All About Online Banking

All About Online Banking

This is one of the popular phrases, that even a young 10 years old will understand about! Yes, online things are most hit among the younger generation, as its real quick in real time. In the olden times, banking procedures involved that we go to the bank, write and fill forms and get the things done; but now it’s different.

You just need to get a few clicks and you are done! Adding money to your account from another one, money transfers, demat accounts and even transferring money to your trading accounts is much simpler. That’s the reasons we see many online trading platforms are on the rise, as everything is possible in just a few clicks.

With the rise in the cryptocurrency markets, many people are flocking to trade the coin and make huge profits as the coins are volatile every time. But, not all that glitters are gold, thus not all the online platforms are genuine and good. only a few are legal and genuine, here to help you in your trading journey, with automated robot systems, that are equipped with algorithms. You can learn more about it here!! Read about the best sites to trust your money with!

So, let’s learn more about another such online change, that transformed the way we transacted with our money.

What is online banking?

We know that many of them know this, but there are a few who might not know the real meaning. In a nutshell, online banking means carrying out any financial transaction from your account, accessing your account too, via online; using a computer, laptop, mobile or any other electronic device that supports the app.

Here is what you can by accessing your account online:

  • Check the balance at any point in time
  • Bill payment and transfer of money to other accounts across the globe
  • Check for loans, mortgages and savings account details
  • Set-up direct debtor even cancel them anytime
  • Check and invest in any investment instrument online.

Is the online banking secure?

Well, many still fear this!! But, today, with the help of technology online security policies are in place, there is a measure taken to see that no hacking and account robbery is happening. But, to stay on the safer side, here’s what you can do:

  • Check your account frequently and also check for the activity pattern and report any strange activity
  • Don’t share any personal details via email or phone calls with any person who claims they are from the bank
  • Ensure that you log out from your online banking every time you log in
  • Use secure wi-fi connection to log in

 

 

How To Trade Effectively And Efficiently?

How To Trade Effectively And Efficiently?

The art of trading may sound as simple as we hear and read. But it is not the case in reality. Many factors need to be considered while trading. Not all traders earn profit from trading. Well, some traders incur a huge loss even after constant monitoring of market psychology. Moving your coin and placing them in the safe position at the right time brings much difference in trading. Investing in a stock that has no value, growth would result in loss regardless of continuous monitoring. Below are the points that a trader must consider while trading in any of the financial markets.

1) Trade logically: Enter into trade only when you are confident of trading. Do not merely enter into a trading platform trusting the luck factor. Question yourself on choosing the stock, why it needs to be traded, whether it has market growth, value etc. Do not invest without receiving the answers to the above questions. There must be a logical reason behind every move in your trade.

2) Set an indicator: As the market is highly volatile, there are high chances that the security you trade may move in unfavorable direction resulting in a heavy loss. Hence, always set an indicator such as “stop loss” which shall indicate you when the market moves in the opposite direction. Set a stop loss limit that closes your trade when the loss nears the amount set. By doing so, your loss is minimized.

3) Set a profit level: Our wants are unlimited. We always aim to get more and more and especially with the money, the expectations are always higher. We wait for the chance to get more money and lose the present opportunity that is offered to us. Close your trade when your security reaches the profit level projected by yourself. Because, any time later, the market may turn negative resulting in a loss.

4) Update yourself: The business is highly competitive with millions of traders in the market. Think broadly and watch how the rest of the market behaves when you execute the trade. There are trading bots to guide you on the trading aspects. They help you in timely execution of trade and provide guidelines on trading effectively and efficiently. Trading bots are trending in the market today. If you would like to learn more about it, then get started by purchasing the bots available on the market today.

Becoming a trader is easy however staying in the market and sustaining to trade is what many traders lack. To trade effectively and efficiently, one has to understand the basic skill of trading and psychology of other traders. One could learn to trade only out of the experience. Learn today and earn tomorrow!

Attractive Investments Options in 2018

The Investor today has too many options to choose from when it comes to investing. The investment industry is flooded with new and diverse products every day. People are often confused as to which investment to pick. There are many considerations that facilitate the investments decisions. All of us definitely want maximum returns with minimum cost. This being the main criteria we also look at it from the tax perspective, risk, and value appreciation of the investment and so on.  We should be well aware of the risks each type of investment entails to ensure that our finances do not suffer.

Stock Market

This is the most common form of investment available to the investors. While everybody knows that the investments in the stock market as the generated revenue it is also subject to risk where the investor loses all the money he invested. There is a good chunk of people who are still not comfortable investing in the stock market. They are happy with the savings or any other traditional form of investment. The best advice for such people would be to indulge in the stock markets with smaller sums initially. The options at the disposal of the investor are many and he is sure to get overwhelmed by the options. It is best to either have a financial advisor to help out or have a robot-advisor which has become the latest trend.

Peer to peer lending

This is the new form of lending that has come into existence with the peer to peer networks becoming popular. There are many new platforms that are coming up which facilitates the lending process. These platforms are only meeting place for the willing lenders and needy borrowers. One can lend money in small increments to help people capitalize their business. The returns in this type of lending are also attractive and can earn the lenders a decent income in form of interest. These platforms provide an attractive rate of returns and can be initiated in smaller amounts.

Real Estate

The value of land or property is always rising and the investments in these assets are sure to result in long-term appreciation of wealth. Instead of investing in physical properties, one can also go in for investing in real estate notes that guarantee the investor a fixed payment at regular intervals. This amount will eventually be invested in managing properties.

Cryptocurrency

This is yet another option where the investor can start off trading in the virtual asset via the specialized platforms available. Ethereum code is one such website that offers trading options in cryptocurrencies. See this form of trading to experience the ultimate way to financial independence.

General Cryptocurrency Related Terms

General Cryptocurrency Related Terms

The internet is full of cryptocurrency related information and terms. In this article, we will focus on noting down a few cryptocurrency terms that are commonly used when dealing with them.

1) Blockchain: Cryptocurrency is a decentralized digital currency that is not dependent on any central bank or government for verifying the transactions. These transactions are added to a public ledger known as blockchain that is secured with cryptography. These ledgers are public that means anyone can read the data but the data is added or modified by the owners of the data.

2) Mining: Mining is one of the ways to earn cryptocurrency. Mining is a process of solving the next block on the blockchain. It involves a lot of computational skills and a very high-end computer is required for this. It can be a costly process but if you are able to add a new block you are rewarded with a share of cryptocurrency. Another way of earning cryptocurrency is trading. Find out more by reading this QProfit System review here.

3) Node: Node is a computer that has a blockchain copy and working to sustain it.

4) Mining Rig: It is a computer that is designed to work with blockchain, it often has a number of high-end graphics processors that is also known as GPU to increase the processing power.

5) Fork: Sometimes a blockchain is divided into two different chains to manage the new governance rules. So in short fork is a stream or branch of existing blockchain.

6) Cryptocurrency wallet: Cryptocurrency is a digital currency so it does not have a physical form as the banknotes and coins. But it still has to be stored in order to be used later. The place where you can store your cryptocurrency coins is known as the cryptocurrency wallet or digital wallet. There are various types of wallets available, but these wallets are mainly divided into two types as:

  • Software wallet: This is a software file on your computer that is used to store the private keys and addresses of your cryptocurrency.
  • Hardware wallet: This is an actual device used to store the private key and public address of your cryptocurrency. This is known as the most secure way to store method to store the cryptocurrency.

7) PoW: Proof of Work is a concept where others can verify the process, like the Bitcoins PoW nonce (number used only once). PoW can be considered as energy intensive choice to proof of stake.

8) PoS: Proof of Stake, often known as a better alternative to PoW. Proof of work requires the miner to do a specific amount of computational work, whereas proof of stake requires the miner to possess ownership of stake or a specific amount of money.

All about International Investments

All about International Investments

International investments are many times a boon to us. We never know who the other nations are performing in their markets and their economy unless we see for ourselves. So, to let you understand the benefits of international investments, we have written down below the benefits, hope it helps.

Well, with the investment, we would also like to reiterate about cryptocurrency investment for a short term, say 3-5 years, to reap surplus returns, provided you have the patience to wait. In case you want to make some quick money, then you can opt for trading!! There are multiple trading platforms available, so do check out their review and make an informed decision.

Diversifies your fund:

This is the first benefit that you get by diversifying your funds. Investing everything in the same economy is a little bad for your money growth, instead opting to spread over various emerging economies will provide you good benefit. You will get an opportunity to make the most of the growing economies and learn a different perspective of business and growing money.

Protection and confidential:

When the funds are decently high, it’s better to give the responsibility of investing them in an international economy, where the customer is given full protection for your investments and also keeps the information confidential. International investment agencies don’t have the rule to oblige to disclose the investor’s information, which gives you an edge to make more money and keep it safe too.

Growth:

When you want to invest, we mostly see for the options within our visibility. But, when we invest outside of our nation, we get a visibility of across the globe and with eth help of financial advisors, investing on growing funds and economies will see a growth to your investment which wouldn’t have been possible when you had invested locally.

