Living Aboard in Coronado
Boats moored off of Tidelands Park near the Coronado Bridge
I had the wonderful opportunity recently of being escorted around Glorietta and San Diego Bay by the Commodore of the Coronado Yacht Club, Wayne Strickland, on a mission to learn more about the dozens of Coronado Residents who live-aboard boats at the Yacht Club and at the mooring near Tidelands Park, beneath the Coronado Bridge. The journey began at Wayne’s Catalina 320 Sailboat, aptly named “Wayne’s World”, moored at the Coronado Yacht Club. We boarded a small, motorized dingy and with Wayne at the wheel, set off on our adventure beneath the Bridge.
Boats moored at the Coronado Yacht Club and the High School Sailing Team practicing in Glorietta Bay
With no itinerary or interviews arranged, we hoped for the best, and zipped beneath the massive blue span of the Coronado Bridge and entered the “No Wake Zone” surrounding the boat mooring off of Tidelands Park. Luckily, we immediately spotted a lone gentleman working aboard a small sailboat in the middle of the twenty-five or so other assorted vessels bobbing at their mooring balls. Wayne expertly pulled alongside the sailboat and soon I was scrambling aboard the boat and getting down to business. Pen, paper, and camera in hand, I spent an exhilarating fifteen minutes speaking with Harry, who has called the Tidelands’ Mooring home for the last four years.
Harry is retired and lives aboard a twenty-seven foot sailboat, right in the shadow of the majestic Coronado Bridge. Before moving onto the water, he lived close by in Imperial Beach. Originally, he came from the United Kingdom and still holds onto his English accent. He explained to me that the life he lives is “certainly not for everybody, but it can be quite pleasant for someone who likes a little peace and quiet.” He uses solar power for electricity, and has LED lights installed inside the sailboats cabin for light during the night. He rations himself to about a gallon of water a day, and it has to be brought from the mainland in his dingy, which he rows back and forth from the beach at Tidelands Park. For washing his boat and other cleaning, he simply uses salt water which he hauls straight out of the Bay. He pays $128 a month for his mooring and the area is managed by the San Diego Unified Port District. He lives alone, but his secret for living-aboard with a companion is: "Don't talk too much," adding that it is very annoying to be in stuck in such a small space with someone who "keeps on talking".
Harry cooks all his meals on-board in his small kitchen, the main appliance a rusty, but sufficient, stove. His average day consists of an early breakfast cooked in his galley, then a trip ashore in his dingy, depending on the tide. He does some shopping locally for food and essentials, and has a truck he can drive around the Island. Then he spends the rest of the daylight hours working on his boat, making sure things don’t get too rusted and he stays afloat. His favorite part of living on the water is the peace and quiet, and lots of time to read. His least favorite part of the live-aboard lifestyle is “the rowing about” and “wet weather”. While pointing inside the sailboat’s tiny cabin, Harry explained to me that it was “miserable down there” during the rain and other stormy weather.
After my interview with Harry, Wayne and I took a quick detour beneath the Coronado Bridge and I was given a short tour of the megalithic pillars that support the sweeping span of the roadway we all know so well. From below, riding in a tiny, two-person dingy, the bridge is truly awe inspiring. I was fortunate to be in the company of Mr. Strickland, a former Coronado Firefighter and Coronado Resident long before the bridge was built. He even told me about the time, long ago, when he and his son took their dingy inside the hollow pillars of the Bridge and explored inside the secret caverns.
The expansive Coronado Bridge and a glimpse beneath one of the massive bridge pillars and the hollow space within
Once back within Glorietta Bay, I was introduced to Pastor Gary Boggs, of the Living Waters Fellowship. He and his wife, Penny, live aboard a fifty-foot Bayliner power boat at the Coronado Yacht Club. The boat is named “Oh Penelope” in honor of his wife and has a full, gourmet kitchen, comfortable living area, bedroom, bathroom, and even an outdoor area with table and chairs to take in the unbeatable, waterfront view. The Boggs share their spacious boat with Lucy, an English Springer Spaniel, and fellow water lover. Lucy loves living on the water and even jumped happily aboard Wayne’s dingy as we tied up alongside “Oh Penelope”.
The difference between living aboard at a yacht club and being out at a mooring ball is vast, as I quickly learn while visiting with Pastor Boggs. Vessels at the Coronado Yacht Club have easy access to power and water. Residents can simply step out of their floating homes onto a dock and walk to land, making it easy to have full-time jobs, children, and pets. Neighbors are close by for companionship and assistance if needed during bad weather and emergencies. Also, there is more of a community feel, and the yacht club offers organized events and a club house for meetings and meals.
Pastor Boggs’ advice for other people considering living aboard is to make sure you are “really good friends” with whomever you wish to share the limited space with. He and his wife love the lifestyle and have enjoyed living on the water for many years. Before purchasing their current powerboat, they lived on a sailboat in Mission Bay for seven and a half years. He says you always have “things to do” on a boat and that they are very high maintenance. His least favorite thing about living on the water is “rainy days,” echoing Harry’s thoughts exactly. They are currently residing in a temporary slip at the Coronado Yacht Club and have been on the waiting list for a permanent space for seven years, but happily they are very close to finally reaching the top of the list.
I want to thank Harry for being such a great sport, a gracious host, and for being unfazed by my unplanned appearance upon his decks. I had an amazing time speaking with him and learning about his alternative lifestyle. Also, I want to thank Pastor Gary Boggs for his hospitality and kindness, and for explaining the ins and outs of living aboard at the Coronado Yacht Club. Lucy and Pastor Boggs made me feel at home out on the water and dream of a boat of my own down the road. Last, but not least, a very big thank you to Commodore Wayne Strickland for all his time and assistance in this endeavor, and willingness to chaffeur me around San Diego Bay for an afternoon. This story wouldn’t have been possible without you!
Do you, or someone you know, live-aboard a boat in or near Coronado? Please share your story with eCoronado.com. We’d love to hear about your experiences on the water and see photos of your “Home Sweet Boat”!
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