Metro explores the latest trends emerging on the West Coast of Canada.
Vancouver trending: Life aboard a boat lures new generation of romantics
Boat living in the waters off Vancouver is attractive for those who don’t want to be weighed down by possessions and debt.
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They are a good example of just how creative and versatile today's live-aboard population is becoming. Currently moored in Vancouver, they are part of a new generation of boat dwellers lured by the lower cost of living and the freedom of the open sea.
The tech-savvy couple uses Patreon, an increasingly popular crowd-funding site in the boating community, which allows users to create videos of their adventures in exchange for monthly funding. The site is particularly well suited to adventurous seafarers who yearn to create and travel while living a minimalist lifestyle.
Vancouver's coastal location, job opportunities and amenities makes it particularly attractive to romantics and penny-pinchers alike, from students trying to save rent money to young creatives eager to escape the rat race.
For Bell, the most satisfying part of living on a boat are "the people we have met while moored in yacht clubs and anchored at bays, exchanging sailing stories and advice with new friends. Also, the sunsets," she said.
The area has a rich history of live-aboards. West Coast legend Allan Farrell built and lived on more than 40 boats, sailing up and down the coast, and as far as Fiji and Hawaii, with his wife Sharie for almost 70 years.
Avid travellers themselves, for Bell, "a boat offers some stability, and if you get tired of the scenery, you can lift anchor and go somewhere else, " she said.
A limited number of Vancouver and North Vancouver marinas offer the opportunity to live aboard albeit with long wait-lists. Designer and instructor Sarah Hay lives aboard her boat at the Spruce Harbour Marina with her husband, two young boys, and dog.
She and her husband met sailing and did a lot of racing together, "so boat life is something we are both passionate about," she said.
Finding the Vancouver housing market both uninspiring and overpriced, they talked to friends who lived in the marina and "everything fell into place." Besides being an ideal environment to raise children, for Hay, the best thing about living on a boat is "being able to untie the lines and go cruising with your entire home," she said.
Bell echoes this sentiment.
"We feel people want to live with less, to not feel weighed down by possessions and debt. Not everybody has the money to buy a place of their own. A boat is a creative solution to this problem," she said.