Tax benefits:

This is one of the biggest benefits for a few investors. Many nations have different tax slabs for the earnings through investments, and especially when the investment is from a foreign national, the tax benefits are further better. this gives a good economic boost to both the nations in the form of imports and exports, Foreign Direct investment in various sectors and strengthens the bond along with attracting wealth to you.

Varied options for investments:

Many nations have low variation in the investment options, while other nations have widespread options to park your funds. In such case, the international investor’s clauses give an opportunity for the foreign national to utilize the opportunity in investing on equity of that nation and also in various other funds, by paying a nominal fee.

 

 

 

Know about digital currencies

Cryptocurrencies are also called as digital currencies or virtual currencies. They do not exist physically like notes or coins. It is electronic money.  The cryptocurrency units like litecoin, bitcoin, etc are created into a digital token from a code with the help of encrypted data blocks called a blockchain.

These digital currencies not only can be used for payment but also it can be made use to run programs and execute contracts.  Using conventional money, the cryptocurrencies can be sold and bought in an exchange platform.  Even trading of cryptocurrencies is conducted by investors through online and one can earn good profit from it. Either it can be traded with normal currency or with other cryptocurrencies.  If the world of cryptocurrency is new to you, you can trade them using crypto VIP club software which can carry out all the transaction for you and you can learn about by reading this review.

How does the digital currency work?

Digital currencies use the technology called a blockchain. In simple terms, it is a decentralized database which is shared by all the users.  Users create blocks in virtual currency after solving complex puzzles and verifying all the transactions that have taken place. This process is known as mining.  It is quite a difficult task which requires significant knowledge of computers.  Then these blocks are added on to a blockchain wherein it is used for peer-to-peer electronic payments.  The blockchain has the capability to track the ownership of all the owners and it holds every transaction’s history that has been ever made.

As all the transactions can be traced back to its origin, it is very easy to keep a check on the illegal activities.  When you transact with the digital currency, your money will be safe and secure as entire transactions are recorded.

The cryptocurrencies are stored in the digital wallet. It can be actually used to pay for services and even goods if the seller is willing it to accept it as a mode of payment. However, you need to be careful while dealing with them a few countries still not have made them legal.  All the payment using the cryptocurrencies is made through online, but there are few merchants who will accept the payment that is done through your mobile phones. The best part is that the cryptocurrency transactions usually have low or no transaction fees. It is going to be the future of trading.

3 different types of trading that are famous at present

There are 3 different types of trading that are famous at present and they are Forex trading, Crypto trading and CFD trading, among these he mostly used one is forex trading and gained lots of hype in recent years. There were traditional ways of trading previously but in recent years there were many developments taken place in which the automated robots or software are evolved which are being helpful for traders to perform trades automatically without human involvement, one of the forex robot that stood in first place of all is Qprofit system which was discovered by Jerry Douglas who was experienced financier and another man involved in development of this software is Sasha Petroshenko who worked as engineer and software developer in NASA, with all their experience and knowledge they were able to create this successful automated robot which have high rate of accuracy and returns. The system can be operated in two different modes:

  • Auto-pilot mode: this is completely automated and will not require any human knowledge to complete the process
  • Manual mode: in this user need to do some partial work to complete the process of trading.

These automated systems are completely free to make sign-up but there are only limited spots of 10 available for a day so trader need to hurry up and grab their spots, the initial capital required to make investment is $250 which is strictly used for investment purpose and the amount can be withdrawn at any point of time. The system is so flexible with the friendly user interface, both the experienced and novices can use the system with ease. More than 60 assets are available with Qprofit system with which users can make profits by investing in them, usually no software is able to bring payout more than 90% but this software is able to gain payouts of 95% to enjoy this service user need to make signup immediately by giving some basic details like name, email address and telephone number which are used for verification process after verification is done user will get an external link of conformation to users inbox, when users click on the link they will be redirected to brokers page in which user need to choose broker for completion of further process, once the linking is done user need to make initial deposit of $250, turn on auto-pilot mode which will place trade and collect on behalf of trader.

Choosing a Liveaboard Boat

When I first started looking to move aboard a boat in 1998, I didn’t have a clue as to the difference between a liveaboard boat, and those primarily used for weekend cruising and short voyages.  I used the internet to start asking what makes a “liveaboard” boat, and these are some of the responses that I received:

Bitcoin Trader is the new online investment and crypto currency mining software which allows common people to join the world of trading and make profits out of it, the system will not require any human thinking to complete process as it is completely automated and can be used by all users irrespective of their experience and knowledge.

Usually in creature comforts like a working fridge, an internal engine (usually diesel), and a lot lower waterline.

– Doug Abbot

It depends, if you want speed or stability. Each cruiser has her particulars. Our vessel is 3/4 keel, with furling sails, making it easier to handle.

– The Lillie Family

If you truly want to live aboard a boat and also go sailing you would be better off getting two boats. Get an old roomy powerboat for office and living, and get a functional cruising sailboat for serious sailing. Cruising and living aboard dockside are totally different, what is needed for one is a detriment to the other. With a compromise boat, you end up with one that does neither very well. Old powerboats are cheap and very dockside livable, a good SAFE cruising boat, makes a horrible office and a lousy long term dockside home, and you will never go sailing because your dockside liveaboard stuff is too much trouble to get out of the way, Good Luck!

– Gary W.

 Ours can be sailed single handed, and we’re an Islander 44 (masthead sloop), but you may not think we have enough room. Islander Freeport 41 makes a nice liveaboard, but may not fill your sailing requirements. You’ve sure got some shopping to do! Best of luck.

 – Potterkat

A liveaboard boat must allow you to carry out your normal day to day living activities in a way that will not make you feel like you are camping out. These considerations include storage space for clothes, head/shower functionality, adequate interior lighting, workable galley, and comfortable sleeping arrangement. Remember, on a weekender, you are never forced to get into a routine, you don’t have to worry about groceries or hanging up working clothes or space to set up your computer and printer. Most importantly, even when the boat is “loaded down” with all of the liveaboard stuff, you still want it to be easy to sail without having to spend an excessive amount of time stowing stuff.

– Tracy Watkins

Fitting out a boat for living aboard in a marina is rather different to buying and fitting out a boat for living aboard while long-term cruising. If you are interested in the latter, you might mike to have a look at the web site I put together about my own preparations for long-term cruising, and about the trip itself. It is at http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/6076. I hope this helps.

 – Phaon Reid

Biggest difference is probably the size. Most weekend cruisers are in the 20 – 30 feet range. A weekend cruiser can have all the comforts of a liveaboard or very few depends on the boat and owner.  Don’t compromise on the amenities. For example, a small shower stall will drive you nuts in about a month. Look at multihulls (catamarans). They offer a lot more living/working space. They also don’t heal very much, important if you don’t want your laser printer on the floor.

– Stuart L. Jantzen

What I decided (1998):

After carefully inspecting 20 boats or so, I began to develop a sense for what makes a boat liveable. Some of the boats we went aboard are practically “floating condominiums.” They have beautiful interiors, and all of the creature comforts of home (Island Packet is a boat that falls into this category). These boats are made to be easily maneuvered, so their keels are relatively short. These boats also tend to be considerably lighter (i.e., they displace less water) than their ocean-going counterparts. Many of them tend to have large ports that let in a lot of light (but could also, potentially, let in a lot of water in heavy seas).

Ultimately, I decided on a 38′ Hans Christian sailboat. She has everything that I need to live my daily existence, and she makes it very comfortable. There’s plenty of headroom all throughout the boat. I can stand to cook my meals, entertain my friends in the saloon, and take a piss in the head. Not having to crouch throughout the living space is a very important issue in any home! She also has a full galley (kitchen), with plenty of storage for food, a working refrigerator, hot and cold running water, an oven, and a three-range burner. There are hanging closets for my work clothes and play clothes. Plenty of drawer space for my socks and underwear. The head is spacious enough so that I can read a newspaper while doing my business, and it has a separate shower. Hell, the boat even has a separate guest cabin for the folks I don’t want to sleep with!

While she does have a lot of amenities, the Hans Christian doesn’t have a lot of room in the interior, which will take a bit of adjustment on my part. There are no wide-open spaces in which to entertain guests (even the cockpit, which is outside, is small).

Thoughts from 2000:

Now that I’ve lived aboard for nearly two years, I’ve been on a LOT of boats. There are some HUGE differences between weekend-cruisers and a boat designed for full-time living aboard (like a blue water cruiser).

I thought when I bought the boat that she was relatively small. But I was comparing her to the spacious 1,200 sq. ft. apartment I used to live in. That apartment was ridiculous in its accommodations. A huge fireplace, 16′ vaulted ceilings, a separate office, two spacious bathrooms, an island kitchen, a balcony, etc.

For those of us who can’t afford multimillion dollar yachts, our way of thinking about space has to change when we move aboard. It is true that many of my friends asked, “Gee, won’t you get claustrophobic living here?” Well, yes, I would if I were in their mind-set. They live in big houses with a lot of the amenities my apartment had. Today, I live in a space that I estimate would translate into 300 sq. ft. of a normal house. That’s 1/4 of the area I used to have!

