5 reasons why life in a boatyard sucks!
It has now been a day shy of a week that Rebecca and I have been living onboard Frost in the boat yard. Without this kind of experience, many may not fully grasp why boatyard life is so thoroughly hated by most people. The following are a few of the ways that it differs from normal life on a boat, if it could ever be called normal.
- 1. It’s a long way down
Frost has a draft of six and a half feet. That is the measurement from the water down to the bottom of her keel. She also has a fairly high freeboard, the measurement from the water up to her decks. If you add those two numbers together, plus add on a bit for the wooden blocks that her keel is resting on, you’ll have a pretty good idea of just how far up in the air we are when we’re walking around the deck. How high exactly? I haven’t measured it but I think it’s safe to say that those with a fear of heights may have some adjusting to do.
How do we get on the boat, or off of it? By using a tall ladder that we have tied on to the rail. Trust me, it’s important to be careful when going up or down that ladder. If you fall, you won’t be landing in any water!
- 2. The plumbing doesn’t work
While fresh water will still flow from the taps, that’s about the extent of the plumbing that continues to work, or that we choose to use. All of the sinks on the boat gravity feed out the bottom so, even though they would still function, we don’t want to be dumping dirty dish water, etc. on the ground below us. You can only imagine the bugs that the dirty water would attract.
It should also go without saying that the toilets don’t work either. When nature calls, we need to do one of two things:
- Make a trip to the restrooms by the marina office. This entails a trip down the ladder (see above) and a fairly long walk across the yard. Not fun at night.
- Pee in a container. For those who want the dirty details, we use an old engine coolant jug and a funnel, and we take the container to the toilets to empty it once per day. Glamorous, isn’t it?
Dishwashing station on the side deck.
- 3. Mosquitos suck
People often ask us if we are troubled by bugs when living on the boat. The truth is that, when at anchor, the near constant breeze, and the fact that we’re not actually on the land where the bugs breed, keeps us pretty much pest free. This is not the case in the yard though. Each night this week I have fallen asleep to the sound of mosquitos buzzing in my ears, and each morning I have woken up with new bites on my skin. Not cool!
- 4. It’s dirty
I’m not sure if our feet will even be clean again! Boat yards are notoriously dirty and dusty (or in the rainy season, muddy). At the moment, our boat is situated in what you’d call the “dirty” part of the yard, where boats, including ours, are having toxic bottom paint sanded off their hulls. During the days when the work is going on, we need to keep every hatch on the boat closed to prevent that dust from getting inside. At the end of the day, I also need to take a hose and rinse off the decks. If I didn’t, our feet would end up even more black than they already are!
- 5. It’s loud
Gone are the sounds of waves lapping at the boat, or the sometime melodic twang of a halyard clanging on a nearby mast. Those sounds have been replaced by boatyard noises: banging, grinding, and sanding. It’s hard to describe just how loud it is inside a boat when someone is using an electric sander to remove bottom paint off its hull. Trust me, it resonates!
At least it’s peaceful at night, if we ignore the traffic noise on the adjacent highway.