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Author Topic: Boats  (Read 43845 times)

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Bill Brasky

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Boats
« on: November 22, 2009, 04:11:13 AM »

They interest me.  

There hasn't been much action here lately, so lets start a new thread...

There are a lot of pros about boat ownership, from the freedom perspective.  Mobility.  Self sufficiency.  No property taxes.  Marina people are cool.  Did I mention no property taxes?  

You can go wherever the climate suits your personal tastes.  You can go up-river for a quiet dock, or find a busy harbor if you like to be around people.  You don't have to take care of a yard.  You can go on vacation and take your house with you.  If your neighbors piss you off, its as simple as untying a knot and turning a key.  

The efficiency of boats is a considerable thing, they can pack everything you need to live into a space that can be totally self-contained.  No worries about energy bills, when you have dock-space they provide all that stuff without you getting involved with utility companies.  Away from shore, you generate all your own power and carry your own water and fuel.  In a SHTF scenario, you can get away from the trouble, and with a fishing pole provide for your needs in an endlessly abundant source, whereas game can be hunted out in a cabin-type setting.  Bullets can run out, and game can be hard to kill.  But a few dollars worth of line and hooks and artificial jigs can last through hundreds of fish, caught right off your own deck.  They even have seawater osmosis purifiers, which dispels the myth that you can die of thirst in the middle of the sea.  

I try to be level headed about these things, so here are some of the "cons" of living aboard a boat.  You can't take a car with you.  But you can take a moped or a bicycle, so getting around is not impossible on land, to replenish supplies.  And at most marinas they have a general store, and sometimes offer a "back-door" rental vehicle service.  A slip will cost you roughly the same as a lot rental for a trailer park, around $300 a month if you bargain shop.  This price is cheaper if you take it for the year, and more expensive if you hop around taking spots at a month-per, then move away.  It can be downright cheap if you visit a marina off-season, when they have little transient traffic.  Like Maine in November, when its cold and the seas are rough.  

It can be cramped.  If you need a very large house, boat living is probably not for you.  I've found that I don't mind confined living.  Paying attention to my own habits has revealed that I require a central living space, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom.  You have space on the aft for a grill and a chair, and the foredeck usually offers a place to stretch out and catch some fresh air.  I could make due very nicely with a small apartment and a back patio.  This roughly translates to a 40ft boat, which can have a second bedroom to accommodate a guest, or a kid.  That extra room makes a great storage area if the guest or kid isn't a consideration.   The second bedroom is usually the size of a walk-in closet, about 7x9 ft.  You can store enough supplies in there to survive for a year if you do it right.  

You cannot have a traditional dirt farm on a boat.  But you can have plants.  You can plant anything you would grow in buckets or window-box shaped containers.  You could have a hydroponic system, or a phototron.  I won't elaborate, use your imagination.  

The systems and appliances are often energy-efficient.  There is a gen-set aboard, and the whole thing is designed with deep-cycle batteries, so augmenting the system with a solar panel or a windmill is a piece of cake.  Building this into a house is a pain in the balls.  In a boat, its already there.  

Fuel consumption while under-way is terrible.  A large boat will burn a gallon of fuel to go about a mile or three.  So you could expect to burn a hundred gallons of fuel to move it 200-300 miles, depending on size and hull design.  Personally, I wouldn't care about burning $300 to relocate to new scenery every once in a while.  The savings in property taxes makes this a wash.  Diesel-burning engines can burn furnace oil, and whatever other oils can be obtained as long as you have a basic knowledge of diesel mechanics and an understanding of your engines requirements.  YMMV

People say boating is prohibitively expensive.  A friend of mine is paying about $4,000 a year in taxes to own his house.  Granted, its a nice house.  My parents homestead costs them roughly the same.  Then they have all the assorted utilities, which can be roughly the same as dock fees.  Often, more.  But you never really own your house when you think about it in those terms.  In a boat, you can haggle with the marina.  You can find a dock that is perfect for your needs, and keep on truckin' if its not.  You could even find a marina who's owner will accept barter.  You could pay him in any manner he accepts.  It could be labor, or money, or pot, or silver.  Good luck finding that in the county courthouse.

As a lurking member of a boat forum, I've noticed the economic hardships of marinas are being reflected in a magnified manner of the overall economy.  People are selling boats for cheap, and marinas are actually trying to stay attractively priced to keep their customers.  This is a free-market reaction to be taken advantage of.  Nobody will be bailing-out a marina, and when people have economic problems their toys are the first to go.  This pattern will continue if people want to keep their credit ratings in good standing.  Mortgaged boats will continue be sold for the balance due, or for cash market value if freely owned.  And the cash market value is shit right now.  

---

The following pictures are taken from boats.com listings.  Since they are classified ads, most will cease to exist in a few months, or a year.  All of these are taken from boats that fit the following search requirements:  Under $100,000 (most were actually under $50,000).  Under 50ft in length (most were under 45ft in length).  The central theme is affordability, and can be captained without much help, if any.  It is more practical if you can pilot your own vessel without any help.  It becomes much harder to maneuver a boat when it exceeds 45 ft in length, by an order of magnitude.  For some reason boat people draw the line at 46 ft, and say the next four feet of waterline is the biggest four feet in the world.  I have no experience to offer a contrary argument, so I will abide by that advice.  

