What Would It Be like To Live On A Boat

Have you ever been to a marina, looked at all the boats and thought to yourself, ‘Wow, if only I could own one of those”? All the adventures you could have, sailing to whatever port you’d like or just sitting on the deck with your fishing pole and a beer. Have you ever taken that dream one step further and thought how great it would be to sell your house, downsize your material positions and live aboard a boat full-time? It’s not that unusual, you know. There are many people, single, married or whole families, who are living the dream and saving money in the process. How, you ask? Well listen and learn.
The first thing you must do is to weigh the pros and cons of disconnecting from your life on land and deciding to live aboard, as it’s called. You must balance your thinking and feeling about your decision. Thinking is your practical side and it can sometimes get in the way. Of course, in this situation, thinking is necessary before you follow your heart with feelings. Some questions to ask yourself include: ‘Can I really trade in my house and yard for a small cramped living space that is damp and confining?’; ‘Am I ready to give up television, DVDs, my X-Box, and 24/7 internet connection for the pleasure of watching the birds and fish from the deck of my boat over my morning coffee?’; ‘Will my spouse (or significant other) be willing to follow me in this seemingly insane endeavor?’; and perhaps least important of all, ‘Will everyone I know think that I have gone crazy?’ You also need to think about what costs or challenges you will encounter if you go ahead with this. How much can you afford to spend on a boat and how will you finance it? What about insurance? Where are you going to anchor your boat and how much will it cost? What amenities are included with these costs? How far are you from work, church, shopping, entertainment, or schools if you will have children with you?
Now, insert some balance in your decision making process by including some of your feelings. Can you see yourself drinking your morning coffee sitting on the deck of your boat while you watch the birds and fish in the water? How lovely would it be to listen to the lap of the water against the bow and maybe fall asleep to the gentle swaying of the boat on the water? What about eating dinner while watching the sunset or teaching your kids about the stars that they see in the clear night sky? Would this lifestyle be less stressful than everyone connected to a cell phone, video game or computer screen? Will it ultimately be a better choice for your family?
Of course, even if you decide to follow your dream of living aboard, there is much research to be done before you begin living in “Home Sweet Boat”. Begin by looking at the different types of boats that are equipped to be houseboats. Have some idea about how much space you think you will need and what amenities you think you’re going to need. These features will depend on if you plan on living on your boat alone, with just a spouse or significant other, or if you plan to bring the family. Unless you’re a millionaire or otherwise independently wealthy, a yacht is probably not going to be the boat for you. A quick check around the web will tell you that a basic yacht can cost anywhere from $250 thousand to $400 thousand and that is probably used. Another possible choice is a pontoon boat that you can build a tiny house on. This will be a cheaper option than a yacht but will probably still cost you money and time. There are also options such as sailboats, powerboats, and trawlers. Most likely the best option is to look at used boats that might even already have some of the upgrades you might be considering.
You will also need to consider where you are going to moor your boat. Make this decision before you buy a boat. Marinas are a good choice because they offer on shore bathrooms and showers. There are also options for hooking up to electricity, water and cable television. There is also a sense of community in a live aboard marina which might be appealing. You can also look at mooring fields which allow you to hook your boat to a buoy and rely on a water taxi to bring you back and forth. Of course, all options have disadvantages; you must decide which will work out best for you.
This article has mentioned living aboard with a family and while this does have its own unique challenges, it is certainly doable. Safety is the biggest challenge when you are dealing with having children on a boat. Life jackets, tethers and constant supervision are of course a must. As the children get older, there is also the question of school and your options will include traditional public school or non-traditional homeschooling. Many parents find that the money they are saving living aboard allows them to live on one salary, and one parent will be with the children so there is no need for day care. There are extra-curricular or community activities that you can bring the children to, just as you would if you were living on land.


Living aboard has its pros and cons just as living on land. You might moor your boat near neighbors who are hard to leave near. This problem can be solved by moving your boat to another area. This is certainly easier than selling your house and moving on land. Obviously, your boat is going to need maintenance just the way your home on land would. Some of the maintenance can be done yourself, so you can save some money. The weather could also be a problem, but if you are smart and heed the warnings, you can be as prepared as possible.
On the other hand, the pros could far outweigh the cons if this is truly the lifestyle you are looking for. Being closer to nature, unplugging from today’s technology heavy lifestyle, saving money by not buying into consumerism, and living low-stress could be just what the doctor ordered for your happily-ever-after.

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