Why pay a fortune for a New York apartment when you can be on a boat

boat interior
Screen capture Jon and Tory on a boat

We have been showing tiny houses for years, and often discuss the problems of where to put them, but rarely discuss that other type of tiny living, namely on a boat. Jon and Tory are originally from Los Angeles, where they owned the Scallywag, an Islander 37 sailboat. When the rent on their New York apartment was about to be jacked up to $ 5000 per month they decided to move onto the boat, which they pay mooring fees of $360 per month. Film-maker David Freid of Mel Films recently made a lovely video about what it's like to live on the boat:


A Couple's Guide to Living on a Boat in New York in Winter from MEL Films on Vimeo.

Really, it's brilliant. For one thing, boats are really well designed for tiny living, with every cubic inch put to use. There is storage under floors and behind bulkheads. The kitchen galley is small and efficient. the toilet head is small too, but they all work and people have been living in boats for years. You don't have to climb ladders to get to bed; just go forward into the V-berth. Or the transformer dining room table can drop to make a comfy double bed.

Scallywag in bubbleSale Me Om/via

But perhaps more importantly, there is a place to put it. There are marinas where you can rent a berth, get an electrical hookup, and get your holding tank pumped out. But marinas also usually have shared facilities like washrooms, showers and often even laundromats so you can minimize your use of the onboard facilities. There is an established support structure that is the floating equivalent of a trailer park, without the stigma. Right in New York City.

While boats are usually made of a sandwich construction that has some insulation, it's not much and according to their wonderful blog, condensation is sometimes a problem. But by shrink-wrapping a bubble over the boat, they can open up the hatches and ventilate without freezing. It is work, getting through winter; they write on their wonderful blog:

Water is shut down on the docks because the pipes would otherwise freeze. So we have to use long hoses from pumps on land to fill our tanks. Which is, yes, a total pain. When people forget to empty the water out of the hoses, the water freezes, and you can be stuck without water until the sun warms things up again, or if you're in a hurry, you'll need to resort to some fairly undignified activities to defrost your hoses. On our boat, we have sinks that operate by foot-pump and no hot water heater. So the fresh water we do use is chil-ly. Unsurprisingly those arctic blasts while washing hands or our faces definitely helps with our water conservation of the 30 or so gallons we have aboard at a time. Brrr.

jon wavingA Couple’s Guide to Living on a Boat in New York in Winter/Screen capture

So it doesn't have all the conveniences of home, but it is well designed for tiny living, and it has location, location, location. And come summer, it's a whole other world. Read more at their blog, Sail Me Om.

Tags: Less Is More | Living With Less | New York City

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