Wed, Oct 13, 2021 5:00 PM

Five-year waitlist for marina

Photo caption: Radar the cat with Lucie and Kylie Christieson aboard their Nelson houseboat Argo. Photo: Supplied.

Kate Russell

A shortage of housing supply has seen a five-year waitlist at Nelson Marina for those looking for a cheaper alternative than living on land.

The marina, which is operated by Nelson City Council, has had to suspend applications to live aboard a boat there because of the over demand.

Marina manager Nigel Skeggs says that it has become a popular space for those looking to live onboard their boats and is currently at capacity.

“Council allows for three liveaboard vessels per jetty, meaning the marina has a capacity for 45. Currently, all these spaces are occupied, and there is a waiting list of five years before any openings are expected.”

Council currently has 10 vessels on its waiting list and has closed it to any further vessels due to the low rate of movement.

“However, regular enquiries continue to be made by people seeking information about living aboard,” Nigel says.

For an average 12-metre liveaboard vessel, it costs $295 to berth per month and a further $190 per month to live on board.

With the current housing shortage, houseboats are becoming a popular alternative.

One Nelson family of five say they chose to live on a boat after not being able to afford to buy a rural property.

Ella and Luke Christieson live on their boat Argo with their children, Kylie, 10, Isaac, 8, and Lucie, 4, and also a cat called Radar.

They have owned the 55-foot converted fishing boat for five years. They bought it for $85,000 and have spent about $20,000 doing it up.

Ella says they wanted a smaller mortgage, to work less, and spend more time with their children.

The oldest two children have their own room, and they have a 40-litre hot water cylinder, a gas oven/stove, a shower, toilet, and even a washing machine onboard.

Ella says when they are not in Nelson for work, they love to travel as the children are home-schooled.

In 2019 they cruised the North Island for 14 months before heading on a South Island trip earlier his year.

“We went down the West Coast to Fiordland for six weeks, Stewart Island for four weeks, Dunedin for three months, and Akaroa and Lyttleton for 10 days before heading back to Nelson,” she says.

“There is no going back now, we absolutely love this lifestyle.”

Ella says they don’t see themselves moving back onto land anytime soon.

To follow Argo’s adventures, go to ‘crusing_on_argo’ on Facebook and Instagram.