Impressions After a Year of Living on a Boat

I live on a boat.

(…..)

That’s actually the end of this post.

OK, it’s not the end of this post. It’s the start of this post.

I live on a boat.

And I’ve lived on this boat since May, 2019.

It’s now September, 2020.

Which means I’ve lived on this boat for 1 year, 4 months, which is precisely four months longer than I ever thought I’d live on this boat.

Why would I not want to live on a boat for longer than a year?

Well, let me tell you about my boat. She’s a Catalina 27 sailboat. This means she’s approximately 27 feet long ,which sounds kinda long, but when you think about it it most of the space is taken up by the cockpit in the back or is too narrow in the bow to really be habitable. Which means the habitable part is basically a little room that’s 8 ft by 8ft. I essentially live in a jail cell, though of course I can leave this jail cell whenever I want (unless it’s dark and rainy in Seattle, which it is most of the year).

Self-steering????? Sheet to tiller? Are we experts?????

And actually the fact that I live in an 8ft by 8ft jail cell and eat gruel all day and do push-ups and dream of the outside world isn’t the worst thing about living on a boat. The worst part is that I can’t…………..(a;sldkfjadl;skfjdlskfjdslkfjdslk;fjadsklfj)….I can’t……(AJSDKFJADSKJDSKFJDSKFJDSKFJDSKFJADS)….I CAN’T STAND UP. Yes, that’s correct. There’s only one tiny, tiny space on the boat where I can fully stand up. It’s literally about one square foot, right where the hatch slides into the deck. Everywhere else on the boat I have to hunch over. And if I don’t hunch over, guess what happens??????????? I’ll give you 600 guesses. Or I’ll just tell you. If I don’t hunch over, I hit my head. Which is wonderful. There’s nothing quite like hitting your head multiple times a day. Really keeps the neurons on their toes. Really keeps YOU on your toes, and by on your toes I mean cursing and hitting shit.

Barold spots land! The southern tip of Whidbey drifts into view. First land sighting in several weeks.

So I’ve kind of started off with the bad things about living on a boat (especially a small boat), but just to recap I’ll list here ALL THE SHITTY THINGS ABOUT LIVING ON A (SMALL) BOAT:

  1. I can’t stand up straight most of the time
  2. I hit my head a lot
  3. I don’t have proper heating.
  4. Doing dishes sucks ass (because the sink is the size of a quarter)
  5. The toilet smells (I’m working on fixing this)
  6. My bed is not comfortable (I sleep on a bench seat; again, something I could potentially remedy)
  7. SPIDERS (especially in September)
  8. It’s so fucking quiet (ok, this is actually a good thing)
  9. It’s so fucking beautiful (ok now I can only think of good things, which means I’m going to talk about…)

 

THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT LIVING ON A BOAT

There are lots of good things about living on a boat. Probably the biggest is that it’s so damn peaceful. I literally live on the water. I feel like I live in a park. A couple days ago some outsiders (friends of my neighbors) came to enjoy the dock and said, “It’s a little oasis here.” And you know what? They’re right. I live in an oasis in the middle of a massive city. Besides my qualms about actually being inside the boat, I love coming back to the dock. I love watching the steam rising off the water on a fall morning. I love listening to the birds. I love listening to nothing at all beside nature (and the sound of the neighbors’ kid who screams approximately 14 hours a day).

Another wonderful thing about living on a boat is the rent aka the moorage. I pay about $433 dollars a month for rent (I own the boat but pay for the slip). Which is unheard of in Seattle. I have my own (semi) beautiful space, in a BEAUTIFUL setting, for less than a third of what most people are paying. Which means I don’t have to sell my soul to Jeff Bezos just to make ends meet.

A few other great things about living on a boat:

  1. It moves. You can take your home and sail it. You can sail to islands. You can sail to faraway lands.
  2. No yard to mow?
  3. Other people think it’s cool (ok this one actually isn’t all that great)
  4. You’re close to nature all the time.
  5. You learn more about the boating world.

 

My beautiful boat after sailing up to Bainbridge Island the day I got her.

If your’e thinking about getting a boat and living on it, I would say: Do it. Absolutely do it. But realize that it’s probably not going to be as comfortable as living in a house. Probably not even close. But I will never regret the time I spent living on a boat, and it will make me appreciate so much the conveniences of being a landlubber once I become one again. Having a washer and dryer, for instance. Having a freaking stove. Having a full-sized bed. Etc. Etc.

Etc.

What’s next for me in this great boating adventure? Will I continue to live in this cell until I die?

God, I hope not.

The plan WAS to sail down south this fall. But fall is rapidly approaching and I haven’t taken any concrete steps to making this happen. Which means one of a couple things will happen: I’ll pay moorage this winter while I escape the Seattle grey to travel and possibly live in Chile. Or I’ll sell the boat. Or I’ll… actually those last two were basically the only options.

For now I’m going to forget about my boat and go climbing. Because one of the best things about having a boat is getting the hell off it onto land.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

– Wetz