Some Residents Live On Boats Year-Round Despite Cold Weather

BOSTON (CBS) – As frigid as it is near the water Monday night, just imagine what it’s like living on the water, not as a fisherman, but a homeowner.

In Boston Harbor, some proud and hearty souls live on their boats year-round.

Walter Hope can’t wait to get home, but admits he doesn’t get many guests these days.

“It’s hard to get people to come visit in the wintertime,” said Hope.

Perhaps that’s because the house Walter shares with his partner is floating. It’s the 50-foot trawler “Imagine,” docked in the shadow of the Bunker Hill monument.

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports.

“The first question is always ‘how do you stay warm on a boat?'” said Hope.

His answer to sub-zero temps is thermostat-controlled diesel heat aboard a vessel that’s essentially shrink-wrapped to shed snow and wind and provide a greenhouse effect for 1,000 square feet of cozy living-space during the day.

Around 90 boat residents secure their homes with several extra lines and fenders for the stormy winter and the marina breaks the thickening ice around them every few days.

Windy Nor’easters are just something they’ve learned to deal with.

“So the whole boat might sway a bit from one side to the other,” said Hope. “The rocking puts you to sleep at night. It’s quite beautiful.”

The harbor is warning that another storm is arriving.

Walter said he has lived on boats for a decade now. He said his floating neighbors include a handful of senior citizens.

  • Betty

    And it is the best in the world. I know I live on mine just down the harbor. Boating life is a blast. Jut think if you want to got away you have your home with you all the time. If you have pets you don’t have to kennel them or worry that they may not be able to come along for the trip.

  • Cynic

    Why was it important to point out that he has a “Partner”?

    • Buseybee

      More important is, why do you care? You wouldn’t have asked the question if it had said “wife”.

      • Cynic

        Of course I might not ask if it had said Wife……I may sometime in the future when Wives,Husbands and Families become less common.

    • tarrantm

      Why is it important for you to bring it up?

      Human interest news story actually reported on their subjects; oh noes it destroyed your fragile little fantasy…

  • bronco

    I have to agree with Cynic.

    Buseybee you have to admit that there is an agenda to promote the Gay Lifestyle being made

    • tarrantm

      Ah yes; apparently the gay lifestyle comes with a free houseboat on the marina. I can see how ur being tempted.

      It’s just too easy to make fun of bigots these days.

      • Cynic

        OMG>>>>>He said the “B” word….

  • Elaine

    Great story about living aboard boats – a wonderfully unique lifestyle in any location but especially here in “Froston”.

    And that folks, is what this story about. No need to bring any pettiness into the room.

  • Misshell

    Partner doesn’t necessarily mean a gay relationship anymore, kids. It might be a way to say that his non married female friend lives aboard. And what, no one complains about the senior citizen comments? I’m sure it’s not just a retirement community.

  • Cynic

    The Creme De La Creme…. I’m Impressed.

  • Cynic

    My Brother lived aboard a Destroyer for 14 years. Why no story about him?

  • tarrantm

    I love how the winter wraps make the boats look some some kinda space ship.

  • emom

    Oh for heaven sakes who cares what kind of folks live on the darn boats, Its still a cool place to live, some should try living on a boat, its wonderful, Seems like it would be much cheaper than a house or an apartment.

  • Cmoments

    I live next to Walter and Jeff and my husband and I !! To those of you who care! We are a very close community and we have a lot of professionals at our marina, married, partnered, single… Its a wonderful life.. we owned our home for over 20 yrs and living on a boat, we have friendships that we never got in a traditional neighborhod… It is not true it is less expense than a owning a home!! You have to pay dockage $1K/mth, boat insurance $2K/yr, heating cost, materials to winterize your boat, shrink wrap $1200/yr, parking… Renting an apt is less expensive then living on a boat in the winter! You should try it sometime, you will realize the joy we have had…. Enjoy your closed in homes or apts.. we will enjoy our views of Boston, The Garden, the bunker hill monument, etc… :)

  • srichmond

    Love our marina friends and lived next door to Walter and Jeff for several summers. Best neighbors we ever had!! Ditto to friends from Cmoments!

  • maureen

    If srichmond says so, I am all for it!
    Looks like a rockin’ life for ‘senior citizens’ et al! lol

  • Douglas Sabbag

    My wife an I live on our sailboat, the Triumph, at the Constitution Marina also!
    We sailed up here from Fort Lauderdale last summer and are enjoying Boston a lot. We’re both computer consultants, but also have a sailboat chartering enterprise:
    Our boat is equipped with a water maker / solar panels / washer & dryer / hot and cold running water / heaters and air conditioners / flat panel TVs / MP3 stereo system throughout / and all the typical amenities found in homes on land.
    We are NOT camping out. But, best of all is the GLOBAL FREEDOM this lifestyle proves to us. The world is our backyard. When we choose to visit somewhere we simply caste off, without any packing or hotel rooms when we get there. If your’re wondering how to get the most out of life consider buying a sailboat, and enjoy the WORLD!

  • Gene Kohrman

    I have been living aboard my Allies Seawind II ketch for over 20 years along the Gulf Coast. I do not care for another house, condo, apt,ect. .. . . and no I do not live in the cold climates; yet, a unique lifestyle which is not for everyone. The sunrises, the sunsets, rocked to sleep like a baby every night and the next thing to sleeping under a tin roof on a rainy night. What more can one ask of life!

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