How To Live On A Sailboat

Recently, we have crossed the one-year mark since the beginning of the pandemic, with no clear end in sight. It has put a lot of stress on the economy, the healthcare system, and every person’s mental health. The social distancing and lockdown measures have trapped us within our homes, and as the days pass, our need for outdoor activities increases. 

Moving out of the apartments and into suburban houses with backyards, ranches, and secluded lodges has become increasingly popular. Some, like yourself, have thought about taking up long-term or permanent residence on the deck of a sailboat. 

The idea itself is viable, and there are numerous benefits to living on a sailboat. However, expect your whole lifestyle to change considerably, from the furniture you can own to the way you do your shopping. This article aims to explain what you need to know about living on a boat and whether or not it is the right choice for you. 

Knowing How To Sail

You don’t need to pass a test or get a license to sail a boat, but knowing how to do it well makes a huge difference. An investment in a sailing course is going to be negligible in comparison to other expenses. It can provide a valuable experience of what it truly means to sail and live on a boat. 

Buying A Sailboat

The most challenging part of living on a boat is buying the right one, especially if you lack the sailing experience. As a place of residence, a boat is a lot like an RV but with higher maintenance costs. The price increases with size and luxury features, and so does the maintenance cost.

A well-maintained 35-foot ocean cruiser can cost you around $40,000, but a luxury yacht can easily top $150,000. The 32 to 50 feet boat is large enough for two people to sail on comfortably. However, in terms of living, you will have to get used to the cramped space. 

Additional Costs

Several one-time costs accompany the price of the boat. Recurring fees involve mooring, insurance, maintenance, fuel, waste disposal, and taxes. An ocean cruiser will set you back as much as $3,000 initially and approximately $5,500 annually. You will have to take care of the registration, taxes and acquire a reliable GPS system. 

Changing Your Lifestyle

Preparing and adapting to the unique way of living on a boat will not be easy, but the benefits will make it worth the effort. To make the most out of the very compact interior, you will have to make compromises to the point where anything deemed unnecessary is left offboard.

On a boat, every resource is finite. It goes beyond just the food and drinking water, as you need to keep track of your electricity reserves, water for showering, and gas for the stove. Checking your provisions before sailing out is vital, as getting back to the shore can be a very time-consuming process. 

Life on a boat is comparable to camping in the wilderness or living in an RV, but with a few additional inconveniences. The constant rocking can cause motion sickness, and you might have problems falling asleep when the sea is less than calm. There is also the smell of the sea and the boat itself. The cabin traps moisture, and it is susceptible to mold, so it is essential to clean it regularly.

Benefits Of Living On A Boat

The freedom that comes with living on a sailboat is more than enough to entice you into this lifestyle. As numerous industries adapt to the work-from-home environment, there is no reason to be tethered to a location close to the office. Whether you are in the marina or sailing down the coast, you can use wireless internet to complete your work.

Rather than wait for months to plan and save up for a vacation, you can take your boat in any direction and visit new places. The accommodations are typically the most expensive part, and you can save a significant amount of money by sleeping onboard your boat.

A marina is a safe place for you and your boat, with significantly lower crime rates than residential areas. Liveaboards share the same values and mentality, and you will be able to socialize with friendly neighbors wherever you anchor. Lastly, the yearly upkeep of a boat is much lower than on a residential property. 


Living on a sailboat requires you to sacrifice many things, but they cannot compare to the experience and freedom you will enjoy. Making such a drastic change is by no means easy, but once you get a taste of it, you will be hooked for life.