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  1. #1
    Petty Officer 1st Class
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    Default Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    I've been reading some threads about living aboard both houseboats and cruiser type boats on the forum. Living aboard is something that has interested me for years and I'm beginning to think is something I want to seriously pursue.

    My first question is how small of a boat do you think one person (I'm single) could comfortably live aboard? I know this is a wide open question and not everyone will have the same answers, hopefully you guys can help me better understand what I'm looking at. I'm not looking at doing this year round, at least not at this point.

    I'm also interested in hearing more about the lifestyle from those who have lived aboard. Ideally I'm looking at doing this on a boat 26-30' or less that could be trailer-ed short distances for the off season.

    Is this possible? Could it be practical (in comparison to a cottage on the lake?)

    A little background about myself, I'm 20 years old, I've owned four boats so far with my current tub being a 21' Chieftain cuddy cabin that I've spent weekends on, I have zero cost living arraignments through work so I don't need to worry about being able to afford two homes, I'd like to make three season living aboard a reality sometime in the next decade.

    Insight?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    What's your definition of "Comfortable"?

    I once lived in a very small one bedroom apt. It was livable but it wasn't very comfortable.
    1984 Lund S14 DLX, 35hp Evinrude on a Spartan Roller Tilt trailer.
    1988 Alumacraft Classic 16 under reconstruction.

  3. #3
    Commander chriscraft254's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Its all going to depend on the boats set-up/layout. But the size you are talking about is just simply to small. Unless you only going to wear one outfit,eat out all the time and don't like company. Seriously though. You need to be looking in the minumum of 35 ft. 50 to 60 ft is pretty nice. There is a big difference in spending a weekend on a boat and living on one.

    I am working on a 35 ft gibson houseboat right now. You could live on it comfortably but it is about as small as I would go.

  4. #4
    Captain sasto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Hi Eric,

    I have lived on boats between 23' and 140'. Many factors to look at. Are you planning on staying at a full service marina with showers, restrooms, and laundry? Do you need TV? Does the marina have a gathering place for boaters so you can get away from your boat for awhile? Will there be a store nearby for provisions? The 140'er wasn't so nice for me as there was a crew of 6. I like some solitude once in awhile. The 23'er actually fit my needs well with a stove, fridge, head, running water....but no A/C.

    I once spent over a year in a hospital bed, so I'm easy to please. If I had a choice of a boat to live on being single I would go with something 30' and 35'. I prefer a sportfish due to a large cockpit for enjoying the outdoors and generally a better ride at the slip during strong winds. Wouldn't be trailerable although. A 35 Donzi, Wellcraft, etc, may fit your lifestyle much better.

    Good your single! I've seen many couples move aboard and end in divorce. Not so much due to the cramped lifestyle on the boat, but more to the socializing going on around the marina. Careful if you want to remain single...if you know what I mean.

    Good Luck!
    "Andrea C"

    BOAT=Best Of All Times

    "Everyday above ground is a good day"

    Winterization=sneekers, jeans and a sweater.

    Same Ship.....Different Day.

  5. #5
    Captain sasto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Here is the 140' (listed as a 150 overall) now for sale. She has curcumvented the globe many times. If your interested, let me know. Her name is Francine, named after the owners wife.

    "Andrea C"

    BOAT=Best Of All Times

    "Everyday above ground is a good day"

    Winterization=sneekers, jeans and a sweater.

    Same Ship.....Different Day.

  6. #6
    Captain sasto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    The 23'er....not for sale. Not many could live here, but suited me just fine. I had a storage room at the marina for clothes and personal belongings.






    Attachment 117410
    "Andrea C"

    BOAT=Best Of All Times

    "Everyday above ground is a good day"

    Winterization=sneekers, jeans and a sweater.

    Same Ship.....Different Day.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Considering I live in a house with almost 2500 square feet (spread out over 4 floors) and my wife has it chocked full of crap, I'd need a boat with a length of 100 feet and a 25' beam!

