I can’t tell you how many times we hear or read comments about our blog….. “I wish I could do that, I’m not rich” or “I don’t have enough money do to what you do” or any of the other types of comments.
We meet so many other people living on their boat and traveling to cool places. They are doing what we are doing with their own slightly different tweak on it. These folks are from all over the world with totally different backgrounds, boating experience & living preferences, they are “living their dream on a boat!”
Well, anyone can do this, let me share how!
Everything in life is a choice…. It was hard to see all the choices before we started this adventure, but we see sail boaters living this life with very minimal income. NOW… it isn’t free, but it isn’t more expensive than just living how you live today. AND you can choose where to go, how long to stay and how to plan it financially.
There are so many choices that it is important to get ideas and opinions from others too! Here is how you can do this too…. I’ve outlined some choices below ⇓⇓⇓
- Sailboat – Don’t use as much fuel, you obviously can sail to put miles behind you. Lots of sail boaters still motor quite a bit, but their small engines just don’t suck the fuel like a faster larger motor yacht
- Motorboat – More space, bit more comfort, but more expensive to run, more engine maintenance along with bigger fuel bill.
Size of Boat
- Big, Small or Someplace in Between – You want enough space to live comfortable & store provisions etc. Some people can live in much tighter quarters than others. If you are planning on going far from your home port, you will need room for crew, friends, guests. If you are social, you will need this room too. The bigger the boat the more expensive it is to run & maintain and more costly in a marina. If you get too small of a boat you will struggle with ocean cruising when it is rough. We find it is easier in the open ocean with a larger boat. We have an 80′ boat.
- Older is cheaper, but more repairs. Newer still has repairs (don’t ever think they don’t), but things aren’t as worn out. You can get a bigger, older boat for less money or a smaller, newer for more money. PLEASE do a boat and engine survey before buying on either choice, because there are 100+ more things they didn’t find.
Supporting Features on Boat
All these options are Cost versus Convenience
- Laundry – Tons of sailboats only do laundry by hand or at the marina laundry facilities. We on the other hand have laundry on board.
- Water Maker & Fresh Water Tanks – If you are traveling to foreign countries or long trips, a water maker will be an important feature. You are able to make pure water on demand and keep your tanks full of good fresh water. The size of your water tanks are also important. Consider this when also looking at the number of people and the services you have aboard. You will use more water than you think you will. You can get water in marinas, but some foreign countries don’t have potable water, so be aware of that. You need a purification strategy for all water usage and water sources.
- Power choices (generator, solar, wind, inverter & shore power capacity) – You will need some type, or multiple types of power to keep your boat working. Sailboats need less, they have less demand for the power. Lots of choices; more power is more money, and maintenance work, less is cheaper but not as convenient. The benefits and drawbacks for each of these choices will be a different blog, coming soon.
- Stabilizers – This is a motorboat option and we HIGHLY recommend this if you are going in the ocean for long periods of time or more frequently. We can’t imagine not having ours.
- Fuel Storage – This is important for both sail and motor yachts. Sail boaters don’t need as much and sometimes bring jerry cans with them. In a motorboat you need to consider your range, how far, fast you will be going and how much fuel you will burn on any given trip. Knowing this number for your tank’s size will keep you from calling for a tow!
- Waste Holding Tanks – You need holding tanks of some size, how frequently you use it, is up to you. We estimate 20 person-days per 117 gallons of tank space. This is our estimate and usage. If you go into marinas, you can use their facilities (restroom/shower/etc) on shore and lots of sail boaters do this. You can also empty your tanks with their sewage pump out service. Another option is to consider adding a treatment system for close shore cruising.
- Dinghy – Either type of boat (sail/motor) you need a dinghy. We suggest a small inflatable dinghy. If you have a larger motorboat, you can consider two. A larger one that holds more people/stuff and could be used for fishing, snorkeling, scuba, etc. The small inflatable dinghy is important so you can drag it up on shore. Very large ones (e.g. 19′) are too heavy.
- Bow thruster – This is a convenience, but we find it a necessity. There will be many times you need this when arriving in a marina, the wind, waves, and current are large and/or competing with each other. We highly recommend it. Hydraulic ones powered by the generator or engine are best – battery ones are weak and run out of thrust in bad conditions when you really need them.
- Engine Type, Quantity and Quality – If you have a motorboat with no bow thruster, we recommend two engines as a must. We really think you should have two engines and a bow thruster. We found cruisers use diesel engines for main power. Gasoline is for outboards and toys. Which brand of diesel is best? The well maintained and cared for diesel! Boat and engine maintenance is work though, and being physically fit is necessary, unless you hire it out, which can be challenging and expensive. Carry important spare parts, they are not at the far-flung cool spots unless you bring them. It is slow, inconvenient, and expensive to have them shipped. Sailboats are usually single diesel engine, so a bow thruster on a medium/large one is a must. That Diesel is your 2nd engine! The sails are engine #1.
