Monday 6 February 2012

Being a "Liveaboard" RANT

Am at my wits end. 
I moved to Vancouver to go to school Sept. 1, 2011. I've lived on my boat for going on nine years now, so of course I moved my home from West Bay Marine Village in Victoria, to where I could find temporary "liveaboard" moorage - Bowen Island. Which didn't last long given the four hour commute and the amount of homework with school (not to mention the cost). 
So then to False Creek for the False Creek shuffle.
After October 1st you're allowed 21 days out of 40. So I did what I was told. Spent 19 at the Fisherman's Wharf at an atrocious rate for power and per footage.
When I inquired about "Temporary Winter" moorage (I know there are wait lists everywhere) I was told yes, at about one quarter of the price. Then I was asked do I "liveaboard" to which I respectfully and truthfully replied "Yes." I was then told "NO." Only Grandfather claused liveaboards and Fishermen are allowed to live on their boats. I wrote a letter to the Board of Directors again asking for temporary liveaboard moorage for the winter - I was told no because there was no infrastructure for the sewage (there are pump out stations) and because of Municipal Bylaws, BUT the Fisherman ARE allowed to live on their boats.
Ironically months after I left the slip stayed empty.
I was super lucky to find "temporary" moorage (not official "liveaboard" moorage) for the winter only after enduring the WORST storms ever on the hook out in False Creek. 
I was there November 10th for the crazy storm. My boat was heeled right over. Thankfully my anchor stayed.
I couldn't get off my boat one day to go to my part-time job because of another storm. Another day I couldn't get back on my boat until 9pm. After I row to shore I have to lock my dinghy and my oars. To ensure peace of mind that they will be there when I return. 
My bike stays locked on land. Unfortunately on one rainy morning I was to discover my seat and stem stolen (it's a 20 year-old bike). Go figure.
I digress. Meanwhile, there is available moorage, but NOT because I'm a "liveaboard."
I recently applied to the Spruce Harbour Marina to get on their 10-12 year wait list. I pay $150 and then $50 each year. Then if I make it to the top I pay $50,000 to get into the Co-op. Ten years later.
Here I am, a woman who takes care of her boat. I raised my son on my boat. The dog and cat are now gone. I buy the high priced insurance so I have the $2M liability - I live on an old wood boat so I expect it's a higher rate then most ($1,200 per year). My boat is well maintained. I am a good citizen. Yet today, I'm treated like an outcast.
I have a post office box address. Was told when I applied for a Leisure Access Card to the City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation that I was not eligible because I didn't have a residential address. 
They considered me homeless.
My boat is for sale. I'm tired of doing this dance. But of course, it's not easy selling a 1967 Classic wood sailboat. So here I sit.
The water at the dock I am at temporarily has been off for a week. I have power thankfully. The person who I sublet off told me he's afraid to ask on my behalf in case they kick me out. I only fill up every three weeks.
After March 31 I guess I'm back out there doing the False Creek Shuffle - even though I see on Craig's List available moorage... but oh, NOT FOR ME! I'm a liveaboard.
Sad, but true.


Unknown said...

Thanks for writing and sharing this, Jane.

What's your status now? (I'm considering that 4 hour Bowen commute!)

Anonymous said...

i heard ppl just dont say they liveaboard, just get out before the manager start his day, and use a friends home address for city job applications etc. as for the city position i guess the million dolar club with their million dollars condos just cant stand someone living for one tenth their cost ! sad city issue, really.

Unknown said...

If this is successful, I wonder if such a plan could be adopted by the False Creek Marina's.

Rocko said...

I feel ya. I've lived aboard for 28 years. Grew up at west bay marina as a matter of fact. I've had to leave my 10 year job or my lifestyle. I moved. Now I can see it being the same everywhere. We should just get 20 or so people together and buy a water lease and build ower own dock!

Cobe said...

wish i could figure this out, too. I'm willing to pay monthly moorage at Fisherman's Wharf but then spend half the time anchored. I have a job downtown... wondering if I could get away with this. It would mean I'd be living aboard while berthed but only in poor weather. I don't think I can risk getting the boot from the wharf, though - if that happens I'm just screwed.