Heres a 41' Hatteras SportFish, one of my favorites.  I like the squared off shape.  This is a nice boat.  Notice the size of the chairs and the little dinghy on the rear.  This boat is actually quite large, and very wide.  The average bedroom is 12 ft wide. This boat is 14 ft wide.  Motor homes are normally less than 8 ft wide.  You can't compare these things to a bus.  







Heres a Silverton boat.  Affordable.  I dislike the topheavy-looking shit piled all over it, but that is only canvas, the actual boat is slick.  Unfortunately, it appears there is no lower helm, which means you cannot pilot the ship from inside the cabin like a car, you must steer it from up top.  And that would suck asshole in a storm.  





Heres a 58' Hatteras YachtFish built in the mid-1970's, my absolute all time favorite  -- this picture does not do it justice.  Pictures of boats are extremely hard to find.










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AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: Boats
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2009, 05:28:37 AM »

This is the coast guard.

All your boats are belong to us.

Over.
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dc0de

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Re: Boats
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2009, 09:11:53 AM »

I'm saving money to get myself a sailboat to make my escape.

and hopefully I'll be able to sail to an ancap seastead eventually.
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mikehz

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Re: Boats
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2009, 09:17:15 AM »

Yeah, a sailboat solves much of the fuel problem, though you'll still burn some.

You may not pay property tax (although you'll still do so indirectly via the slip rental, which has to be high enough to cover the cost of the tax on the marina). However, you're going to have to pay a boat tax--at least in my state, just as you do on a vehicle.

Quote
They even have seawater osmosis purifiers, which dispels the myth that you can die of thirst in the middle of the sea. 

Roz Savage had two purifiers on her attempt to cross the Pacific. Both failed, and she ran very short of water during the first third of the trip.
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dc0de

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Re: Boats
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2009, 09:25:00 AM »


Roz Savage had two purifiers on her attempt to cross the Pacific. Both failed, and she ran very short of water during the first third of the trip.


Rainwater collecters are pretty easy to build in an emergency. and if you're at a low lattitude then you'll have enough sun to do some solar distillation, if there's no rain.
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Rillion

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Re: Boats
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2009, 12:01:02 PM »

Questions:

1.  Income?  Where would you work, if you're boating around all of the time?

2.  Internet access?

3.  Seems like being in a storm would suck, even if you're docked. 

4.  Unfortunately, living on a boat doesn't seem to be something you can just try to see if you like it.  Unless, of course, you have a friend with a boat who is willing to loan it to you or share it with you for an extended period of time. 
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fatcat

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Re: Boats
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2009, 12:02:32 PM »

Catamarans ftw

Much more stable than a monohull, harder to capsize, harder to sink, much faster than an equivalent monohull, can carry more weight.

The only issue with boat living is the sheer cost if you want something larger than a floating shack.
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BobRobertson

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Re: Boats
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2009, 12:29:01 PM »

As much as a traditional wooden boat http://www.woodenboat.com/wbmag/index.html such as a a two masted schooner, monohulls have their limitations. And wood? Only if I have all the money I can spend.

I'll go with Fatcat on this one.

I've been drooling over at http://cruisingcatsusa.com/ for years, just dropping by to see what kind of technical developments have been come up with recently.

The Lagoon 620 looks good...





I've always wanted to visit antarctica. Much more fun than newyorktica.

But that navigation station would be far more than just navigation if I had one, I would be sure I could pilot from inside so that I wouldn't have to sit outside in the cold and rain just to steer.
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Rillion

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Re: Boats
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2009, 12:44:14 PM »

I've been drooling over at http://cruisingcatsusa.com/ for years, just dropping by to see what kind of technical developments have been come up with recently.

The Lagoon 620 looks good...

Yep, if I had $2.5 million lying around I would definitely consider that one!
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AL the Inconspicuous

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Re: Boats
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2009, 01:11:04 PM »

Maintenance costs are a bitch also.

Plus a number of things could go wrong.  Like all government-run ports refusing entry.

You can't live on fish alone.  Well, you can, but you have to eat the organs and try to find at least some seaweed, and still it's very unhealthy.
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BobRobertson

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Re: Boats
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2009, 01:53:07 PM »

Like all government-run ports refusing entry.

Being armed against pirates causes lots of problems like that. Such as being arrested in Mexico because of having a shotgun on one's boat, and having to go to a Mexican port in an emergency.

Yep. It's happened, just a few years ago.
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"I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776 to acquire self-government and happiness to their country is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be that I live not to weep over it."
-- Thomas Jefferson, April 26th 1820

Bill Brasky

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Re: Boats
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2009, 02:22:30 PM »

Yeah, a sailboat solves much of the fuel problem, though you'll still burn some.

