Heading towards PNW to live aboard (1 Viewer)


Oct 2, 2018
Bike travelling
Hey everyone,
With my bicycle travels in Mexico over due to covid, I've been wandering around the US for a bit and I have decided to pursue the live aboard lifestyle.

I'm currently in Ogden Utah where I just picked up a cheap camper van from a friend.

The van will give me a temporary home and the ability to shop around and find the right boat and not feel like I have to buy something quickly just to have a place.
i was thinking of starting the search up north around Bellingham and if I can't find anything moving south. I hate trying to get around Seattle and would prefer to stay out of the crowds these days.

I'm looking for something smaller, 26 seems to be a popular starting point but I'd be happy with a good boat between 24-30'. Everything I own can be carried in a backpack or on a bike so I don't need much room. I'm also looking to buy something that can sail from day 1. A few minor repairs, i can deal with but I'm not going to start a full overhual. I've seen how those projects go. The van I'm in was one of those projects. First it needed a battery, then radiator, then a new engine. My friend lost interest in the van and sold it to me for way less than they have in It because it's just sitting there. I don't want that to happen to my boat.

I have sailed before but never live aboard and I haven't sailed in probably 12 years. My great uncle used to make sails in the chesapeake, so I've been out in his boats. I'm confident i can learn the skills easily.

I have a few questions for the people up in the PNW.

I s Bellingham a good place to start of should I just bite the bullet and hang around Seattle/tacoma?

I've looked at Craigslist and there are quite a few sailboats. Should I just relay on Craigslist? Or is stopping in the Marianas and talking to the managers a better way to find a good boat?

I've read the other threads on this site and just want to say thanks to everyone and thanks for sharing all the great advice.

I am reading books on buying old boats and common problems to look for. But if anyone has any leads or hears of a good boat going for sale, please DM me.

I'm leaving Ogden tomorrow or Saturday(waiting for a package) and should be in Washington ready to begin the hunt on monday, 8/03. And hopefully I'll catch some of you out on water. Thanks
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Burrito fund contributor
StP Supporter
Jan 2, 2009
Foothills of the Cascades, western WA
Awesome! Bellingham Craigslist is where I found my boat. It's a good place to look. And I would guess come September there will be more boats being listed, as people are done with the summer cruising season and looking to get rid of their boats before winter comes.

Bellingham marina is a great marina to keep your boat, speaking from experience. They have gates with a code you use to enter the docks, which helps keep thieves, etc out. Bathrooms and showers of course. A decent restaurant and bar on site. There is also an engine repair shop, a sail repair shop I believe, and a little marine supply store across the street. Great launching point for the San Juan islands. And everyone is pretty easy going aside from Gate 3 which has some snobby yuppy types on their rich yachts.

Wish you well on your search. Unfortunately, it turns out I won't be putting my boat in the water this year but I'm hoping to come March/April. If you ever need help with any boat stuff I'm only an hour and a half drive from Bellingham.


Global Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2008
Northern California
Bellingham is alright, but you'll find far more boats in the Seattle/Olympia area (Olympia is also a good spot). I would keep an eye on the entire Puget Sound area since it'll make it far more likely you'll find a deal. However, this time of year cheap boats will be few and far between; you'll have better luck in the Fall and Winter, when people aren't using their boats and are just looking at those slip fees and will quickly lower boat prices. Craigslist is generally your best bet; you can set up an alert that will automatically e-mail you whenever a sailboat under a certain price goes up.

Keep in mind that marinas typically have a long waiting list for liveaboard slips, and a limit to the percentage of slips that can be liveaboard, so you'll also probably want to look into anchorages in Puget Sound and research anchoring strategies.


Oct 2, 2018
Bike travelling
Thanks everyone for getting back to me. I just arrived in bellingham today. So the search begins tomorrow. I know I'm a little early in the year but since I have the van I'm in no hurry to buy and can spend some time shopping and getting a better understanding of sizing, quality, and what's a good deal. I plan on anchoring mostly, a slip would be nice for a month or two to get things figured out and make any repairs, but we will see what comes along. I 'm keeping my eyes on any listings in the sound but home basing up here.
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