Monday, July 25, 2011

Possible to Liveaboard near Cincinnati?

I've become more inspired recently about the possibility of living onboard locally (days after being depressed about my boat owning prospects - can anybody say bipolar?).  I was doing my almost daily perusing of various boating sites, and I thought to myself; I wonder if there are liveaboards in the area?  I know some of the local lakes have some houseboats, but they also drop the water level drastically in the winter (flood control), and I don't think the lakes are open.   So I thought to myself (usually the only person that will listen to me), let's take a look on the river - probably doesn't freeze as easily.

I looked online at some of the marinas that were listed, and some of them even said they welcomed liveaboards.  I could feel the excitement building.  Is it possible to sell the house, and live locally while working, building up my sailing kitty?  So I inquired at a few places and yes. It's true liveaboards aren't shunned everywhere.  The first place I actually got a response from said they still had a few liveaboards, but the number at fallen off in the last 5 years or so.  I guess the lifestyle isn't for everybody.  Of course - this isn't tropical liveaboard conditions.  We are talking about Ohio - and freezing temperatures in the winter.  But I am not deterred!  Yet :)  Give me the first winter on a boat in Ohio and we may be talking again.

Here are a couple of the Marinas I looked at (links to the marinas are in the picture captions).

Four Seasons

Four Seasons Marina:  The picture up top is off this also

  • Dock electricity, telephone service and water hook-up
  • Wireless Internet
  • Gas dock with convenience store
  • Private showers
  • Coin-operated laundry room
  • Ship's Store - Marine supplies, apparel, groceries and beverages
  • Dock attendants
  • Full marine service at Sea Ray of Cincinnati
  • Full pump-out service
Also it has a couple restaurants, a bar, and a volleyball court.  It sounds like it might be a bit of a party place.  But I'm going to head down and take a look. See if I can find the liveboards there and ask some questions.

Riverside Marina
   Riverside Marina:  

Wet Storage: $36.00 per ft per season
Winter Storage: $22.00 per ft per season
Dry Storage: Includes launching - Starting at $595 per season. 
Dockside electric & water (additional fees) 
Fuel Dock
In-out service
Live aboards welcome

 I did not hear back from this one yet, but I'll still head down and check it out.  It isn't cruising necessarily, but if I find the right boat, and can liveaboard it while getting my finances ready I think that's a good start.  Plus I'll BE ON A BOAT!!! :)


  1. Living aboard in snow is rough. Walking up to the showers at 0545 on slippery docks is for the tough, believe me.

    But it is exciting to be able to have your boat and be working towards leaving.

  2. Big advantage to living aboard is not having to pay most of the Homeowner Taxes you may be paying. That alone is a huge benefit. Gets you cruising sooner.

  3. Barco - Yeah, I can imagine it would be rough. My current plan (at least rough plan) would be to locate a fitness club there, and workout in the morning, and partake of hot showers there. But I understand it will be some rough living in the winter!

    Just a rough look at the dock fees (don't know what additional liveaboard fees there are yet) it would seem I could save a substantial amount from my mortgage. But there will be different expenses I'm sure.

  4. The good thing are researching your options to find the quickest and most economical way to get you to your final goal...we are looking at living aboard locally until things are paid down..then cut the lines and look toward the sun!!
    Watching your progress...Doll

  5. I was hoping there was at least one good thing! The more money we save now, and the quicker we get out there, the quicker the rum can be shared! .. Chris

  6. Hello. I've been living aboard in Cincinnati for the last twenty years. I always tell everyone that living aboard is NOT cheap (unless you live in a run down floating junk pile). Dock rent is manageable but not cheap then you add on your boat payments, insurance and maintenance costs. I could have a nice house or a really nice apartment for what I pay.

    As far as heating, some use electric, some use diesel or propane. If you use electric and if you keep your boat reasonably warm like a normal person, expect to pay $200 - $300 per month in electric bills. Propane and diesel are both expensive as well. The problem is that most boats are not insulated at all so you have to heat with brute horsepower and that means $$. Now, if you're living on a small 30' sail boat, your heating costs may be a little cheaper, but not much.

    As far as saving on property taxes, that's just crazy. If you think for one second that the marina owner isn't passing his sky high waterfront property tax bills onto you (with a little up charge added on) then you don't understand business practices. Trust me, you are paying property taxes, just not directly. This is one argument that land lubbers try to use to prohibit liveaboards. Don't believe it.

    I don't mean to dissuade you from living aboard. After all, I've been at it for twenty years so I must like it! I do it because I love it and I couldn't imagine living any other way. I enjoy the beauty of the river and all the life around it. I enjoy the people and how they watch out for one another. I also enjoy being self sufficient and the pride that it brings. It's not a cheap way of life, but it is very rewarding.

    I could type a book on this subject...

    PS Most marinas in the Cincinnati area will take liveaboards but they may not tell you that until they meet you in person. Run down floating junk piles with unsavory characters and poor housekeeping skills have given us liveaboards a slight blemish. If you're clean cut and courteous and have a decent boat and a way to pay the dock rent, you should be fine. Almost every marina has at least one liveaboard.

  7. Shawn,

    I don't necessarily want the pie in the sky view of the life. I really appreciate actual facts and what to expect. So your post is definitely greatly appreciated!

    What marina do you live at? I've poked around at a few. A couple on the Ohio side, and the Manhattan Harbor in Kentucky. Actually the marinas I've asked have come right out and said they do take liveaboards. They also say they only have a couple of liveaboards at their location. I doubt there is any marina near Cincinnati with a lot. Not exactly the liveaboard capital of the world :)

    Thanks for the info!

  8. I have wanted to do the same since I was a kid. I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale adn lived briefly on my uncles yacht. Being largely broke all the time and fighting to live paycheck to paycheck I found myself revisiting the idea of living aboard. My issue is I dont want to deal with winters but also dont want to give up the job and current income to relocate only to be jobless is this crappy economy. I looked at the idea of purchasing something I could live aboard up here on but it seems all the boats for sale in this area are much more in price than comparable boats in larger boat markets like Florida. So my current problem is finding a live aboard that is affordable. I have thought of maybe purchasing a yacht in Florida and traveling up the rivers to Cincy but that would be a rediculously expensive undertaking. So for now... I daydream and store up my retirement until that magic number is reached and I can take that lump sum and go buy the Catamaran I want.. I can attest to the cost of owning a boat being much more than owning a home. maintanance alone is very expensive. But.. You can all but eliminate the cost of dockside electric nowadays with a little investment in a wind turbine and some solar panels if you have an electric reversible HVAC system.

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