I often get emails from various people asking all sorts of questions about Living on a Boat. Many are from people who are contemplating moving aboard themselves and are looking for information and knowledge from those of us who have already taken the plunge (so to speak.) With that is mind, I plan to do a short four post series on the topic of Living on a Boat touching on the topics that I get asked the most often.

This then is Part 1 in our Living on Boat Series.

Part 2: Living on a Boat – Questions.
Part 3: Living on a Boat – Family and All
Part 4: Living on Boat and Alcohol

Living on a Boat – Cheap Living

I recently worked my way though the book by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin called Your Money Or Your Life – Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence. I had probably purchased the book 10 years ago, and while I had previously applied some of the ideas found in the book, this time I’ve really taken the philosophy to heart and have applied a greater part of the book to our life here on the boat. Just by living on a boat we already lived a more frugal life than most, but even with our already reduced housing expenses, I’ve found many ways to control both the amount of money coming into my life and more importantly the money going out. I highly recommend Joe and Vicki’s book to anyone who has a desire to get away from the consumer lifestyle that so many of us have been sucked into. It is especially good for those who are contemplating how to reduce their expenses so that living on a boat might be an option. Ok, enough of that.

We are living on a boat in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Mississauga a major city right next to Toronto, Ontario although without signs nobody would know where Toronto ends and Mississauga begins. Before moving aboard our boat 4 years ago, we lived in a little brick bungalow in Toronto. So, we’ve lived (and owned) on land and lived on the water … we prefer the water. As I look back at my old budgets from the house, and compare them to what I am spending today, I figure that my housing costs are approximately 2/3′s less today. Living in the house with the mortgage, taxes, gas, hydro and water came to around $1600.00 per month and that would be considered living cheap compared to most people living in Toronto. Here on the the boat we average out at about $600.00 a month living year round. The living on a boat number could be further reduced by converting to propane heat for the winter – a move that I am thinking about for this upcoming winter. Without the extra hydro required for the winter, our slip costs for the year would go down to a little over $350.00 per month! We also live in one of the more expensive marina’s on Lake Ontario – slips can be had for a fair amount less if you are further away from Toronto. Finally, I don’t

The view out my kitchen window.

The view out my kitchen window.

think there are any cheaper living accommodation’s any closer to Toronto that where I am. Right now, I am sitting at my kitchen table on the boat looking out the window with a full view of downtown Toronto. If I were to hop in my car, I could be at the corner of Yonge and Dundas (right in the heart of downtown Toronto) in about 20 mins. There are a number of business people who are my neighbours here (a couple of lawyers, a teacher, a banker, etc) that work either downtown or in some other part of the city. They are earning city incomes while living cheaply in one of the most expensive cities in Canada. Somehow, I would say that they’ve got it figured out in a way that most never do; high income with low expenses. Now, if you did not need or want to live close to a major city center, you’re living on a boat expenses can be even less. Say you are living on Canada Pension Plan or your retirement income – I’m willing to bet you could have your housing expenses down to less than $200 a month.

So I say again, there is no way anyone is living on land for $600 a month within 20 mins of downtown Toronto. Further, we are a 5 minute walk from the GO train which will take us to Union Station in 1/2 an hour for $8 bucks. So – Yes, living on a boat is cheap living.

Other Options for even Cheaper Living on a Boat

Anchoring. Depending on where you are in world you may also find a place to anchor out or ‘live on the hook’ as it is called. This would mean that you have have to be self-sufficient – able to generate your own electricity and haul your own water and waste but there are many who live on the hook for $0 per month – yep, it can cost you nothing to live on the anchor! Where we are, this would not work for winter living as we need the electricity and the safety of the harbor to be able to combat the ice that forms on the lake, but this would be feasible in many southern or more temperate locals. A dinghy is essential for this living situation as a method of getting ashore for work, supplies, etc. A couple of years ago, we anchored out in a little bay just off the Leslie Spit in the Toronto Harbor Islands area and met a gentleman who was living there during the week. He worked at one of the hospitals downtown and took his dingy to and from work each day. I think he was American and went home to the US each weekend, but during the week – his housing costs were …$0. Smart man.

The view of downtown Toronto from the entrance to the Aquatic Sailing Park

The view of downtown Toronto from the entrance to the Aquatic Sailing Park

Mooring. Again, depending on your particular water situation there may be mooring balls or a mooring field available for very low cost. A mooring ball is a method of anchoring without using an anchor. Usually someone has sunk a heavy cement block down to the bottom and attached a chain to it and a big ball or float of some sort. All you do is grab the chain and attach your boat and you are ‘home.’ The owner of the mooring ball (or mooring field, if there are a bunch of them in one area) usually charges some small fee to use that particular mooring. There is a mooring field just off of downtown Toronto called the Aquatic Sailing Park. It is absolutely lovely there – so private, yet so close to downtown Toronto. After an initiation fee of $650.00, their fees work out to $73.00 a month (summer only, unfortunately) and there is a work requirement of 16 hours in the Park itself. Hows that for living on a boat – cheap?!? Again, you would have to be self-sufficient as there are no hookups, electricity or anything like that. Plus a dinghy is a must have to get to shore.

