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Friday, May 29, 2015

Gotta keep it mobile II

Yesterday it was all about the gypsy life on the road. Today it's all about the water. Some of the same rules apply. Keeping mobile is one of them.
There are plenty of free places to anchor a boat. Living “on the hook,” has some advantages. The big one is that it's free. However, even people who could afford to spend all their time in big full service marinas spend time anchored out. It's worth it for the sea breezes and privacy. Waking up to dolphins frolicking around your boat never gets old.

With solar panels, windmills, and plenty of supplies in the hold, a boat can be anchored out a long time. However, few people want to spend all their time on the boat. Some sort of dingy is in order. Semi-rigid inflatables are popular, but rely on having a good engine. They row like a bathtub. There are plenty of good cheap dingy options for people who don't mind paddling or rowing. A simple cheap plywood boat will do the job nicely. I like my 2 person inflatable Sea Eagle kayak as it can be deflated and stuffed in a compartment. With a functional dinghy, it's possible to ferry supplies back to an anchored boat and stay out for a long long time.

Even though it's possible to stay anchored in one place a long long time, it's probably not a good idea. Owners of waterfront homes complain about boats anchored in front of their property. Boats that dump their waste overboard, play loud music, run noisy and smelly generators, and let their boats decay into eyesore's give all us boaters a bad name. Laws passed to run those people off affect the rest of us.

Some wealthy homeowners just hate to see people living free and easy. I talked to one guy who lived for years, quietly anchored in a small bay and nobody bothered him. After high priced condos were built on the water he started to get hassled by law enforcement on a regular basis. Other boats moved off to friendlier waters. He's stayed, but makes sure his boat meets all Coast Guard requirements. That's a good idea anyway, but essential if you want to stick up for your rights to anchor.

Boats that move more often are not bothered nearly as much. It's a big ocean out there. I'd rather move than stay and fight.
Most states have limits on how long you can stay in their waters before you have to register your boat in their state. My boat is registered in NH but I like to sail in Florida's waters in the winter. If I was anchored in one place long enough they'd catch on, but I don't usually stay more than a week to ten days in one place. Besides, my boat is so small they can't imagine me staying on it for as long as I do.

Boats with shallow drafts have an advantage as there's a lot more places they can anchor. I took full advantage of my boat's swing keel and eased into beautiful little places that I had all to myself. When entering a crowded anchorage I could anchor close to shore in the shallows were big boats could not go. There are some larger boats that have shallow draft, so you aren't limited to the little minnows I sail.

Personally, I'm a big fan of sailboats. Trawlers might be roomier, but they can't harness the free wind. Sailboats, not being limited to fuel on-board, theoretically have unlimited range. That's a huge plus if things go sideways.

Boats have the ability to disappear over the horizon and go to other countries. It's a lot easier to cross International borders in a boat than a car or an airplane. You still need to have you papers in order when you get there, but leaving the country is no big deal. Nothing says mobility like being able to sail to any country with a coastline.



  1. Hermit's Baby SisMay 29, 2015 at 8:24 AM

    Sounds like the good life, Sixbears, and you and the Lovely Wife have found the one that works for you. I hope to find my special pattern in the next few years, and enjoy it for a long time alongside Hubby.

    1. We are fortunate. We've been able to turn adversity to our advantage.

  2. Live free or die. Sounds like you take the motto to heart.

  3. Nothing is entirely free. Everything you do or say has a value and some things will cost you dearly in many ways, not just monetary. Your free style of life came with a cost.

    1. Yes, there is a cost, but for me the value outweighs it.