Friday, 1 December 2017

Pros and cons of living on a boat


Photo of Ravensdale Ravensdale at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK

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

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.

Pros


1.    Every day’s a holiday!
Photo of chilling out and enjoying the sunshine on Ravensdale's fore deck

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
Photo of Phil setting up a fishing rod on Ravensdale's fore deck

Phil setting up a fishing rod on Ravensdale's fore deck

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)


3.    Freedom to live where we want
Photo of Ravensdale on her current mooring at Maryport Marina

Ravensdale on her current mooring at Maryport Marina

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.


4.    Sociable lifestyle
Photo of Phil helping a friend with his sails

Phil helping a friend with his sails

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.

5.    We can take our home on holiday with us if we want – or not, if we fancy a change
Photo of me on a fishing boat we hired on holiday

We didn't take our boat on this holiday - but we hired a little one to go fishing


6.    Slower pace of life
Photo showing that no watches are needed most of the time

No watches are needed most of the time

Both Phil and I have stopped wearing watches since we moved onboard. Obviously there are times when we need to be in a certain place at a certain time, but most of the time we do things at our own pace.


7.    New challenges
Photo of my first attempts at a sailmaker's whipping knot

My first attempts at a sailmaker's whipping knot

Moving onto a boat has given us the opportunity to learn new skills, both by following boating-related courses and the things we’ve learnt as we’ve gone along to enable us to look after our new home.


8.    Wildlife watching
Photo of a cygnet hitching a ride on Mum's back at Maryport Marina

A cygnet hitching a ride on Mum's back at Maryport Marina

I’m really enjoying watching and photographing the birds, animals, fish and other marine life that visit the marina and in the surrounding area.


9.    Rocking and rolling
Photo of our comfy bed in which we are frequently rocked to sleep

Our comfy bed in which we are frequently rocked to sleep

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

Cons

1.    Toilet facilities
Photo of the marina facilities from Ravensdale

The walk from Ravensdale to the marina facilities at the top of the ramp

It’s a bit of a nuisance having to minimise use of the onboard heads to prevent the holding tank filling up and needing to be emptied too often. This means making use of the marina facilities whenever possible.



2.    Damp
Photo of clothes in one of the lockers in our bedroom

Clothes in one of the lockers in our bedroom

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.


3.    Storage wars
Photo of storage space under the seats in the dinette

Most of our storage space is under the seats in the dinette and saloon

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.


4.    Maintenance costs
Photo of an engineer servicing Ravensdale's two 300 hp engines

An engineer servicing Ravensdale's two 300 hp engines

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


5.    Uncomfortable seating
Photo of the seating in Ravensdale's saloon

The seating in Ravensdale's saloon

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.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there and thanks for the post. We too are selling everything and moving aboard. Already got the boat and the house gets listed in February. I'll be following your blog!

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