Aboard Astraea

Invest in experiences, not things

Making the most of a military move with a boat


This will be my third major military move and I’m doing my best to figure out all the expenses and costs which we’re going to encounter. The biggest headache is moving Airborne down to San Diego. The first step I took was surveying marinas and finding one that will meet our needs. I try to be organized, so I made tables to help me visualize what’s best for us.

First step was checking out the amount of money the government will pay me, based on where I live (this is old from when picking orders). There’s an allowance called Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and it varies based on where you live because of the different rent pricing in different geographic locations.

Table 1: Total pay based on area

I ended up getting orders to San Diego so I made a sheet for just marinas down there. I found the most economical marina would be Fiddlers Cove, a Navy MWR marina. The only problem is they’re booked to capacity and the waiting list is really long. Check out a google maps overhead shot of the marina, every slip is full!

Fiddler's Cove Marina

Fiddler’s Cove Marina, full to the brim.

Table 2: San Diego Marinas

I made a budget spreadsheet to estimate the money the military will be giving me to move to San Diego.

Table 3: Move Budget

I had the option of having movers come and pack up all my stuff and transport it to San Diego. The only caveat to that is they won’t move my sailboat. The way to move Airborne is to do what’s called a personally procured move (PPM) on the move.mil site. I make all the arrangements to get my stuff to San Diego and the Navy reimburses me based on the weight. This is good for me and the Navy because they don’t need to pay someone to make all the arrangements and I get to choose who, how and what gets moved down. So I had to find a company to ship Airborne and I needed to make all the arrangements myself. I contacted a bunch of local movers and asked for the best price they could give me on a move from Everett to San Diego. The shipping company I’m working with is Dudley Boat, others I contacted and considered are Manning Truck and Associated Boat Transport. The reason I chose to go with Dudley is because a friend from Milltown Sailing used their services to move his Tayana 37 up the coast as part of a military move and was happy with the service he received.

Other services I needed to schedule were mast removal ($75)  and storage overnight ($5) , Travelift service to haul out ($111.40), a bottom washing (79.35). I scheduled the mast removal for the day before so I’ll have enough time to clean the mast, remove and label all the standing and running rigging and stow the boat for shipping. Other things I’ll need to do is remove anything topside, like the tiller cover, dodger, chimney, lifesling and life buoy.

I made arrangements with Marine Group Boat Works to accept and but also checked out Knight and Carver. We’ll see how it goes getting the boat received, unloaded, a bottom job and white paint up to the rub rail.

It’s taken a lot of research and planning, but I’m committed to making the most of my military move. Most of all I’m ready to get going on the move and get out of the planning stage and get in to the execution stage.



  1. Hi Nate and Natalie!
    Congratulations on your choice of lifestyle! Amazing!
    I am also active duty military and have always had the dream of the same sort of life. I am just crazy about water!! I am planning on beginning sailing lessons soon and purchasing a boat within 3-5 years. Like your self, I too try to be as organized as I can and I am always researching information to be as prepared as possible when the big day comes. I read your post “making the most of a military move with a boat” and now have a million questions for you, lol! Here are a few, if you don’t mind:
    How did the move end up, was everything “smooth sailing”?
    Are you still active duty and in San Diego, Ca or did you move again/get out?
    Are you still using “Dudley Boat” for your moves?
    Were you stationed in a base not near water and if so, what did you do with the boat?
    How does BAH work when living aboard? Do you get BAH based on the marina you are docked at? Do you get it even if the marina is on base?

    I look forward to reading your comments and fair winds and following seas to the Astraea crew.


    • The move went well because we did lots of preparation. The most important part of moving the boat was using a to stay organized and get the boat ready. Still active duty, getting ready to cruise in the beginning of November 2014.
      I only used Dudley Boat for one move and used another shipper for my second move. The best part about using Uship was being able to find a good quote and check their references. By having a flexible timeline for the first move I was able to get a return trip on an empty truck after it dropped a load off in Seattle. The quoted price for a full trip was $4000, but since they were empty and looking for a load back it was $2000.
      Previous station was Everett, WA on sea duty. When the ship was deployed we hauled the boat out and stored it ashore on stands.
      BAH works for living aboard, even in military marinas. If your command requires a lease, show them your liveaboard agreement. The BAH is based on the zip code, not marina.

  2. Hey, what ship were you on when you were stationed in Everett? I was stationed on the USS NIMITZ and went on the 2013 deployment. And I will bet you were too. Small world. Are you still in San Diego? I am stationed on North Island and me and my family live on a 34 foot Formosa. I am out of the NAVY is little less that a year and I am trying to find out if the NAVY will in fact pay to move your boat if you live on it. Anyhow, any info helps. Please email back, or call. 619-876-0480.

    Very Respectfully,
    AG2 (AW) Gottwald

    • I was on the USS Momsen in Everett. I’m out of San Diego, currently traveling. We’ll be back to San Diego for a bit in September. I’ll email you with more direct info on how we moved our boat.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.