  8. #8
    Lieutenant Commander 25thmustang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Two at my club do this. One in a 35' Chris Craft, one in a 34' Luhrs. Neither boat is trailerable.
    Boat: 1987 29' Cruisers Inc 297 Elegante. T/270 Crusaders. (SOLD)
    Boat #2: 1984 34' Silverton 34C. T/270 Crusaders. Westerbeke Gen.
    Updating Thread: http://forums.iboats.com/boat-restor...vy-534493.html
    Race Car: 1989 Mustang LX 5.0. 12.5 on slicks, 12.9 on street tires.

  9. #9
    Master Chief Petty Officer
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Once when the wife kicked me out I lived for a week in a 1983 Toyota Pickup.

  10. #10
    Rear Admiral Fireman431's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    I have a 37' (40' LOA), and it's about the smallest I would look for. On the other hand, I'm 6' 3" and I need the ceiling height and I'm not sure something in the 30' range would provide it. The main areas (salon, cockpit, berth) aren't the issue. Look for the room where you need it. Check the shower and the head especially. Tough to take a shower on a daily basis if you can't turn around. On the other hand, as Sasto pointed out, if there are provisions at the marina such as laundromat, showers, etc, then you may do OK with something smaller.

    Personally, I'm gonna call on the 140' beauty...
    2001 Carver Voyager 374 'Stick's Competition'

    Something tells me I should be on the water....

    If I answer your upholstery questions, it's only because I've been doing it 20+ years...

  11. #11
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    I'm 6'4 and the headroom in my 28' cruiser is 6'2 at the galley.... cooking SUX
    Kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinnie
    But, where are the reevets?
    1981 Wellcraft V-20 CC Fisherman (FREE BOAT)
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    Fresh clean cheap oil is better then old dirty expensive oil any day

  12. #12
    Commander chriscraft254's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by smokeonthewater View Post
    I'm 6'4 and the headroom in my 28' cruiser is 6'2 at the galley.... cooking SUX
    Put a sunroof in!

  13. #13
    Admiral smokeonthewater's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    OH HOW I WISH I could find a huge hatch that matched the other 3.... I HAVE considered it but 4 new hatches would cost a LOT
    Kevin

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinnie
    But, where are the reevets?
    1981 Wellcraft V-20 CC Fisherman (FREE BOAT)
    1989 Wellcraft Monte Carlo 28(Build thread here)
    1992 Hotsports Jet'n'Cat Yam 701 WR3 drivetrain "SS George Washington"
    90's Yamaha WRIII and a pair of 95 Kawasaki ZXI-900's
    Fresh clean cheap oil is better then old dirty expensive oil any day

  14. #14
    Captain JoLin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by sasto View Post
    Here is the 140' (listed as a 150 overall) now for sale. She has curcumvented the globe many times.
    So, it's also a big space ship?? A regular ol' water ship can only circumnavigate the globe. Cool!

    (just breakin' your shoes, sasto)

    Seriously, a true live-aboard for one has to run 35' or better, maybe less in a (square) houseboat type. My wife and I have spent a week in our 27', but that was at a full-service marina with nice toilets, showers, washers and dryers. At that, the boat was still full of 'stuff' and having to move things around all the time to get at what you need gets annoying after awhile.

    IMO, you can forget about a trailerable live-aboard. I couldn't do it.

    My .02
    John and Linda
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  15. #15
    Lieutenant Commander 25thmustang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    My boat has probably 6'-5" in the "salon/galley" area. About 6'-3" in the head, but as soon as you get forward of the dinette it drops down, and right before getting into the front berth it is well under 6'. The main area has enough headroom, but not having it throughout would get old quick. More than a couple of days aboard the boat and I'm ready for home.
    Boat: 1987 29' Cruisers Inc 297 Elegante. T/270 Crusaders. (SOLD)
    Boat #2: 1984 34' Silverton 34C. T/270 Crusaders. Westerbeke Gen.
    Updating Thread: http://forums.iboats.com/boat-restor...vy-534493.html
    Race Car: 1989 Mustang LX 5.0. 12.5 on slicks, 12.9 on street tires.

  16. #16
    Moderator JB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Have you investigated the SeaCampers?

