Why might someone want to liveaboard their sailboat in Maine?
Maine is a peaceful state. Sure, you can find a nightlife here and there and there is a decent population of young people. But for the most part, though, it is quiet. It is peaceful. It is a sailor’s dream. Maine is home to a huge amount of woodland national parks. The Acadia National Forest is right on your doorstep offering a plethora of camping, hiking, and various other outdoor activities. If you are planning on bringing a dog with you, there are very few places that are as good for dog walking as the Acadia National Forest. Maine also has a very low cost of living, if you are bringing your work from home job with you then you will find your money going a heck of a lot further. This means you may even find it sustainable to buy/lease a car and live on your boat. If you are a foodie you are in luck. There are dozens of annual Maine food festivals to keep you entertained throughout the year.
What are some things to consider when living aboard your boat in Maine?
Maine is an amazing place to live, there are so many things to see and so many beautiful hiking trails that the entire state is an outdoorsman’s dream. If you are moving to Maine because you are retiring, the endless walks, waterfalls, forest trails, and fishing lakes are perhaps precisely what you are looking for. Maine is also home to over 3500 miles of rocky, jagged, coastlines that will be fun to explore from land or by sea. There is more to see at sea in Maine than in many other states. Having a diverse and interesting coastline doesn’t mean too much to ordinary people. It means a heck of a lot to sailors though. They are the ones that spend their time looking at it!
The people in Maine are friendly. Very friendly. This is great for most people, moving somewhere new and immediately feeling like you fit in is so important. And feeling like you are being not just accepted but welcomed into the community is a true blessing. Unless, of course, you prefer to keep yourself to yourself. If you are a very private person who prefers to be alone then Maine might not be the state for you. Chances are your marina slip neighbors are going to want to come over to say hello, introduce themselves, and try to include you in the community. Whether it is the community of the town or just the marina. It is up to you to decide whether or not this sounds like a good thing or a bad thing. It is entirely a matter of personal preference.
The weather in Maine is best described as mild. It doesn’t get too hot, it doesn’t get too cold. But it does rain. A lot. If the fact that Maine has about 173 days of rain per year is a problem for you then you might want to look elsewhere. Rain for someone living on their boat is more important than someone in an apartment. Do you mind feeling trapped on your boat because the weather doesn’t allow you to be out and about? For some sailors, being “trapped” on a boat doesn’t feel like being trapped at all. It’s precisely where they want to be.
Once you have decided whether or not Maine is the place for you. It hopefully is! It is a good idea to start thinking about the logistics of the move. If you already have a boat, but don’t live on it full time, its time to start deciding what you do and don’t need. Discovering whether you can take your job with you or you need to find a new one is also very important. Lastly, its time to decide where in Maine is best for you. Maine is a pretty small state by comparison. It has a very short coastline, so you aren’t exactly spoilt for choice. That being said, there are some great marinas in Maine. If you have the time, visiting some of these marinas in person before you commit is a very good idea. When you are visiting, use this next section to help you know what to look for.
What are some good qualities to look for in a marina?
Some marinas are great. Some are bad. Most sit somewhere in the middle. Unless you are very wealthy or are scraping pennies together to afford the marina, you are going to be looking for one somewhere in the middle. A marina that has all the basics for a good price in a good location should be top of the list. Luckily, Maine has many such marinas. Here are some factors to consider when comparing similar marinas to ensure that you are getting the most out of your money. Marinas are not cheap, so ensuring you get good value from your lease is very important.
If you are living aboard your boat you are going to end up with very few possessions. For some people, this is a problem, for most people though it is a blessing. Having minimal possessions is easier to manage and far more sustainable. But, it does have some downsides when all of those possessions are limited to your boat. If someone were to break into your boat they would be able to take everything of value you own. It would only take them a few minutes too. Boats don’t have very many “hidey holes”. Most things will be out in the open. Unless you are planning on guarding your boat 24/7 you are going to want to rely on good marina security. Good security meaning CCTV, guards on duty, high fences, secure keycode gates, and friendly neighbors. Neighbors who will watch your boat for you and keep an eye on the happenings.
Maine technically has a very long coastline. This is because it is so rough and jagged. In practical terms, the coastline is truly quite short. There are only a few towns/cities on the coast that are worth your while staying at. So, picking the right one depends largely on work. If you don’t have a job lined up already then the best advice will be to follow the work. Find a job and choose the marina based on that. If you have the luxury of not needing to work or being able to work from home, then the best advice would be to try a few marinas out before settling on a more long term lease.
Maine has a very low cost of living. This means groceries, rent, utilities, and activities are relatively low compared to the rest of the country. It does not mean that wages are low. So, this makes Maine a great place to live financially speaking. These low costs translate directly into marina costs too. You can rent a marina slip in Maine for less than $3000 a year. This is FAR less than renting in somewhere like Florida or California that could be anywhere between 2 and 4 times that.
Good amenities include so many things. Having a nice shower block with decent bathrooms may play a part. Having swimming pools or hot tubs that are available for residents to use may be on the table. Having access to a private gym at no extra cost is a great benefit that people often fail to consider. Having a laundry room on-site that has both washers and dryers is a blessing that you will surely miss if there isn’t one available. Your marina should be considered an extension of your home. If there are no amenities you will have to find the things you need elsewhere. Whether that is carrying your dirty laundry 5 blocks to find a laundromat or having to take a bus across town to find a gym.
Wifi and good cell service:
If you are someone who needs to work from home regularly, be it full time or part, you are going to need wifi or decent cell service. Probably both. It is very hard to get by in the modern world without a stable internet connection. You cant pay your bills, can’t connect with family, and cant hunt for a job should you need to. Even if you already have a job you will be expected to be in reach. Be it from email or from text/call you will need a way of communicating with colleagues and clients alike. Even if that isn’t an issue you need to consider your personal life. Not being able to watch movies, watch sports, stream music, or chat with friends will be very draining. Sure, it may be nice for a week or two. Maybe even a month. But after that, you are going to be both bored and lonely. At least most people will be.
What are the best liveaboard marinas in Maine?
Maine is not the largest state, its coastline is even smaller, so you aren’t exactly spoilt for choice. But, there ARE choices. Luckily, since Maine is a very affordable place to live, price shouldn’t play all that much into your choice. You may want to consider what else you will need to spend your money on, what day to day expenses will need to be considered to help you get by. Like a car. Since there isn’t as much public transport available here as there would be in say, Los Angeles, you will NEED a car. Especially if you plan on exploring the rest of the state. Here is a breakdown of the best liveaboard marinas in Maine:
- Maine Yacht Center
- Sunset Marina
- DiMillo’s Old Port
- Portland Yacht Service
- Spring Point Marina Dock House
- South Port Marine
- Landings Marina
- Journey’s End Marina
- Knight Marine Service
- Rockland Yacht Club
- North End Shipyard
- Kennebunk Port Marina
- Chicks Marina
- DiMillo’s Kennebunk
- Yachtsman Hotel and Marina Club
- General Marine
- Arundel Wharf
As you can see, Maine is a pretty great place to live. Especially if you are planning on retiring there. Low cost of living means that your pension will go further, you will get more for your money and will have more disposable income to spend on the things that matter to you most. If the constant rainy weather isn’t a turn off for you, Maine is truly a place that you can make your home. The people are welcoming, the food is great, the countryside is beautiful and the marinas are cheap. What else do you need? What more could you want?