culture.

west coast land boat: Life off-grid. In a boat. On land.

Is it unconventional? You could say that. Is it challenging? Most likely. But is it interesting? You can bet on it.

Rena Siddall / 22 February 2019

Note: names have been changed to protect the land-boat homeowners’ privacy.

How one B.C. coastal couple has made the move to live off grid. In a boat. On land.

That title wasn’t made up. While some people think downsizing to a tiny home is hard enough to imagine, and many of those who’ve decided to go for it have opted for converted vans and buses to make it happen on the cheap, it’s not an everyday couple that chooses to live the tiny home life off-grid and in a boat. A boat that’s, well, been beached in a sense. More accurately, it’s been intentionally trapped amongst the lush rainforest that we’re so lucky to call home on the pacific west coast. And it is some serious commitment to an alternative way of living.

What is living off-grid exactly?

Living off the grid can have different interpretations depending on who you talk to. But ultimately it involves living autonomously without accessing public services. It doesn’t necessarily mean living remotely like the notorious Bergie, “the Cougar Lady”” of the Sunshine Coast. And it’s not always technically legal. Take a home that is off-grid, in a place that may not be exactly zoned for, say a boat, for example.

And while you can find a plethora of off-grid accommodation on AirBnB or VRBO to rent for a vacation it’s entirely another thing to commit to off-grid living full-time. For a life that might otherwise be considered simple, it doesn’t come without complications. To fully live off-grid, Jack and Winnie, our land boat owners, use a woodstove and hot water tank using thermal dynamics to heat water through a copper coil around the stove. They cook using a propane stove. They use rain water collection and a manual well water pump. Their lighting is either propane or battery-powered while they’re working on a solar panel.

One reason people even opt for the tiny home route is because it offers the opportunity to do exactly that. Live life simply, sustainably and off-grid.

One man’s inconvenience is another’s comfort.

Jack and Winnie’s land boat, Mossy Maris, is a Bruce Roberts 28-foot ship that comes complete with a cedar shake roof and hand-split cedar shake siding. Her craftsmanship exudes a sort of folkloric, storybook, nearly hobbit-like look- if Frodo were to have come from Atlantis instead of the Shire. The boat, heated by an antique woodstove, “gets the interior nice and toasty in no time.”

But why a boat? Jack spends a lot of time on boats. He is also restoring a 1941 salmon fishing boat and is a commercial fisherman. “Hull shapes have a certain appeal to them, with steady flowing curves and few sharp corners. It’s a unique and affordable alternative to building from scratch, and there’s no lack of boats on the coast that need loving homes.” Maybe Jack and Winnie are on to something. Maybe it should be the other way around? No lack of people who need boats to call homes.

Getting by with a little help from your friends.

The aptly named Mossy Maris, (Maris means “of the sea”) was christened with help from Jack and Winnie’s friends drawing names from a hat around a campfire. Turns out even when you’re living off-grid it pays to make friends with your neighbours. For Maris to find her new home it was a three-hour trip to move the boat using professional boat movers. “Then we had a local fellow with a large crane lined up to meet us there. It was a bit of an ordeal and suspenseful; but we had the boat tucked away, horseshoed between a couple trees by noon.

Can you really live in a 28 foot beached boat forever?

While Jack and Winnie clearly love Maris and are inspired by both the creativity and simplicity of the tiny home movement, they have bigger plans for their property, “Jack also runs a bandsaw mill… and we’re slowly stockpiling lumber to build a woodworking shop/barn, and cabin. We’d always like to keep the land boat to offer friends and family while visiting.”

To truly live off-grid it appears you need to be part handy-man, part urban planner and fully pot-committed. Oh, and probably a little ballsy.  When asked, given the local property zoning and bylaw regulations, whether they had considered vacation rentals in the boat, that might offer that ‘real west coast experience’, Winnie simply laughed, “no comment.”

Rena Siddall / ohsnapcreative@gmail.com

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on email

47 thoughts on “West Coast Land Boat

  1. Whats up very nice blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally…I am happy to seek out numerous helpful information right here in the put up, we need work out more strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  2. Thanks for another informative website. Where else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I’ve a project that I’m just now working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such info.

  3. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it,
    you will be a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and definitely will come back
    from now on. I want to encourage that you continue your great work, have a nice afternoon!

  4. Awesome read. I just passed this onto a buddy who was doing some research on that. He just bought me lunch as I found it for him! Thus let me rephrase: Thanx for lunch!

  5. Aw, this was a very good post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a superb article… but what
    can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

  6. Hello, i feel that i noticed you visited my blog thus i got here to return the prefer?.I’m trying to in finding things to enhance my web site!I assume its
    good enough to make use of some of your concepts!!

  7. Hey! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a team of volunteers and starting a new project in a
    community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  8. Hi to every one, the contents present at this website are
    actually amazing for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows.

  9. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all people you actually know what you’re talking about!
    Bookmarked. Please additionally seek advice from my web site =).
    We may have a link alternate contract among us

  10. maybe material viagra usa apart leather suddenly purpose viagra for sale
    on craigslist forth present somewhere drink viagra for sale automatically blood [url=http://viacheapusa.com/#]generic viagra usa[/url] moreover garbage viagra for
    sale directly tool

  11. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your blog?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could
    a little more in the way of content so people could connect
    with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only
    having 1 or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  12. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform
    are you using for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had
    issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another
    platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the
    direction of a good platform.

  13. Greetings from Florida! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break.

    I really like the knowledge you present
    here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my phone
    .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, great blog!

  14. Having read this I believed it was extremely informative. I
    appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this
    content together. I once again find myself personally spending
    way too much time both reading and commenting.

    But so what, it was still worth it!

  15. I’m curious to find out what blog system you have been utilizing?
    I’m having some small security issues with
    my latest website and I would like to find something more risk-free.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  16. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add
    to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping
    maybe you would have some experience with something like this.
    Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe

* indicates required