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Daily commute across the Potomac River by boat

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  • Daily commute across the Potomac River by boat

    Hello All
    I will admit off the bat that this may be an absolutely crazy idea/question but I'm going to pose it anyway

    I am considering buying some land on the MD side of the Potomac River directly across from Old Town and Mount Vernon. I need to get to Old Town each day during the week. The land is a lot cheaper on the Maryland side of the Potomac. Is there any reason why I couldn't wouldn't shouldn't just commute via my own boat across the Potomac each day of the week, dock the boat, walk to the office, and then commute across the river home at night?

    I'm looking for experienced boaters to chime in on any safety, logistical, legal, pragmatic or other considerations that I may be missing because it seems to make obvious financial sense upon initial calculation

  • #2
    Welcome aboard DannyBoice. Always great to have a new member.

    When I was young, I actually lived in Pennsylvanian and the river that runs through Harrisburg would freeze over. Have you thought about the river freezing over there where you live, and an alternate idea to get to work?
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    • #3
      I'm in south Arkansas and commute by boat daily. Our run from home to the marina at the state park I work in is about 3-4 minutes. Keep the motor in good working order and a good automatic bilge pump, I see no reason why it's not possible. Winter weather might be a little more of a concern in your area, we only see below freezing a few times a year and extreme cold once in a blue moon. Actually had to break 2" of ice for a quarter mile last year.


      • #4
        When I worked "downtown", my boss got the idea that since he couldn't stand the traffic anymore, and the endless parking problems, he would come to work in a helicopter. Since he already owned the building and it had a huge roof, sounded like a plan. After all the expense and flying lessons he only did it once before the FAA arrested him.....LOL. They said it wasn't legal...

        Another story, not the same issue, but I thought it was worth repeating.

        What about Winter?
        What if it rains?
        What if the job side dock owner changes his mind?
        What if its Thunder Storms?
        What if the security people go on break and your boat gets stolen or vandalized?
        What if you need your car to go to a meeting uptown and its too far to walk?

        I guess the question is....why? Is it fun to do? Are you trying to save money?

        Sounds like a fun idea and a good story to tell people, but not a practical endeavor...
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        • #5
          A pic of my daily driver. Hopefully soon to be replaced with the boat in my avatar.
          Hmm....not sure how to post pics in this forum, but click the my boats link below.


          • #6
            While romantic, doing it twice a day, 250 days a year isn’t realistic.

            High water, ice and debris close down White’s Ferry on a pretty regular basis.

            If that isnt deterrence, imagine the fun you’ll have on the Wilson Bridge on those bad weather days....lol

            What does a slip in Old Town go for anymore?

            Hard to beleive property anywhere near National Harbor is cheap.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mechmagcn View Post
              A pic of my daily driver. Hopefully soon to be replaced with the boat in my avatar.
              Hmm....not sure how to post pics in this forum, but click the my boats link below.
              That boat looks like it would be great for a daily driver. Tin so you can bust a little ice when required and covered for the wind and rain or snow?
              198LE Stingray 4.3 TKS


              • #8
                I presume your plan to dock the boat in fort Washington? Is your boat reasonably efficient? Does it offer protection from the weather? How well can it handle rough water?

                I’m not saying it can’t be done. But I would ask if you’re familiar with that part of the Potomac? In the center of the channel you can have 60+ feet of water, but you’ll run out of water real quick outside. Trees and tree branches are quite common after rain. You can cruise to work in ideal conditions in the morning, and have 2 footers, tightly spaced in the evening.

                You can do it, just remember it’s not a perfect solution to the traffic problem.
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                • #9
                  I've thought about commuting by boat before. In my case, I own a marina right on the water and live right on site. I also own a marine dealership about 20 miles by water from my house.

                  I commute every day to the dealership.

                  Currently, it takes about 25-30 minutes in a car, with heat, windshield, wipers, windows that keep out rain etc.

                  If I were to take a boat and cruise up the river at about 25-30 mph it would take me about an hour by the time I count getting to the dock, tied up and walking/biking to the office. All the while I'm only getting about 2 MPG and using gas I have available at the marina (ethanol free 89 octane) for at least 50-75 cents per gallon (even at my cost) more than regular 87 pump gas.

                  Of course this time of year (-37F this morning) no boat aside from steel hulled ice breaker would make it.

                  Maybe your distances are shorter and maybe you save substantial time by crossing a river rather than going by car. You still need to look at the costs and issues you will be up against.

                  I do plan to commute by boat at some point for fun when the weather is good, but it makes no financial sense in my case. When you consider weather and other logistical issues, it really makes no sense at all.

                  Your situation is interesting and I would be interested to hear more about the situation, what boat you would use etc.
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                  • #10
                    The Potomac gets nasty in the wind, and there can be a lot of debris even following good weather, not to mention after a flood. You'll also deal with ice during cold winters, and if your commute is early enough, darkness and fog. You could do it occasionally in Spring and Summer, but honestly you're better off suffering through 495 traffic IMO.


                    • #11
                      Apparently this is a thing in Seattle. Here is an interesting article. https://www.seattlepi.com/local/tran...ne-1163238.php
                      2004 Four Winns 180 Freedom, 150 HP Evinrude Direct Injection
                      1972 Chris Craft 31 Commander Sedan Bridge
                      Various others at various times
                      I've worked on and have access to pretty much all types of boats/motors.


                      • #12
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                        For me commuting by boat is a necessity. I live 3-4 minutes from the state park where I work and we park vehicles. By land, when the water level is low enough, the trip is 33 miles of dirt, mud and gravel, takes about 1 to 1.5 hours. The only time this trip is possible is during the dry summertime. Winter floods can get interesting with the extreme currents and debris. Last winter the entire park staff boated in for 22 days during a bad flood.