Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Living on a boat...

About 6 years ago I purchased a 28 foot Uniflite Mega power boat and kept it at the local Fisherman's Harbour in Port Alberni.  Shortly after purchasing the boat, I entered into discussions with the harbour management and asked to be placed on their wait-list for live-board status.  I was planning on retiring during the next few years and planned on purchasing a larger boat to live on.

In 2011 I retired, and proceeded to get the Uniflite ready for sale.  I entered into an agreement with my son so that he could purchase my house;  and I now had the funds to look south of the border in the USA for a deal on a larger boat.  I decided to wait until I sold my 28 foot boat before seriously searching, and this happened in the summer of 2012.  I was now ready.

I was in my usual Mexico residence when I began my search online.  The Canadian dollar was in great shape, and prices of large boats were still quite low, particularly in Florida.  I searched through Yachtworld and various other sites, and did not really have a make or model of boat in mind.  I was concentrating on prices within my price range.

After much searching, I found a 51 foot Sea Ray Sundancer near Tampa Bay, Florida; and arranged for a survey and sea trial early in 2013.  I flew to Florida and met with the seller, agent and surveyor.  Anyway, to make a long story short, I purchased the boat, had it shipped across the USA and motored from Bellingham to Port Alberni; arriving in May of 2013.

After all the commotion of arriving at the dock and having a few drinks, the next morning I walked up to the office, only to find that the manager that had put me on the wait-list had been recently fired.  Not only that, but the wait-list was gone.  To make matters even worse, the new management had decided that no new live-boards would be granted, and as current live-boards left their numbers would eventually dwindle to none.

I must say this was a little shocking to me.  I've now sold my house and smaller boat, purchased a yacht; and now can't get live-board status.  I decided to check out live-board availability in Victoria.  I might just have to relocate.  After discovering that the monthly fee in Vic would be about $800.00 a month and that my boat would have to be hauled out every year for bottom cleaning - I decided against a rush move.

Besides, there is a policy in Port Alberni whereby you can camp on your boat for 8 dollars a night; which comes to about $240.00 a month extra (compared to the $100.00 or so for live-board); and this calculates to just over $500.00 a month if I remain and live on my boat.  Also, Port Alberni is mostly fresh water, and boats do not have to be pulled out and cleaned every year.

I wrote a letter the the Small Craft Harbour Commission complaining about this new decision at the local dock, and was told that all of these decisions fell under the local Harbour Commission.  No sense butting my head against the wall; but it seems to have worked out well.  I am off to Mexico for  7 months again in early September, so why worry.  Next year may be another story.