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What Should I Know About Life on a Boat?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Many people may only dream about having the opportunity to live life on a boat. However, with rents on land, especially in coastal areas, so high, for some it may be a good option, especially if they already have a vessel suitable for full-time residency. Still, while many consider life on a boat to be a good thing, there are a number of things one needs to keep in mind.

The most important consideration when looking at life on a boat is the home marina. Marinas often charge for a slip based on the length of the boat. In the United States, this is figured by the linear foot. In other countries, it may be figured by meters or some other measurement. Once that is determined, a lease agreement can be signed.

For those who will want electrical hookups, which is likely going to be everyone who is considering life on a boat, there will likely be an additional charge. This charge, in the United States, is often based on amperage. The most common hookups are either 30 amps or 50 amps, with the higher costs naturally going to the higher service.

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The other thing to consider when looking at marinas is the fact that some may not allow live aboards, as it is termed. It is more common for marinas near oceans and on rivers to allow live aboards than it is for lake marinas. It is vitally important to check this out before signing any sort of lease. Often, an additional charge is required for those who are living aboard and renting a slip at the marina because additional services may be required, such as receiving mail. This charge may be figured per person or per slip, depending on the marina's policies. Often, even if a marina does not allow live aboards, you may be permitted to stay overnight a certain number of days each month.

For those who choose life on a boat, the other thing to keep in mind is maintenance, especially of things like holding systems for waste. Without keeping these systems in good working condition with preventative maintenance, life on a boat can soon become a nightmare. Therefore, it is good to have the systems checked annually.

Additionally, those living aboard a vessel will, naturally, want to pay close attention to the weather each day. Life on a boat means being more vulnerable to the elements. In the south, this can mean hurricanes, which have the ability to destroy nearly everything in their path. In some cases, it may be possible to move the boat out of harm's way. In other cases, it may have to be abandoned. Under no circumstances should anyone try to ride out a hurricane on a boat and it is likely against the marina's policies for anyone to try.

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