  17. #17
    Captain sasto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    [QUOTE=(just breakin' your shoes, sasto)

    [/QUOTE]


    I don't mind be straightened out, Lord knows I need it sometimes, but I haven't had on any shoes for sometime.

    Living aboard certainally isn't for everybody. I became what one might say forced into it. My job took me there. I am very adaptable and it took me about a month to get used to it. I sold everything.

    No matter how big the boat, or how small the person, there always comes a time when you must fit yourself in a tight spot. I find the bigger the boat, the more accessories are onboard, leads to alot more tighter spaces. I've never lived on a single engine trawler, but that's what I would look into. They generally have more storage room, easier to maintain, and affordable to take a trip in.
    "Andrea C"

    BOAT=Best Of All Times

    "Everyday above ground is a good day"

    Winterization=sneekers, jeans and a sweater.

    Same Ship.....Different Day.

  18. #18
    Chief Petty Officer island mike's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Ive been living on and traveling on boats since I was 3 years young.Mostly 30 footers.
    its always cramped,but thats also a matter of personal opinion.
    Nothing beats the feeling of freedom end independence of living on a boat.
    You have nothing to lose,Try it ...You will like it

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    one of the most important factors is the climate where you will live. Someone said, living on a boat gives you the world's largest back yard, and you don't have to mow it. Point is, you have to determine how much of the outside space you can use comfortably, in the weather. In mild climates, you hang out on deck, under shade perhaps, day and night. In tough climates--cold, rainy, windy, humid, hot, buggy, you are confined inside--and need a bigger boat than just a sleeping cave. Along these lines, you have to figure what you need for "HVAC" and which boats supply that.

    Design is the next thing. You can compare a dozen 32' boats and go from miserable to spacious.
    A man of constant boat tinkering.

  20. #20
    Lieutenant bekosh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    A few years ago I read an article about live aboards and the one that stuck out to me was a 30-something divorced guy, living year round on a 24 foot Sea Ray Sundancer. In Ontario, Canada.
    1992 Cruisers 2870 Rogue "Better Days"
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  21. #21
    Master Chief Petty Officer r.j.dawg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by bekosh View Post
    A few years ago I read an article about live aboards and the one that stuck out to me was a 30-something divorced guy, living year round on a 24 foot Sea Ray Sundancer. In Ontario, Canada.
    is right. We spent a week in our 24 foot Chaparral Signature this summer and it was the deciding factor to find something bigger. A Doral 270 Monticello is in our immediate future.

  22. #22
    Lieutenant Commander arks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    LOL, In April my marina had a newly-divorced guy that was going to live on his 21' sailboat.
    He lasted about a month, and our marina has nice showers!
    Seriously, living full-time on a boat takes commitment. I love spending time onboard, but living there for more than a couple weeks is not an option because it would take a lot of the FUN out of boating IMO.
    "Winter Dream"
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  23. #23
    Captain JoLin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by r.j.dawg View Post
    is right. We spent a week in our 24 foot Chaparral Signature this summer and it was the deciding factor to find something bigger. A Doral 270 Monticello is in our immediate future.
    That's funny, and precisely why I traded my 24' Chris*Craft express for the 27' Four Winns in my sig. Small world
    John and Linda
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    Twin V-P 4.3 Gi w/SX Drives

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Quote Originally Posted by GatorMike View Post
    Once when the wife kicked me out I lived for a week in a 1983 Toyota Pickup.
    well, that's bigger than the doghouse
    A man of constant boat tinkering.

  25. #25
    Chief Petty Officer island mike's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smallest boat you could comfortably live aboard?

    Living on a boat no matter what size is not suited for everybody,Especially the females only a handfull truely enjoy it,
    Peeps who actually live and travel fulltime on a boat are a different breed too,The diehards seem too become kinda antisocial when on land.Like not wanting to be part of the landlife.We had a guy here living on his very small sailboat with a huge beard he had 6 dogs on his boat.Whenever the dogs had to relieve themselves they would swim ashore and $#& all over the place..lol
    .Maybe I have been living in a house for too long ....

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