Boat living off the grid

Michael W. Freeman is a veteran journalist, playwright and author. Born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts, he has lived in Orlando since 2002. Michael has worked for some of Florida's largest newspapers, including The Orlando Sentinel. His original plays have draw strong audiences at the Orlando Fringe Festival. He is the author of the novels "Bloody Rabbit" and "Koby's New Home."

No doubt about it, it’s increasingly a part of the American dream, something more and more people aspire to: getting off the grid.

Think about it: no high electric bills to worry about. No budgeting for an increased utility bill in the summer when your air conditioner is cranked up high. No need to start looking for places to trim the family budget at peak utility season.

Boat living off the grid
Want to get off your local electric grid? One option is living on a boat. But is it practical?

Freedom, baby. Feel it.

There are different ways that people are looking to get off the grid, from investing in solar panels on their roof to trading in their large home for a tiny one, and even to living in a recreational vehicle. Depending on which option you select, it can be a major lifestyle change.

And depending on what you’re looking for, it can also be a highly rewarding one.

Freeline Media is going to take a look at the different options for going off the grid, and instead powering your home with something as simple as lithium ion batteries.

And if you live in Florida, here’s an excellent option to explore: living on a boat.

 

Can You Really Live on a Boat?

The answer to that is yes – and it’s possible to do so for the same amount as it would cost you to rent an apartment, if not less.

One of the largest expenses, besides the mortgage you maintain on your boat, is keeping your boat docked at a marina. Some of them run in the range of about $1,000 a month and include a “live abroad” fee (usually around a few hundred dollars.)

But doing that means you can take full advantage of the utilities that are covered in the rent, including water, electricity, and the availability of laundry facilities. You can even get your mail sent there, and take advantage of the pump-out boat that empties your sewage tank.

You might also want to consider budgeting up to $1,000 a year for unexpected maintenance costs. A boat can be like a car – the more you use it, the more it tends to need maintenance to keep operating smoothly.

There are costs associated with living on a boat — monthly boat payment, slip fees, extra/live-aboard fees, insurance and general expenses that can include cable and the internet.

Now, you may ask, why boat living?

In a sense, it’s the same as opting to live in a recreational vehicle. If you don’t mind downsizing your space and not having as much room as in a house or apartment, boat living gives you the ability to travel at your leisure. You’re not tied down to a home in a specific location.

Boat living is not for everyone. Understand you have to accept tight living quarters. If your home was 2,400 square feet, your boat will be about 300 feet. That’s a pretty significant change.

It’s not a bad idea to contact the folks at your local marina or boat club, and ask their advice first.

But assume you’re ready to try it and have the flexibility in your life to do so: this may be the dream existence for you.

And it’s not just retirees who are likely to embrace boat living. In an age when a growing number of people work remotely and don’t need to go into the office to get the job done, spending your mornings sipping coffee on your boat deck and watching the sun rise over the ocean could definitely make it all worthwhile.

And think about the amazing night’s sleep you’ll get, rocking in your cabin on the ocean waters.

How about the fact that, unlike at your home, if you get tired of the view – just move along!

It’s a peaceful, relaxing, soothing way of life, no doubt about it. How can you not enjoy the gentle rocking at your marina, or the sunny days sitting on your deck enjoying a drink with family or friends?

 

Romantic, yes; But is it Practical?

Some people might seem nervous about walking the plank (no pun intended) and diving headfirst into the boat lifestyle. That’s understandable. It can sound awfully romantic to those who love the ocean and the open waters, but have plenty of questions about how practical it is.

Here are some issues to consider.

Living on a boat means you deal with the cost of purchasing your boat, renting space at a marina, needing maintenance and upkeep, and so on.

But it can also become a very frugal way of life. Living in a house means taxes, utilities, water, mortgage payments, and so on. The cost of living on a boat is significantly lower on a monthly basis.

And if you’re docked at a marina and it offers free parking, you can simply walk over to your car and head into the city anytime you want. Being on a boat doesn’t mean you never hit land. In fact, there are folks who opt for boat living specifically because they want to save money compared to apartment or house living. You can do it, too.

You can change marinas anytime if you find a better one. There’s a lot of freedom that comes with this lifestyle.

There are downsides. Boats need repairs, just like homes. Heavy storms can be more difficult to get through than being in your comfy and more spacious house. Heavy winds in a storm can also damage a boat, perhaps significantly.

So how do you start?

First, research marinas close to where you want to be. Make sure there’s space available if you find one you like.
The last thing you want is to end up with a boat but no place to put it.

Next, choose your boat. In a city like Orlando, you have a lot of options from your local boat dealerships. It’s recommended that you get a boat that’s at least 33 feet in length (10 meters), although for some, a smaller boat may be more desirable.

And yes, you can get internet access, cable, television, DVD, stereo – the basics. Wired amenities are often provided by the marina, and cable companies provide service to docks.

A lot of marinas also offer wireless high-speed internet as well.

It’s also great for those who enjoy being self-sufficient. And that’s where batteries come in.

 

Can Lithium Batteries be Used for Boating?

Lithium ion batteries can start your boat’s engine and run all electrical loads, and these batteries have become popular with boat lovers because they excel at high-performance battery tasks.

A growing number of boat owners have already made the transition from flooded lead-acid batteries to LiFePO4 batteries because they offer a stronger performance, longer lifespan, and dependability without the need for maintenance.

With a higher voltage output than lead acid batteries, lithium ion batteries allow you to be out on the water longer, with no fears of being stuck there with a dead battery.

Boaters can even get 10 years or more of service out of their lithium batteries, a great economical choice.

 

Conclusion

So if you’re a lover of the open waters, learn more about switching over to a LifePO4 battery. The bottom line: Lithium Ion batteries are an indispensable energy storage system, and can help you get off the grid by living comfortably — and romantically — on your boat.

GreenLiFE Battery offers a 5 Year Warranty on most GLi batteries, which is considered to be one of the best warranties on the market.

To learn more, contact GreenLiFE Battery at 888-522-2883 or by email at sales@greenlifebattery.com.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Of Cats And Wolves.” Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.

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