Having a real retirement sea-change—on the sea

Image: Andy Dean Photography/ Bigstock.com

From Geraldton to Gerroa and from Bowen to Blackmans Bay, the idea of living on the coast is attractive for many retirees.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has said that 85% of Australians live within 50 kilometres of the coastline of Australia. Increasingly it appears that living on the coast is also an attractive thought for retirees.

When speaking with retirees who have made the sea-change, the ‘L’ word (lifestyle) is frequently used to describe why they moved.

But, what about a ‘real’ sea-change in retirement living? I don’t mean living by the coast, I mean living on the water—in a ship.

People can now buy a ‘residence at sea’.

According to David Punton, one of the founders of Storylines (‘Find Your New Home At Sea’), it will soon be a reality. He has a background in real estate and has been working on the concept of a ‘private residence at sea’ for some time.

Due for launch in 2023, the first voyage will circumnavigate the world for 3.5 years.

New retirement living?

Is this the start of a new type of retirement living?

This type of living is said to be attractive to retirees: ‘I want to be asked where I am, not how I am’, one older woman told Punton.

Other interested purchasers are people who work remotely and families who home school their children, he adds.

The aim of Storylines is to build a community among the 1,000 or so residents. With 627 fully furnished units, it isn’t aiming to be just a cruising ship: ‘We don’t cruise, we discover’.

There’s an emphasis on being green, with ‘clean LNG fuel’ and onboard power generation. There’s a garden farm on board so residents can grow vegetables for ‘ship to plate’ experiences.

There’s a choice of 20 restaurants. However, residents can cook their own meals in the various kitchens on board.

The 55,000 ton, 741 foot, 17 deck ship will also have lounges, three pools, a microbrewery, gym, spa and wellness centre, movie theatre, library and a marina. Residents will also have access to lectures onboard.

And what of staffing levels? It’s planned there will be more than 450 staff to attend to resident’s needs.

There’s also encouraging news for pet owners. ‘Pets will be by approval’, says Punton.

‘We’re a lifestyle’

While there will be medical professionals and facilities onboard, it isn’t intended to be a place for people with long-term, serious health conditions. It’s for active people who want a lifestyle: ‘We aren’t a vacation, we’re a lifestyle’.

It’s thought that some owners may even rent their apartments when they spend time on shore.

Why is the company called Storylines?  ‘Everyone has a story’, says Punton.

As with any real estate transaction, it’s important to consult your professionals. Consider your insurances, the legal and financial issues—to name a few items on the to do list.

Bon Voyage.

Jill Weeks is the author of 21 Ways To Retire and co-author of Where To Retire In Australia and Retire Bizzi. She is a regular contributor to ABC radio. For more, go to:  www.where2now.net

Category: Housing, Retirement, Where to Live

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