Humans have been living aboard a boat for millennia–from the barges that travel the British canal system to the floating villages of Malaysia and Indonesia’s nomadic Badjao people.
Maybe you want to travel the Caribbean on your ocean home catamaran, stopping in at whichever port takes your fancy. Or perhaps you’d prefer a stationary boat living experience docked on the shores of a picturesque lake in the Netherlands.
If you’re an experienced boater who’s considering turning your water-passion permanent, keep reading. We’ve got the ins-and-outs of how to live comfortably on a boat.
Test Out the Lifestyle
Before you sign the papers on the new vessel, test out the living-aboard-a-boat lifestyle to make sure it’s a good fit for you and your family. Test out different kinds of boats, from yachts to barges, and vessels located in freshwater and ocean marinas.
If you live in an oceanside city or an area with lots of lakes and rivers, the chances are good that someone has a houseboat for hire. Check holiday rental websites like Airbnb. Because you can see photos of the inside of a boat, these sites are also great for research when the time comes to plan the interior of your new home.
Can You Afford It?
People often choose a comfortable boat lifestyle because they can get the ocean views, centralized locations, and access to adventure cheaper than buying a similar property.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s a cheap lifestyle. You need to factor in slip fees, waste management, energy costs (such as buying and maintaining solar panels), food and water, gas, and boat insurance. If you took out a loan to buy your boat, you’d need to keep up with mortgage payments.
And don’t forget that marine parts and labor are often more expensive than their counterparts on land.
Boat Living: Where You Moor Matters
Decide where you’ll put the boat you buy before you even start looking at models. Liveaboard moorage is limited in most marinas due to city regulations.
It’s essential to get a sense of how many year-round slips and anchorages are empty at any one time. Waitlists in marinas can run as high as ten years! You don’t want to buy your boat and have nowhere to put it.
If you’re new to boating, you might also want to consider somewhere with off-site storage. One top tip from thebetterboat.com for better boat comforts is to familiarise yourself with the onboard storage options. Chances are you’ll have to downsize your lifestyle considerably, and you might not be ready to take that leap right away.
You’ve done your research into the style of boat you want. You know where you’ll dock and what the lifestyle will cost. You’ve taken all the necessary ocean safety courses.
Well, it looks like you’re ready to take the plunge into boat living. It’s time to enjoy those sunsets over the ocean from your top deck as you enjoy a freshly cooked meal made in your cleverly compact galley kitchen.
For more advice on alternative living solutions, be sure to check out the other articles on our website.