Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Would You Live on a Boat?

Would you live on a boat?

By now, most of us have heard of the Tiny House Movement, the evolution from large homes and hefty mortgages to smaller homes and sustainable, within-your-means living. This nationwide movement has been fueled in large part by young couples seeking to unburden themselves from financial debt and high housing costs. And hey, that's not a bad goal. Who would say no to being debt free? 

Some Tiny House dwellers have taken to the water, choosing to live on houseboats, sailboats, or even yachts. There's even a term for this sort of lifestyle: "liveaboard."  It's waterfront living without the hefty waterfront property price-tag. Plus, houseboats and yachts tend to have slightly more space than your traditional tiny house. Imagine spending a warm summer morning feet propped up on your boat deck, a mug of coffee in your hand. Again I ask: who would say no to that??

As it turns out, Washington D.C. has its own liveaboard community, the largest on the East Coast. It's called Gangplank Marina and is located on the Washington Channel. Within walking distance of the nation's major monuments, the marina contains 309 slips of which roughly 100 contain liveaboards. A tight-knit community of likeminded boaters, the marina offers escape from the high rent and hubbub of citylife. 

Each morning, you awake to the gentle lap of water in the channel where birds dip and play and curious catfish bob to the surface. In spring, D.C.'s famous cherry blossoms coat the marina with a delicate pink blanket. Does this sound perfect to anyone else?

image source
Since learning of this unique community, Mark and I have been researching everything we can about liveaboards and houseboat communities. Living aboard is not without it's unique challenges such as boat upkeep, slip fees, and my personal favorite: shoveling snow off your boat to insure it doesn't sink in winter. Yikes! 

Gangplank Marina has a long wait-list of houseboat owners looking to relocate to the nation's capitol. A wait-list made even more challenging by the building of a huge waterfront development called the Wharf. Some houseboat owners fear the the Wharf will overshadow their precious marina, jacking slip costs and disturbing their slice of paradise. But where there's a will, there's a way. People circumnavigate the obstacles by purchasing a boat already in located in the marina and so set up their floating home.

So would you do it?  Would you forsake life on land and try a liveaboard?
I think I would!

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