So, some adjustments had to be made. The only “furniture” I have is what’s built into the boat. This would include couches (called “settees” aboard a boat). I have two of them. One on starboard that pulls out to make a full berth and the other wraps-around the table in the saloon. Beds are also built-in. Candide has three official beds (called “berths”). One is in the very peak of the boat, and it comfortably sleeps two (though I was fortunate enough to once sleep with two women up there…but that’s another story). Another is in the aft cabin, which also comfortably sleeps two. The third is opposite the aft cabin (though this berth offers no privacy. It’s a “quarter berth”) and only sleeps one. It’s designed for the captain while the boat’s at sea. It’s very near the instruments and close to the companionway leading up to the deck. Wardrobes are also built-in. Candide has two. They’re located in the vee-berth (the front of the boat), side by side. Generally, I keep my business suits on one side and my play clothes in the other. The boat offers several drawers, which substitute for a chest-of-drawers that might be found in a house. There are four of them in the vee-berth, and three in the aft cabin. This is where I stick jeans, socks, underwear, and t-shirts.

The separate shower in the head is a must for living aboard, in my opinion. A lot of boats don’t have separate showers. Instead, the head includes a “hose” that is used for showering. Water simply drains onto the floor, and eventually is pumped overboard. This is NOT a good design, as you’ll be standing in water all the time as you dry your hair. Read the warning label on your hair dryer sometime. This is not recommended procedure (something about grounding, bare feet, water, electricity, and being electrocuted to death). A separate shower, where the water and mildew can be maintained, is definitely a plus.

Candide has a wrap-around galley, which means that the chef stands in the middle while everything is within arm’s length. At first, one would think, “My God! That’s the smallest friggin’ kitchen I’ve ever seen!” And it is. But, when the boat is at sea, the wrap-around galley is a god-send. The cook can literally strap himself/herself to a special bar attached to the oven and not have to worry about getting knocked around as the boat rocks back and forth. Everything…from raw food, to the refrigerator, to the oven and sink, is all within a couple of feet away. A lot of weekend boats, I’ve noticed, have straight galleys…everything is “lined up.” These layouts certainly have more room in which to walk around, but this is NOT a good arrangement to have at sea.

One complaint I have about Candide as a liveaboard vessel is the amount of light available in the cabin. Quite frankly, my friends have labeled her as “the cave” because there are no large windows letting in copious amounts of light. I admit, that if there was one thing that I could change, it would be the amount of light that gets into the cabin. It’s friggin’ dark in here! It should be noted, however, that this is a life-saving feature aboard a blue-water cruiser. In heavy seas, there are no large windows to break out and let in a ton of water. For me, it’s one of those trade-off issues. I do plan on crossing an ocean one day…best not to have huge windows.

Thoughts from 2003:

It’s been several years since I moved aboard, and I now consider myself an expert on living on a boat. Candide came with tons of amenities that I simply took for granted. Having talked with several of my liveaboard companions, I’m offering a list of things (simple, though they seem) that not every boat has. These simple things, or rather the lack thereof, can cause great hardships and break up marriages…according to the people I’ve come to know. Here they are:

  • Galley Sink

    Running Water.  It seems so simple. On land, you go to the kitchen to cook a meal, turn on the faucet, and don’t give a second’s thought as to whether water will appear. When taking a shower you turn on the faucet and water just magically flows. Most of us take this totally for granted. Now, imagine living on a boat with no automatic water pressure. To cook that meal, you’re going to have to use a manual hand pump (or foot pump) to get that water you need. It’s not an easy task to hold a pot in one hand while furiously pumping with the other! About that shower…well, I personally don’t know how it’s possible to be trapped in an area the size of a small phone booth, and use a manual pump to produce the water flow. It seems to me that a combination of slippery soap, confined space, and vigorous arm movement is just an accident waiting to happen. Yet, some boats don’t have automatic running water. This causes a LOT of problems for people who live aboard full-time. Note, however, that electric pumps can usually be added to a boat that only has manual pumps. So, if you find that dream boat and discover that it only has manual water, think about maybe adding an electric water pressure pump. Guaranteed to make your life easier!

  • Water Heater

    Water Heater

    Hot Water.  So now it’s time to wash the dishes from the meal you made with magical Running Water. The VAST majority of boats don’t have dishwashers, so you’ll be scrubbing them by hand. Experience tells me that hot water is much more effective for washing dishes than cold water. To do this, of course, you’ll need a hot water heater. Afterwards, you may want to take a shower before going to bed. If you only have cold water on the boat, this may induce a certain amount of “shrinkage” in vital (male) body parts. So, you crawl into bed with the missus with a very cold body exhibiting only a fraction of your usual self. This will not make you particularly attractive that evening. So, hot water is a very convenient thing to have for washing dishes, general cleaning, and your companionship. Again, hot water heaters can be added to almost any boat. It’s certainly worth considering!

  • Toilet and Shower

    Separate Shower

    Separate Shower.  No, I don’t mean “his” and “hers.” I mean that the shower should be separate from the rest of the bathroom (head). “Well, of course the shower area is separate,” my landlubber readers may be thinking. Who ever heard of a bathroom in a house or apartment that didn’t have a separate compartment for the shower, separated from the rest of the bathroom with sliding glass doors or at least a curtain? Well, a lot of boat designers, for whatever reason, don’t feel that it’s necessary to have a separate shower area. Instead, there’s a “shower hose” connected to the sink in the head. To take a shower, one simply walks into the head, turns on the “hose” and starts to lather up. The problem is that water will wind up everywhere in the head…in the medicine cabinet, on the toilet, and on the toothbrushes that were left out the night before. In short, it will produce one very wet bathroom that becomes difficult to use. Far better to live aboard a boat that has a separate shower…separated from the rest of the bathroom with doors or curtains…just like you’d expect to find in a house. In addition, the “whole head as a shower” concept is potentially dangerous at sea. Let’s say you’re on a four-day voyage. Second day out, someone is going to want to wash the salt off of themselves. They use the “whole head as a shower” and leave puddles of soapy water all over the floor. Twenty minutes later, someone goes into the head to retrieve a Q-Tip or whatever. They encounter a very slippery floor, the boat suddenly heals in a different direction, and they slip and bang their head against the toilet. They hire Johnny Cochren, there’s a lawsuit, a big media frenzy…you get the picture. A separate shower is a big plus on a liveaboard boat. And unless you’re a very talented carpenter with a lot of extra time on your hands, the boat has to built with this feature in mind. It’s not something that can be easily added at a later date.

  • His and Her Space. Small boats, by nature, are very cramped living quarters. One of the complaints I’ve heard from couples living on very small boats (say 25 – 30′) is that there’s no way to establish individual territories. I’ve discovered that couples living on larger boats tend to find a bit of space specifically for each person. It could be simply somewhere to sit down, or even a separate cabin…but a place to escape on their own for a bit of solitude. As someone who’s only lived aboard alone, I’m not an expert on this area. All I can do is pass along what I’ve heard from others in this regard.
  • Air Conditioner / Heater

    Climate Control. This site includes a whole section on air conditioning and heating. I knew that this was an important amenity for me personally living alone on the boat, but I didn’t know what a big deal it was for folks living without it. Here in Florida, it gets very, very hot and humid during the summer. Most buildings and cars here are air-conditioned. Living on a boat in sweltering conditions can make life pure hell. Sleep is nearly impossible. Even thinking can be a real chore. In north Florida, it gets very cold during the winter. Sometimes, the temperature drops below freezing. Again, sleep is nearly impossible. During the day, these temperatures aren’t such a big deal. One can go to a library to work or maybe a Starbucks. But at night…well, that’s a different story all together. As a liveaboard, it’s my opinion that you’re going to need some sort of climate control that can handle both summer and winter. Most of my liveaboard friends agree.

  • Refrigerator

    Refrigeration.  Maybe your grandmother had an old-fashion ice box when she was young. Somebody would come by every few days and deliver a block of ice to put in this ancient contraption called, appropriately enough, an “ice box.” The majority of America did away with ice boxes decades ago…but not in the sailing community. Candide, launched in 1985, could store some 250 pounds of ice. This is how food was kept somewhat cool. As a liveaboard, though, who wants to bring down two or three bags of ice to throw in the box every evening during a hot summer? Certainly, not me. Fortunately, the previous owners converted the ice box into a refrigerator. There’s a compressor, evaporator, pump…the whole nine yards. This contraption keeps the old ice box at a temperature of about 36 degrees or so. By putting things directly next to the “freeze plate,” I can actually freeze food (a gallon of water will freeze in about 36 hours). A lot of boats are equipped with separate freezers, which is great but they tend to consume a LOT of electricity. But many modern boats use 100-year-old technology to keep food cool (i.e., the “ice box”). Life becomes much easier for the liveaboard when these are converted to refrigeration.

  • Hanging Lockers

    Separate Closet Space.  Generally, boat closets (called “hanging lockers” in nautical parlance), are very small places. Space within these closets is a very valuable commodity on board. As a single guy living on board, I’m quite happy with the two hanging lockers in Candide’s vee-berth. I’ve noticed an interesting trend with my fellow liveaboards who have only one closet and a wife or girlfriend on board. It seems that the closet space becomes hers, while his clothes get stuffed into a drawer somewhere. This is not a good situation if you have to wear a suit and tie on occasion (though generally, liveaboard guys hate wearing ties, much less suits. You wouldn’t believe what guys were wearing to the funeral of one of our liveaboard friends…though the deceased would not have expected the guys to wear suits and ties and in fact wasn’t wearing one when he was buried…but I digress). The solution is to find a boat with two or more hanging lockers if you intend to have a significant other on board. From what I’ve heard, it will save a few arguments.