Choices to Reduce your Financial Risk
- House on land – You have 3 choices, 1) Keep the house and pay mortgage while you are gone 2) Rent the house 3) Sell the house. These are choices YOU need to make based on your income flow and/or reserve cash. I’ve talked to many of our boat friends and most have either rented or sold their house. We rented ours.
- Your belongings – You have similar choices here, sell, store or some of both. This again is a personal decision. Most folks we have talked to does “some of both”. Sell or give away what they can and store what is important to them.
- Cars – Again similar choices, sell or keep. Our feedback here is that cars depreciate, SO SELL them. Buy new when you are done cruising. If you return for a visit, rent or borrow. You are tossing money away if you keep them.
Ways to Reduce Cost
- Anchor More Often – This will for sure reduce your cost. This is considerably cheaper, BUT, you need a dinghy to go into shore for provisions, laundry, use the internet, restaurants, visit sights/town etc. Some marinas have “pay for dinghy dock services” Also hauling water or fuel if you picked a less expensive way to live. We enjoy the safety & convenience of being in a locked marina (most foreign marinas are gated). It is wear and tear on your generator though.
- Don’t go to as Many Far Away Locations – Start small. If you live on the USA West Coast, do Mexico, “Baja Ha Ha” rally or “Cubar”. On the East Coast, do “Salty Dawg” to Caribbean Islands. My point is do something small to see how it goes. Maybe a trial run and not sell your house. Just do the winter away.
- Don’t Stop Learning – This saves you money for sure! Read and ask lots of questions and learn from those that have done it. There are tons of blogs, books, Facebook groups, Instagram and articles you can read about liveaboards and those that spend a good deal of time aboard their boat. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most folks are happy to help out. Also join a boating rally as mentioned above gives you tons information and fellow boaters to ask questions and get assistance.
- Use your Points – Gather up your frequent flyer miles, hotel, car & credit card points. Use AAA, Military, Boat US for discounts and use them whenever possible and/or when you fly home.
- Boat Work – Find trusted recommended contractors to use before and during your cruise. Ask friends/fellow boaters who they used etc. Don’t just go to someone that isn’t recommended unless you can’t move, and you are stuck. Our Puerto Vallarta boat work #26 & A Shipyard Story #24 & Shipyard Work for the Boys #23
Able to do Some of your Own Repairs/Maintenance – This is a must at some level because you could be at sea when something fails or in port where no help exist. You need to know at least your own maintenance schedule and ability to do the engine maintenance; oil changes, filter changes (be aware that there are filters that you might not see or be aware of) water system maintenance, battery maintenance, & general plumbing. Boats have leaks!!
- Work Aboard – Some folks are able to work while on board. We found internet is very hard to find and poor quality in foreign countries.
- Write a blog – You can do advertising on your blog, I don’t do this, I may at some point. You need a big following and YouTube video blog gathers more followers. If you pick this, plan on spend a lot of time writing, filming, editing & publishing etc. on a regular schedule.
- Retirement or Social Security Payments – If you are old enough this is important income to consider.
- Business Income – If you are lucky enough to have a business that you can leave and it generates income, I don’t think you are reading “My Blog” and how nice for you! Sell your business is also another option.
- Investments – It is very hard to manage your investments while cruising. Get a financial advisor and discuss a low risk financial plan, and possible income streams.
Stuff to Do
Find Meaningful Stuff to Do
- Dan does tons of projects making the boat better and safer. ALL maintenance, repairs, upgrades, improvements etc, etc, etc…. He does so much and keeps everything in tip top shape.
- I do some boat projects, sewing repairs, sewing projects, all cooking and dishes, all cleaning and of course, picture taking and blog writing!
- Also, a small warning… You will be with your partner almost 100% of the time. Expect challenging times, just work through them and learn.
- Have Fun, enjoy your stops, learn about the locations, research the cities, anchorages, communities, and countries you are visiting so you can have the best time ever!
Enjoy your time, invite friends, family to join you.. they will be forever grateful. Walk the docks and meet fellow boaters and listen to their stories!
Feel free to connect with me on Instagram, I have a public site @adventures_on_angelique Add your email to my distribution list on this blog site, so you never miss a blog! – Need help with adding email? Let me know and I will walk you through it.
Ask me any questions, I am eager to help you live your dream by answering all your questions. email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
I really hope, if this is what you want to do… you do it,
we have NO REGRETS!!
Adios, until next time!