Pretending to live aboard is a lot like playing house. You cook and clean up in the tiny galley, you pee in the bucket at night and walk the dog in the morning. Despite the blackberries in full force where you poop the dog, the way the dock feels at different times of the day on your bare feet, and the way the marina bathroom always seems to feel so clean and inviting, it is not your boat, your dog, your slip or your life.
You will not know what to do if the boat catches on fire from leaving the old batteries plugged in or from cooking on the butane camp stove. You will not feel the pangs when someone ashes their cigarette accidentally in the cockpit. Your face will not drop when someone brushes against your fresh coat of varnish. You will never be responsible for something that isn’t yours.
Spending so much time on someone else’s boat means that everyone you meet will assume it is yours. People will start seeing you day after day and think you live there, permanently. After a certain amount of time you might just stop correcting them. You might start using terms like, “us, we, ours.” But it will never be yours.
I’ve always said it’s dangerous to be in love with the idea of someone. There’s nothing wrong with being in love with a lifestyle, but make sure it’s your lifestyle. Make sure it’s your hard work that got you on that boat. Whether it’s the prettiest boat in the harbor or the biggest hunk of shit, make sure it’s yours. Make sure it’s your story you’re telling.