  • Shelf Space

    Shelf Space.  I’m not an anthropologist, but I’m pretty sure it’s a human trait to collect nick-knacks. At least, it certainly is an important aspect of Western civilization. Eventually, most liveaboards will collect books, CD’s, more books, photographs, and one or two more books. Most of us want easy access to these things, without having to dig around for them at the bottom of drawers or stuffed into cabinets. So, most boats come with convenient shelves that eventually get stuffed with all sorts of items. Generally, the more shelf space a boat has, the better. Of course, these shelves should have some sort of built-in mechanism that holds items in place while under sail. Otherwise, all of your nick-knacks will wind up on the cabin sole during rough weather.

  • Gas Range (Oven Underneath)

    Gas Oven and Range.  Candide is equipped with an oven and three-burner gas stove. I’ve never paid a whole lot of attention to it. I know that it will cook frozen pizza, heat up canned soup, and allow me to make spaghetti when I need it. As a single guy who never really learned how to cook, I eat out most of the time and really never gave the oven/range a whole lot of thought. It’s always there in the rare cases I need it (though it is used extensively when we’re away from shore…but the crew generally prefers that their Captain not cook. They’re always eager to do it themselves. I’m not sure why). In any case, I’ve noticed that a lot of my fellow liveaboards have only one or two burners (with no oven) that use alcohol as a fuel source. This is often the largest complaint they have about their boats…they can’t cook a decent meal. So, if you’re a chef or wanna-be cook, I highly recommend having a gas oven with two or more burners. Gas, by the way, is preferable to alcohol. From my understanding, it burns hotter and more evenly than alcohol and is less temperamental.

  • A Bit Dark Inside…

    Ample Lighting.  Some of my friends and fellow liveaboards refer to Candide as “the cave.” The windows (called “portals”) are very small. This is very good in rough weather at sea, as it’s unlikely that rough waves will break them. Not so good at the dock, because they let in only a small amount of light. It’s true that Candide has a very large butterfly hatch in the saloon, but it’s usually covered by the dinghy which I store on deck. As the result, Candide is dark on the inside, even during the day. This is good because the darkness conceals a lot of the dirt, dust, unwashed dishes, etc., but not so good when it comes to light-dependent activities like reading. As Candide serves as both home and business office, I’d like to enjoy more natural light during the day. Hell, I might as well be stuffed in some corporate cubicle somewhere for all the natural light I enjoy during the workday. Nonetheless, the long-term goal of crossing oceans, and the safety provided by small portals, outweigh the desire for lots of daytime light in the cabin.

  • Using an AC Outlet (yes, I know the outlet’s upside-down!)

    Inverter.  When I lived in an apartment, I had a lot of different appliances that used electricity; a coffee maker, hair dryer, iron, lamps, stereo, television, microwave…you name it. When I moved on the boat, I took a lot of these things with me. I found places for them, figured out how to secure them so they wouldn’t spill onto the cabin sole while underway, and simply plugged them in. They work fine, and I’d never really given the whole process a second thought. This is because Candide is equipped with a wonderful device called an “inverter,” which converts D.C. power to A.C. D.C. power, of course, is provided by batteries. A.C. power is usually provided by an electrical utility company. An inverter allows me to bypass the electric company by converting the D.C. power stored in the boat’s eight lead-acid batteries into “normal” A.C. power that runs my television and microwave. This is very cool, because I can watch television and nuke my food even during power outages (and, unfortunately, marinas tend to experience an abnormal amount of these). There are a lot of boats that have no A.C. power whatsoever. This makes liveaboard life tough, because most appliances from the local Best Buy require A.C. power. So, if you’re looking to live aboard and want to keep your cappuccino maker, I highly recommend finding a boat with an inverter…or at least plan on installing an inverter after the fact.

  • Hot Tub.  OK, just kidding about that one. It’s something that I’ve always wanted…but simply can’t have on board Candide. If you live in the Jacksonville area and own a hot tub, I’ll take you for a sail in exchange for some time with your relaxing water jets.

Thoughts from 2012:

I have now lived on board Candide for longer than I ever lived in any single land-based domicile.  I know every inch of this boat, and I’ve been aboard dozens and dozens of other boats…both liveaboards and otherwise.  If you are looking to buy a boat to live on board, here are some general guidelines formulated after 14 years of personal experience:

  • Avoid Wood.  Water and wood do not get along.  In a fight to the finish, water will always win.  Candide has acres and acres of teak, which is certainly beautiful and even functional (provides a great amount of friction for your feet when it’s wet).  It’s also a tremendous amount of work to maintain.  The varnish above and below decks has to be sanded and re-coated on a regular basis.  Below deck, especially in cabinets and the bilge where there’s little air movement, wood rots.  And rotten wood has to be ripped out and replaced.  This can be quite expensive and/or time consuming if the rotten wood is (was) structural.  Teak decks have a life of about 25 years before they have to be replaced.  It’s about time for Candide’s decks to be replaced and I got an estimate last year for the cost…$45,000 if the work is done in the U.S. (I’ll sail her to Central America before paying those prices…labor and teak are much cheaper there!).  Keep in mind that Candide’s hull is made from fiberglass; all of the external wood is above the waterline.  I cannot imagine the amount of work involved with a wooden-hulled boat.  I strongly suggest avoiding an all-wooden boat unless you have a tremendous amount of money or a lot of time and carpentry skills!
  • Avoid “Fixer-Uppers”.  All boats require tremendous amounts of time and money to keep in good working order.  I have watched people buy a wreck of a boat (or get one for free…I even knew a guy who traded a bottle of rum for his boat!), thinking that they’ll fix it up themselves.  I’ve yet to see anyone complete such a project.  Heck, Candide was in really good shape when I bought her…and it’s just about everything I can do to keep her that way!  If you’re thinking about starting with a “clunker” and making her into a comfortable home…at least consider living on land while you’re making her inhabitable.  It’s really tough to live on a boat that is undergoing major renovations.
  • Keep Her Seaworthy.  I’ve seen many liveaboard boats that never go anywhere.  They often have too much crap lying about the decks (e.g., potted plants, bird cages, lawn furniture, patio grills, plastic pink flamingos, etc.) and are sometimes disasters down below (e.g., engines half-removed, electrical wires strung about, no running water, etc.).  This is a big peeve of mine and many of my fellow liveaboards who take pride in their vessels and marinas.  There are much cheaper ways of being “trailer trash” than living on a boat!  Sorry if this sounds a bit harsh…I guess I’m getting to be a bit of a curmudgeon in my middle years.
  • Budget for Maintenance.  Boat are expensive to maintain.  They sit in water that will attack whatever they’re made from–be it wood, metal, fiberglass or cement.  Electrical wiring will corrode, engine parts will fail, water hoses will deteriorate, sails will rip.  Every boat should be hauled out of the water every other year or so for inspection.  All of this will cost money.  It is impossible to say how much it will cost to properly maintain any given boat, but a good rule of thumb is to set aside around 10% of the boat’s purchase price, per year, for maintenance.

The Marina – Your Liveaboard Neighborhood

Once you’ve bought a boat to live aboard, you’re going to need a place to park it.  One option is to simply anchor it in a river somewhere, well away from the channel used by moving boat traffic.  Anchoring is free; you can pretty much do whatever you like while you’re “on the hook” and not pay a single dime to anyone for the privilege.

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But such isolation has major drawbacks.  How will you get electricity to power the laptop, TV, iPad, iPhone, and stereo speakers?  Sure, your new boat may have massive banks of house batteries, but they will eventually run down.  You can recharge them from the engine, wind generator, or solar panels, but engines will require you to buy fuel, wind generators only work if there’s a good amount of wind blowing, and solar panels don’t work at night.  What about getting to work every day?  If you have a job, you’re going to have to get from the boat to shore.  You can get a dinghy, of course, to ferry you back and forth between the boat and land.  But you’re going to have to find a place to park that dinghy during the day where it will be safe while you’re at work.  Once you reach land and have parked your dinghy, how will you get to work?  Most likely, you’ll need a car.  But where are you going to keep that car at night, where it will be safe while you’re sleeping at anchor on the boat?  What if you want to order a pizza?  Papa John’s doesn’t deliver on the water…

All of these problems can be instantly solved by moving into the trailer park of the boating world…the marina!  A marina will rent you a spot where you can park your boat in the water and a car in a parking lot.  They’ll have electrical outlets where you can plug in your boat and use all the electricity you like.  They also have unlimited amounts of drinkable water, which you can use to fill the boat’s fresh water tanks.  Because marinas have a street address, Papa John’s is quite happy to deliver to them.

