One of the really attractive things about living on a sailboat is the possibility of doing it on very little money. There are individuals living on boats for as little as $300/month -couples doing it for $500. In most places that won’t get you a fleabag apartment.
Now to live on so little, certain adjustments have to be made. One key component is the ability to anchor out. Living on your own hook is free. Moorings and marinas cost money. They also require things like insurance. Those added expenses can change the whole dynamic.
There seems to be a trend against poor boaters. Police are doing dark of night raids in many places. Some anchorages in Florida are getting a bad reputation. I’ve heard of crackdowns in a half dozen places, the last one being in Key West. More than anything else, they appear to be harassment raids. They never seem to board the new 5 million dollar yacht. No, it’s the folks in the 30 foot, 40 year old fiberglass production boat who gets it. I’ve yet to hear of these raids discovering anything of significance.
It’s definitely class warfare. The people with the 10 million dollar waterfront homes don’t like the fact that the guy anchored off their beach in a funky boat has a better view than they do. Then there’s the money that can be squeezed out of boaters by charging mooring and dockage fees. If they can’t afford to pay to stay, then they are harassed until they move.
Florida sticks out, but it’s not the only place making it harder on the little guys. Even my state of New Hampshire has made it illegal to stay overnight on a boat. The rich cottage owners on the big lake Winnipesaukee didn’t like poor folk anchoring off their beaches. They seemed to be having too much fun.
I’m wondering if this won’t eventually backfire on those communities. Boats will move to friendlier waters. Communities who make them welcome benefit. Even the most frugal boater has to buy supplies, equipment, and materials.
This winter, as I sail around Florida in my tiny cheap sailboat, I’ll see what’s really going on. Being who and what I am, I’ll be checking for ways around the system. My lovely wife and I plan to someday live part of the year on a sailboat -a slightly bigger sailboat maybe, but we won’t be mistaken for the 1%. (or maybe even the top 75%)
I’ve chosen to look upon these assaults on freedom as a game to be won. I never could resist a new and interesting game. If the rich want to get all official and high and mighty, it just might be time to hoist the colors and break rules with a zest only a pirate could appreciate.
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