Other people, as did 16 members of the California Yacht Club, simply sell their houses and live on their boats year-round.
"We raised five children and always lived in spacious houses with swimming pools," said Bunny Rippel, who lives with her husband, Bob, in a cramped 41-foot powerboat. "We gave the kids everything and moved into the boat, and we've loved it.
"It's a marvelous way of life, to be surrounded by neighbors who are, so to speak, in the same boat. And, hell, we look at our beautiful back yard and don't even have to cut the lawn anymore."
There are other ways for rank-and-file yacht club members to cut the costs. Many yachtsmen cut corners by simply storing their boats on trailers at home, avoiding slip expenses. They then have to pay only launching fees. And many families purchase boats together, sharing it and the expenses.
"That yachting is a rich man's sport is a big misconception," said Robert Mole, a 12-year member of the Los Angeles Yacht Club. "I'm a retired naval officer and retired naval officers don't make a lot of money."
Mole was saying this in the club's rickety main building, which used to be blue and white before the paint started chipping. The club has been operating since 1903, making it one of the oldest in the area, and it's obvious from the surroundings that it hasn't changed much over the years.
There are no Jacuzzis here, no tennis courts, no ballrooms, no dining facilities. The floors are wood. The boats aren't even in slips but rather anchored in the middle of Fish Harbor, making for a view that belongs on a postcard. If this were a movie, it would be in black and white.
"It's simple here," Mole said. "Sailing itself is an old way of propulsion, so it represents the past and that makes it comfortable. This is one of the few clubs where grandfather, father and grandchildren have been members."
Middle-class members, he made sure to note before getting up and walking to his car at the end of a dusty, dead-end street.
And there, he was parked between an apple-red Porsche and a dented station wagon.