Family ditch traditional home for ex-Armed Forces tug boat - and now save over $1000 a month living the 'tug life'
A family who bought a former US Coast Guard tug boat have made the vessel their home and haven't looked back since. Taryn Collins, 36, from Benicia, California, USA bought the boat at a government auction with her husband Jason Loger, 37, for $35,000 dollars in June 2019. The couple live with their two-year-old son Russell on the 150-tonne and 65-foot-long vessel in northern California. Jason, a railroad engineer, is obsessed with maritime history and big engines so the combination of both was a no-brainer for him. Taryn, a stay-at-home mum, said she needed no convincing to "quite literally get on board with the idea." With average rent for two-bedroom homes in California being $2,405, the family are saving over $1000 a month. Their costs to run the ship total $1300, which includes the slip fee, liveaboard fee, and electricity. Taryn said: "Our total costs for slip fee, liveaboard fee, and electricity run about $1300. "The average rent for a two bedroom apartment in Northern California is $2500 factoring in utilities. "Of course, we are careful to make sure we put away money each month for annual maintenance which is mandatory to preserve the integrity and reliability of living aboard, but this is still much of a cost savings in this area. "Not to mention, waterfront views!" The former US Coast Guard boat was dubbed the "USCGC Bitt" and was commissioned in 1962 and then decommissioned 16 years later in 1982. From 1982 to 2019 the vessel was used in oceanographic research for the National Science Foundation. The couple bought the Bitt following it being put out of service and haven't looked back since. The family have travelled over 2000 nautical miles in the boat but renovation costs are not helping them keep afloat. They have spent over $50,000 on the renovation and upkeep of the 57-year-old boat. Taryn said: "We have removed the sleeping arrangements in the crew's quarters and replaced them with a queen-size bed frame, stairs, and sleeping area for our dogs, including storage under the bed frame. "We kept the lockers from military service until we replace them with custom woodwork in the next phase of renovation. "We have renovated the other side of the crew's quarters, which originally slept six, into a nursery area for our baby. Putting in a changing table, a rocking chair and creating additional storage. "The Officer-in-Charge's room is our current office and the now toddler's room, with a crib replacing the bunk and the shelves riddled with children's books. "The head - aka the bathroom to land folk - was sanded and repainted a more neutral tone, a shower door was installed and a teak flooring was placed inside the shower. "The galley and wheelhouse remain intact with no renovations needed as it had a home-like feel for all that lived and worked aboard already. "The largest renovation was our back room- turned salon. "It once boasted fish tanks and marine research equipment. It now is home to a full-size sectional couch, large television, carpet and rugs for comfort as well as a mini refrigerator and air conditioning unit. "The boat received a full haul out the first year she was purchased which included painting her from top to bottom and restoring her to the original coast guard name 'Bitt'." Despite the cost the family are reaping the benefits of the non-traditional home and the "tug life". Taryn said: "We have easy access to quick mobility. We can throw off our lines and go watch the sunset without so much as packing or finishing dinner. "There is a cost-benefit when your husband is also the captain, the engineer and is very handy with maintenance that would otherwise need very costly repairs. "We also have an incredible live aboard neighborhood filled with drinks on the back deck and a ton of comradery."