Liveaboard Feature – Lisa Raley

How Lisa came to be a Liveaboard and what life has been like ever since! Here is her interview.

  1. When did you first have the thought, “I could live on a boat?” Because while it is gaining in popularity… it’s still a very out of the box way to live.

Even though I grew up on the water and was gifted my first boat from my grandfather when I was twelve, the thought of actually living on a boat had never occurred to me. It wasn’t until last year, when I was looking for an inexpensive place to live, my aunt sat next to me in church one Sunday and said, “Have you ever thought of living on a boat?” Her parents had lived aboard and traveled extensively before they had children. I sat through my uncle’s sermon that day, not hearing a word (I’m pretty sure God was okay with that), and tried to envision what living aboard would be like… What type of boat could I afford? Where would I even be able to keep it?

  1. What struggles have you had as a liveaboard and how have you overcome them. Maybe a couple examples?

My biggest struggle was this past winter during a particularly brutal few weeks. The marina was completely iced in, we experienced several blowout tides, and it was COLD… I mean really freakin’ cold! During the freeze over and blowout tides, I was stranded on my boat for an entire weekend and had to call out of work on Monday because I couldn’t reach up to the finger pier to get off the boat! A friend/marina neighbor eventually came down with a ladder and rescued me. I literally walked straight to my car, drove to a pet store, and bought a heavy-duty dog ramp to get on and off the boat until the tides finally returned to normal. During this same time period, my water froze onboard the boat! For weeks I had to line my toilet with a shopping bag and dispose of them once they were full. Yea, it was as gross as it sounds! LOL The good news was, once the temperatures finally reached above freezing, things started to thaw and there was no damage to my water lines! Shewwww! The freezing had occurred inside the water filter and the entire housing snapped off. Twenty-five bucks at the local hardware store, a trip deep into the engine compartment, and I was back in business! It sounds like a simple fix, which it absolutely was, but I was quite proud of myself for diagnosing the problem and repairing it all on my own!

  1. What have you compromised to be a live aboard? (If anything)

The only compromise really was space, but I already considered myself a minimalist. For years I dreamed of living in a Tiny House. So, it wasn’t much of an adjustment. I purged a bit more after I moved aboard, created some storage where there wasn’t any before, and cleared out / reorganized some of the areas that were occupied with spare parts, spare power cables, etc. that the previous owners had left for me.




  1. What do your friends think about your lifestyle and what do they most often ask about?

Hahaha… My friends (especially ones I didn’t even know I had) think it’s awesome and are always asking when they can come down and hang out! There is a bit of misconception about living aboard that people seem to over romanticize. Don’t get me wrong… it’s an amazing lifestyle, but it’s not all gentle breezes and martinis on the deck. The thing I’m most often asked is, “Do you live on it (the boat) in the winter too?” and “Is it cold in the winter?”. My answers are always, “Yes and yes!!!”




  1. What does your family say about the lifestyle?

It’s funny, when I first suggested buying a boat to live aboard, my parents were completely against it. Now, my mom loves to visit and hang out at the pool with me and my dad is always looking for opportunities to come down and work on projects. My sister was a fan of the idea from the beginning and has been my biggest supporter. Of course, she’s my sister and that’s what sisters do.

  1. There is a misconception about liveaboards as I’ve learned… that they are scalawag, drunks who never leave the dock and grow beards and hardly bathe. (ha) We both know that’s not the case, so what is liveaboard lifestyle about?

Hmm… well, those descriptions aren’t entirely inaccurate. LOL I think it depends on how you’re living aboard. If you’re a cruising live aboard, you probably drink less and bathe less. If you’re mostly docked in a marina with plenty of friends and amenities (like me), you probably drink more and bathe more.

I think what we all have in common, though, is a desire for a simpler life… a life that is less about possessions and more about relationships and experiences. We are the next wave of the Tiny House movement… we have tiny houses on water. Which, to me, is the very best type of tiny house!


  1. Tell me about your vessel and why you chose it? 

Honestly, my vessel chose me! I had a very small budget, my choices were extremely limited, and she was the very first boat I found. I went with cash in hand and bought her on the spot… no survey, no sea trial, nothing! She is a well-cared for 1968 35’ Owens Concorde. She is a classic piece of Maryland history (Owens were manufactured in Baltimore) and I’m very proud to own her!






  1. Anything to add to the story that people should know about you and your live aboard story?

In the wee hours on July 1, 2017 I packed up my belongings, walked out of a bad relationship, drove to the bank, purchased my boat, waited several hours for her arrival at my marina, and moved aboard… literally all in one day! Hence, the name of my sweet gal… First of July. She has become my best friend (yes, the boat!) and I tell her everyday (yes, literally! LOL) how dearly I treasure her.