Since I didn’t know anything about marinas before I bought the boat, I used the Internet to start posting messages and sending e-mails to those “in the know.”  Here are some of the responses that I received:

As to marina ideas, you will be constrained by what is available to choose from, and may not be able to invent the one you want. :)   So, get a Jacksonville paper, or call up a chamber of commerce, and somehow see if the people in that area have some sort of publication about marinas. Something with a grid/chart comparing the amenities and prices. And do find out about the probability of being allowed to live aboard. For reasons not agreed to by live-aboard advocates, many many many marinas and municipalities have severe limits on the percentage of live-aboard slips allowed in a marina or area. Waiting lists abound.

Most marinas have bathrooms, not all have showers. Most have sufficient parking, not all is secure parking. Laundry facilities are nice, but I know from experience that if it is routinely busy you can toss the laundry bag into your car on the way out in the morning, stop off at a laundromat on the way home, go grocery-shopping while is is being washed, and end up home with not much time spent doing the job. A coffee shop nearby would help this process, of course.

If you ever intend to actually use the boat (and you should, to get to know it better!) out on the water, you want a slip easy to get in and out of. Again, you may not have much choice, if live-aboard slips are at a premium.

I lived aboard our 46′ sailboat in San Francisco area. We had a total of 30 amps available for our entire living space. Really not a problem unless it was very very cold. We did not have a boat heater, and relied on electric space heaters. At that time, electricity at our marina was not metered, btw. Two heaters going during a particularly cold winter, and we also had an electric mid-size dorm-style refrigerator. We found out that if we used the toaster and the the ‘frig cycled on that we would blow the fuse at our dock box. This assumes the lights and the stereo were also going, of course. Can be very cold outside on the dock.

New boat, new area, and we have a diesel heater on board. Also have really good set-up with two sets of two 6 volt golf cart type batteries. Good lighting, good 12 volt refrigerator. We can sit 3-4 days at anchor and still have good amount of batteries to start the engine. This is one of the “big things” you will learn about. The ability to start the engine after sitting around on batteries. We have many friends who routinely run the engine for at least an hour a day to keep up the batteries. They have freezers, and/or a less-good battery set-up.

Learn about inverters. And regulators. We can run the computer on the inverter, plus the color printer. All at anchor, without the engine running. Knowing you can do this means you don’t have to fear a 110 power outage as much. One of the guys on the newsgroup lives aboard his boat in Norway. Uses his laptop or his Psion and a cell phone for most of his communications. Has an oil heater.

BTW, our microwave uses 65amps. So does a hair dryer, which we do not have on board, just know this because I wanted to test the inverter when we put it in. Microwave gets used sparingly when we are on battery power, but can be used as much as we want when underway with engine on. Oh, get a large alternator.

See, you may want just a floating home, but wouldn’t it be cool if you can take that home off on a weekend once in awhile?

Gee whiz, I keep thinking up things nice to have. One thing important maybe not mentioned by anyone yet… if your shower pan drains into the bildge and not into a sump area with its own pump, change it quickly. That is, if the bilge is deep, and not shallow like on our Beneteau. Deep bilges with shower water really stink. See what you are getting yourself in for?

– Anne S. Paul

 Slips should be easy to find with the amenities you wish. However, you may find this gets expensive. Sort of like owning the home, but leasing the property. You may want to equip your boat with an inverter to give you 110 out put, more like home.

– The Lillie Family

I suggest you ask yourself the following question: What do I absolutely need that requires me to be tied to land? The biggest problem is going to be finding slips where you can live aboard. Most of the *land lovers* view boaters who live aboard with less than enthusiasm. To me, the amenities are nice as long as the price remains reasonable. Check around and find the best deal for the money.

I look for slips with a good breeze, little or no wake, easy access for sailing and getting around, and a well-maintained marina. That being said, I  *far prefer* to anchor out. A proper cruising boat doesn’t need to be connected to the land by umbilical. I go to the dock once or twice a month to fill up with diesel and water then head back out onto the hook. I run the engine twice a day to chill down the fridge and freezer (I have engine driven refrigeration as well as 12V), heat the water for showers and dishes, charge batteries (although I have a wind generator and solar panels) and to keep the engine in good operating condition.

I get TV and radio on the hook. I can use my cell phone to voice and data on the hook. I can choose my perfect location on the hook. I can choose my neighbors on the hook. I can save *lots* of money by staying on the hook. If I need to go to shore there’s always the dinghy.

– Doug Abbott

I can’t stress enough to shop around before you settle on the marina you intend to make your home. We were in two before our number came up on the St. Pete waiting list. We waited from March to June. First one was great but to expensive, second on was a regular Payton Place dump, but cheap.

– Mark Fay

We’re still working – not – cruising liveaboards (kids in college), so live in a marina. Beyond all of the obvious, which you will hear from everyone, I look for other liveaboards and check the attitude of the marina.

We moved this year (after waiting for the slip for 2 years) and I simply can’t believe the difference in our life. The owners of this marina seem delighted to have us aboard — beautiful marina and a real welcome mat.

I’ve been working aboard for 7 years and find the space requirements a little tight at times, but have a land-based partner who does store some of the larger items. Last year sometime I had an article on Working Aboard published in Living Aboard. I can dig it out and send a copy if that would help. (Robert’s Note: Louise sent me a copy of the article…it’s very informative. It’s also copyrighted, so I can’t publish it here).

You’ve got a great attitude and seem willing to make changes and take a risk. Best of luck in your search for a boat!

– Louise Coulson

The most important consideration in finding a marina is liking the people and the environment there. While most marinas have showers, not all will have telephone connections (critical in your case) and many marinas are notorious for having questionable electrical supplies (another key for you). This is easy to check by asking the folks on the dock if they are happy with these services  This will also give you a flavor for the personality of the facility.

– Tracy Watkins

It is possible to find marinas with all the facilities you mention. Remember the more facilities, the more you pay. Most marinas charge by the foot so a 40 footer would cost more in the same marina than a 20 footer. With “Jantzen’s Joy” you would need 110V power and water. Washer/dryers are available at better marinas. One item you have to look for is facilities to empty you toilet holding tank otherwise you have to use on shore facilities or a porta potty. “Jantzen’s Joy” comes with both a fixed latrine system and a porta potty.

– Stuart Jantzen

What I decided (1998):

Since posting my initial questions, I have done a lot of research into liveaboard slips. Unfortunately, few marinas allow full-time liveaboards to lease slips because of local and state regulations. In fact, the State of Washington is trying to ban the lifestyle altogether. If you’re looking for a liveaboard slip, my suggestion is to get on the phone and start calling marinas in your area. They’ll point you in the right direction.

I was very fortunate to find a liveaboard-friendly marina in Jacksonville, Florida. The Ortega River Boat Yard (904-387-5538) charges $8.50 per foot for liveaboards, plus $60.00 for electricity. They have showers and laundry facilities on-site.

ORBY, in fact, encourages liveaboards…they have more than 60 of us. The really cool thing is that a certain community develops within the docks. My next-hatch neighbors are from Canada and they’re here for a couple of months and then they sail off for the Caribbean. He teaches geography, and she’s a professional singer. The couple at the end of the dock built their own 51’ yacht. They rebuild houses for a living. Two boats down is a retired man from Queens, NYC. He speaks fluent French and travels whenever he gets bored with one particular place. There’s a mason worker six boats down. He’s my age (and a good drinking buddy). He’s from Whales, and lives on his boss’ boat rent-free in exchange for keeping the vessel in ship-shape. There’s also a couple from Alaska who fly down to Florida to spend their winters here.

The communal aspect of life in a marina appeals greatly to me. I enjoy watching boats being hauled from the water to have a new barrier coat applied. I’ve made friends with most of the dock workers, and I’ve learned a lot about their various trades (which, of course, will come in handy as I maintain my own boat). I also enjoy sharing a glass of wine with the true “cruisers” who only stay for a short time. We exchange stories over a drink, and they sail to every point imaginable. They’re quickly replaced by new people with new stories and new, exciting destinations.

Life with my fellow liveaboards is truly fantastic. Just today I awoke and my next hatch neighbors invited me over for coffee and muffins. They’re French, and we talked about literature and politics as we looked over a rising sun on the St. Johns River. What an experience!

Thoughts from 2000:

Last summer, I decided to leave my marina and move Candide to St. Augustine, Florida (about 50 miles to the south). I quickly learned the difference between those yards that welcome liveaboards and their lifestyle versus those who are only interested in making money.

St. Augustine, as you may know, is the nation’s oldest city. It was founded in 1521, and is a very popular area for “transient” boaters who are merely passing through the area on their way north or south. The City Docks charge by the foot for these boats on a daily basis, and they can make a TON of money by keeping boats moving through (most marinas give price breaks for boats staying for a week or a month). The City Marina allows boats to stay for a maximum of only three days!

Knowing this, I found a place around the bend (about two miles from the City Marina) called Oyster Creek Marina. I was very impressed with their all-new docks and facilities. The people seemed nice enough and I looked forward to spending several months with them.

Then the problems started. First, they were charging $10 / foot for liveaboards. I knew this in advance, and I didn’t particularly have an issue with the price. I became very irritated, though, when the management tried to convince me that Candide is 50′ long…not 38′! “You have a big bowsprit and stern pulpit,” I was told.

