Ravensdale - our liveaboard home at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK
The move from a house to a boat has made some dramatic changes to our lives.
And, yes, I admit that they haven’t all been for the better.
That said, the positives definitely far outweigh the negatives and our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner.
We’ve spent the past week staying with a friend in the north of Scotland, who lives next-door to one of the last houses we owned in our shore-based life.
An old photo of one of our previous homes in Scotland - we spent last week staying next-door
The time away from our 43ft Neptunus 133 cruiser Ravensdale has also helped to focus our minds on the things we do and don’t miss about living in a house.
Before we decided to make the move, we drew up a list of what we believed to be the pros and cons of selling our house in Fort William, Scotland, and moving onto our boat.
And, after a year of living aboard, based at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, I thought it would be interesting to repeat the process to see if it had turned out as we expected.
The answer is that the “pros” were everything we’d hoped for and more, but the real “cons” were not the things we’d anticipated at all.
I’m well aware that many of the positives on my list are retirement-related and being able to retire early has been an important part of the experience for me.
But the following lists also include a number of things that would be equally true, whether working or not.
1. Every day’s a holiday!
Chilling out and enjoying the sunshine on Ravensdale's fore deck
The move enabled me to retire early as we no longer have a mortgage and I was able to get rid of my car, which I really only used for work.
2. Healthier lifestyle
We’re now living a more active, outdoor life with considerably less stress (also greatly helped by me no longer having to go to work J)
Phil setting up a fishing rod on Ravensdale's fore deck
3. Freedom to live where we want
We can now move our home wherever we want to be so the next time we decide to move our base we won’t have to go through the expensive and traumatic process of selling a house.
Ravensdale on her current mooring at Maryport Marina
4. Sociable lifestyle
Living on a boat in a marina is a very sociable existence. There always seems to be someone wanting to stop for a chat on the pontoons, come aboard for a coffee and to help each other with any boating jobs.
Phil helping a friend with his sails
5. We can take our home on holiday with us if we want – or not, if we fancy a change
We didn't take our boat on this holiday - but we hired a little one to go fishing
8. Wildlife watching
I’m really enjoying watching and photographing the birds, animals, fish and other marine life that visit the marina and in the surrounding area.
A cygnet hitching a ride on Mum's back at Maryport Marina
9. Rocking and rolling
I thought the rocking motion of the boat may become a pain, but it’s actually a positive in that it rocks us to sleep at night J
Our comfy bed in which we are frequently rocked to sleep
1. Toilet facilities
The walk from Ravensdale to the marina facilities at the top of the ramp
Living on a boat seems to be a constant battle against damp, which we’re now winning, but we still find our clothes end up smelling musty when they’ve been in lockers for any length of time. And I really miss warm towels straight off a heated towel rail.
Clothes in one of the lockers in our bedroom
3. Storage wars
The lack of storage space meant serious downsizing of our possessions before moving onboard, but we still have too much stuff. And the type of storage (mainly under the seats in the saloon and dinette) make it difficult to store items in an accessible way.
Most of our storage space is under the seats in the dinette and saloon
4. Maintenance costs
There's a very good reason why boating folk say BOAT stands for Bring Out Another Thousand. And the bigger the boat, the bigger the bills L
An engineer servicing Ravensdale's two 300 hp engines
5. Uncomfortable seating
The built-in seating on Ravensdale and most other boats I’ve been on never seems to be as comfortable as the furniture in a shore-based home. We’re hoping to find a solution to this one soon.
The seating in Ravensdale's saloon
This list barely scratches the surface of the pros and cons of living on a boat.
I intend to continue adding to it as we go along and revisit it each year to see how our perception of our liveaboard lifestyle changes over time.
Meanwhile, I hope our experiences so far will prove helpful to anyone else considering the move from a house to a boat.