Did you see this Boston Globe article about living aboard?
I wasn't thrilled with it, particularly the often erroneous impression of how cheap it is to live aboard. In the current economy cheap living on the water seems to be the focus of most non-boating publications when they talk about our lifestyle.
I spent a long time reading the many comments generated by this article and found that quite a few regular old live-aboards like us had also been less than pleased with it's tone. Instead of leaving yet another comment there I endorsed some of those comments and decided to write my rebuttal here.
First of all, I have a great deal of respect for the young college professor who has chosen to give up his apartment in order to be able to help his family during these tough economic times. It also looked like he had some skills in boat repair -- or at least in lifting up a hatch and checking wires. Other than that they didn't discuss his boating skills or knowledge.
Can he tie a line? Use the radio? Check the batteries? Find a broken hose? Does he truly understand and can he fix the stove and the heating and refrigeration systems? What does he know about general safety on board and on the docks?
Who in heaven's name would rent their "baby" out to a live-aboard for the winter? I can't even imagine it!
Yes, living aboard can be cost effective (cheap) and we have had young neighbors over the years and currently who have chosen to purchase a boat after college and live aboard year round. Each of them knows how to sail and/or motor their vessel and each understands her systems and can make some repairs. They can dock the boat, are fanatic about keeping the lines tied properly and chafe free and stand by their vessel and their neighbors during storms. These people are part of the community, not just because they live here, but because they want to be part of this community of people who love being on the water.
None of these issues were addressed with the gentleman who has chosen this lifestyle because he didn't want roommates. He may actually be an excellent live-aboard neighbor. He may be willing to learn and have a support system in place of willing experienced helpers. By not addressing these issues, the author made living aboard seem too easy and too cheap and that is dangerous.
I have said repeatedly that this is not a lifestyle for most and it is a lifestyle -- not a flop. I would never attempt to talk anyone into living aboard. Instead, I do my best to talk some folks out of it.