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Active Duty Navy Officer & His Trawler Tiny Home


When Johnny thought he was getting a new Navy position that would have him deploying more frequently, he chose to rent out his home and purchase a 1981 CHB Ed Monk Trawler to use as his home base wherever he went (rather than paying rent in a number of cities).

The Navy ended up cancelling that job altogether, but Johnny kept the boat and now he teaches other Navy sailors to drive boats, continues to rent out his home, and lives full-time on his trawler. We actually showed you his buddy’s trawler some months ago, and the two of them enjoy hanging out in the water around San Diego.

See it all in the video interview with Tiny Home Tours below!

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Living on the Water: No Rent (Just a Lot of Repairs)

Active Duty Navy Officer & His Trawler Tiny Home 2

Images via Tiny Home Tours

Here’s where he hangs out with friends.

Active Duty Navy Officer & His Trawler Tiny Home

Images via Tiny Home Tours

What a cute boat!

Active Duty Navy Officer & His Trawler Tiny Home 3

Images via Tiny Home Tours

VIDEO: Active Duty Navy Living Full-Time on His Boat

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Jeanne Darrah
    July 13, 2021, 8:10 pm

    Jonny, your boat is great and you seem like a cool guy. I have two boat moorings available for you or any other enterprising boat dwellers on the Calaveras River in Stockton, California. Google Maps “Darrahville, Stockton California.” If anyone is interested, please email me at [email protected]. Cheers.

  • Alex Bub
    July 13, 2021, 9:35 pm

    Awesome. Nice thinking out of the box and saving $$ in a high rent environment. Plus if you are reassigned it will probably be really easy to sell.

  • jerry dycus
    July 14, 2021, 5:27 pm

    Great boat but again a reality check. While he doesn’t pay apartment rent, he pays dock rent though maybe he has a base dock. For this size which I didn’t hear the make or size I’m guessing 35′ and a regular liveaboard dock in SD is over $1k/month as most of California of any population.
    You generally can’t find a dock in South Cal other than very expensive by the night and even they are rare.
    Many docks are 4 boats thick.
    So if in So Cal, make sure what you are getting into and find a place for the boat before you buy one.
    Personally I anchor out for free 25 yrs and puts that moat between me and the huddled masses.
    Next such a good boat in good shape will cost $100k or more though in So Cal the cost of docks are so high it might depress boat prices with owners desperate to get rid on these holes in the water they pour money into.
    Most places you can find docks in the $300-$600 /month range and cheap, free in some places.
    Maintaining a boat costs and the work by the foot so get the least boat you can.
    While these costs are high for a toy living onboard they are not bad and well thought out can be very low.
    Personally I’m into sail, solar, tidal as can’t stand diesel engines as hot, smelly and costly especially to charge batteries. A nice solar panel awning solves that.
    Those that are e powered motors can usually while sailing or anchored in a 2mph tidal current or more charge the batteries, even run A/C.
    You’ll find boating people that live board are the best people to know and the ones to talk to if you are thinking about a great low cost low impact life on the water.
    Start small and try to stay that way. The patient can even end up with one for free as owners tire of paying dock rent which is more than the boat is worth. Be picky and even pay some to get one that just needs cleaning but has good bones.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      July 15, 2021, 5:26 am

      I actually think they anchor out, but I could be wrong.

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