Tuesday, 23 November 2010

What makes an ideal live-aboard boat?

James wrote this in response to this question being posed on CWDF, but I think it's an interesting enough topic to warrant a blog post:

To an extent, it's brokerspeak- because of course you could live onboard any boat, even in a 9' back cabin with no water tank or electricity if you wanted to!

I'd say, though, that if you are going to live aboard your boat, you'll find some things more useful- but not essential- than others.

For example, as a liveaboard with a mooring, I don't move that often, only short cruises to the waterpoint and back, and occasionally longer weekend or holiday trips of a week, with a long summer jaunt for a month. As a result, I'm glad that:

  • We have instant gas water heating, so no need to run the engine or an expensive diesel heater to get hot water
  • We have a solid fuel stove, and lots of storage space for buying coal in bulk, rather than a diesel heater.
  • We have solar panels and a (small) genny, and we've been almost entirely self-sufficient from that 130w panel since April- only run the genny a couple of times when watching TV for an extended period, etc.
  • We have plenty of storage for my entire wardrobe of clothes, from dinner jacket down to boat-blacking overalls- although fitting Amy's collection in too is a challenge...
  • We have a proper amount of storage in the kitchen, so we can store a good deal of food.
  • We have a lot of storage for all my tools, spare diesel cans, paint, and all the supplies needed to maintain the boat.

So in my opinion, the most ideal liveaboard boat will be equipped to allow you to live on it without having to rely on running the engine every day for hot water or power, will have an economical form of heating with space to store the fuel, and the space to allow you to bring all your possesions with you.

Of course, you can do without some or all of the above- there are of course liveaboards who do run engines and gennies for extended periods of time, and have adapted their lifestyle around the needs of their own boat. But I think my central point is that the ideal liveaboard boat allows you to live aboard it with the minimum amount of faff, and to not have to rely on moving every few days. 

To illustrate: a picture of the domestic cosiness of a liveaboard!

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed been you've been almost entirely self-sufficient from that 130w panel since April, do I guess you have a gas fridge? I find that our fridge gobbles up our batteries!