Well, if any post does it, this one might just get some comments. Most of the people we've discussed our plan with thus far have been supportive, and more than a couple have said they wished they could do something like this. My usual response is "why not do it?"
It has been interesting to hear the responses. I've been able to group them into three basic responses and want to take a look at them.
"I can't afford it." Live-aboard boats can be had for relatively low cost. Certainly much lower than the typical house. While maintenance may be higher per square foot of livable space, the total amount of space is lower so the overall cost can be lower. In addition there is less space to furnish, so you save on the cost of furnishings. Certainly, just as there are houses of all sizes and costs, there are boats of the same...so affordability does depend on the choices made. Affordable choices are out there. When we were in the Florida Keys last, the live-aboards were often referred to as the low-rent district. I recall seeing a story a little while back about folks in several spots in California moving onto boats at marinas as a cost saving measure (here is one example).
"I have a family." There are a number of families that live aboard boats. There are a couple of examples here and here. If you are cruising, things like homeschooling may need to be addressed. But I think it would be far more educational for kids to actually visit other places and experience other cultures instead of just reading about it in a book. While this isn't a particular concern of ours, there is a fair amount of evidence to prove that this isn't a roadblock if you don't want it to be one.
"I have obligations." I think this actually means, "I have bills to pay" and I think that is closer to the real reason most people fear this sort of change. American society has trained us from birth that we need to have the biggest and the most and to be the ultimate consumers. Large homes with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. New cars every few years. Have you seen the 80 inch 3-D television. And who could live without a new cell phone every year or two. All of this comes with a cost, and we take out loans and run up credit card bills trying to buy this "American happiness". These are our obligations...and we really don't need most of it.
This is the real catch: you have to be willing to give up the idea of collecting a lot of "things". Do that, and the need to work 50 hours a week for 50 weeks a year to pay for those "things" disappears too. I'll be the first to admit, I was (am?) that way too. We own a house big enough that we don't really even use half of it. We own more vehicles than members of our household and a big damn TV too. But, not that long long ago I realized I was spending a lot of my lifetime earning the wages to buy these things. I believe I can give a lot of it up in trade for a simpler lifestyle and a lot more free time.
He who dies with the most toys does not win...he who dies with the most experiences does. The real question is how do you want to spend the majority of your life?