Stormy Days On A Live Aboard Sailboat
Living Aboard a Sailboat - (or Don't You Get Sick of Each Other?)

Boat Maintenance (Or Only Handy Man -- and Woman Need Apply)

Each live-aboard boat must have at least one Handy Person -- someone who has a least a basic understanding of all of the systems and who is skilled in a few areas. When we first told friends and acquaintances we were moving aboard, one of the common remarks was, "Please talk with my wife and talk her into that!" First of all, you can't get talked into living aboard. It is a drastic lifestyle change and must be entered into freely by both parties. But often those who wanted me to talk to their wives were not do-it-yourself boaters. I wouldn't have moved aboard with them -- and certainly wouldn't have tried to talk someone else into it!

I've learned a lot during these years on the dock in Maine. I have learned to listen -- to the furnace, the bilge pump, the head, and the fresh water pump. I can quickly pick up when one is miss-firing or coming on too often. I have been proven to be quite good at bleeding the engine, setting the anchor, and using the propane stove and grill. And I am really good at snaking wires behind bulkheads and through hand rails. 

 We both have our strengths. I am thankful that Stew has always been in tune with engines and motors. He can handle plumbing (though he hates it) and he is pretty good with electrical and electronic systems. I am aces at organizing the boat -- have installed more headliner than I care to remember, and have sewn a dodger, cushions, curtains and more. 

As important -- we both have a healthy sense of humor. Living aboard isn't for everyone -- you have to be willing to get down in the bilge -- or the anchor locker -- or any other cramped space where that one thing needs fixing. And it certainly helps to have some idea of what to do once you get there!


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You sound like me when folks ask me what changes living full-time in an RV entails. When I first transitioned into this a friend and her teen daughter came along to help me pick up the TT and get it to the locaation where I planned to winter. Then she had emergency surgery and instead of 2 weeks we had 3 months together. THAT was a learning curve. As you said, you kind of play musical chairs moving around --- and you learn to have patience and give each other room. The dogs get on the couch and beds to free up floor space. I too am not a mechanic, but I have a good ear (knew when the furnace was a goner) and chose a TT to avoid the drive train issues many RVers have. The furnace replacement compelled me to learn about the heating systems AND the water systems -- which I'd avoided before since I was exhausted when friends left and had to get my business back on its feet. I continue to learn and while it's a challenge at times, I love the feeling of success when I finally KNOW something useful about the TT as a result of prior experience. It's keeping me young, I think.

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