NewsMaking It In San Diego


For a city by the sea, boat living offers cheap but difficult lifestyle

Posted at 6:17 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 22:46:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - For a city by the sea, living on a boat in San Diego comes with many challenges.

That’s according to boat owner, Daniel McGarrigle, who says he’s exhausted most of his options for living on his boat in San Diego.

“We're realizing San Diego isn’t the friendliest city to boaters than we had originally thought,” said McGarrigle. 

He moved to San Diego several years ago to work in the TV industry in Southern California. Living on a boat offered him a convenient way to move around without being tied to an apartment lease payment or a physical location.

There are some inexpensive places to anchor a boat or leave it at a slip, however most have time limitations or do not allow owners to live on the boats.

McGarrigle says he’s also been trying to get a mooring ball, which can require a credit check. The waiting list can be as long as two years.

Right now, McGarrigle says he has been doing everything legally, however “eventually they’re going to notice I’m bouncing from anchorage to anchorage,” he said. “They’ll probably cite me and force me out to the area known as the 'Zoo.' "

He’s referring to Zuniga Point, the tip of Coronado that jetties out into the Pacific Ocean.

“It’s rough. It can be scary when the waves get big,” says Brian Richeson, who often moors at the Zoo.

Richeson lives on a yacht but says he’s still been forced out there to avoid expensive boat slips.

The area is not only known for the inclement weather, which often rips boats off their moorings, but for the crime.

“I’ve been told to take my motor and my solar panels with me if I ever leave my boat out there,” says McGarrigle, referring to thieves who are known to strip vacant boats.

McGarrigle says he’s not willing to give up the boat life quite yet.

“It’s a beautiful way to live, wake up on the water every day.”

For now, most of the boaters have his back.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, everyone is like family on the water,” he says.

He hopes he can start gathering other boaters in his position to come together and approach the city and port of San Diego to offer more options for those whose boats are their only home.