Bay Area*, Two Beds*, Two Baths*, Utilities Included, $340* a month (See Asterisks)

23 thoughts on “Bay Area*, Two Beds*, Two Baths*, Utilities Included, $340* a month (See Asterisks)”

    1. I know some of these folks personally. For instance, I’ve had Sonja Trauss over for dinner a few times to talk about these issues.

      What we perceive as a housing crisis is just a massive set of national societal dislocations. The “solutions” we reach for are doomed to failure since they attempt to fix the wrong problems.

      Small picture – Everyone is highly sensitive to change that effects them directly – like rising rents or new construction that changes the character of their neighborhood. Those people work hard to counteract the forces at play. But they’re at odds with each other since the people who want more housing clash with the people who fear change. Gridlock ensues and only the largest and most expensive projects can be built – thereby making even more people even more freaked out about the ominous scale and high cost of new development.

      Big picture – We’ve had a set of national policies for the last forty years that have consistently concentrated economic opportunity and rewards toward a handful of people – typically those who were already pretty well off and/or those with very high skill levels. Simultaneously these national policies have persistently devalued lesser skilled people. The well compensated minority have clustered in a relatively small number of geographic locations like the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, etc. driving prices way up.

      The result is an ever larger pool of people unable to support themselves on their diminished earnings coupled with entire regions of the country slipping down into semi-abandonment.

      There wouldn’t be such intense pressure on real estate in the super heated spots if ordinary people could find meaningful well paid work elsewhere. And we wouldn’t have half of Cleveland and Detroit rotting in ruin if we hadn’t intentionally dismantled the working class.

      1. And no coincidence worker mobility at lowest level in decades. Folks in hinterlands not moving to “opportunity” as higher costs more than wipe out higher wages. So logically stay put even in depressed areas because moving is too risky and expensive. Actually, more are leaving places like California than entering because the average worker on net is better off heading to lower cost areas despite even lower wages.

  1. That’s a real nice trawler! (type of boat) Now… I hope the friend actually USES it. By using it, I mean drive it out on the water, use the engines and so on. Perhaps a few hours per month. Yep, that burns pricey diesel fuel (trawlers like this usually uses diesels) but… it’s important that the systems run good. Build up some actual nautical competency, not own the boat as a floating home only.

    I say this because I’ve seen too many people buy boats for living on full time but… they’re not boaters. That means the boats sit 100% of the time and never actually leaves the dock. That is a problem because when a boat sits full time, systems starts to break down from disuse. Engines freeze up, plumbing falls apart, diesel goes bad, pumps go bad, etc. In some extreme cases, lines rot or chafe thru (cuz not replaced time to time) and the boat goes free, banging up other boats. This is the very reason why marinas frown on people living on their boats 100% of the time because these very same people tend not to maintain their boats properly. If you see a trashy boat in the marina, it is either an abandoned boat (yes… idiots pay monthly and do not use/maintain their boats at all – very common, believe it or not) or… full time live-aboards.

    If the friend has no plans to actually use the trawler, he should sell it promptly. Why? Lack of use will cause a greater depreciation… if engines die from bad maintenance then… the boat is worthless. There goes the 40k. Maybe worth 5k with dead engines. I guess all I’m saying is please use the boat. Don’t treat it as a 100% floating home. 90% home 10% boat is ok, as long used a few hours a month and be on top of any maintenance needs which can be expensive if hiring others to do it.

  2. There’s good lessons to be learned from basically all lifestyles other than the Standard American, which has maximal form & minimal function. I recently made my annual pilgrimage to the grand temple of suburbia – Target – and was looking aimlessly through the kitchen gadgets section. Dozens of metallic-painted plastic coffee pots, toasters, waffle makers all with presumably 12.5 month planned obsolescence. Yet, not one hot plate – the humble gadget that with creativity and minor skills can turn a table into a kitchen. I suppose when there’s 6 burners on the 10 thousand dollar Viking stove, one doesn’t need the 10 dollar hot plate. I would also suppose that the average hot plate owner cooks a better egg 😉

  3. I have two co-workers here in Portland, Maine who live aboard on their respective sailboats, 47 feet and 50 feet. One is a couple and the other is a family with two children. Right now they have moved into a nearby marina and are busy setting up a framework over the deck and putting up shrinkwrap. It creates a lovely translucent dome over the length of the vessel. It gets pretty toasty during the day, even in winter, but the temperature quickly drops at night. Down in the cabin they have diesel heaters.

