Living Aboard a Sailboat

Who has not thought about living aboard a sailboat? You have opportunity to sail, fish and swim, while enjoying fresh air and the tranquility of open water. Thousands of people enjoy sailing every year, but there are some things you should be aware of before you even set foot into a sailboat.

You will be somewhat limited on space, just due to how big your boat is. The majority of sailboats that people use are going to be between 20-40 feet long, simply because anything larger tends to be harder to handle for a smaller crew.

In most cases you will still have many of the comforts of home, including a shower, kitchen, stove, and bed.

Most sailboats have two electrical systems, one that be used while docking, and one to use while sailing. Bathroom waste is typically put into a holding container, and can often be off loaded at most marinas.


Eating While Aboard Your Sailboat

You still have access to a freezer, fridge, and stove while on a boat, so your food options are still quite variable. Typically the fridge takes up the most energy generated on a sailboat. Remember when making food that you are limited in the amount of freshwater that you have. Boats will typically have a storage compartment for freshwater, which often holds roughly 100 gallons. For two people, that is typically enough to last at least a week, maybe two. More water can typically be purchased at docks or marinas, and goes for between $.15 and $.40 a gallon. Most people will opt to restock their supplies every week or so by returning to land and purchasing food and water.


Living Aboard a Sailboat-How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of a sailboat itself may be the largest investment. Sailboats can vary quite a bit in price, depending on precisely what you are interested in.

A used 20 foot sailboat could be as cheap as $10,000, whereas a 40 foot boat with all the trimmings could run $75,000 or more. You will probably end up with something in the middle. A nice, fairly roomy boat could be purchased for $35,000 or so.

Beyond that, you are paying for perhaps fuel, for water, and for food. Many people living on a sailboat end up spending less than $1,000 per month.

 What is it like living on a sailboat? Well, mostly, its pretty laid back. Many people like to go sailing in the nicer months of the year, for 3-6 months.   Oftentimes you have no set schedule, so you can just relax and enjoy the day at your leisure. Some people prefer not to sail, and just like finding a place with a nice view, and staying there.   Others may want to sail around and stop in at various ports and meet a variety of people. Your pace and what you can choose to do is entirely up to you.

If you live in the US, you will not need a license, as long as you are not carrying paying passengers. However, your boat must be registered, and if you are traveling outside of the US, you should have a passport as well. You will of course still need skill to operate your boat. It is an excellent idea to start reading all the material you can related to sailing, and to look for a class to take. If you have a friend who sails, ask them to show you the ropes(both literally and figuratively). Before you go sailing by yourself for an extended period, make sure that you are comfortable on a boat, and that you have sufficient sailing experience(preferably been sailing for at least a year or more).

Living aboard a sailboat is certainly not for everyone. But for some, it is a fantastic and relatively stress free way to live in their later years, while enjoying the sea and the fresh air. The majority of people who do this do not live permanently on their boat, but rather treat it as an extended vacation, living on their boats for months at a time.


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