By Allen Bunting
March 01, 2006
Lorenzo Beviaqua

Start small. If you dream about living on a boat one day,live aboard a docked vessel for a year or two to see how you likeit.

Master the basics. Learn everything you can about sailingbefore trading your home for a houseboat. If you're a recreationalboater, you won't have to have a Coast Guard captain's license, butyou may need a state operator's license. For links to specificregulations, visit

Anticipate sticker shock. Boats, particularly houseboats,are pricey to purchase―and maintain.

Simplify and downsize. Space fills up fast. Take only itemsyou can't live without.

Buy wisely. Appliances can require a lot of room. Doingwithout will save you space, and headaches.

Stay alert. Always remain aware of your surroundings, watchout for swimmers and fellow boaters, and keep binoculars and VHFradios handy.

Be prepared. Know where to find circuit breakers, fireprotection, and cell phones. Get ready for sudden storms by settingyour dock lines properly.

Know your role. It's crucial to respect the water, aprotected resource, and to follow maritime law while demonstratinggood stewardship.

Accessorize. Invest in a dinghy, kayak, or other smallvessel. You can enjoy great adventures when guests and childrenvisit.

Make in-town moments count. Residing on the water precludesspontaneous trips to the grocery store or convenience shop. When itcomes to trekking inland, efficiency is key.