Liveaboards increasing in tough economy

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Some Bay Area residents, buffeted by the weak economy and high housing costs, are deciding to live full time on boats they purchased for pleasure in better times.

Duncan Hincks, 58 years old, said he moved to the Bay Area in 2008 after his general-contracting work dried up in Lake Tahoe and he lost his house there to foreclosure. But he was unable to find steady employment as the economy here began tanking, too. With few resources, Mr. Hincks resorted to his only living option: moving aboard his 53-foot power boat at Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael.

"Living on a boat isn't my first choice, but with the economy this is just a very viable alternative," said Mr. Hincks, who works as a handyman and shares the boat with his fiancée, Tatanya McClurg, 40, and their infant daughter. He pays $800 a month in marina fees, compared with $4,000 a month for his old house.

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