The Live-Aboard Lifestyle

Threat to Sailboat Living Eliminated

By Kristina Krug and Tessa Weber

The City Department of Planning and Development (DPD), has eliminated a controversial proposal to establish a 25 percent cap on live-aboard moorage in the Puget Sound.

Gail Luhn, President of Shilshole Liveaboard Association (SLA) said that her and fellow liveaboards “were very pleased” with the outcome.

Blake and  Bre Marcuccie having dinner on their 34ft Hunter sailboat.
Breanne and Blake Marcuccie having dinner on their 34ft Hunter sailboat.

Luhn and her colleagues from the SLA negotiated behind closed doors with the city for several months on this issue.

The 25 percent cap for live-aboards was proposed as part of the city’s Shoreline Master Plan to mitigate the levels waste water from residential boats going into Puget Sound.

However, there were many skeptics who felt that the city’s proposal was without warrant.

“I don’t think there is any scientific data. And as far as I know, nobody could show you a direct link between live-aboards [and polluted water]” said Al Hugh, a Seattle live-aboard.

Live-aboard kitchen
Kitchen, office and bedroom in Leslie Kay Morman & Jodine Hatfield's Shilshole Bay sailboat.

Still, Luhn and others in the live-aboard community praised the replacement of the 25% provision with a set of “Best Management Practices” guiding environmentally friendly boat living. Those practices have long been required at Shilshole Marina in Ballard, but will now be mandatory city-wide.

“We try not to use the bathroom on board very much and have to go regularly to get it pumped out. That’s part of our live-aboard obligation” says Jodine Hatfield, a longtime live-aboard, “Every quarter you have to prove that you have had your facilities pumped out and certified. So we have an agreement with the marina that we have to maintain.”

Thanks to the new compromise, all liveaboards can stay in their floating homes while also working to keep shorelines healthy and clean.

Leslie Kay Norman (left) and Jodine Hatfield

Slip Size Prices

3 thoughts to “The Live-Aboard Lifestyle”

  1. I used to be the President of the Shilshole Liveaboard Assc. and I want to congratulate you  guys. Liveaboards are a convenient group that governmental agencies can go after to show the public that they are doing something about water quality rather than try to solve the very hard problem of water quality in Puget Sound and surrounding waters. And just a soon as you educate the people in government that liveaboards aren’t the problem, they get other jobs in and out of government, a new group takes over, and the whole process starts again. But Shilshole , after an initial reluctance, has turned out to be a good supporter of the lifestyle.
    After 10 years living off my boat I’m really starting to miss it again. Thanks for fighting for right to still be able to have the option of moving back.

  2. Doesn’t someone here want to complain about all the vagabonds living on boats ruining the water quality and life as we know it here in Ballard?

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