Had I been on a wharf, taking up 50′ of space, I would have understood their point. But Candide fit perfectly into the slip they had assigned to me…and I didn’t feel that an extra $120 per month was a fair price to pay for a bowsprit. Eventually, we settled on 42′.

The second problem followed a month later. I went to pay my rent and the management said, “We noticed that you are using an air conditioner at the marina. We have to charge you $100 for electricity.”

Well, I was flabbergasted! My parents live in a three-bedroom home in Florida and don’t spend that much to keep it cool during the summer!

Now I knew for sure that I was getting screwed by this marina. People who know me will tell you that I don’t take getting screwed lying down! I promptly called my attorney, who informed me that it was illegal, under Florida law, for the marina to make a profit on the use of electricity. His suggestion was to demand that an electric meter be installed. I was told by management that none were available.

I called Florida Power and Light to complain, and they had a brilliant suggestion. They suggested that I use the meters on my boat to estimate the electricity that I consume on a monthly basis. I could then pay the marina for the standard kilowatt hours charged by the electric company.

It was quite obvious that this marina was only interested in taking as much of my money as I’d let them. So, I did what every liveaboard has the power to do…set sail for Ortega River Boat Yard, where I knew I’d be treated more like family.

Thoughts from 2003:

For several months, I had been having some minor problems with ORBY.  The fact is, it’s a full-service marina. This means that boats are constantly getting sanded, painted, re-fiberglassed…you name it. The yard is, quite frankly, a mess even in the best of times. In many ways, living in a full-service marina can be like living next door to a factory. It can be noisy, polluted, and perhaps even dangerous at times.

I had been living in this marina off and on for over four years. I got along with most everybody and could deal with the working nature of the marina. Eventually, though, I grew tired of the whole situation. I longed for clean bathrooms, grass lawns, clean parking spaces, and docks that weren’t a hazard to walk on. So, in September of this year, I cast the dock lines from ORBY and moved up river to a new marina in Orange Park, Florida.

This new marina has everything that I wanted. There are only about fifteen people who “spend significant amounts of time aboard their boats” (a county ordinance doesn’t allow liveaboards at this marina…but the owner of the marina stays aboard her boat every single night.  Call that arrangement what you will, but it’s definitely not a liveaboard situation.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink!).

Fewer full-time people at the marina means less waiting time for the showers, and I can almost always find a convenient place to park my car (though the parking lot does tend to get full on the weekends). The owner takes great pride in the marina, and there are a ton of personal touches that makes the place a very attractive home. The grounds are kept in immaculate condition. The place is actually landscaped with various bushes, plants, trees, and even grass! At ORBY, one had to use old charcoal-fired grills to cook out. At the new marina, they supply gas grills! All it takes is the touch of a button, and there are instant flames!

There are three showers here, and each has a large vanity with…now get this…flowers! OK, so they’re fake flowers, but come on! In all my years of boating, I’ve never stayed in a marina whose owner takes enough pride in the place to spruce up the bathrooms with flowers. Another great thing about the bathrooms at this marina is that they have “reading baskets.” These are simply large wicker baskets that hold various sailing magazines, newspapers, books, etc. What more can a man ask for while spending time on the Great White Throne?

The marina sports a gazebo that serves as the center of marina life. At least twice a month, the marina hosts parties that are attended by 20-40 sailors. Usually, food and drinks are served and there’s some sort of organized talk about sailing. Perhaps folks describe a recent trip to St. Augustine…or to the Bahamas. Or, maybe there are several people who want to get together for a sail the following weekend. In any case, this community is very focused on sailing. NOT power-boating. Sailing! In fact, there are only about three power-boats in the entire marina! As a guy who lives aboard a sailboat, I truly appreciate the sailing-centric nature of this marina.

While this marina is considered “full-service,” all of the work is done behind an eight-foot privacy fence so that the boat owners never see other boats undergoing repair. This means that my car won’t get covered with over spray from boats being painted, I won’t have to dodge masts and rigging that have been left laying around the yard, and I don’t have to listen to the pounding, grinding, and sanding that takes place every day in any working marina!

I’m much happier here! I suppose the best way to summarize is to say that ORBY is like a low-rent apartment. The staff can be surly at times, the neighbors sometimes have questionable legal status, and some of the facilities are falling apart. My new marina is more like an “upscale” apartment complex. The staff are more professional, the facilities are maintained perfectly, and the marina abounds with small details that make the place “homey.”

Now mind you, I’ve had to adapt a bit to this upscale marina. At ORBY, I couldn’t care less if my dock lines were neatly arranged into a “Flemish Coil.” I often left cans of varnish on the docks (along with mixing sticks and brushes) for weeks at a time. Hell, my dinghy sat on the end of the dock for months! This was the norm at ORBY…pretty much, do whatever the hell you wanted and nobody complained because they were all doing the same thing! This results in a public-housing-like atmosphere. It’s not exactly a place where you can take pride in the appearance of the place.

Now, I carefully coil the dock lines every time I return to the slip. Nothing is ever left on the docks for more than a few hours while I’m working on the boat. I scrub the decks every two weeks. I actually put up Christmas lights this year because most of the boats at the marina had them! I never leave anything in the cockpit (at ORBY, Candide always had several empty beer bottles, a bag of trash, and maybe a bra or two in the cockpit). I’ve had to give up skinny-dipping off the boat with my friends during warm weather. No more pissing over the gunwales whenever the need arises.

I live the “clean life” aboard now. I take pride in the fact that there are many fine-looking boats at this marina that are lovingly maintained by their owners. Candide has joined their ranks. I guess this is the price to pay for living in an “upscale” marina.

Perhaps you’ve got a couple of questions about my new pad. I can only tell you that the cost of this marina is approximately $20 more per month than I was paying at ORBY. Well worth it, in my opinion! Unfortunately, I cannot divulge the name or location of this marina. As I mentioned earlier, this marina does not allow liveaboards. If I mentioned the name in a public forum (and how much more public can one get than the World Wide Web?), I’d soon find myself booted out of this place!

My advice is to find a marina that allows liveboards. Take whatever you can get! After several months, you’ll start hearing through the grapevine which marinas will accept liveaboards…regardless of their official policy (or even the law)!

Thoughts from 2012:

Now that I’ve stayed at several marinas all over the Southeast U.S., I have some pretty strong opinions on what to expect from a liveaboard marina.  In no particular order, they are:

