Low Rent Livaboard in Expensive San Francisco Bay

It was nice having Kirsten Dirksen of faircompanies.com in the area last summer and she picked up quite a few stories of people living small in Northern California. This video is about Fiver Brown.

Fiver Brown is a musician and the kind of guy who has worked as a rodeo clown, a sushi photographer and a pirate, so he couldn’t really afford to buy a home in his current hometown of Sausalito with an average home price of 2.2 million dollars. Instead, he bought a boat. Technically, he bought a floating home. It’s a former WWII lifeboat that had been converted into a small home and docked at one of the town’s historic houseboat communities.

It’s only 13 ft by 37 ft (481 sq ft), but the views are unbeatable. He watches stingrays and birds from the galley/kitchen and from his lofted bed he can peer down at his floating neighbors and the hills of Sausalito above.

His home is paid off though he still pays a monthly slip rental as part of the Galilee Harbor Coop and he’s living right where he wants to be, in a town known for its arts scene.

In this video, Fiver shows us his digs, including a walk-in closet and bathroom renovation in-progress, and performs one of his recent songs aboard his gently rocking maritime crib.

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Irene - October 26, 2011 Reply

Talented guy, cute couple. Very much like how they are living. Thank you for this!

Rick Taron - October 26, 2011 Reply

Where does the sewage go?

    Kent Griswold - October 26, 2011 Reply

    Most floating homes have holding tanks that are pumped regularly, I’m fairly sure that this one would be set up that way too.

    Kirsten - October 26, 2011 Reply

    Good question. It’s the one point I left out of the video. The floating homes at Galilee Harbor are hooked up to the city’s sewer system (as well as power grid) so there is no discharge into the bay.

    One thing I wasn’t able to edit into the? video is the fact that the community Fiver lives in is a cooperative. He paid to buy into it and also pays a monthly fee for berth space. They also have community bathrooms, garden and laundry (and even a clothesline).

julie - October 26, 2011 Reply

Super cool boat. Love the swoopiness, wood, and the other neat features. As somebody who lives on a “real” boat…this dude has so much space!!! And so must stuff to fill it. I have about 22 square feet (max) of walking space in my boat total–so tiny can get so much tinier!


Russ - October 26, 2011 Reply

That’s a really well suited boat design for a home, he was lucky to grab something like that, most house boats I’ve seen aren’t nearly that spacious. What do they do if the boat gets a leak or needs repair, though? If they hauled it out of the water it seems like all their stuff would fall over.

alice - October 26, 2011 Reply

http://www.galileeharbor.org/index.html for some history and info of the harbor.

alice - October 26, 2011 Reply

http://www.galileeharbor.org/index.html for some history and info of the harbor.

bill - October 26, 2011 Reply

Super nice house boat, great. Fiver seems to very talented also..

BigGoofyGuy - October 26, 2011 Reply

It is really cool but I would not recommend it for any one who gets motion sickness. 🙂

SCOTTIEEEE - October 26, 2011 Reply

I’ve been living on one too. We’re practically neighbors. I’ve loved it but am in the process of moving to land. My boat is now for sale…check out Marotta Yachts website for more information about my great live aboard boat that is for sale.

    Doug - November 13, 2011 Reply

    If you’re selling, drop me a note at jetskirental at gmail dot com.
    I’m just down the street.

deryk - October 26, 2011 Reply

I live on a boat as well in New Jersey. With the way our economy is spiralling out of hand, its the only way that I could afford to live on the water, see the sites I see dailey and enjoy it. I wouldnt trade it for living in an apartment for anything.

Low Rent Liveaboard in SF | ShantyboatLiving.com - October 26, 2011 Reply

[…] His home is paid off though he still pays… Read More […]

Benjamin - October 27, 2011 Reply

The roof looks like a hyperbolic paraboloid. There’s a house with that roof design in Marin County. It’s made with straight pieces set at a diagonal, forming the curve. (The pieces look curved in the interior shots but I suspect that is just wide-angle camera lens distortion.)

www.kevinsmicrohomestead.com - October 27, 2011 Reply

I love the funky hippy vibe of this space total diy project just make do make it yourself no rules open space .

Josh - October 27, 2011 Reply

This is such a cool idea…

Catherine - October 29, 2011 Reply

i was travelling there , and love that part of SF ..
catherine from Australia

Ted - November 1, 2011 Reply

As much as I love the idea, I have to think it’s not as cheap as people let on. Maintenance on any floating vessel is expensive. The hull ideally needs to be cleaned every couple months, and it would have to be pulled every year or two to be repainted. Zincs need to be replaced to prevent galvanic corrosion. It adds up, and neglecting it essentially puts your entire life at risk of sinking.

    Syd - November 7, 2011 Reply

    They say that BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand. I’ve always been told that a boat is a hole in the water that you pour money into.

    Love the idea, but cheap? Not so sure about that.

IMF - May 2, 2012 Reply

Its a great idea – a lower rent option in an expensive real estate market. However, as people are pointing out, maintenance costs can be high and that needs to factored in for the cost of rent (from the owner).

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