loop.  The Bayliner successfully rode out 2017's Hurricane Irma in the Keys while they skedaddled north and they have progressed about halfway up the east coast of Florida.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 10:34:39 PM by Lou Schneider »


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Re: full timing on a boat
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2020, 08:04:28 AM »
We lived aboard first our sailboat and then our trawler for 30 years. We cruised the U.S. east coast, Gulf coast and river system, the Bahamas, the northern Caribbean including Cuba, and the Atlantic coast of Central America. After a major heart attack, we sold the boat and bought an RV. While there are a lot of similarities to RVing, there are also some major differences. Long-term and long-distance boating takes a very different skillset. One that won't be acquired in a few weeks on the water. You will need to make a long-term commitment as well as a serious financial commitment. The boating lifestyle is not for everyone. I always suggest chartering a boat a few time to BEGIN to make a decision as to if you and your mate will fit well. Chuck
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Re: full timing on a boat
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2020, 05:30:47 AM »
We cruised full time for 6 months each year for 8 years on our 48 ft. trawler heading out under the Golden Gate and "making a left turn". Those years were spent cruising the California and Mexican coast as far south as Hualtulco and several trips up into the Sea of Cortes. During the summer (hurricane season) we usually left Freedom in one of the marinas in Banderas Bay (Puerto Vallarta) as the area is considered a hurricane hole by most major insurance companies. As others have noted, ocean boating is a special skill set that requires a commitment to learn well and the ability to deal with confined spaces for days at a time. It also requires having a partner who is committed and is also willing to develop the needed skill sets as well. We sold Freedom earlier this year and purchased a Class C motorhome and did a month long trip starting at a friends house in Idaho, then heading up to Montana, Washington and Oregon with a group of 7 other RVer's all of whom we met on boats at various anchorages in Mexico during our cruising years - we now call ourselves CLODs (Cruisers Living On Dirt). By the way, in the 8 years of cruising and stopping in large towns, small fishing villages, anchorages with just ourselves and anchorages with  20 or 30 boats we never met a pirate we didn't like, in fact we never met a pirate. Just like in an RV being vigilant is important and not creating situations where you tempt people (like not locking up your dingy with a cable at night etc.) goes a long way.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2020, 07:14:39 AM by rjwilliams11741 »


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Re: full timing on a boat
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2020, 06:29:17 AM »
We long timed on a monohull in Asia for a while. What we didn't like was being below decks all the time - it's very hot down there.

We considered catamarans - best view out the window but dual engines and the initial cost kind of kept us away. 

We finally decided on a pilothouse type boat.  These have large diesel tankage and can also go under sail so IMO have the best of both world's.

Plan to retire in Cartagena, cruise the Caribbean during the non-hurricane season and lay on the beach the rest of the time.

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