  • Deep Slips.  Candide’s draft is just a tad over six feet.  This means that she has to have water that’s at least six feet deep in order to sail or enter/leave a slip.  My last marina in Florida (Fernandina Harbor Marina) was great when I moved in several years ago, but over time the marina has silted up.  This means that a massive amount of mud trapped Candide into her slip at low tide.  It was simply impossible to leave this slip for several hours every day.  The management understood the problem, and always let me move to a transient slip (expensive slips reserved for boats passing through for a night or two) so that I could get out the next day to go sailing.  But I always had to time my return to the marina so that I’d arrive on a high tide.  It’s not fun living in mud!
  • Working Internet Connection.  Almost every marina today advertises free WiFi for their customers.  In theory, boat owners are supposed to be able to access the marina’s internet connection from the comfort of their boats.  This is often not the case!  In general, marinas aren’t staffed with computer-savvy people to maintain the WiFi access points.  If the service goes down, it might take weeks to have it restored.  My current marina (Charleston Harbor Marina) advertises its free WiFi access, but the signal is so weak that it’s useless.  And Candide happens to be on the dock closest to the WiFi hotspot!  To get a reliable internet connection, I’ve had to subscribe to a 3G internet service offered by a wireless phone company.
  • Working Electrical Plugins.  One of the big advantages of living in a marina is that the boat can be plugged in to shore power, and the owners can enjoy an unlimited amount of electricity (which is useful for air conditioning, heating, playing on the computer, etc.).  Yet, many marinas seem to have a hard time keeping the electricity flowing down the docks.  Before selecting a marina, always ask existing tenants if the power on the docks is reliable.  If the power is out for more than a couple of days, be sure to ask for a significant discount the next time rent is due!
  • Laundry Facilities.  I have one pair of underwear, and I expect to be able to wash it on the first Tuesday of every month.  I expect the marina to maintain laundry facilities to allow me to do this.  It’s also nice for the marina to provide chairs to sit in while the wash is being done.  My current marina has rocking chairs, which are great to sit in and read my Kindle while I wait.  At this particular marina, the dryer is broken in a way that favors the customer.  The “on” light is always lit…so there’s no need to feed it coins to dry the load…just throw the clothes in and press the button!  In no way, though, does this make up for their horrible Internet service!
  • Well-Designed Bathrooms / Showers.  Generally speaking, I prefer to shower at the marina facilities.  They generally have an unlimited amount of hot water, and plenty of room to move around.  However, not all marina shower facilities are created equally.  I prefer facilities that have a private toilet, sink, and shower all in the same room.  Many marinas have toilets in one area (with sinks, of course), and showers in a completely different area.  I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable shaving at the sink with people walking in and out of the men’s room.  I like my privacy!  The shower area should have a place to sit down (useful for putting on socks and shoes), and several hooks on the wall to keep your clothes and towel from getting wet.  The Ultimate Marina Shower House, which doesn’t seem to exist anywhere, would have lockers where liveaboards could keep their own supply of shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.  Public bathrooms, by the way, should be professionally cleaned at least once a day by the marina staff or subcontracted to a cleaning service.
  • Access to Civilization.  I prefer to stay at marinas that are within walking distance (or at least biking distance) to restaurants, shops, and bars.  My old marina in Fernandina Beach was within walking distance to 26 restaurants, and I managed over the years to try each one of them at least once.  My current marina in Mount Pleasant (Charleston), South Carolina is about 2 miles from eateries and shopping.  That’s a little too far for me to walk, but I ride my bike to that area several times a week.  It’s good exercise!
  • Functioning Dock Carts.  From time to time, you’re going to need to restock your boat’s pantry with food and snacks.  On occasion, You’ll also be hauling around heavy things like propane tanks and batteries.  It’s really nice for the marina to provide dock carts to allow you to haul stuff back and forth from your boat to the parking lot.  It seems like every marina I’ve been to has five or six such carts…but they seem to be able to keep only one or two of them in working condition.  One solution to this problem is to buy your own dock cart and keep it chained and locked when you’re not using it.
  • Floating Concrete Docks.  The better marinas have invested in concrete floating docks.  These are great, because they rise and fall with the tide…so your boat is always level with the dock.  Many marinas have fixed wooden docks.  This means that the deck of your boat might be reachable from the dock at high tide, but you might need to climb a ladder at low tide.  Floating docks are definitely more convenient!
  • BBQ Area.  Many marinas provide barbeque grills, bench seats, and a covered place to eat.  These amenities are great places to socialize with fellow liveaboards and weekend boaters.  I think that every marina should provide a place to cook out, but not all of them do!
  • Staffed Office.  Since I live on my boat at the marina, I need a place to have packages and mail delivered.  Every marina that has a regular office usually has mail slots for its liveaboard customers.  Some will label the slots by groups of letters representing the last name of the customer (A-C, D-F, G-I, etc.), while others will print individual labels to identify the mail slot of each liveaboard.  The office is also good for sending or receiving an occasional fax.  They’ll also sign for package delivery.  If you’re really lucky, the marina will have 24-hour access to the office.  This means that you can get access to your mail any time you like!
  • Well-Maintained Docks.  Marinas require a lot of maintenance.  Electric and water lines that run from shore down the docks need regular inspection (especially on floating docks).  Wooden boards that have weathered and warped over time need to be replaced.  The docks should be pressure-washed on a regular basis to keep them clean (you’ll be amazed at how many marinas let the docks get covered in bird shit).
  • Security.  I don’t expect armed guards at the marina, but it sure is nice to know that someone is keeping an eye on the place…especially at night.  Over the years, I’ve seen outboard engines stolen right off the boats in their slips, bicycles taken from the racks, and cars stolen from the parking lot.  I don’t appreciate people from the general public deciding to use my dock as a fishing platform (they tend to leave bait and fish guts that I have to walk around…this also attracts birds that, as we established earlier, shit a lot on the docks).  Plus, I don’t know if these people are really fishing, or using the activity as cover while they’re casing the place for nefarious reasons.  It’s also annoying to have the general public think they can use the docks at night on the weekend to get drunk, piss off the side of the docks, and listen to loud music with their friends.  If it was up to me, I’d shoot these people.  But it’s probably best if the visiting public is monitored and controlled by the marina.
  • Marina-Sponsored Get-Togethers.  A good marina will foster a sense of community.  Annual Christmas parties are nice, but it’s even better if the marina has a few get-togethers spread throughout the year.  This is a great way to get to know your neighbors!
  • Fuel Docks.  Virtually all boats (even sailboats) require gasoline or diesel for their engine(s).  It is very convenient if the marina you live in sells fuel at a specially designated dock.  This means that you won’t have to get fuel from another marina, where you might not know the tide situation or the staff that will be “helping” you.
  • Mobile Pump-Out Service.  If you live on board your boat and use the toilet, you’re not allowed to flush your waste water overboard.  Instead, the boat will have a special “holding tank” that will store your waste until you can have it pumped out.  Many marinas will have “pump-out stations” that are often located at the fuel dock.  However, some marinas will have pump-out equipment that they can bring directly to the boat.  This saves the trouble of having to move the boat when it’s time to empty the holding tank.
  • Oil and Fuel Disposal.  It’s a good idea to change the oil in your engine and the filters on your fuel lines on a regular basis.  However, you can’t just throw the old oil or fuel filters into the trash; they must be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way.  Many marinas have a 55-gallon drum that can be used to dump oil and fuel.  It’s a lot more convenient to let the marina dispose of your oil / fuel than running around town trying to find a facility that will take it.
  • Well-Placed Trash Cans.  I usually fill up a 13-gallon “tall kitchen trash bag” every week or so with empty pizza boxes, junk mail, used napkins, etc.  At some marinas, this trash has to be taken to a dumpster in the back of the parking lot.  This can be quite a long walk from the docks (especially if the bag is heavy!).  It is better if the marina has large trash cans at the end of every dock and empties them on a daily basis.  Better still, I stayed at one marina where they had several trash cans spaced apart for every ten boats or so along the entire length of the dock.  The ultimate trash collection system has to be at Hemingway Marina in Cuba.  There, you just take your trash bag and throw it onto the dock right next to the boat.  Every few hours, someone will come by to take it away.
  • Good Dock Lighting.  Marina docks can be very dark at night.  After all, they’re placed far into the water and don’t get much light from streetlamps or building lights.  Instead, most marinas will have “lighthouses” that shine light along the length of the docks.  Lighthouses usually have electrical and water hookups as well.  Be sure that your docks are well-lit at night, and that they stay lit all night long.
  • Library.  Many marinas have a library (usually located near the laundry facilities) where boaters can borrow books and magazines.  The general rule is that you can borrow a book if you like, but if you take one to keep, you should leave one in its place.
  • Month-to-Month Slip Rental.  Some marinas require you to sign an annual contract in exchange for a reduced long-term rate.  I’ve never signed an annual contract for a slip; I prefer to pay on a monthly basis.  This way, I’m free to leave whenever I choose.

So there you have it!  Twenty things to keep in mind when you’re looking for a marina that can help make your liveaboard experience even more enjoyable.

Dealing with Boat Brokers

If you had an expensive boat and wanted to sell it, how would you go about the process?  There’s a whole lot to consider.  You will probably want to advertise the boat to potential buyers, perhaps by putting a “For Sale” sign on the vessel and maybe posting an ad on eBay or YachtWorld.  You’ll then have to field questions from people who responded to the advertisements.  If they turned out to be solid prospects, you’ll have to arrange to show them your boat in person.  If they get to the buying stage, you’ll have to deal with all the legal aspects of transferring the boat’s title, registration, and USCG Documentation.  You’ll also have to deal with buyers face-to-face with price negotiations, which makes many people uncomfortable.

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This is simply too much work for many boat sellers, so they hire a professional to do these things for them.  Such people are called “Boat Brokers,” and they’re licensed professionals.  It’s their job to market the vessels for the sellers, handle the entire sales process, and make sure that everything is done in a legal manner.  In many ways, they’re similar to realtors who manage the buying and selling of brick and mortar houses.

So if you’re looking to buy a boat, chances are you won’t be dealing directly with the seller.  Instead, you’ll be interacting with his or her agent throughout the buying process.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Since the broker makes a living by selling boats, he’s going to be highly motivated to make himself available at your convenience (days, evening, weekends, holidays).  Because he’s licensed and has sold many boats over the years, he’s going to have a tremendous amount of knowledge of boating and all of the legal issues when it comes to buying and selling boats.  He’ll also have friends who work in the boating industry; insurers, lenders, surveyors, marina managers, etc.  His network of friends can make the buying process a lot easier.

Here are a couple of e-mails from brokers who were kind enough to respond to my initial questions (online postings and individual e-mails) when I first started looking for a boat so many years ago:

Robert, your Dad came by yesterday to talk about boats and to line up some things to see on 7/27. I look forward to meeting you. The most important thing you can do to help us is to define how you plan to use the boat  “most of the time” (e.g., “live at dockside- leaving the dock two days a year”, or “live aboard cruising, never staying in one place for more than a week, living at anchor, coming into the dock only to buy fuel, etc.)  Obviously, these are two extreme examples that very few people actually do, but HOW YOU USE THE BOAT determines which boat is best – there is no perfect boat, but any boat in the marina can be the absolutely best choice you could make, and that same boat could be the absolutely worst choice you could make, depending on how you use it.  Fortunately, most boats, and people’s plans fall somewhere in the middle and work out.

Make up a list of “absolutes” – if the boat does not have “this,” I will not buy it even at a true bargain price, and/or if it does have “this” it is unacceptable, (e.g., gas vs. diesel engines, wood, steel, ferro-cement, fiberglass construction; aft-cockpit vs. center cockpit).  It is the things that can not be changed (aft cockpit or center cockpit) that should be absolutes; having or not having a radar is unimportant – (take it out and throw it overboard, or install one).

