Monday, November 19, 2012

Liveaboard Policy

When searching for a port to spend the winter in, we had a few key requirements, but mostly having access to resources while not having a car.  After looking at several options, (and getting even more No's) we chose Friday Harbor as a winter port for many reasons:
  1. Access to healthcare, coffee shops, book stores, marine stores. - (Check)
  2. Access to major transportation -- ferries, and through ferries to trains, airports, and car rentals. - (Check)
  3. The San Juan Islands are in a 'rain shadow' of the Olympic Mountains, and get far less average rain than  Seattle or Olympia.  Friday Harbor itself is in a 'doughnut hole', where even when the San Juans ARE rainy, we may have sunshine. - (NICE!)
  4. The town of Friday Harbor shrinks in population over the winter.  Tourists swell  that count to about 100,000 during the summer!  We came to port, on a Friday, in July, the first time we came to check out the town.  WHAT A ZOO!  It gave us second thoughts about choosing it for our winter port.  Another visit with friends brought us here in October, and the town was much more tolerable. - (Good)
  5. And a very big reason for choosing Friday Harbor, is because they simply allow liveaboards!  Most of the more 'metro' marinas on the east side of the Sound, IF they allow liveaboards, have waiting lists that could be years long for a boat our size. - (YES!)

When we came in to port this winter we were asked to sign an acknowledgement of their Liveaboard Policy.  We did not recall doing this last winter.  It only makes sense though.  A couple of items had Al giggling when he read it.  Besides the usual and expected items regarding no discharge, pet responsibilities, safety, etc., we found these rather general considerations:

  • Have a boat suitable for living on board in the Port's sole opinion. (Kind of a DUH!  But notice, it's the PORT'S decision -- no matter what you think.)  And there are plenty of boats anchored out North of the Harbor that perhaps do not make their cut.
  • Accept the responsibilities identified by the Port for living on board in the marina.  (OK)
  • Accept the hardships and limitations that are part of the liveaboard lifestyle, such as water shutoffs and winter conditions.  
  • Be willing and able to live aboard without physical or financial assistance from the Port or its staff.  (Sad that this has to be spelled out.)
It is interesting how some of these just plain call out " Living aboard is not all Sunny Days!" Water might get cut-off, wind and waves might make it difficult to get on and off the boat. We have come to accept this.   Al will often answer to folks 'concern' about us being 'Out there' on the breakwater with "When things get rough, it just reminds us that we live on a boat". Comes with the territory.

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