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

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

  1. 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 😉

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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…

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