Being able to focus the search is important, as you can spend years “looking for the perfect boat” – that does not exist, except in our minds.  In any case we can help you find the “dream” boat, and look forward to doing just that!

– John Owen

I really enjoyed reading your questions and all the answers people sent by way of opinions and replies. Those who are suited to life onboard would have it no other way, and are always eager to encourage others to give it a try.  I think I have a pretty good idea of “who you are” from your excellent response to Capt. Neal. Everything onboard becomes a trade off. You are doing exactly the right thing to research this new project and get as much feedback as possible. I have lived aboard for many years, done yacht deliveries (ocean passages), refinish boats for a living, cruised with 2 kids onboard while home-schooling. I have seen the transitions from celestial navigation to GPS, from zero boats in a given anchorage to 30 plus. It ain’t like it used to be – in some ways better, in many ways worse. But nothing compares to the joy of cruising (and that includes the challenge of miserable conditions too) and therefore all the effort is still worth the result ! Since you will be entering a learning phase I would recommend living in a nice marina where you will enjoy meeting other yachties, exchanging info, and be able to conveniently carry out maintenance chores. It is also logical for phone and plug-ins, and water availability. I ONLY anchor out when cruising. It is quiet, bug-free, breezy, and peaceful. You don’t need AC. But, while living and working onboard, having AC would be a plus since you cannot “swing into” the wind as you would at anchor, and I KNOW your cabin space, clothing, and expensive computer equipment would benefit from the cool, dry air. I understand that you hope to be “free” to go long-range cruising in approx. 10 years. In that case, I rather suspect no boat you buy now will be what you ultimately take off in. Possible, but not likely. You need a comfortable home and a learning vehicle.

There were several suggestions to you that only a power boat would give you the space needed, or have one of each!!! Nonsense!! But the compromise of a motorsailor might just be the ticket for you for now. Needless to say, I have a lot of opinions, and a lot of experience with what works and what doesn’t, and I am still learning! Every boat and every trip is a new experience. Look very much forward to meeting you when you come to St Augustine/ Jax. Since I am Bruce Albros’ (the broker’s) girlfriend, currently land-based and not real happy about it, I enjoy “boat-shopping” with customers and helping out in any way I can.

– Una Kruse

What I decided (1998):

Unless you purchase your boat directly from the owner, you’ll be dealing with a yacht broker who acts as an agent for the seller. In Florida, these brokers must be licensed with the state (my understanding is that it takes two years to get a broker license in Florida). There are advantages and disadvantages to dealing with brokers.

Some of the disadvantages are:

  • Brokers work on commission, so it’s not necessarily in his or her interest to give you the best deal
  • To keep afloat (pun intended), the broker must sell a certain number of boats each month. He or she may not tell you that the under-body needs to be redone or that multiple homicides have been committed on the boat and it’s haunted by an angry poltergeist
  • The broker will always be on the side of the seller (his client)

Some of the advantages of working through a broker are:

  • The ones I dealt with are extremely knowledgeable (or very good at bullshitting)
  • Have many boats to show (a “parking lot” full)
  • Will do all of the paperwork for you (and make sure it’s all legal)
  • Will pay for the sandwiches and softdrinks when the boat is taken for the sea trial.

I strongly suggest making the broker work for YOU! I encountered a few brokers who wouldn’t even talk to me unless I had been “pre-approved” for a loan on the boat. My recommendation is to call every broker in the area (or use the Internet and start sending e-mails) and see how much time they spend with you. If they simply blow you off, you should ask yourself if this is really the type of person whom you want to work with (after all, if you buy the boat you’ll be spending a LOT of time with this person).

Here’s the letter that I sent to several different yacht brokers through e-mail. Some responded (like the ones you read above), and others didn’t. I was looking for brokers who would take some time with me:

Hello!

For quite some time, I have been harboring a dream. It started when I was a college student and joined our University’s sailing club. We spent a bit of time learning how to navigate, race, and maintain sailing vessels. After a week-long cruise in the Florida Keys, I made up my mind to one day live on a sailboat.

I’m closer to this dream than I’ve ever been before. Presently, I live in Dallas, Texas. I work from home, and I’m not tied to any particular location. Three weeks ago, I was given permission to relocate to Jacksonville, Florida – which is where I was raised.

My goal, over the next three months, is to find a suitable boat in the Florida area. I’ll be making “boat-hunting” trips to Jacksonville, Tampa, and Miami during July and August. In August, I’ll be purchasing a sailboat to use it as my home and office in Jacksonville. I’m looking to spend somewhere in the $90,000 – $120,000 range (or less, if I can find a suitable vessel).

I’m not exactly sure what type of boat I need, so I thought I’d contact you. Any guidance or suggestions you’d care to share are greatly appreciated!

Since I’ll be using this boat as an office, I’ll need plenty of space to work in (I’m in the computer business, and I’ll have a laptop, fax, laser printer, etc.). Are there boats available in my price range that have office-like facilities? Any particular manufacturer I should investigate?

What size sailboat makes a comfortable home? This is my largest concern – I want a lot of space, but I also want to make sure that I can sail the boat alone.

Here is my initial wish-list:

  • The boat MUST have air conditioning
  • I’d prefer a boat with an aft cockpit
  • RO water maker would be a plus
  • Wind generator would be a plus
  • Fridge is mandatory
  • Auto-pilot would be a plus
  • Radar would be a plus

Thanks!

Thoughts from 2000:

Now that I’ve lived aboard for a while, I have neighbors and friends who are licensed boat brokers. They’ve visited this site and take offense to the statement, “The broker will always be on the side of the seller (his client).”

They know that I work in sales for a living, and one of them asked me the question, “Do you always take the side of your company?” To be honest, I don’t. A lot of times, my customers are right and I have to go to battle for them with my employer. “So,” he asked, “do you always take the side of you clients?” Well, no.  Sometimes customers can be unreasonable. In these situations, I try to convince them of my company’s perspective. There is no such concept as “the customer is always right.”

“Well put!” my broker-friend said. “So you see why your statement is unfair?”

I do. Nonetheless, keep in mind that your broker will only get a commission check if you decide to purchase the boat he’s showing. I’m sure there are some unscrupulous brokers who behave more like the proverbial “used car salesmen” than the professionals they should be.

Thoughts from 2003:

A couple of things about boat brokers…a LOT of them live on board, and a LOT of them have Internet access and have visited this website!  They’re also an opinionated bunch, and haven’t shied away from teaching me more about their profession.

Over the years, I’ve come to know several of them in person. I’ve learned from them an important aspect of their job which isn’t advertised heavily enough, in my opinion. It’s a little-known fact that if you like a particular broker, he or she can represent you on anyboat purchase you make!

When I told my house-owning friends this fact, their reaction was, “Well, duh! Real estate agents do the same thing!”  Having never purchased a house myself, I didn’t know this.  Let me give you an example of how it works.

A few months ago, a girl stumbled across this Web site. She was looking to sell her house, buy a boat, and make it her home and office. We exchanged several e-mails, and I invited her to spend a weekend with me aboard Candide. She would get a taste of liveaboard life, and we would have plenty of time to look at boats in the Jacksonville area. She flew down a week later.

On Saturday morning, I introduced her to Linda Reynolds, who sells boats at Whitney’s Marine and happens to be a friend of mine. Linda spent a lot of time interviewing my new friend and taking plenty of notes. She showed us several boats at Whitney’s, and encouraged us to look at a few more in the area.

We took her advice and visited Ortega River Boat Yard (my old marina!). While we were there, my friend found a boat that got her truly excited. It was the first time she had “the feeling” about a particular vessel. Unfortunately, the boat was listed by another broker.

My friend explained to me that she was comfortable working with Linda, and didn’t really want to deal with another broker. So, we called Linda and asked if she could show us a boat listed with another brokerage. “Of course! No problem!” was her answer.

Linda simply went to the competing brokerage office, told them that she had a client who wanted to see one of their listings, and that she needed the keys. In a short time, we were on board the boat…lifting hatches, examining the engine, poking around the galley…

So, how is this possible? Well, I found out later that brokers can serve on two sides of the fence by either representing the seller or the buyer! The brokers usually work out a split commission so that both manage to make money without it costing the buyer or seller anything extra.

Had I known about this little fact, I would have had Bruce Albro be my “buyer broker.” I really liked Bruce; he spent a lot of time with me, and I felt that I could trust him. Unfortunately, I found Candide listed with another broker and it never crossed my mind that Bruce would have been able to help me! So, I wound up buying my boat through a broker I barely knew (sorry, Bruce!).

So, if you find a broker who you really like, my suggestion is to have him or her represent you…no matter which broker has the listing!

Thoughts from 2012:

Remember what I said earlier about a boat being haunted by poltergeists and the broker not saying anything about it?  Well, this broker seems to have turned a ghastly murder-on-board into a selling point:

California Yacht Broker to Sell Boat of Murdered Couple

I followed this story for quite a while.  A liveaboard couple decided to sell their boat (presumably without a broker), and one of the potential buyers forced them to sign over the boat, tied them to an anchor, and threw them overboard.

If they’d hired a boat broker in the first place, they’d probably be alive today.

Just sayin’.