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Step 1: Get the Free Yacht

This is the easy part.
"Wooden Boat" magazine has a "free boats" section in every issue.
Any harbormaster can show you some free boats.
They're especially plentiful in the northeast in the fall.
Divorce season, whenever that is, produces lots of project boats that
"must be removed from my yard before such-and-such a date".

My friend Patrick and I got the beauty seen here from an ad in the free section of craigslist.com.
Here's how our baby looked in "Latitude 38" magazine in December of 2004.

Step 2: Rent a Marina Slip

That's where you'll put your new boat.
Our slip costs $200 a month because it's a 30 foot slip.
Our bowsprit is a lot of that length. We could saw it off to save rent, but it's a great thing to ride on.
Some marinas don't allow wooden boats because they don't like beauty or suffering.
Or boats older than ten years, or worth less than 40 grand or somesuch because they worship Moloch.
We found the Emeryville Marina, which is a righteous place.
Here's the application we filled out to get in.
It requires insurance, which in turn asks what marina the boat is in, which is a catch-22.
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cdltpx2 months ago

The boat does not have to be a hole in the water you pour money into it could be a free boat you part out and make pure profit on.

mchau24 months ago
is this for real?
This sounds cool I will tell my dad bout it
heh heh "because they worship Moloch". That is why they(most at least) wont let you live out of your boat anymore as well.
drewdoog6 years ago
Id just live in it.. seriously
Until you legally transfer the title (like you do when you buy or sell a car) you don't own the boat, no matter what the harbor master says. He just wants to get an abandoned boat off his property.
boats arent that much like cars at all in a legal sense, because the marine salvage act applies to them which esentially means that if a vessle has been abandoned for a period of time it can be retrieved by anyone and registered to a new owner, the title is only necessary if it still has an owner who still lays claim to it
I have a Catalina 22 that I live on. Small, but comfortable. I have A/C, heat. power. stove........etc, etc...and Wifi. Paid $500 for it. Was given another by the marina which I salvaged the sails, motor and hardware from. Remodeling it now to sell for a larger sailboat and do it all again. A 35-40 foot is my goal.
Same here. I'm only 15 but seriously considering living in a boat. How freakin' awesome would that be? Or just get free boats, fix em' up, and sell em'.
Sleeping in them in the Northeast is a bad idea. We had some friends who did that and they couldn't survive more than one winter.
Um, Blankets?
6a00e54f9ffeb3883400e55225dd168834-800wi.jpg
I'm sure they had blankets. And yet, they didn't decide to stay for more than one winter.
lucek Xellers6 years ago
I've done winter camping in Massachusetts and you need a little more than blankets. to survive a thermal insulated sleeping bag is a must. if your not prepared for harsh cold even in 3 inches of down you don't want to be in a new England winter with out a house around you.
Please... I spent a whole winter living outside with nothing more than a thick winter coat in a tree fort to stay away from the ground critters. Massachusetts weather ain't that bad lol
I can tell you plenty of times you didn't do that as you'd be dead ATM if you did.
Just because you did something stupid in a miler part of the state at a milder time doesn't mean anything. Being near to that cold gray ocean when winter is pounding the coast hard is something completely different.
the one time i camped out in winter in NY, i think i wore two layers of sweats/hoodies and had a couple of blankets and once i got the snow beneath me to conform to my body, i slept like a baby. it wasn't below 20 degrees, but i'd do it again in a heartbeat. living in the cold 24/7 though is a different issue. i hate sitting on cold toilet seats! LOL
LOL try Michigan..
rather not if it's worse. then again after 07 I'd like to see worse conditions apart from north Canada. I thankfully listened to the weather and avoided waking to my tent under a 7 foot snowdrift.
M-26-7 lucek6 years ago
As someone who has lived their whole life in Massachusetts, I can tell you that you do not want to be on the water in the winter. No offense, Blue, but that's how people die. They don't have enough sailing experience, or they're not prepared, or whatever and all it takes is one storm and they're gone. My advice would be to live up north in the summer and more docile months and then sail down to the Caribbean for the winter. All and all though I'd save that for something to do at the end of your life.
lucek M-26-76 years ago
no argument here. a boat on the open water will soon become toothpicks in winter, I was just commenting about the cold. PS: where do you live, I'm on the Quincy/Dorchester boarder.
M-26-7 lucek6 years ago
Out in the "wild west", ways from Springfield. It's pretty boring. I know some people who lived for a while in Quincy; it's a pretty cool place.
lucek M-26-76 years ago
1 T stop from Boston 2 buses from the blue hills its a nice balance. went visiting a friends aunt out your way. 3 hour trip but beautiful place.
Rishnai Xellers5 years ago
Try a winter in a shipping container in Gunnison, Colorado. I hear that's pretty brutal! (Not that I'd want to winter in the Northeast at all, a little too damp).
glorybe Rishnai4 years ago
         It's only damp above freezing. Once you get below freezing the air is dry.
         Insulate! Insulate! Insulate!
hey selling them would be a good idea!
The major factor a boat owner should consider are the local zoning laws. You can get a pretty hefty fine for living in a non-residential zone such as a rent-storage facility. Plus not having running water, electricity, or long-term toilets can get inconvenient real fast. And hooking up to a near by ‘free’ source would not go unnoticed for very long since someone has to pay the bill.
        An acquaintance of mine used a hole in enforcement to get around the laws. He pulled a hull into the parking lot at the rear of his business. He gutted everything and lowered a camper inside the hull and bolted it in. He ran power from his shop. It turns out that the regulation of boats fell to our water police and they never patrol on land. And the building inspectors could do nothing as the boat was on a trailer. Even if some official had wanted to complain that he was living in that boat it would be very hard for them to prove. With the door closed even if they climbed on board it would be hard to swear that anyone was inside the camper. Oddly the guy did rig the camper in such a way that the boat actually could function on the water. He even took a long vacation on that contraption.
your acquaintance is a hero.
Rimwulf glorybe4 years ago
My parents had a truck camper free of my local yahoo group named "freecycle" from http://www.freecycle.org and we put it in the driveway for me to live it. Well about a month went by my mother said shes going to get rid of it because its useless if I can't live because code enforcement said no and I was thinking "how wold they know? They can't get in without a key and we can tell them that we don't have one proving that no one is living in it.." Needless to say she still said no- after all she's my landlord- it was a little time after I realized that she wanted to make room for another car.
That's sounds pretty cool and sneaky. Could you post some pictures of the 'Winnebago-boat' if you have any?
same lol
TruthHunter2 years ago
I just did some kayaking in Key Largo area. I saw a lot of house boats that
were in the free to skanky looking category. I saw one with an orange sticker
on the window like you see on dead freeway cars. Did the guy end up in a nursing home? also a bunch of old FG hulls with plywood shanties built on them.