Private Dock. This option may be available in your area but will likely require some searching around. Many rivers and lakes are growing private docks like seaweeds. Many of those docks are either virtually unused or only used a couple of times a year or on weekends when the owners are there. With a little creative negotiating maybe with cash in hand or on a trial basis you should be able to rent a dock or slip for a small fee for a month or two. I would suggest even trying for free in exchange for say a bit of yard work if it is a someones cottage or maybe even just to keep and eye on the place. Creativity and personal negotiation skills will be your biggest assets here.

House vs. Boat

Now let me say this before you say it, because I know you are thinking it … yes, the boat is much smaller than a house. I know it, believe me I know it! However, my backyard is bigger than yours I likely have a better view, and if I don’t like my neighbours, I just move. Can you say that? There are trade offs – some people may not be willing to live in a smaller place to be able to live more cheaply and to have more freedom. For us, the trade off is more than worth it. I’ve commented on Living on a Boat vs A House before.

Other Living Costs

  • No Hydro bill.
  • No Water bill.
  • No gas bill (although you will have to fill the propane tank a couple of times a season.)
  • No land tax.
  • No cable bill.
  • No phone bill – no land line, so you will likely need a cell phone.
  • If you live on a sailboat, your fuel bill will be very low. As it is, our boat is a house first – and a boat second, so we don’t use much fuel either. Of course, that means we don’t go far.

Food. Depending on what your boat is equipped with, you may or may not spend a lot of money on food. When we were living on our sailboat (Alberg 30) we did not really have a proper kitchen. We had an Origo non-pressurized 2 burner alcohol cooktop and a nice sized toaster oven. Our fridge was very small – and only a fridge – no freezer. What ended up happening is we started to bring more and more purchased and prepared food onto the boat – just because the cooking and food storage was such a hassle. That is NOT the way to save money and live cheaply! We were spending a fortune on food. When we moved aboard the River Queen, we got a very nice 3 burner propane stove with oven and a full size fridge with a top mount freezer. Perfect for just normal every day, live on land type cooking. Unfortunately, we were so used to just bringing home take out that we did not use our new kitchen to its full potential and were still spending a pile of money on food. Since reading Your Money Or Your Life though – we’ve cut our food bill down to a quarter of what it was. We are cooking a lot more simple food – purchasing more in bulk and generally being aware of what we are spending on food. So the trick with food is – use what facilities you have and keep it simple. If you have limited cooking facilities and limited refrigeration – then you don’t have to buy expensive food because you have no way of cooking it or keeping it. Simple foods are better for you anyway. If people are interested, I will do a follow up to this and give greater detail about how much we spend on food and how we cook. Let me know if you want to see this.

Yachty Magazines

One final comment that I would like to make about living on a boat cheaply is this: you don’t need, nor will you ever use all the crap you see for sale in all those glossy naughty yachty magazines. I’m not even sure what is all being touted in those rag mags these days as I don’t read them anymore, but back when we were looking to purchase a boat we got sucked in by all the ‘must haves’ that populate those mags. If it is shiny and electronic, you likely don’t need it. A simple $50.00 hand held GPS works just as well as the $3000.00 binical mounted model. Your boat will likely come with a VHF radio – it will work just fine, you don’t need that new hand held model which is waterproof down to 2000′ (why?) and will call the cows home from pasture at the same time. You don’t need all those extras and unless you are the guy buying the gold plated yacht, you can’t afford it anyway – and from what I’ve seen, he likely can’t afford it either. I talked about this issue way back when I first started living on a boat:

I’ll admit that I had read one too many of The Magazines and Books and that I was beginning to think that I would need a complete refit before sailing. (I no longer believe this.) So, we went to boat shows and priced out and bought those things that we just felt we could not do without. Things like a handheld VHF, self-inflating life jackets, etc., you know, just the bare essentials. Now I wish that I had spent that money on more important thing; things that would have made us more comfortable. A bimini cover and dodger for instance. But you just have to have a VHF in your hand when sailing, right? And you must have a self-inflating life jacket on at all times, right? Well, here’s the truth. I’ve used the handheld VHF maybe half a dozen times in two years and have only put on the jackets when in rough weather which we normally don’t sail in anyways. The VHF already on the boat would have worked just fine and the Canadian Tire life vest for 40 bucks would have worked just as well and could have provided a butt pad when not in use. Oh well, live and learn. What The Magazines and The Books say you need and what you really need are two very different things!

