Life on a Boat: The Neighborhood
Another popular question that people tend to ask us after discovering that we live on a boat is “What are your neighbors like?” This is definitely a fair question, especially for those who haven’t been exposed to the boating community – live aboard or not. I think the best way to describe it is to compare it to living in an apartment complex. You have a lot of people, from all walks of life, living in a small area, who all have their quirks. Sorta sounds like the tagline for a reality show, doesn’t it?
I’ll start off by saying that not everyone who has a boat at the marina is a live aboard like us. I’m guessing that about less than half of the boats here have people living on them full-time. The other half are recreational users who come on the weekends – maybe for an overnight here and there – then go back to their land lives during the week. Heck, the sailboat next to us is a time share deal that has SEVEN sets of owners rotating through on different weekends throughout the summer. Crazy! That crowd has been winding down since Labor Day and I’m wondering when we’ll start seeing boats being pulled from the water to get winterized and packed away until the weather warms up again. While all of our neighbors are unique in their own sort of way, we’ve found that there are a few common types that most typically fall into.
The most common we’ve seen so far is the ‘Retired & Living the Dream‘ type. These are exactly what it sounds like… a person – most likely a couple – that have retired from long careers, bought a boat and are now living the dream cruising from port to port and enjoying their Golden Years. They typically wear only sailing clothing – usually with some type of UPF – Teva or Croc sandals, have a dog – usually a Terrier or Retriever – and love to drink a lot of wine. We used to be intimidated by these types of cruisers because we believed that with their age also came wisdom. However, further conversations have unveiled the bloopers of their early sailing years and we’ve learned that, they too, have made mistakes along the way. In fact, some of them are still making them. This is also the group that tends to give out tons of (mostly unsolicited) advice about cruising, boat repair, and books we must have on hand before we attempt to untie even one dock line. We’ve learned to take their advise with a grain of salt and proceed to do it our way anyway.
Another common type is ‘The Loner‘. Again, the title is pretty self explanatory. A single guy, living aboard, although his boat is typically much smaller than the R<D type described above. The most common are usually the quirky ones who have never been married, or the newly divorced types who have exiled themselves to a life of “freedom” most likely because the ex-missus hated boats. These guys keep to themselves and when you do run into them awkward conversation ensues. I’m not sure who the proud owner of this gem is, but I’m pretty sure the owner would fall into this category.
Every time we walk by this van, it reminds me of this Chris Farley skit on SNL. Never. Gets. Old.
Seriously though, i’ve never seen one thing out of place, so it doesn’t appear to have anyone living in it. Maybe it’s a cheaper storage option than a POD?
There are also a few families living aboard here. The thought boggles my mind….we live on a 41′ catamaran that is 24′ wide with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Sometimes, even this feels cramped for just two people, and it’s the freakin’ Taj Majal compared to some of the other boat here. Now imagine a family of four living on a little 34′ monohull, at anchor in the middle of the river, with no electrical or water hook up. Yeah. That’s actually happening right now.
Heck, who am I kidding. If we found out I was preggers tomorrow, we’d definitely stick it out on the boat. Factor in a semi-permanent residence in the Bahamas, and I’d raise a whole clan onboard to have that kind of lifestyle.
There are several boats here that we’ve never seen anyone at… like, ever. I’d like to meet the person who can leave such a large investment, neglected, here at a pricey marina in Annapolis for the entire season. Equal and opposite, there are a few boats who have clearly made the water their home. I wonder how many times – if ever – they’ve left the dock. Matt was very clear when we move onto the boat that if we can’t pack it up and shove off within 30 minutes, them we’ve gotten too comfortable at the dock.
I did get some mums last weekend and had them artfully arranged in a metal container on the back of the boat. Guess where they are now? El captain put his foot down.