Goodbye, Skyrocketing Rents; Hello, Waterfront Living

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(mellow music) – [Kelsey Lettko] It’s
a 1988 Nova Trawler. She’s 36 feet, and about 450 square feet, given all the different spaces. Since it’s a power boat
and it’s a trawler, there’s just so much
vertical space so it feels a bit bigger than it actually is. It’s just all light, all the time, there’s so much natural light
that’s able to come in. There’s two bedrooms,
there’s the v-berth up front, and then the aft room in the back. And there’s two bathrooms, so much bigger than my San Francisco apartment, for sure. Even my kitchen table
folds down into a bed, so if I have guests come, there’s a place for them there as well. When I moved, I got rid
of all my furniture, I got rid of a ton of clothes. I’ve learned you can live with a lot less. Getting creative with storage is always a fun thing to do on a boat. For example, the stairs going into my
bedroom is a perfect cupboard for shoes, so that’s now my shoe closet. And then in my bedroom,
there’s just cabinets all around, so I’ve been
able to really utilize a lot of the space for
clothes and kind of under every surface that you
see, chances are there’s blankets or sheets or
towels hidden under there. A lot of the counter
tops you’ll lift them up and there’s really great
storage underneath. I have a little box there
that’s perfectly shaped for my two boxes of tea. I never really my own
kitchen to make really into my own space, so it’s been
really really fun transforming that and figuring out what
I need, and how to make the most out of all the
little hooks and nooks and crannies that are in there. Not a designer myself, so
using Houzz was really really great to get awesome ideas
about what kind of pillows, and how to make the best
use of small, small spaces. So when I moved in, the
upholstery, it was pretty old, it was a little bit moldy
and it had holes in it and it wasn’t looking its best,
so we got it reupholstered and it really helped
improve this space a lot. I knew that I wanted
to create a space that just made me feel really good and was really calm and
welcoming towards guests. My favorite thing to decorate
was probably the back deck because that’s where we
spend most of our time. We have a table that kind
of can serve as a big table for lots of people or
fold into a smaller table when we’re having more people
just standing out there. There’s a bar out there
and a succulent garden and that was my favorite
space to decorate. When I do work from home, it’s
definitely the best office I could ever ask for, so
it’s really nice to be able to work out on the back
deck when it’s sunny. Gives working from home
a whole new meaning. Some people think I’m a little
crazy for living on the boat. It’s nice knowing that I’m
putting my money into something that is mine instead of just
renting and it really kind of seems like my floating condo
with really good views. The first time it rained,
I was here by myself and it was a little alarming
to wake up and realize that it was actually raining
inside my room, so I need to fix a couple leaks before
the rainy season starts. I bought my boat for
$45,000 and expected to put more money into it, really
creating a strong foundation and like you would on a house,
you need to make sure that everything is working on the inside before you can start
having fun and decorating the outside, what people can see. My dad and my neighbor,
and then my boyfriend and I all spent a lot of
weekends together inside very small spaces inside my engine room. I have a lot to learn,
and it can be a little bit intimidating sometimes,
but I’m really lucky that the people around me are so knowledgeable and they’re always willing to help out. Kind of the first thing
that anyone says once they find out I’m a live aboard
is ‘well let know if you need anything, I’m
just right down the docks.’ I love the community a lot. There’s really kind of all ages here. There’s about 40 to 50 of us
who live aboard on our boats. Then there’s families with
kids, and people later in life who have sailed all over the world and just have the most amazing stories. Living this close to my
sister is really fun. We never would have
imagined that we’d both end up in the same spot, really. I can see her boat, it’s
actually in the same slip as mine, four docks away, so
our boats face each other. It’s actually pretty ridiculous. The best way to get to
her boat is to kayak, so it’s pretty fun to
kayak over to see her and her boyfriend for after
work just to go visit. My parents were boaters
when they were young. They had a Catalina 30
out of Rhode Island, so they’ve spent all their
weekends on their boat. Then once we came out to
California, they got a sailboat and started exploring the bay. Just kind of fell in love with this area. Evening is hands down the best. Sunsets here, especially this time of year they happen right off the
back deck, so it’s perfect. I think the main thing I love is just how connected it is to the outdoors. I mean, when it’s high tide
or low tide, you know it, because it really makes a
difference, and when it’s windy, that affects how I’m
gonna sleep that night. So it’s definitely not all glamorous, but I love that there’s just
so much nature everywhere. Anytime you look outside
there’s gonna be birds or sea lions or fish jumping,
and it’s just really cool to be able to kind of have
that so intertwined with life. It’s unbeatable in my opinion.


  1. She's fearless, I will do this someday. Aside from boat I will also get a tiny house on wheels. if I want a house on land, only a small house will be enough. Big and grand things are just vanity, we only live once, why spent most of our life getting the bankers richer, when we should be exploring this wonderful world created by God.

  2. The production is spot on. Drone photography when done right can create such amazing viewing experiences. This is storytelling at it's best.

  3. Is this a private or public marina? I was told that most marinas dont allow people to permanently live aboard their boats-in nj at least. Does her boat ever come out of the water? What about osmosis? I want to do this but it seems like there is so mych more to consider that I had originally didnt think of.

  4. On Vancouver Island, we pay about $400/mo at the marina we're currently at.  That's power, wifi, showers, laundry and drinking water to refill our tanks.  Less than $25/mo on propane for cooking.  Other expenses are food (which you'd pay for anyway!) and whatever boat maintenance jobs we want to do / have budgeted for.  Full-time waterfront view!! Anchoring is rent free!!

