Choosing the Right Liveaboard Yacht
So you've decided to pursue the liveaboard lifestyle. You've read up on everything nautical, you've decided which belongings to bring along and which to leave onshore, and you saved up enough to buy the perfect boat (and hopefully a bit extra for coustomization and maintenance). The next step is to choose the vessel that will become your new home. However, looking online reveals thousands and thousands of boats and just as many different configurations for each. We'll cover how to choose the right boat, and the right set of onboard facilities, and hopefully clear up your decision-making process.
Where you plan on keeping your boat will greatly influence which facilities you'll need on board. Most marinas have water, electricity, showers, and laundry rooms available for usage by residents. If you plan on staying on a mooring ball, though, you'll need certain onboard items to make your liveaboard life feasible. An ensuite head is absolute necessity. Luckily, any vessel north of 20-25' LOA is most likely going to have a head onboard. A shower is another need if you're going to be living on a mooring ball, as is a decent-sized freshwater holding tank so that you have enough water onboard to run the head and shower. Washers/dryers are most likely out of the question unless you're planning on buying a larger motor yacht. You'll also want some means of generating electricity. This is usually accomplished through the installation of solar panels, but it's not necessary that the boat be sold with them already installed. Finally, you'll want to ensure that you have a tender or dinghy so that you can make it to and from shore to buy groceries, collect mail, and buy fuel or other nautical necessities.
If you plan on living in a marina, the process is simpler. If the boat you want to buy doesn't have a shower onboard, make sure you find a slip at a marina that has adequate facilities. An ensuite head is still the preferable option, and thankfully the vast majority of liveaboard-sized boats come with one. The main concern that comes with buying a liveaboard to dock at a marina is actually finding an open slip at a marina that has all of the facilities you need. Ergo, you should start your search well in advance of actually purchasing the vessel.
Hopefully this has cleared up a few common concerns that come with purchasing a liveaboard. Above all else though, becoming a liveaboard is an adventure like no other. Remember to enjoy the process: as they say, the day you buy your boat is the best day of your life!