Our Voices, Our Waterfront: Louis Little

TWA members and others are talking to writer Sharon Babcock about enduring inspirations, life lessons, and perspectives from their experiences on the working waterfront. This month’s feature:  Louis Little who lives on board his boat at the Foss Harbor Marina.       by Sharon Babcock                                                                  Louis Little and Sprocket, an English Jack Russell Terrier, live aboard […]

TWA members and others are talking to writer Sharon Babcock about enduring inspirations, life lessons, and perspectives from their experiences on the working waterfront.

This month’s feature:  Louis Little who lives on board his boat at the Foss Harbor Marina.      

by Sharon Babcock                                                                 

Louis Little and Sprocket, an English Jack Russell Terrier, live aboard a sailboat moored at the Foss Harbor Marina on Dock Street.  Little shares some of his experiences living life on the water.Louis Little

Q:  What brought you to living aboard a boat on the Foss Waterway?

 A:  I was living in Des Moines and working in Portland with a requirement to be in Tacoma for a portion of my work.  I proposed to my employer that I could live aboard my boat in Tacoma at significant savings over his hotel bill for me if he covered the moorage cost.  He agreed—and saves $1,200 a month.

Q:  What is the boat’s space like?

A:   It is the most comfortable place I’ve lived.  It sleeps five.  There is not a lot of room for belongings, but that suits me because I’ve found that belongings break down.  The V-berth in the bow holds you tight; you feel like you did when you were a child.

Q:  Does it take special maintenance skills to live aboard?

 A:  Just the usual boater’s discipline of cleaning the boat and removing algae regularly.

Q:  Is there a community in your marina?

A:   There are fine people here.  I would describe them as helpful and caring about one another. When I first came, three of them noticed that my sailing skills needed some work.  They offered to take me out on the water until I came to know what I was doing.  The day-to-day is kind of like a Seinfeld scene—people simply drop by all the time.  I have a paddleboard on the deck and invite neighbors to use it at will; they take me up on that.  From my former life as a cross-country biker, I use my boat as lodging to host individuals and small groups who are biking cross country.  It is a beautiful way to live.

Q:  What kind of person does it typically take to live aboard a boat? Who do you recommend it for?

A:   Though I am in my early 40s, I have learned that sailing takes a toll on the knees.  Living aboard takes youth.

Q:  How has your view of Commencement Bay evolved since you began to live on your boat?

 A:  I have lived in the amazing Ouray Canyon of Utah and the San Juan Islands of Washington, the “best of the best” locations in our country.  I have learned that beauty is important for the place I live, and that I won’t settle for just OK.  Commencement Bay has that “best of the best” level of beauty.

 

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