  5. Kudos!!! Great housing solution, especially in San Francisco, I lived in San Jose so I felt the cost burden

  6. I’m glad that she mentioned the $45000 price of the boat. So many people won’t say what they paid. But, how much is that dock slip each month ???

  7. Hey great video! I just purchased a 50 year old Grand Banks 32 trawler. My goal is to become a full time live aboard. I love how your boat looks and feels. I wonder, do you take it out from the slip and go cruising or mostly just use it as a home? Do you still own the boat and if you do after living on it for a while do you have any regrets? My boat surely isn't as nice as yours but I'm hoping to fix it up and make it into a home. Just can't stand living here in New England any longer, winters are to long and taxes are to high! Would love if you could tell me/us more about your experiences. Thanks!

  8. She's in South Beach Harbor Marina, which charges $556 per month for a 36-foot boat, but they almost certainly charge an additional fee for being a live-aboard. When compared to what she's be paying for an apartment of the same size in that neighborhood ($3,000-4,000 per month), that's a considerable savings, but it ain't free.

  9. Saw this video about a year ago, and you got me excited about this type of living. Just wanted to let you know, I bought a boat…..mostly because you made it appear so cool! It's not as big and roomy as yours but I'm just one person. I bought a 32' Grand Banks trawler, but it has no flybridge so it looks more like a downeaster or picnic style boat. She's 50 years old and has a wooden hull, but there was just something that attracted me to her. I wonder, are you still living aboard and if you are do you still like it as much as in this video? Would love to have you tell me about some of your ideas and adventures. I am now retired and I live in New England….thinking about taking a trip on "The Great Loop" when I get the boat set up for myself and livable. Thanks for all your inspiration! Bill

  10. A BİG '! hug to you …I've been living in my 42 Foot Motor Yacht almost 11 years and loving it. I'm 76 years old and luckily young at heart. I may be getting older but I refuse to grow up. Love From Ayvalik -Turkiye..

  11. I'd be afraid to sleep on a boat. If (when) a major earthquake hits in the San Francisco area, even in a marina with breakwaters, is there a risk of life-threatening waves while sleeping?

  12. Great video and very cool boat … the real problems come when injury happens like a broken leg or hip surgery then climbing onto or into a boat or up ladders or skinny walk one become impossible especially boats tiny bathrooms and showers !! These are the times that make boat living horrible and sometimes impossible.. but you’re young so life in general should be adventurous… love life

  13. Beautiful boat, and home. Good for you! Living on your own terms. I've been doing that for 60 years and wouldn't change a thing. You're doing fine…

  14. Invite me over…im so jealous….I tried to get the wife to chuck it all and move onto a boat but she ain't having it…so rent I do…oh well….From Potrero Hill to all boaters… ya..

  15. I’ve been a live a board for 19 years and can’t even imagine living on land again. It’s so peaceful and very safe with security and privacy gates. We also have many others living a board. My slip rent is $450.00 a month for a 50’ slip and is all I owe. True lake front property. The community is great because everyone has at least one thing in common. Love for boating and the water. Don’t always have anything in common living on land. It’s not for everyone because you do have to adapt to living in smaller space. You have a beautiful aft cabin boat. Love to hear that others enjoy the life style as I do.

  16. Great live aboard
    Did it early 80’s Miami beach
    I truly believe less is more
    Also lived in 300 sq ft apt in downtown sj
    Now have the 3 and 2 1/2
    And miss those days
    Great vid

  17. From RI and knew she was from here the moment I heard her speak! I want to live on a boat as well its my dream. Hope she is still on the boat and happy 🙂

  18. There a lot of dock renter out here, they live in the harbor and never take a trip. They have party and meet at the marina bar arfternoon & evening

  19. I have always wanted to do this. An old friend lives in Salsalito, CA on a boat he rents. From the moment I saw it I knew that was my dream. Congratulations!

  20. Personally rather own a house… Each their own but more value in a home, however, if going for an exiting life experiences then boat life is the way to go. Wish ya the best weather ahead.

  21. An excellent alternative life style to living in an expensive rent where you gain no equity and never own anything. Great Video! 🙏

  22. Only 10% of berths in SF marinas are allowed to be live aboard. South beach harbor no longer allows slip transfers when you buy a boat, and there’s a 20 year waiting list to get into south beach harbor, so her timing was very good to get in there before they changed the policy.

  23. It appears she has found a unique way to deal with rising sea levels. On board boat living sounds really fun, but I would always be concerned about major storms. And I wonder how an earth quake would impact boats. Still, a clever idea.

  24. Beats a Sacramento commute to Frisco any day! The only thing that sucks about sleeping in a marina is the morons who don´t tie down the halyard.
    Ding…….ding ding…..ding.

  25. I've slept on yachts (I've never owned one though) in harbours and it's terribly noisy, you hear 'clink-clink-clink' all night from the metal bits bashing on the mast, not restful at all, never silence or just hear the sea & wind & birds.

  26. WOW, i'm impressed. Don't know where you decided to dock your boat, but it looks beautiful. The idea of living on a boat full time is not new but my hat's off to the ones dare it.
    I'm in the market for a boat, don't know where to start. I want to live on it full time, unfortunately I live in the East end of Toronto. The summer has ended, and always have wondered how does one live on a boat in the cold Canadian climate? Any full time boaters out there with advice or solution?

  27. More of this, yes, please! Creative solutions at a time where creativity can mean the difference between just living versus thriving on your own terms.

  28. It sounds nice but only in a year round warm climate. Wonder how affordable those marinas are when you live on your raft? 🧐🦑

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