Other things you can do to save money on a boat:

  • Build your own wind generator out of scraps. My neighbour did this – works great!
  • Do your laundry in a hand washer – and hang everything out to dry – we do this.
  • Haul out your own waste in jugs and dump down the nearest toilet to save on pump outs. See this post on how I managed the holding tank on the Alberg.

And finally – just stay home. You live on the water – you don’t need a cottage or a boat or all the hassle of going north or south or whatever direction cottage country is. Just brew a cup of coffee and sit out on deck, enjoy the view, suck in the clean air and enjoy the gentle rocking of your home.

Next up in our Living on a Boat series will be: Living on a Boat – Family and all. Until then, would love to have any questions or comments you might have on this topic.

"Living on a Boat – Cheap Living" by was published on August 22nd, 2008 and is listed in Alberg 30, Boat Life, Books, Marina, Simple Life.

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Comments on "Living on a Boat – Cheap Living": 57 Comments

  1. chez wrote,

    We have made an offer on a 55′ kingscraft, all alunimum house boat and anticipating year around liveboard. I am getting “cold feet” about this deal because we live in Minnesota. Any advise from those who are doing it in knee deep ice and snow?

    Chez

  2. bandeeto wrote,

    Love the idea of living on a boat. Living cheaply and having some freedom… and access to a real job… seems very attractive. I have no experience with sailing, and don’t even know what kind of boat to price… basically I’m just starting the research that may one day bloom into a lifestyle change.

    Thank you for this site. Living on a boat seems less impossible when I learn about someone else, a real person not some millionare or former yacht racer, doing it for real.

  3. Oliver Joy wrote,

    My wife and I lived aboard and cruised for 7 years mostly in Florida but up the intercoastal to North Carolina as well. We loved it, our only home. It was too hot in the summer toward the end, so we visited everyone we knew up north in the late summer. We lived on a 40′ twin diesel Defever trawler. And were retired.
    Cheap living?? Not at all… diesel fuel was cheap then- sometime under a dollar a gallon, (now it would cost us $2000 to fill the tank), repairs.. a BIG item… depreciation… fierce!! Haulouts, DIY bottom painting…
    But loved it, we absolutely did and will never regret the experience..

  4. strathy wrote,

    Yes, cruising can be expensive. Especially if you are on a powerboat and use marinas instead of anchoring. A boat neighbour of ours spent the winter going down the ICW and then wintered in the Bahamas. His trip down the ICW was expensive well over close to 2 K a month, but once he got to the Bahamas and found the anchorage that he was happy with, his cost went down to less than 1 K a month.

    I know what you mean about fuel costs. I’m running twine 318 V8′s in my boat right now. I call them my “buck-a-minutes”. The cost to run those things is crazy – so we don’t go far.

  5. Roy Sallows wrote,

    Mississauga. To my wife and I, living Winnipeg for the last seven years, Missisauga sounds pretty close to damned fine. We spent ten years in Scarborough, and we’d even like to go back there. So your comments are food for a lot of dreaming… which is about the best thing one person can give another. Thanks for the site, we second the ‘write a book’ comment, and please, keep writing.

  6. Dave McNaught wrote,

    Since your Riverqueen has a steel hull, does that make it more favorable than fiberglass or wood when the ice moves in during winter or do you have a bubbler system to keep the ice away from the hull. I grew up around boats on the northern end of the Mississippi River and would love to go back to the water on a permanent basis but from what I remember, nobody left their boats in the water during the winters.
    Thanks for a great site and a trip down memory lane. It is a dream of mine to live on a boat and sites like this give me real hope that it truly is feasable.

  7. strathy wrote,

    @Dave – We still use a bubbler for the winter. There are some people here though who do just let their steel hull boats freeze in and don’t seem to have any problem. I guess I could try it, but I am afraid of the pressure on the hull because of the shape of it. The River Queen has very flat sides with a flat bottom which would give the ice a lot to put pressure on. Unlike a sailboat that has angular curved sides which would be forced up if the ice really got to putting a good squeeze on it.

  8. kevin crowley wrote,

    I’m currently saving up for a sailboat. I hate the idea of renting a house or apartment, it feels like I’m throwing my money away. I rented for a year in duluth minnesota, but when my lease was up, I chose to live in my station wagon. It was comfortable, free, fun, but best of all, I felt that nothing was tying me down, I felt completely free. This is what I hope to find as a boat owner, a mobile home, but slightly more comfortable. but what should I expect to spend? Imagine this was you looking for your first boat, but with all the knowledge you have now, what should i look for?
    i have a friend who is an experienced sailor, and his honest opinion was that i find a 40 foot wooden lifeboat, which is apparently easy to find for free, and pitch a tent on it… he also suggested building a mast for it, but i dont think thats really going to cut it for me.

