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D.C. Boat Dwelling: A Surprisingly Awesome Alternative

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While there are some obvious downsides to living on a houseboat (Derecho, anyone?) this Washington Post article about the community at Gangplank Marina kind of makes living on the water sound a lot more awesome. WIth the understanding that the bad weather is more threat than nuisance and gardening is pretty much impossible, here are the top five reasons that we want to give up condo life, put on our flippy-floppies and yell, "I'm on a boat!"

· It's cheaper than owning a similarly sized condo. "At Gangplank, a monthly slip fee costs $11.50 to $15.50 per foot...and the monthly live-aboard fee is $150...By comparison, condo fees in the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood average $492 per month, and property taxes average $1,842 a year." Plus, the price of owning a houseboat is half that of owning a condo. While there are certainly people who will gladly pay extra for the convenience of living on solid ground, it is quite the money saving option.

· Location, location, location. It kind of goes without saying that the view of the water is rather impressive from right on the water. However, the marina is also close to other neighborhood amenities on land: a Safeway, a Capital Bikeshare station and the Waterfront metro station.

· Even the pests aren't terribly pesky. "'I woke up to a bunch of tapping noises on the hull,' [Katherine] Yohman Tighe says. Marina neighbors told her it was just a school of fish cleaning up the boat's hull." Name one land-dwelling animal that cleans a brick facade.

· The close-knit community. Says Eve Bratman, "I found this incredible community of people. People would just pop in and say, 'Permission to come aboard.' There was always an opportunity for distraction, in the best possible way. The social dynamic is really like a small town. For sure, I'm going to miss it." Says Karen Anderson, "Everybody knows everybody, and everybody is willing to help each other out. You have the sense you're out in the country, not in the middle of the city...At least until the helicopters fly over,"

· Novelty. Every fall, the community gives tours of their homes. One can only wonder what will happen if upcoming development to the pier forces them to move next year.
· Houseboat neighbors enjoy views, commutes, camaraderie [WaPo]
· Southwest DC Waterfront: Boat-Home Tour [Official Site]
· The Wharf Southwest Waterfront [Official Site]

The Gangplank Marina

600 Water Street SW , Washington, DC 20024