You may not pay property tax (although you'll still do so indirectly via the slip rental, which has to be high enough to cover the cost of the tax on the marina). However, you're going to have to pay a boat tax--at least in my state, just as you do on a vehicle.

Quote
They even have seawater osmosis purifiers, which dispels the myth that you can die of thirst in the middle of the sea. 

Roz Savage had two purifiers on her attempt to cross the Pacific. Both failed, and she ran very short of water during the first third of the trip.


I like the idea of a sailboat, but I've discarded sail power as impractical.  The rigging can be a real bitch and the wind can be fickle.  Its hard to take a sailboat upriver because of the narrow lane and tall masts under short bridges, not all bridges are drawbridge-types once you're a few miles inland those cease to exist. 

In a storm you want to be in the lee of an island or upriver for protection.  Sails have deep hulls and can't go in water below 5 or 6 ft deep, engine powered boats are usually about half of that. 

The water purifiers, like all things technological, get better as time advances.  They are not quite standard equipment nowadays, but close enough to common.  In most cases you'll be using dock water, you just plug in and fill tanks.  The osmosis purifier is for emergency use.  Leaving shore, you'll take a few hundred gallons of clean water with you, so that can be conservatively rationed for a gallon per day.  Sailboats don't have large storage for anything, but engine boats can store plenty.  They're designed that way.  I'm more concerned with fuel needs than water in a SHTF scenario.  You can easily stay offshore for several months if you don't run your engines. 

The tax thing varies from state to state.  In many states its like registering a car, and you can change residency to a state that has lax requirements.  I don't know a whole lot about that, but I would expect a state like Louisiana to be less restrictive simply because of all the sketchy types that try to eke out a living from the water trades. 
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Diogenes The Cynic

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Re: Boats
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2009, 02:52:49 PM »

Questions:

1.  Income?  Where would you work, if you're boating around all of the time?

2.  Internet access?

3.  Seems like being in a storm would suck, even if you're docked. 

4.  Unfortunately, living on a boat doesn't seem to be something you can just try to see if you like it.  Unless, of course, you have a friend with a boat who is willing to loan it to you or share it with you for an extended period of time. 

1.Telecommute

2.Lithium. Crazy expensive though, but it will work in the middle of the ocean.

3. Yes.

4. Cabin fever is common after a month, then grows exponentially.

My sister does work on research vessels and describes boats as "holes in the ocean you pump money into".
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Rillion

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Re: Boats
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2009, 02:59:55 PM »

My sister does work on research vessels and describes boats as "holes in the ocean you pump money into".

What kind of work does she do, if you don't mind me asking?
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Bill Brasky

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Re: Boats
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2009, 03:13:14 PM »

Questions:

1.  Income?  Where would you work, if you're boating around all of the time?

2.  Internet access?

3.  Seems like being in a storm would suck, even if you're docked. 

4.  Unfortunately, living on a boat doesn't seem to be something you can just try to see if you like it.  Unless, of course, you have a friend with a boat who is willing to loan it to you or share it with you for an extended period of time. 

Well, income...  I'm working on that as you've probably noticed from the Dow thread.  Other people, I donno.  Whatever is locally available, I guess.  If you have permanent residency at a dock, you can get employment in town.  You CAN get a car in that case if you expect to live there semi-permanently, and sell it if you move - or take a bus back and then drive the car to wherever you've parked the boat.  You could be a landlord and have an income stream.  You could do odd jobs.  You could charter daytrips for scuba diving.  You could write programming or books, or sell things on Ebay.  Theres lots of ways to make money.  Once you actually have the boat, you could get by with about $1,000 per month.  Dock, food, fuel, cellphone/internet.  

Internet is getting easier.  If you're able to get a cellphone signal, your problem is solved.  

Storms do suck.  Drive past a marina, you'll notice all those boats have survived.  If its a really big storm, the marina can haul you out onto the hard, as they say.  If its not so big, you ride it out.  You can tie up in ways that prevent damage, or go upriver for a little while.  Boat people always have an eye on the weather.  If The Big One is coming, act accordingly.  My idea would be to do the Gulf in the winter, and the summer go up the Mississippi or to the Chesapeake to avoid hurricane season.  

One of the cool things is not being gridlocked when they evacuate, like what happened in Katrina.  That can happen in other civil emergencies, not just storms.  That little factoid nobody likes to think about is in my top-five list of most attractive reasons for boat living.  Although I hope it would never come to fruition.  (I don't actually have a top-five list)

No, you can't just "try it".  I'm drawn to it.  I know I'd like it.  And I know other people would hate it.  

I hardly ever look at the wicked-hot boats any more.  They don't have to be real expensive.  For around $50k you can get a pretty decent one, if you could be satisfied with an average little house in an average little neighborhood, then fix it up a little with fresh interior paint and new carpet.  If you really really really shop it around, $100k can buy a really slick boat, nicer than most of our homes.  The important stuff is the engines and systems being maintained (and starting with good quality to begin with).  If that stuff is all tight, the rest doesn't matter much to me.  
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