    One of the problems with temperature variations like that is condensation inside the boat, so ventilation is key. Also, and it’s not a requirement of course, but these people are very experienced mariners who can deal with the various technical challenges a boat offers. A leaky or flooded basement in a house is one problem, but on a boat that is disaster. Knowing how to deal with leaks of all kinds is critical, not to mention electrical, fuel, heating, cooling, water and sanitation systems. The couple are both graduates of Maine Maritime Academy, while the family just spent the last six years sailing from San Francisco to Maine, going west around the world.

    The marina offers showers, toilets and laundry on the dock so they don’t have to be pumping out their own sanitation all the time.

    The couple are now considering selling their boat, however, and moving ashore. They cannot build any equity with a boat. It is indeed a giant hole in the water into which you pour money. They got the boat considerably cheaper for what was asked, but they will be able make back what they paid only because they are able to make vital upgrades.

    On the other hand, if they so chose, they could take on supplies and take their home anywhere. And the view is always of the water!

  4. You can do that in San Francisco. I knew a guy who lived in his boat for a while up in Boston. He froze. Small boats don’t have great heating systems.

    Seattle has its houseboats and floating houses. They are legally distinct, but they are actually pretty good housing. On the other hand, they aren’t cheap.

    1. What do they say up in Canada? There’s no bad weather. Just bad clothing. I think that goes for insulation and such as well. There’s no reason a boat can’t be snug in an icy location, but it has to be built for it. I’ve been in Tiny Homes in very cold places that use wee little propane stoves that were meant for marine use. Super toasty.

      1. There is bad weather in Canada. Also in ND, but Dakotans can move south as many do. Immigration regs makes it tougher on Canadians, though there is no shortage of snow birds.

        1. Turks and Caicos islands are de facto Canadian. Have you ever been to Palm Springs or Scottsdale in February? Full of Canadians. No one ever proposed putting up a wall on the northern border.

          1. There is an old joke about frostbacks vs wetbacks. (I have quite a few Canadian relatives and hence have license to kid them, as politically incorrect as it may be)

    1. Not everyone values privacy as the primary amenity. Some people enjoy living in community with like-minded people. A marina is a self selecting population by definition. Besides… what exactly do you think people do on their boats that requires more secrecy than any other arrangement?

      I know city folks who love the isolation of living on the 54th floor of an anonymous building with a door man to filter out the riffraff. I also know people who live on quiet cul-de-sacs on the far edge of the metroplex to keep the unwashed hordes at arm’s length.

      Personally, I value good neighbors and togetherness. It’s not always perfect, but going it alone in life isn’t my thing.

      1. Fair enough. Privacy-wise, though, the environment of a marina does seem a little extreme. I tend to think of small, recreational boats, as quasi-public spaces. You yourself, for instance, neighbour lover though you are, enjoy much higher privacy in your SF condo than you would in this setting.

  5. My brother lives in the adjacent (private) marina. He rents the boat though, which in turns pays the owner’s fees. It was the best option at this point in his life and he’s paying off debt while still keeping his gig in the City.

    There is a booming office market on this spit of land ( and plans afoot to redevelop the point ( However, the housing component is opposed by local titans of industry (, even while the city itself supports it, which is rare. As a local resident in town, I wanna see the area upgraded. But I suspect that if that actually happens, it will be the death knell for affordable/informal boat living.

    1. Municipal governments love office, professional, hotel, and retail. Anything that generates taxable revenue. Residential? Well… one mayor I asked was painfully honest. “Each new resident costs the town money.” There’s what elected officials might endorse publicly, and what they know will actually happen. In the short term the non-residential building boom will be good for South City. In the long run it’s all liquefaction quake bait and sea level rise ruins.

      1. Actually the South City muni govt is pro residential, especially relative to neighbors like Brisbane. Well, to be exact, they’re pro massive luxury condos ( If you want to build a little ADU, however…

        As for liquefaction and sea level rise, yeah it’s already a problem. King Tides submerge the parking lots several times a year ( Other than the hilly parts, it’s all bay fill, built on top of toxic garbage. Yum.

  6. That is a handsome watercraft!

    My sister, an avid sailor, is working in the LA area. She’s worked at Catalonia too. A very competent one too. She looking for an opportunity to find a living arrangement in the area. She’s considering buying a home or property in California, scaring me to death. This boat idea might be a solution…

Leave a Reply to Brian Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.