Can You Live On A Boat In Hawaii? | LakeWizard

Hawaii can be an expensive place to live. People considering different housing options might want to know if you can live on a boat in Hawaii.

Though you might save money from living on a boat, you should consider other good reasons. In a state like Hawaii, living on a boat can be a convenient way for water lovers to stay close to the ocean and nearby attractions.

You can live on a boat in Hawaii at select locations. Most of these locations have long waiting lists and relatively high fees. You can acquire a liveaboard permit in a private facility or one of two public harbors, including Keehi Lagoon Harbor and Ala Wai Harbor.

Since the availability of liveaboard permits is extremely limited, it is rare for such a permit to be issued at any given location in Hawaii. It will often take years to get through a waiting list and be able to buy a liveaboard permit.

We will explore what life is typically like on a boat in Hawaii and the steps you need to take to live on a boat there. Though there can be tremendous obstacles to overcome, it can be an excellent value for those willing to give it a shot.

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What Is It Like To Live On A Boat In Hawaii?

When you think of Hawaii, you might think of the bright sunshine, sand-filled beaches, lush greenery, and miles of coastline.

The food culture, shopping areas, and people of Hawaii are some of the main reasons I like to visit as often as possible.

Living in Hawaii in any capacity can be a fantastic experience, so it’s a worthwhile endeavor to see if living on a boat in Hawaii is right for you.

Since a moored boat is usually not completely stable, living in a vessel that frequently moves should be something that doesn’t bother you much.

If you are easily sea sick, there could be problems that arise even if the boat seems sufficiently stable at first.

Hawaii experiences a wide range of weather conditions that could bring heavy winds through your boat’s area at any time.

There are many other factors that determine how stable your boat will be such as the size of the boat, the number of boat occupants, and the stabilization features of the boat.

If you are fine with the likely swaying that will occur while living on a boat in Hawaii, you should also consider the living space of the boat.

Compared to most homes on land, a standard boat will generally have much tighter spaces and fewer amenities built into it.

Though you might be able to access more extensive features like showers, kitchens, and lounging areas in a private marina, a boat itself will generally have less features than an ordinary house or apartment.

A great thing about living on a boat in Hawaii is the close proximity to attractions you enjoy.

There may be shopping areas, restaurants, movie theaters, beaches, or other places you can access nearby through short walks or drives.

Some of the private marinas and yacht clubs are known to be located near prime attractions for both locals and tourists.

The two public harbors where you can live on a boat in Hawaii are known to be near more industrial areas, so people are probably less likely to live there for the nearby attractions.

If boating itself is a major draw for you, then living on a boat in Hawaii wherever the location might be enough of a selling point for you.

While it can be cheaper to live on a boat compared to a house in Hawaii, it isn’t necessarily affordable.

Depending on the place you want to live, you may have to pay extensive fees for a membership, energy, facility usage, maintenance, water, sewage, sanitation, security, and penalties for not doing something according to policies.

If all the expenses and red tape involved in getting a liveaboard slip in Hawaii are fine with you, you can be treated to wonderful weather and beautiful scenery every day you wake up.

How Difficult Is It To Get A Liveaboard Permit For A Boat In Hawaii?

When it comes to lodging in Hawaii, there are many options, including houses, townhomes, condos, and apartments.

Since the ocean is such a central part of Hawaii, some people might think Hawaii has many options for people to live on a boat.

Though there are definitely ways you can live on a boat in Hawaii, it can be very tough to find a liveaboard slip you can buy.

Even if you can afford the hefty fees to own a boat and pay for all the required membership and service fees, you may have to wait years before your name is called from a waiting list.

Though there are many harbors and other areas for mooring a boat, there are only two public places in Hawaii to live on a boat.

The two public harbors are Ala Wai Harbor, which is one of Hawaii’s biggest harbors, and Keehi Lagoon Harbor.

Ala Wai Harbor only allows for up to 129 liveaboard permits, while Keehi Lagoon Harbor only allows for up to 35.

Obtaining a permit to live on a boat at one of these harbors can be very difficult since only 164 total liveaboards are permitted between the two of them.

With the relatively small number of available permits, you will also have to contest with other people waiting to acquire a permit.

There are no definite timelines for how long it takes to get a liveaboard slip anywhere in Hawaii, but you can probably expect to wait anywhere from a couple years to over ten years.

Are There Short-Term Options For Living On A Boat In Hawaii?

If you don’t want to live on a boat in Hawaii permanently, it can be much easier to get permits for shorter stays on a boat there.

Depending on how you define short-term living, you might be able to spend extended time on a boat without much of a hassle.

Many of the private marinas and clubs that offer liveaboard permits may allow boaters to live on their boats for a limited time.

The amount of time people can live on their boats is dependent on each location’s policies, but it’s not uncommon to be able to have overnight stays on your boat for a few months or so.

If you want to try living on a boat in Hawaii to see what it’s like, applying for a temporary living permit can be an effective way to get your feet wet.

Much like doing visa runs in other countries can help bypass immigration restrictions, doing a series of temporary boat stays in Hawaii could be a good solution for people that don’t meet all the requirements for a permanent boat residency.

Private locations that offer short-term boat living may offer convenient features to make your living experience more comfortable.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when completely committing to a new type of living, so being able to access land-based facilities for bathing, cooking, working, and other daily activities can make the transition to living on a boat much smoother.

Living on a boat in Hawaii with a short-term liveaboard permit may also allow you to bounce around from different locations to compare and contrast what each place has to offer.

That type of information can be very valuable when deciding where you want to stay permanently.