In florida, you can anchor a lot of places as long as you are "cruising". Its kind
of hard to earn a living though if you have to keep moving.

Bishop's 4 Months in a Sneakbox describes the Riverboat culture that was somewhat of a revelation to me. They would build them out of cheap lumber in Pittsburgh, sometimes just salvage that got(stole) away from lumber floats. they would
float down the river through the winter months, gambling(ever hear of a River Boat Gambler?) hunting, fishng,rustling, etc. They'd sell the boats in New Orleans and take the Steamer back to Pittsburg and do it all over again. I suspect these Gypsy caused a lot of the laws that make living on the water difficult.
What we need is the nautical equivalent of Slab City!
T Bomber3 years ago
I've actually been considering the possibility of buying an old fishing boat and converting it.Fishing boats are relatively cheap if they don't come with a permit.Sell off the gear and equipment if it still has that stuff.But you could probably find just the boat.A 65-75 ft trawler would give you beaucoup room.
Biglion3 years ago
I was wondering if there is something like this in Argentina...

I think that we sell everything, even crappy boats that are sinking by the time people starts selling them.

Anyone knows how might I find a free one or even a cheap one in Argentina?

Thanks a lot. I really love the whole Free Yatch Chapter series.
Mira, yo vivo en la Patagonia y por acá no conseguís cosas gratis, es mas, si querés cosas baratas hay que pedirlas a Bs.As, porque aprovechan la distancia.
nnsg3 years ago
I can't find any free boats in the UK.
Maybe people are just tight as over ere! LOL
mentalman nnsg3 years ago
Maybe they are smart enough to not buy things they won't need an a year or two . or to stay married. America has a lot of people that throw away things on a whim just because they were foolish enough to get it on a whim.
yes I'm an American. a wonderful country just filled with fools.
Hi NNSG

If you contact any sailing club in the UK, they usually have "auctions" at the end of the year. In it are dinghys/boats etc (including some unfinished projects) who's owners have lapsed their membership and never returned.

Sometimes they are free, sometimes you pay a very small amount for a real gem.

It's worth a try.
mentalman3 years ago
Yep thios Free boat thing is True i live in Maine and there are Plenty of free boats to be had bst to look in fall and spring. All sizes and types. And yep craig's list is good source. But be prepared to pay to have it moved They seldom come with trailers.
SHIFT!3 years ago
Huh, for a moment I was half expecting the second step was going to say "First, find a pop up that says Win A Free Boat.  Now Click YES."  No idea people were literally giving them away for free.

Looks like I have a new summer project.
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