Can I live aboard a boat?
Yes, if you are of the right mind set and as long as everyone else who lives with you really wants to live the lifestyle as well. A boat can be a viable alternative to any land residence but the differences can be dramatic. Life aboard is not always glamorous. Face it, boats move. They’re close to neighbors. And they offer less space than land based residences. Everyone aboard should want to be there or life in these close quarters can become very difficult very quickly
What is the first thing I should do if I want to live aboard?
It might seem a bit backward, but once you have a general idea what kind of boat you’d like to call home, it is usually better to research your marina options. In some markets, there are no available slips for liveaboards and in others space is not an issue. There are too many people that end up with boats and no place to put them. Some people will even pay for a slip when it becomes available while they continue to locate and buy their boat.
The second thing you should do, after you know where you can put your boat along with any possible limitations (such as boat size) is choose your boat and clearly develop an understanding of the costs.
Can I still have my Internet access, Cable/Sat. TV, DVD, Stereo and computer?
Sure. Wired amentities such as cable and landline telephone depend on your marina. If cable companies provide service to the docks, you can receive a plethora of cable/HDTV channels, high speed internet and possibly even telephone. However, everything can also be wireless these days, and many marinas even offer wireless high speed internet (some even offer this for free). Cell phones are a popular replacement. A cell phone with a data plan can act as a modem providing you with mobile wireless internet service. TV can be received via antenna or satellite dish, mounted on the dock or deck (dock mounting requires the marina’s consent).
With AC power, everything that requires power can be brought aboard. A few cautionary notes however. A boat is limited space. Smaller/fewer pieces of gear are better. Try not to bring aboard gear that can’t be stowed properly and safely. Boats move and things fall over. Use CD/DVD storage books and get rid of or store the cases. Consider car stereos over rack stereos and boom boxes for space and durability. I have a flat computer screen (and a laptop) that doubles as a TV, but some liveaboards are using car DVD players very effectively (even for tv with a separate tv tuner). In my boat, everything (including TV/audio/computer) runs on 12 volts off of compact pieces of equipment.
Finally, when we talk about storing electronic gear, remember the lessons of condensation and moisture. If the area you store your gear can drop below the dew point, that location will get moist and can easily destroy your toys. It’s not the surface of the equipment that you need to worry about, but what is happening on the inside. Heat those areas or store elsewhere.