For those of us who have the travel bug, there’s nothing more appealing than the idea of living on a boat. And why wouldn’t it be? There’s the endless horizon, the salty breeze, and the adventure of it all. But is living aboard a boat really all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of this unique lifestyle.
In recent years, there’s been a growing trend of people choosing to live aboard boats full-time. And it’s not hard to see why. Boat living offers a unique and exciting lifestyle that lets you travel the open waters and see new places whenever you want.
But is it really all it’s cracked up to be? In this blog post, we’ll explore all the pros and cons of living aboard a boat full-time. By the end, you should have a good idea of whether or not this lifestyle is right for you.
For some, the idea of living on a boat full-time seems like a dream come true. And for others, it sounds like a total nightmare. If you’re thinking about making the leap to boat life, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before taking the plunge. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the top considerations for anyone thinking about trading in their land-based dwelling for a life on the water.
The Pros of Living Aboard a Boat
1. It’s Way Cheaper Than You Think
One of the biggest misconceptions about living aboard a boat is that it’s incredibly expensive. But the truth is, it can actually be quite affordable. Of course, how much it costs will depend on the size and type of boat you choose, as well as where you decide to moor it. But generally speaking, living on a boat is much cheaper than renting or owning a traditional home.
2. You Can Travel Whenever You Want
Another major perk of living aboard a boat is that you can travel wherever you want, whenever you want. If you get sick of being in one place, you can simply cast off the lines and head to someplace new. The world is your oyster when you live on a boat!
3. It’s an Unforgettable Experience
let’s be honest: living on a boat is just plain cool. It’s an experience that very few people get to have in their lifetime, and it’s something that you’ll always remember fondly. If you’re looking for an adventure, there’s no better way to find it than by setting sail on the open seas.
4. You can live in some of the most beautiful places in the world.
5. Mooring fees are often much cheaper than marina slip fees.
6. Maintenance costs are typically lower for small boats.
7. You can always be on the move if you get restless.
8. Living on a boat forces you to live a simpler life with less stuff.
9. There is a great sense of community among liveaboards.
10. You get to meet interesting people from all walks of life.
The Cons of Living Aboard a Boat
1. There’s Not Much Space
One downside of living on a boat is that there’s simply not much space. If you’re used to living in a spacious apartment or house, you might find the transition to life aboard a boat to be quite challenging. Everything from storage to cooking can be tough when you’re cramped for space.
2. Maintenance Costs Can Be High
While the initial cost of buying or renting a boat may not be too bad, the costs of maintaining one can quickly add up. From fuel costs to dock fees to repairs and maintenance, there are lots of different expenses associated with owning a boat. And if something major goes wrong, you could be facing some serious bills.
3. You’re at the mercy of the elements
When you’re living on land, bad weather might mean having to deal with some rain or snow. But when you’re living on a boat, bad weather can be downright dangerous. Strong winds and rough seas can make conditions onboard incredibly uncomfortable (not to mention dangerous). So if you’re prone to seasickness or bad weather anxiety, living on a boat might not be the best option for you.
4. It can be difficult to find mooring fields in popular locations.
5. The cost of living onboard can be higher than land-based life due to the need for expensive equipment like generators and water makers.
6. It can be hard to find good quality fresh water and provisioning can be difficult in remote areas.
7. Storm surge is a major issue for liveaboards in hurricane-prone areas like Florida and the Bahamas.
8. Marina slips are often more convenient for boat owners who need easy access to shore-side amenities and services like laundry facilities, showers, and restaurants. Not to mention medications, supplies, and groceries.
9. There is often less privacy living on a boat since you are living in close quarters with your neighbors.
10. Downtown areas and private property owner often don’t want liveaboards anchored or moored near their property.
11. Liveaboards must continually move their vessels due to anchorages laws which vary from place to place.
12. Most liveaboard cruisers only cruise within nautical miles of their home port due to weather and time constraints.
13. It can be difficult to maintain gainful employment while living on a boat since most jobs are land-based.
14. Last but not least, it’s hard to find a good place to park your boat long-term!
The Cost of Living Aboard a Boat
One of the biggest considerations for anyone thinking about living aboard a boat is the cost. After all, boats are not cheap. And even if you do manage to find an affordable boat, there are still other costs to consider, such as mooring fees, maintenance costs, and fuel costs. Plus, unless you’re able to find a liveaboard slip that comes with amenities like freshwater and sewer hookups, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of pumping out your holding tanks and bringing fresh water onboard.
Another cost to consider is the cost of your time. While living aboard a boat can be an incredibly enjoyable experience, it’s important to remember that it is also a lot of work. You will be constantly cleaning, repairing, and maintaining your vessel. And unless you’re lucky enough to have a slip in a secluded cove somewhere, you will also have to deal with the constant comings and goings of your fellow boaters (and their sometimes less-than-desirable behavior).
The Weather Factor
Another big consideration for anyone thinking about living aboard a boat is the weather. If you live in an area with severe weather conditions (like hurricanes or winter storms), living on a boat can be downright dangerous. Even if you don’t live in an area with severe weather conditions, though, it’s important to remember that boats are not well- insulated against extreme temperatures. So if you’re someone who gets cold easily or has trouble sleeping in hot weather, boat life might not be for you.
The Maintenance Factor
As we mentioned above, one of the downsides of living aboard a boat is that it requires constant maintenance and repair. Not only do you have to worry about keeping your vessel clean and organized (inside and out), but you also have to deal with potential leaks, mechanical problems, and electrical issues on a regular basis. And unless you’re handy with tools (or know someone who is), these repairs can quickly become expensive.
Best places to liveaboard on a boat
We would be remiss if we didn’t touch on some of the best places you can live full time on a boat. We will stick to the United States and more specifically, Florida. Whether you’re permanent residents or transients, you want to check out south Florida. Miami Beach is a sick spot for sure, lots of night life, but you’ll have to do some research if you want a decent priced marina. Another option is to hook up to a mooring ball and save a few bucks. Key West is another prime location but it’s quite pricey! I was seeing rates up to $9k per month for larger boats (60 foot)! Most live aboards can write this option off and for good reason. You are also confined to small spaces and open to the storm systems such as Hurricane Ian.
When looking for the best liveaboard marinas you might check out some of these cool cities: Tampa Bay, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte Harbor, Green Cove Springs, Florida Keys, South Beach, or Panama City. The big question is really how much disposable income do you have for liveaboard slip fees and do you like larger cities or small cities.
So what’s the verdict? Is living aboard a boat right for you? Only you can answer that question. There you have it, some pros and cons to living aboard a boat full-time! Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it should give you a better idea of what you can expect if you’re thinking about making the leap into liveaboard life. ultimately, only you can decide if this lifestyle is for you, but we think it’s definitely worth considering! We hope that this blog post has given you something to think about as you make your decision.