Monday, October 12, 2009

A day in the life of a liveaboard

Friends and family often ask us questions about our boating lifestyle. Our number one question is "What do you do all day since since you don't work?" And this is our number one answer ...

We normally get up around 10 am, make ourselves a bloody Mary, have breakfast, lounge around and read the paper. Before you know it, it's lunchtime. After we eat, we zip around in the dinghy, swim and snorkel around the reefs, walk on the beach and look for shells. In the evenings, we get together with other boaters for cocktails and watch the sun melt into the horizon.

Yeah right. What's missing in the picture is a captain, chef and maid! The last sentence of my answer is true of the Florida keys. Everyday, around 5 pm, boaters would walk around the docks with a drink in hand to watch the sun set, rain or shine.

We keep busy tending to all the mundane tasks of everyday life - laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking most of our meals. There's always projects on the boat - things that cannot wait to get repaired, such as a broken pump (water pump, bilge pump, sump pump, fuel pump, there are so many of them on the boat!), battery and electrical problems, engine problems, you name it. Incidentally, the captain has turned into a true mechanic. Which is a very good thing. Unlike a house, the boat takes more abuse not just from the elements, but also from the constant pounding on the water. The ocean is very unforgiving, as we all know; being stranded out in the open waters can lend to horror stories, if you live to tell them!

A big chunk of our time is spent poring over charts (paper and electronic), and reading about the ports-of-calls that we'd like to visit. We have to deal with the logistics of getting from point A to point B, not unlike planning a road trip. On the water however, there aren't many exits that you can just get off to top off your fuel tank, or check into a motel when you are tired. We would need to know these information in advance - a channel with deep enough water to get in (Mai Thai needs at least 4 feet), the tide (if near the ocean), a marina or anchorage that we can stop for the night. If stopping at a marina, we would have to call and make reservations first.

These days, we are now what they call liveaboards - people who live aboard a boat docked at a marina. What do I do these days? Since we are not moving all the time, I am able to volunteer my time at Chattanooga Technical Community College as an ESL (English as a second language) tutor two mornings a week; I substitute for the teacher whenever the need arises. This morning, I helped a neighbor boater color her hair. Then I email, blog, write articles, surf the net, read, etc, etc. Sometimes we walk up the hill, and sometimes we walk other neighbor's dog. I make salmon turnovers for a snack. Come 5 o'clock, some of our boater friends are back from work, and we hang out. Now, it's time for dinner. Gotta go. Catch you at the next posting!
You might also like:
A day in the life of a retiree Where did the time go? Why we love living aboard a boat


  1. I love this post. So many times we look at the lives of other people without a true understanding of the behind the scenes happenings. Thanks for sharing.

    Diana Taylor
    Top Dog
    Pug At The Beach
    Where mindful living meets artful play through the adventures of an island dog philosopher whose name is Pug. He's part Dalai Lama, part Jimmy Buffett, and a whole lotta fun.

  2. Very interesting how the "boat" people lives. I hope to get to where you are in another 20 years. I like reading your articles more and more now. Your writing style pulls the reader to want to learn more.

    Suet-Ying Ng

  3. Hi Diana and Sue,
    Always nice to get comments. When we first started cruising, we kept a log of our trips. Unfortunately, that site is closing. I am trying to incorporate those memories into this blog. Thanks for reading!

    Sue - I may have to trade places with you in 20 years, if not earlier:-) You have been my mentor, and your encouragement has kept me going. And I thank you.