  9. Yogi Milsap wrote,

    Your website has been extremely informative. I am a single mom of 4 children.Three of them will be aboard with me. I have had this dream since I was a small girl.Do you think it is possible to do this by myself? I will be homeschooling my children and would like to create a childrens realty show via pod cast. I am not independently wealthy,Therefore I will need to be creative along the way. At first I thought a year would be a great commitment but after reading from your website I dont want to put a time limit on my dream.Thank you again for your time on putting this site together!!!!!

  10. Bruce & Linda wrote,

    We did something similar, we sold a 3200 sq ft home on a river with a 40 foot power boat and bought a pick up and a 5th wheel. The experience is much the same since we have all of the benefits you speak of but we can go anywhere even where there is no water. We currently are on the Gulf of Mexico next to the water but can move anywhere. I still own the 41 foot Chris Craft since the economy is bad and no one wants to spend money on a used boat, even below NADA value.

  11. Bill Harper wrote,

    Do we have any information on slips in the Keswick,Ontario area?

  12. Stephen wrote,

    I like a story that promotes a healthy environmental and self gratifying living that can only be described as a dream for the average Canadian who can ill afford the new reality before us.

  13. Jim wrote,

    I have lived in a condo in Minneapolis for 3 years, looking at live-aboard options on any lake, or the Mississipi, Minnesota or St Croix Rivers. Winters are the thing for me to research more. Either dry dock or bubbler somewhere. Maybe I’ll live in a nice fish-house on top of the lake during winter. :) Nice to come across your site, I looked at houseboats, but really want a sailing yaught to live on. I am continuously down-sizing my “assets” as I get closer to the dream; i.e. furniture, clothing, kitchen items, memories in storage. I want to have as small a footprint as possible when i pull the trigger on this one. I will live this dream. Blue Skies & Cheers!

  14. Raul wrote,

    Thanks for all the info. I am a soon-to-be separated hispanic man that will need to find a way to live with the bare minimums. My wife says”Im going to take you to the bank, I believe her!”I live in Miami and I heard someone say that they lived on a boat. Anyways, I would like to learn as much as I can about living like this. The only problem is that I am 6’3″ and 400lbs. Is it feasable.

  15. strathy wrote,

    Sure – you will just have to find a boat to accommodate your hight or get used to knocking you head all the time. 400 lbs is not a big deal on a larger boat. I might advise you to wait until the divorce before buying the boat though…lol

  16. Jamaal wrote,

    I just watched a movie about a guy that lived on the OCEAN. I told myself that I wanted that life and at the age of 24 bachelor and there is plenty of time to create that life style for myself. Your blog is very informative and gives me something to look forward to. Thank for the information.

  17. JOE wrote,

    AS A YOUNG 60 YR OLD AND ABOUT TO BUY MY FIRST BOAT I AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME AROUND THATS WHY I THINK YOU NEED TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU TAKE THE PLUNDGE.
    JUST TO LISTEN TO YOUR TALES IS AN INSPERATION TO OTHERS WHO ARE ON THE SAME PATH AS ME.I LOOK FORWARD TO READING MORE ON THE SUBJECT AND CANT WAIT TO BE ON MY CRAFT IN THE MED VERY SOON.

    BEST REGARDS

    JOE

  18. Melody wrote,

    I am a mom of two and would like to live mortgage free and this is one option that i am considering, except two major concerns; any insight into how living on a boat works when there is a blizzard outside and the temperature is -30 degrees celius; and what about sending the kids off to school, how does that work when u live on a boat?

  19. strathy wrote,

    Hi Melody,

    Thanks for the question. About winters on the boat: I’ve covered that pretty extensively on the blog. Just do a search on the blog for ‘winter’ or ‘snow’ – things like that and you will find lots of information about winter on a boat in Canada.

    re: Kids in School. We homeschool for now so I don’t have any direct experience. There is a mother/daughter living on a boat in our marina and the girl does attend regular school. Her mom drives her to school each morning. I expect that when she (the daughter) is older, that she will be walking/biking to school as it is quite close to the marina here. I’m not sure where you are in the world, but most marina’s are near major towns or cities, so schools should be easy and local for you. You will just have to figure out how to get your kids to the school – pretty much the same as if you lived in the ‘burbs somewhere.

    Good luck!

