Retire in a House or Cruise in a Yacht, What is the $$ Difference…#32

“How on earth can you afford Cruising from Oregon through the Panama Canal to the East Coast?” 

How much does it cost to cruise with that big boat?”

Answers to these questions….

Everyone has different ideas on what to do with retirement and choices where to spend your money. My husband and I have picked a more unusual way to spend our life and cash then most people. We are spending our retirement on the water in a yacht. (for a few years) It seems like an extravagant choice to make with retirement.

Here is how we make it work….

Majority of people that choose this type of adventure pick a sailboat, which is a much more economical way than our choice of a MV (Motor Vessel). It was an easy decision for us, we have always have had a motor yacht. We just needed to figure out how to put our plan together to make it happen. You can also read a previous article Just Some Sheer Luck …#2 see why we picked our particular 1980 80′ Hatteras yacht.

Here is what we spend…..

  1. Fuel is the most expensive part, but it is what keeps us moving on this adventure. We have 3 large tanks located in the bow, mid-ship, stern, which hold approximately 1800 gallons of diesel fuel. When head out for a new destination we always stop to top them up. This is a costly endeavor. We burn approx 1 gallon a mile and the price varies from $3 a gallon to over $4. We have traveled approximately 4000 miles so far, which calculates to $12,000 in fuel. We can reduce our consumption rate by running at a more economical speed but do have the capability of pushing it hard if a storm or danger is identified. We prefer to cruise around 7 knots which is the most reasonable speed / fuel consumption. Finding fuel is like finding a marina, you google it, ask friends, read cruising guides, blogs, Marina FB pages and or call ahead to the marina and ask. Once found you pull up to the fuel dock and fill similarly to a car with exception of the length of time it takes to actually fill the tanks.
  2. Marina cost is the next highest expense. We PV marinado have a choice here. We could anchor out in a bay and not pay a thing. Which we did most of the time up in the Sea of Cortez. See that story here – Sea of Cortez Anchorages & Marinas, A Nautical Travel Guide… #29. In Mexico we have enjoyed going into marinas/resorts where we can get into town easily. We go out to dinner, grocery shop, meet and visit with neighboring boats, repairs/maintenance and enjoy the beach/resort etc. We can do this all without having to put down our dinghy/tender. We have been warned many times about leaving our dinghy down when anchored at night. Which means we have to put it up and down every day if we want to get to land. img_3192We also feel safer inside the marina. Over the last 16 months of our adventure we have stayed in Marinas approximately 85% of the time. The marinas cost is on a per-foot basis and the bigger you are the more you are charged. The per-foot cost is $.80 to $2.50 per night. That makes it approximately $64 to $200 a night for our 80 foot yacht. In addition to the slip fee, some marinas charge for water and electricity. Mexico electricity is expensive at $.33 per KWH verses USA at  $.10 per KWH. This can all add up if you are running air conditioning during the summer, like we do. We also have inverter, batteries and a generator for electricity. This costs a bit more more due to fuel and generator wear and tear, but we must use when anchored out, which is our only choice. (Topic for another article). We have not had to run AC much at anchor, so only 4-6 hour of generator per day. The rest is off the batteries and inverter.
  3. Food is the third most expensive item. We go to grocery stores and cook aboard as much as possible. Mexican grocery stores are a bit different than American. You can’t always find what you want, so you adjust, sometimes find something better or just go without. img_3132 Some items are impossible to find, without paying a huge import tax. Example; We love crackers and cheese for snacks/appetizers etc. The cracker selection in Mexico is very limited, Ritz or Saltines. A small box of Wheat Thins is approx $7 usd if you can find them. The cost for both groceries and restaurants are less than US. We spend approximately 400 usd a month on dinners out  and groceries.
  4. Boat Mortgage – We don’t have a boat loan. We purchased an old boat and use proceeds from the sale of our big house when we downsized. We still own a small house which we rent out to reduce our cash flow out.
  5. Boat Maintenance – Maintenance and repairs are an ongoing item and if you are thinking about doing this DON’T forget to save or have $$ for this. It is very important piece to the trip. Also bring spare parts with you aboard the boat, which will save lots of expense with import tax & customs. I can’t really put a cost on this because it depends on how old your boat is and what condition it is in. We’ve spent thousands on this on this over the last year. Motor Yacht again cost more than Sailing Yachts because of the additional engine costs. it could be like paying for remodeling.
  6. Other costs – We fly home and to other locations once in a while to see our parents and adult children, who miss us tons.

Overall, our cost is similar to being at home, we don’t have a house payment but have fuel and rent for marinas which add to about the same. Food in Mexico is cheaper and more interesting. We are retired but still do a small amount of consulting with our business, Ennlovation LLC.

If this is something you are thinking about, reach out to us. We would be happy to answer your questions. Hearing from you helps direct what we talk about. So don’t forget to tell us what you think, ask a question, like, clap, high five us and you are welcome to share with others!

Please Speak up!!   

Gracias Amigos 


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