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Find a liveaboard marina & skip the wait list

how to find a liveaboard marina

Needing to find a liveaboard marina but stuck on a wait-list?

You are not alone. Most big cities and marinas cap the number of liveaboard slips that are available, making it difficult to find a place to live aboard your boat. Very often this translates into multi-year wait lists at liveaboard marinas. If you’ve called around all of the marinas with liveaboard slips and find yourself wait-listed, there are a few additional things you can do.


Your first option is to sublet a liveaboard slip. Many liveaboards cruise for a season or even years at a time. Many are happy to sublet their slips while they’re away. To get one of these coveted sublets, put together a one page poster with a nice photo and description of yourself and what you’re looking for. E-mail this to the marina manager and ask if they will circulate it on their liveaboard e-mail list. Also, put your poster up on the marina bulletin board. This strategy worked both for us and a couple of other people we know. You may not even need to own a boat in order to sublet. I know of one instance where a couple rented both the boat and the slip from an owner who was off traveling for a year.

Buy a boat with a liveaboard slip.

Often, if you buy a boat that is moored in a liveaboard slip, you can negotiate the slip into your purchase (depending on the marina’s policy). Beware that sellers may inflate the price of their boat by as much as $50K because liveaboard slips are so sought after. It’s not necessarily unreasonable to pay the higher price but you should be aware of what you’re really paying for (the liveabaoard slip!)


While I don’t recommend this option, there are a couple of marinas I can think of, that have a reputation for looking-the-other-way when it comes to people living full-time in non liveaboard designated slips. Ask around before you try this and have a good plan B as you’d be running the risk of being kicked out at any point.

Still can’t find a slip but have your heat set on living aboard? Check out our post on “Where to live aboard my boat” for other options like mooring fields and anchorages. While you’ll need a bit more gear and gumption to make this work, many people live very happily on the hook and you’ll save a fortune in marina fees!

Wondering if the liveaboard life is right for you? Check out our post: Is living on a boat right for you? 10 things you should know.

Other suggestions for finding a liveaboard slip? Let us know in the comments below.