  20. Charles Ogle wrote,

    GREAT SITE! We recently made out retirement decision to become “live aboarders” (on our 47ft trawler), spending summers cruising/living around the Cheasapeek and winters in Florida. We first explored getting a waterfront condo with possible boat slip in Florida and selling our Maryland home. My wife was having a hard time with her “loss of roots” in that scenario plus, we found the costs of a condo and its fees/taxes/insurance to be exorbitant and much of Florida to be very crowded, both on and off the water.
    Then we found a beautiful marina option in the Cocoa area on Florida’s east coast south of Daytona. I can rent here or purchase a slip (under $150k compared to Condo at over $450k), have no property taxes and no additional insurance except for my boat policy liability. If I buy my slip, it is rented out for me when I’m gone or cruising south and we get 75% of the rental income. That rent can pay my low monthly fees and cover the costs of other marina stays while I cruise.
    Not having to buy a condo allows us to keep our Maryland home maintaining those “roots” while I’m guaranteed a great winter berth with wonderful waterfront view!
    After the “hit” our retirement funds have taken these last two years, we needed the most affordable option that we could still enjoy. We love boating and the boating lifestyle. Our new berth in a peaceful area of Florida (where we can watch the Space Shots right from our deck!) will fit that bill nicely.
    We also realize that we get too old to remain aboard some day. When that time comes, we will still have our home and a boat with berth we can sell. Works for us and we are soooo excited to climb aboard!!

  21. John Bunnell wrote,

    I have lived aboard two different sailboats, and I plan to live aboard again in a few years. The first was a Nor’Sea 27 sloop on which I lived for a couple of years in Solomons, MD. Next was an old Chapelle-designed 42′ wooden schooner that my wife and I lived aboard for a couple of years in Half Moon Bay, CA. Now we are renovating a ketch-rigged Gulfstar 44 motorsailor for our retirement. The Gulfstar 44 motorsailor is a great liveaboard, with as much room down below as a small condo, with two heads and two staterooms, and a huge saloon. It has a shoal draft of only 3.5 feet, which is great for coastal cruising along the East Coast, in the Chesapeake, Barnegat Bay, the Intra-Coastal Waterway, the Caribbean, etc.

  22. Derrick wrote,

    Thanks for such a great outlook on living. We have been mobile for some 25 years and subscribe to the fact that living is not a spectator sport. I wrote a book a few years back outlining the “Mold Breakers” way of living. Breaking the “Mold” society tries to squeeze you into takes vision and a clear purpose.

    Keep living your dreams and avoid the dream stealers!

  23. wesley lovell wrote,

    let me start by saying wow this is some of the best i have read in a long time i live in a small vilage in bailieboro on rice lake south of peterboro far from my native home barbados ilove boats and the water ispent some of my young years on boats in barbados liveing or fishing love the life hope fulley when i retyred i would live abord a boat in barbados again thanks for sharing youre exprience

  24. Claude & Louise wrote,

    WoW ! WoW !
    That is what we have to say – best reading I have seen in a long time – Thank You -
    For a young 60 and 55 year old – this is inspiring…
    We have had (weekend) boats before, however taking the plunge for permenant or part time living takes planning. We are working on an two year plan. The 1st year (this year) we are taking all necessary courses from 1st Aid to Boat Mechanics,financial planning;etc…

    We are very anxious to move on with our plans – budgeting is a factor not knowing expenses which could be incurred and leaving our perminant residence is another one.

    We need to start somewhere to give us the push to take that plunge we need towards leaving the consumer world and towards our dreamlife

    This article has added some positive light
    I will purchase this book for sure.
    Thank you everyone for your comments

  25. Ashley Godoy wrote,

    I am new to your website and unsure if you’ve done a follow up post on FOOD yet but I am definately interested! I am interested in your meal plans, grocery bills, strategies, etc. Is this something you can post about or let me know where to find it on your website? Thanks!

  26. Lou Wagner wrote,

    Wow. I’m sitting here with a dream re-awakened.

    For a long time, I didn’t think this kind of thing would be possible, as if we had to be independently wealthy to make it work. I’m thinking we may be wealthier than I had at first thought, at least in the sense of having the resources to accomplish this as a project long term.

    We’re in our early and mid 40′s. I think it would be totally cool to spend at least the next five or so years on a boat. Liquidating our current worldly possessions would make it possible but I think it would be prudent to spend at least a year preparing, two years would be more reasonable? Still assessing what it would take. Probably the first thing for us would be to spend a two-week vacation on a house boat or vacation yacht somewhere, and go it solo just to see if we can make it work and more importantly, to get a better feel for the realities we would face.

    A dream is good. Facing the unknowns is an important part of that reality to which I feel we should become more comfortable.

    I’m a desert rat from Arizona. It would certainly be a different experience to be out on a “water desert” for several years.

    I can’t stop thinking about this! I thank you for the effort and time you’ve put into this blog. Very informative.

    –Wag–

  27. Lorenzo wrote,

    Hello, this site really is interesting, I am seriously wanting to live aboard a sailboat, I came across the 41′ Seawind Catamaran 1250. The only problem I come across is the price. It is about 700.000 dollars for this magnificent boat. Being a man with a regular income I wonder if the bank would accept to loan me that much. Do you think it is a good idea and what is the price range of your sailboat?

