How to Buy a Used Boat to Live On

Learn the tricks for finding a used boat to live on or to use for fishing.

| July/August 1972

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    You might have to look at a lot of used boats before finding one that is seaworthy.
    Photo by Cliff Houff
  • boat2
    Don't settle for a boat in very poor condition. You may end up spending more to fix it up than you would have paid for a newer boat.
    Photo by Cliff Houff

  • boat1
  • boat2

British Columbia, Canada is a fertile hunting ground far those folks into boat living. The large fishing industry here spins off whole fleets of used vessels in a variety of types and sizes not matched in many places. These older boats are often available at very reasonable cost, especially after losing their commercial licenses and becoming a liability to their fisherman-owners.

As these are work vessels, most are deep-drafted, roomy . . . and thus quite seaworthy and comfortable. Many are exceptionally well built-rugged enough for continued commercial work —and adapt well to the needs of someone seeking a home/transportation/possible-income situation.

We spent six weeks stalking the waterfronts of the southern B.C. coast in search of a boat which would meet all of most of the following requirements: (1) seaworthiness and soundness of hull; (2) potential livability for three . . . or at very least, two; (3) a good motor, preferably running; (4) potential for commercial use including fishing, towing, hauling, etc.; (6) esthetic appeal; (6) and most important, err unusually low price . . . preferably under a thousand dollars.

By arduous searching we found several boats which satisfied most of these requirements, and one—the one we got—which satisfies them all!

Following is what we learned about boathunting in B.C., including why we settled on certain types of vessels as being best suited to the purposes given above.

Of the numerous types of watercraft available in B.C., the fishboat seems to offer the best deal to those seeking a live-aboard home, This isn't to say that other vessels might not prove more suitable to some folks . . . in fact, we didn't get a fishboat ourselves. A large percentage of the used watercraft we located, however, was fishboats . . . and they filled more of the abovementioned requirements more often than any other kind of vessel we inspected.


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