When you go out to find an apartment, buy a car, a house, TV, rifle, dog, or spouse or even a new outfit at the mall, you do lots of online research and comparison, talk to people, try things out, talk to more people, do more online research, then . . . you must sit down and talk to "yourself."

One of the peculiarities of buying an airplane, RV, or boat is how we delude ourselves, lie, an/or "think" we know who we are . . . wrong ! this sit-down has to be done sober, naked, and with attitude.

Firstly, there are a gazillion examples and contortions to whatever you seek . . . except boats, aircraft, and RV'S . . .  all the other things in life are VERY common, and there are secondary guiding choice determinants,  not so with boats, airplanes and RV's, these are all small number builds, many are custom-built, and therefore "you" must know your own mind when you head out the door to look.

Much of the self-analysis that is needed to buy a boat, is impossible to do unless you really understand the hidden motivations of your darkest brain-closet. This is the "rationaille", the "logic" that got you to consider a boat in the first place . . . the "WHY ?".

In our case we have a good handle on the "WHY", it has been revealed over the 50 years we have lived together, so, "we" understand. She was born-raised-educated in Long Beach California, a few blocks from the sand, sea air, and Port of Long Beach's surf and boat sounds/smells, I was born-raised-educated in Cleveland, on Lake Erie, went to the Navy at 17, and worked the Marine industry for 35 years.

For both of us, the from birth exposures to fog horns, ships whistles, the "fish" smell, and the "optics" of boats and water events are burned into our sub-conscious, while living inland in the tall forests of the West Coast, when the wind blows through the pines . . . we hear ocean, "not" the trees.

We are wannabe "fishatarians" (almost), and into nature, She likes sea shell collecting, and worked with me as I built and worked large boats/ships most of my life, so for us, our exposures to harbors, the sea, people and boats are ingrained (creating an unfair advantage of "boat mentality").

I am not sure that boat mentality can be an acquired trait . . . the Marine industry sees this wannabe , weekender, hobby boater-on-a-trailer boater as "owning" the under-30 foot boat, and makes a strong case for only the over 40 foot vessels as being "serious boats" instead of just toys.

The huge difference I saw in working the non-commercial portion of the harbors, was that the under 40  foot crowd are not in any way "boat wrights", and severely lack any abilities in carpentry, electrical, mechanical or habitation maintenance...much less navigation skills, and it is this component that has them as a hobbyist, part-time, four-five year in and out & gone boaters , they outsource everything that is boat related labor, and seek only the "imagerry" of a boat owner (ATV anyone?, or jet ski, or?).

All of this waste could have  been avoided with an entry-level reality check about "what exactly am I doing and why ?" certainly not everyone makes it on a boat, but everyone loves the "color", but, you simply cannot "force" being a boat owner.

Working or living in 500-1000 boat sized harbors you see that there may be only 25 or so "true" full-time live aboards, yet according the dock masters books it appears that there are 200 "paying" as live-aboards, so when those fancy-ass magazines hit the harbor office for data, the info is badly skewed from the true picture.

After the novelty of owning  a "yacht" has passed, most big boats become a once-a-month visit, other than for love trysts, and alcoholic retreat functions occasionally overnight, the other 9 or so months of the year they are abandoned and forgotten toys, visited for mere minutes each month (if at all).