  28. Michael wrote,

    Thanks for the site, very informative.
    I am in the process of buying a CS 36 for living aboard.  I am wondering if you have an advice regarding insuring a winter live aboard sail boat.  Any specific insruance brokers in the Toronto area that you would recommend?
    thanks
    Michael

  29. gaborn karman wrote,

    This is a question about fine details like;
    - how can you dock your boat free on a lake near the city or town ( is there any lake charge for that?)
    - How can I get free hydro, gas, all that to survive winter time
    - where can I drop our toilete waste
    As you can tell I am planning on boat living but I need to know the above or more details.
    Please let me know
    Gabor K.
    Ottawa, ON

  30. Valerie wrote,

    Hola:
    Wow. This is awsome. I just started researching about living aboard our recently purchased Catalina 30, and I am very pleased that there is so much information out there to learn how to do this, and people to motivate us. We have been flirting with the idea for a while, but never took it seriously until we finally got the sailboat. It's just a start, we plan to go bigger since we are a family of four (2 adults and 2 pre-schooler), plus our dogs ( 1 Lab and 1 Dachshund). We are living in the perfect sailing environment, Puerto Rico, born and raised here, and also work in catamaran sailing excursions in the east coast of PR. I am crew, and my husband is captain. So this was a no brainer, sooner or later we were gonna do it. But the fact that we have been renting for like 7 years and were contemplating buying a house soon, made me think: why? Because everybody said so? Is that how it's suppost to be?  How about taking charge and do what we love to do. I much rather live on my own boat than renting or even paying for 30 years and live a big, costly, not environmentaly friendly house, which I would have to be a slave to maintain, cut lawn, pay exaggerated bills, etc. So yes, are still at the beginning of our journey to research, but i already know that this is the lifestyle I want to pursue, and others are doing it too, so we are definitely not alone. Thanks and keep it up.

  31. andre wrote,

    Hi and thanks for the info. I have been researching this subject for the better part of the past 10 years now. Time for me to take the plunge, but everytime I get that proverbial curve ball thrown at me and I get further away from my dream than previously. The problem for me is the same as for most of us; money or if not money than it is family obligations. These 2 issues seem to be reoccuring on and on. Perhaps I will be stoned for saying, but this present economic depression has done much good for bringing down boat prices. I have been looking at certain 24-30 footers that previously commanded hefty pricetags, and now suddenly are very affordable for the financially average or like myself: The financially well below average. Again, many thanks for your experience based info. It is all great help for people like myself.
     

  32. Mark Lee wrote,

     I normally live in s.Colorado but have property in s.Cal. At some point, I'll sell one house here and want to get a life. I will be able to get a good 37 to 40 sailboat'.I must say that the mooring looks so expensive that the dream is fading. I'm an artist and need to get costs down. There seems to be open hostility to anyone here who wants to live on the cheap. I'm not thinking of a floating eyesore with junk all over the dock.Just a free lifestyle where I can focus on the art and have more peace of mind. Artists have to be tough but the rat race is pure poison.Any ideas? I will have some rental income and I'm single.

  33. g miller wrote,

    I live in N.J and I,am thinking of living on a boat .I  need  feed back on a good location moor it.

  34. Kathryn Snider wrote,

    Does anyone want to rent out their liveaboard boat for July & August 2011 (both months or one or the other). I am a Canadian teacher living abroad and am home for the summer, and would love to try this out. Please email me if you can assist at all. Much Thanks
    Kathryn

  35. Lynn altergott wrote,

    Does anyone live on a boat in the chicago area?  would love to hear about that adventure.  some said it can be done.

  36. Stewart Force wrote,

    My wife and I bought our first sailboat to live aboard in 1971.  We've never had a house and have continued to live aboard for the past forty years.  We raised two children aboard and we are now retired and cruising.  We love our lives, but accurate comparisons are weak, as we know little of life ashore and owning houses.  Take care and joy, Aythya crew 

  37. Patti wrote,

    I have always had the dream of living all year round on a houseboat.  So far my research has reflected that for a single 53 year old woman, investing in a docked boat as opposed to a sailing boat would be more feasible.  Where would be a good place to live in a houseboat, docked, all year round, that wasn't too badly crowded, etc.?

  38. Erik wrote,

    I bought a 38' X 20' Piver Trihull ketch with zero sailing experience, site unseen… got on her and sailed her 380 NM and loved every minute of it. I have to say it was the most exciting thing I have ever done in my life… a real adventure… and you know what I'm dreaming about to top it now…  I live aboard now for less than 400 usd per month. The money I'm saving though goes right back into equipment, ammenities… fiberglass… I have never enjoyed life so much.
    –Erik

  39. Jeff Stanley wrote,

    Glad to here all the positive comments. My buddy Randy lives aboard a 35 ft Tri, in Rio Vista Ca.He loves it . He does spend most of his time working and up grading the boat or thinking of his next repairs. I myself say it is not for me.Too much work! I prefer a simple life style with a lot of freedom,a turn key existence if you will. I wish you all well but be realistic with you expectations for the water lifestyle it is not for everyone.

  40. phil and Diane wrote,

    Reading all the comments just confirms that we are not nuts and although we are retired (healthy) seniors and having owned a small sailboat years ago….we are planning to make the plunge this year…our plan is simple…purchase a used 35' sailboat and spend  6 months (fall& winter) in the Bahamas….leave the boat in a safe storage facility during hurricane season, fly home for the spring and summer and just repeat the procedure the following year…we may even save a little money ….can't wait to live the dream…will keep you posted

  41. Paddy Fitzgerald wrote,

    Hello, I'm new to this website and I am looking at purchasing a live-aboard in Florida. I would like to stay close to the intrarcoastal waterway or right on it, the sailboat I'm interested in is in Miami area.
    Question: are there areas where I can tie-up to a bouy/mooring?  I want to keep the cost down, no marina dockage. At present I live in Ontario.
    Great website, Thanks……..Paddy

  42. Goran wrote,

    It would be helpful to see a breakdown of boat living vs. living in a similarly priced condo for example. Not having cable or phone subscription is not exclusive to living on a boat. However, carrying your waste in jugs and flushing them down a toilet is.
    I'm contemplating getting a cruiser and living aboard few months at a time as I travel.

  43. Rick DesVergnes wrote,

    Hello all I am thinking about a live on boat 30′ or so wife will Probably stay on land and do her thing oh well after 30 some years to to move on I guess. I would like to get a boat here in Arizona USA at one of the lakes and save some money. Some slip rates are around $320-$395 per. I can get covered or uncovered. I think after reading this forum I am right, it would be a lot cheaper then living on land. Just don’t know what I should invest in a sail or power. I don’t care about moving around if I want to do that I will use my little boat. If I get a older glass boat what would be the upkeep on the hull for sitting in fresh water year-round

  44. Randy Fox wrote,

    I have been living on my Gibson 41 for 8 months in the gulf of Mexico it’s too big !
    I will be returning to Canada this fall and plan to live on my 26 foot nonsuch in the Toronto area, we all have more then we use or need or eat this simple life allows us to live without financial burdens or. “stuff” we never use, it is a complete and uncluttered life living aboard and I would suggest that any one who has thought of this way of life just to do it. Great site!

  45. Lynette wrote,

    Hi,
    This is such a great topic.
    We just returned from the BVI after cruising there for 2 months from Dec 2012 to 5th of Feb 2013. We bought a Beneteau 510 a huge and ideal live aboard yacht and fast passage maker. We took delivery of her a month after purchase in October and went across to Virgin Gorda from South Africa – And its’on the other side of the world with a 6 hours time difference .
    Wow !! What an incredible experience!! We also owned a Beneteau 50 before in 2005 in took delivery of her in Greece , Milina and sailed part of Greece , Turkey, Cypress , Israel and Red Sea . We had her delivered from El Gouna to Seychelles, spent 6 weeks there and delivered from there to South Africa. We sold her soon after wards and that is always the saddest day of my life.
    But yes the question always remain HOW CAN YOU PERMANENTLY MAINTAIN AND ENJOY THIS LIFESTYLE?
    You definitely need funds . For each person it will vary – the question here is – HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?
    Some people can only travel if they stay in the Hilton and for other the Best Western is more than enough or even a modest guest house.
    I don’t have all the answers and coming from South Africa – have no idea what is possible to live and maybe even make a living aboard cruising the world. Live aboard is banned is South Africa . All I know is this is what I want to do permanently and will give up my life on land any day to pursue this dream and as soon as possible.
    My yacht is on the hard In Virgin Gorda – and also up for sale – Unless I can get away from here and have a plan to do the above- cruising happily ever after. I really hope some one have some advice for me. Keep on cruising!!

  46. John Briese wrote,

    Love your site!
    If I buy a big enough boat, can I live through winter on Lake Ontario and also travel back and forth to Haiti and Toronto?
    Thanks in advance
    JB

  47. strathy wrote,

    Yes – there are several people I know who travel back and forth between the Carib and TO. Definitely doable!

  48. Patti wrote,

    We found your comments very informative…Thanks for sharing….You have helped us realize we are on track with our desire to live on the water,especially in the same area as you…We are empty nesters and living in a condo on the water,just west of your marina…We are definately interested in hearing from you concerning groceries and cooking aboard and shopping for living aboard….We are newbies but dedicated…
    Cheers

  49. strathy wrote,

    For us, food was not an issue. We had 3 grocery stores all within a short walk of the boat. We bought food just like everyone else does. Cooking and refrigeration depends on your boat and your set up. On our Alberg, it was a bit more difficult because we had a very small fridge and no freezer. We were also using an Alcohol stove and did not have an oven. You can adapt many recipes to fit your situation though – and you find the ones that work and they become your favorites. If you are short on refrigeration, then you will have to adapt by using more canned and dried goods. Really – if you have a basic stove and fridge, the cooking part of living aboard is not a huge issue.

  50. Patti wrote,

    WE ARE AT A CROSSROADS and welcome opinions….After numerous hours of thought and shopping for our first boat,we were sure of our final choice,a 40 ft. 2001 luxury Cruisers 3750…We are both under 60 yrs., retired and were searching for a home on the water for 6 months a year and then spend our winters in our waterfront condo on Lake Ontario about 15 min. from the Port Credit Marina….After reading an article in a Yacht Mag. about living aboard and all options we suddenly became uncertain as to living in the summer on a pontoon style houseboat(far less expensive than our 3750 Cruisers choice) or an actual boat with all ammenities…..I am an interior designer and could make a palace of a used pontoon houseboat along with hubbies construction skills,but wonder if a 40ft.flybridge yacht including a tub would be easier to sell down the road…Either way we have a large custom tender to motor around in for our water car…We would appreciate and respect opinions from experienced boaters,the wisest direction to take…

    Many thanks in advance
    Patti

  51. Bill wrote,

    I currently live in the Atlanta, Georgia area, and I’m not very far from Lake Lanier and Lake Altoona. I am just now beginning my research on the topic of year round boat living in the area, but don’t seem to be making much headway. ANY advice or direction would be greatly appreciated. Spending 1,000 a month for rent is absurd, Especially for a mountain biking nature buff who would like to spend his money and time pursuing the great outdoors while leaving as small a foot print as possible. Thanx y’all!

  52. Julian wrote,

    I’ve been told that you cannot legally live-aboard in Toronto according to municipal by-laws unless you were grandfathered in. Have you heard of this? I am just beginning to explore the idea and I am considering setting myself up with a houseboat. I have lived aboard my sailboat in Georgian Bay for the summer so I have a good idea what I am getting into.

    Julian

  53. strathy wrote,

    I had not heard that about Toronto. I think there was a by-law in Oakville that was something like that which is why there were no live aboards at Bronte, etc. Maybe it’s new for TO? Can anybody confirm this?

  54. Rosemary Charlton wrote,

    There are plenty of live-aboards in Port Credit and Toronto. I personally have seen many winter boats at Port Credit harbour, Port Credit Yacht Club and At Bluffers Marina in Scarborough. iam sure there are more. I live in Oakville and you cannot live in the winter on your boat there, but Port Credit is a not far. We are looking into winter boat living fo next year.

  55. Matt wrote,

    I live in Toronto, and although I’m not looking to live on a boat (at least not yet), I am finally learning to sail and would like to buy a small used sailboat in the next year or so (maybe around 20-25′). Though my biggest concern right now is slip fees. It seems that slip fees in the area could cost me almost as much as my boat every season ($80-100/ft/month). That’s prohibitive for me, especially since it’ll mostly be for recreation at this point.

    Does anyone here know if there are areas in the GTA where I can simply anchor in a relatively protected area for a lot cheaper? And what would your advice be for this type of mooring. Obviously I’d need a small dinghy to get to and from shore, but are there any other aspects I may need to know about?

    Thanks for any help you may have.

    Sincerely,

    - Matt

  56. Dirk wrote,

    I bought a ’78 Down Easter 32 that I am refurbishing to be my home at some point very soon. I know that I can live and be OK on my measly pension by living aboard and be able to work part when and where I feel like it, as opposed to working full time at a job I absolutely hate to make enough money to live ‘land locked’ with all the trappings that entails. I just hate it. Unfortunately, due to elderly parents who need more and more assistance, I am forced to suck it up and stay in upstate NY, only being able to use my boat for weekends (since my girlfriend has the damn house I a helping to afford). But…..is it possible to live aboard along the Erie Canal at any point does anyone know? We have to haul our boats from the marina on the southern end of Seneca Lake by the end of October, so living there over the winter is not an option. Thoughts? Feel free to email me. Thanks!!!!!

  57. mike wrote,

    Hello, I live in England. There are places even in this overcrowded island to anchor, up quiet rivers, There is not that many big enough and devoid of men with badges and rules in the whole u.k but I have found one and it is fantastic. From Easter to Haloween is perfectly feasable to live aboard, I’ve done it. , The thing that thwarts me though is the 16 hours of darkness in winter. I have to admit I crawl back to the brick house and watch The Big Bang Theory until the Equinox. All the best.

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