Backyardless & Sneakaboards

A sneakaboard is someone who lives aboard their boat (i.e., a liveaboard) but is breaking the rules of the management or the community by doing so. Someone might sneakaboard simply to avoid paying the liveaboard fee which is additional to moorage or because living aboard is not allowed by the marina and/or not allowed by the community.

We have never been sneakaboards. We have always managed to find places that accepted liveaboards and then paid the fee.

While leaving the West Coast of Vancouver Island we had arranged a sublet in the greater Victoria area. We pulled in, were met at the dock with a key, exchanged contact info for payment and began settling into our part-winter backyard. I found the local library, we checked out the grocery, and generally enjoyed the last bits of summer.

On our second day there we were accosted by the marina manager who was mad that we were there without being told by our subletters and adamant that we could not live aboard at that marina or in that community. Not only the bearer of bad news, he was one of those "about to have an aneurysm" type of guys.

It turns out that the owners had made arrangements with management to sublet and management hadn't told the marina manager but that it was not legal in that community for us to liveaboard. After we called them to discuss the marina manager, the very nice people who were subletting the slip called and made an arrangement with him and the owners to look the other way while we were there.

But the entire experience felt dirty. Over the next few days as we scrambled to make alternate arrangements we noticed that there are many, many liveaboards in that marina and all of them scurry around, trying not to be noticed, not meeting each others eyes. We're not very good at being inconspicuous or living quietly. What's the point?

One notable exception was this gentleman who, after chatting with us for a bit, said "there is something nice about you two. If I were a pastor I would marry you." I later wondered if it was a joke to himself because he was actually a pastor. He seemed like the calm, shepherding type.

So we broke the sublet arrangement, made another arrangement, found an even better arrangement and broke the second as well, all within about 12 hours. So now I felt backyardless and flaky.

In the end, we are settled in a great spot. We love our new community. We are enjoying being in Victoria again and we are well situated to park the boat while Carol works about half time and while we do some land and air travel in between.


  1. I've never understood why some marinas do not allow liveaboards. So long as the boat is in good shape and tidy, having liveaboards in your marina is the best way to provide security. Security that pays the marina, not the other way around!

    Ah well, glad you are sorted and sorry you had to deal with Angry Marina Manager.

  2. So where are you at now in Victoria?

  3. Re: “Not only the bearer of bad news, he was one of those "about to have an aneurysm" type of guys.”

    Sounds a bit like the Dockmaster at my local marina. Unfortunately it is another place where you have to covertly live-aboard. Luckily, I just coped a dose of his temperament dropping off some sails at the visitors dock for repairs in the same marina complex. Apparently the sign stating “Visitors 2 hrs Limit” applied only to financial club members!

    I am glad your story has a happy ending!


  4. @Ceol Mors - I agree completely. People on the docks who know who belongs are great security.
    @Cindy - Shoot us an email and I'll give you the specifics.
    @Shane - Thanks!



Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner