Four Years Living on a Boat

Happy anniversary to us! No, not our wedding anniversary (although we did celebrate 11 years earlier this year). It’s our liveaboard anniversary! In fact, it’s been four years living on a boat.

It doesn’t feel that long and yet it feels like we’ve always done this. I’m slowly forgetting what living on land was like.

So I guess, as with any anniversary, it’s time to take a look at four years living on a boat.

Do I miss all the space?

For the past four years Shiloh, our 1978 Tollycraft 37 Sedan, with about 250 square feet of living space has been home. For comparison, our condo we downsized from had about 900. Do I miss that extra space (or even just space)?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: sometimes.

On a day-to-day basis we have the perfect amount of space for us. Especially in the summer when Shiloh’s huge back deck adds another 80 square feet.

  • But when we’re working on a project or have friends over, it can get a little cramped.
  • And until recently I missed my dedicated office nook from our land-based days. Thankfully we found the perfect desk that fits exactly like it was always supposed to be here and gives me “my space”.
  • But whenever we venture onto land to visit family or friends, I realize just how much I love our little space. Some people might be claustrophobic in this small space but I find it comforting and cozy.
Sandra in Hammock

How can our space feel too small when I have room for my hammock???

Is life simpler?

Now that is a good question. Especially since that was one of my goals when we decided to live on a boat.

And the answer: it depends…

For example:

  • Using the marina’s laundry facilities is definitely more work than having our own washer and dryer. But I’m not responsible for maintenance or replacing them someday. And as an added bonus there is no worry of a washing machine springing a leak, soaking our downstairs neighbours resulting in a large insurance claim.
  • My smaller fridge, freezer and pantry means more frequent grocery shopping (sometimes). But it also means less waste since I know exactly what we have and we actually like everything.

But as with most things, there is a flip side.

  • When we lived on land, most weekends we travelled to our boat. Which meant packing for a weekend, unpacking at the boat, packing up at the end of the weekend and unpacking when we got home. Now we’re just here. Every weekend is a trip to the boat without all that packing (and driving).
  • Want to take the boat out. Let’s untie and go. Okay, it’s not quite that simple but it’s close. When you live on the boat, there isn’t much to do to take the boat. That is as long as you keep your boat, a boat. 100% there are some liveaboard boats that can never leave the dock. But handsome hubby and I are committed to continuing a cruising life, so Shiloh is basically ready to head out at all times.

Is life cheaper on a boat?

Yes. And no.

We are debt free. That was a choice though. We could have purchased a bigger or more modern boat leaving us with a loan payment.

Our marina fees are less than what our strata fees would be in the condo. And our marina fees include property taxes and all those other little fees associated with owning a home.

At the same time, liveaboard boat insurance is not cheap, especially when compared our condo insurance.

But with increasing interest rates, I am supremely grateful that we no longer have a mortgage. Our little home is all ours.

Stopping to watch the sunset or sunrise

Four years living on a boat - sunrise

There is just something about watching a sunset or sunrise over the water. And living on a boat gives us a front row seat to many spectacular skies. And honestly, I stop to watch them more now than I ever have.

As C. JoyBell C. said “Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under!” It’s so true.

Nature at our back porch

Four years living on a boat - swans

We have resident herons, eagles, beavers and ducks that come by. Late in the spring, the swallows come to their houses on our docks. And lately swans have been visiting.

We get to watch the ducklings and goslings grow (although sometimes the eagles teach us more about survival of fittest than I’d care to know).

Our Community

Before we moved onto a boat, we lived in a townhouse complex and then a condominium. We made friends at both but the sense of community within a marina is different. Whenever you pass someone, you say hi, even if you don’t know them. It’s just a marina rule.

And regardless if you know someone or not, like them or not, you help them when needed. I know if I get into a jam, there are 20 people on our dock I can turn to. And I know if someone knocks on my boat or I see them struggling I am going to stop what I’m doing to help.

It’s just a different sense of community on the docks.

Is it for everyone?

No. Just like with everything in life, individuals have their own likes and dislikes.

Friends have told me they could do it if they “had to” or they would never want to live like this. And that’s okay.

I don’t like a lot of stuff and I crave adventure. This gives me both. And both handsome hubby and I shared this dream. It’s pretty special to make it come to life.

Four years living on a boat… how many more?

Four years living on a boat

More of views like this!! [Háthayim Marine Park, a.k.a. Von Donop Marine Park, July 2022]

Who knows. We’re happy here. This past summer we spent eight weeks cruising in Desolation Sound and the San Juan and Gulf Islands. Now we have plans for an even longer summer cruise next year.

Overall, I feel we are hitting our stride with living small and making this space our home. It just happens to float.

And life is better when we’re floating.

Happy 4th Bome Sweet Bome Anniversary to us.

Wife on a Boat

Four years living on a boat

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