Written by: Eduardo Gonzalez (California State University, East Bay)
Faculty Evaluator: Nolan Higdon (California State University, East Bay)
In the San Francisco Bay Area, moving out of your parents home seems like the American Dream because, as comedian George Carlin explained, “The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.” When the average rent for an apartment in Oakland is $2200, that dream then begins to seem impossible, unless you move in with a couple of roommates. However there are other alternative to moving into a house, apartment, or sleeping in your car.
Stacey Shaw (31) has lived on a boat at the Point Richmond Marina, Brickyard Cove, for the past nine years. In contrast to the high price range of renting an apartment, Stacey only pays $800 a month to stay docked. Not to mention she splits it with her boyfriend, Rick Miller (34) .This $400 includes the space to station the boat, utilities, and storage. However, one thing to consider is that Brickyard Cove is one of the more expensive marinas in the East Bay, according Rick, who has worked as a boat mechanic and has lived on boats the majority of his life.
Stacey says that she loves living on a boat because “There is little to no maintenance, there are fewer bills (no mortgage), it is quiet, and there is a strong sense of community”. She also mentioned that it is quite easy to do so. “All you need is a boat that is in ‘liveaboard’ condition”, she said. That just means that the boat is within livable conditions year-round (liveaboard.net).
However, according to Stacey, “The only downside is that you have to share a bathroom with the people on your dock. I don’t really mind though, my boyfriend and I are two of like six people who live on the boat year-round”.
One last thing to keep in mind if you decide to look into living in a marina, according to Rick, is that many of them have waitlists that could last years and there are rules which state that residents can only live on a boat no more than four days a week. These fees vary throughout marinas but average around $250 a month. “Nobody ever pays attention to that anyway” says, Stacey.