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Jeffamc 09-07-2003 06:34 PM

I was just curious to what your monthly cruising budget was. Some people spend near $1000-$2000 a month, while others spend little to nothing a month. So whats your cruising budget?

TrishLambert 09-07-2003 07:40 PM

Boy, this is one of those Pandora box questions! There are so many factors that go into a budget....cruising style being one of the big ones, and cruising location being another.

I cruised Baja California for $250 per month. This was on a boat that had been well fitted out and provisioned before leaving San Diego, and we NEVER stayed in a marina. "Dining out" meant hitting the local taco stand. I have no complaints about the style we pursued, but think that this might be pretty much the lowest end of the budget spectrum.

We now have the boat in a marina in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Slip cost and medical insurance figure as the largest items in our budget at this point. We also have a car, so that''s another added expense...we are living on around $1,500 per month.

If cruising on the cheap is part of the picture, I think that staying away from marinas is probably the biggest key. Thing is, there are certain cruising areas where that may not be 100% possible...many coastal cruising "hot spots" are beginning to enact regulations about long term anchoring, or even prohibiting anchoring altogether, so marinas become the only way to visit those spots.

I think Baja and the western Caribbean at this point are still places where really cheap cruising is possible. I''m sure there are other spots as well...but the days where we can pick any destination and assume that we''ll be able to just drop the hook to live are dwindling.


Jeffamc 09-07-2003 09:16 PM

yea its sad that "they" are putting a price tag on everything. Its getting more and more expensive to live, mabey like 90 years ago you could just sail anywhere without barley any money.

DICKWATERS 09-09-2003 07:38 PM

My Bahamas cruising budget for two people, including food, beer, wine, a little rum, a fair amount of fishing, fuel, oil, filters, water but not repairs or other maintenance, marinas, or any resturants, etc is a little under $900 per month.

Cut out the beer, wine and rum and the number is substantially reduced.

mcain 09-10-2003 06:55 AM

Yeah, but cut the beer, wine and rum and why go? Better to cut the cruising and keep the beer, wine and rum!

We are leaving in a month or so, and have done tons of research, including friends who have left before us. Most people figure a really, really comfortable lifestyle at $1500 per month. People spend it differently, depending on their priorities. Some spend it on marinas, some on higher insurance payments, some on restaurants and bars, some on sidetrips. But many, many folks seem to converge on the $1500 level. We are planning 1500-2000, including boat insurance, the occasional marina (seldom), occasional restaurants (local, not 5-star), catastrophic-only health insurance, boat maintenance and the other normal expenses (food, fuel, water, fees, mail forwarding). But NOT including any land-based expenses, like life insurance, taxes, any real-estate costs for property, etc.

Obviously, cut the health insurance and boat insurance and keep the maintenance down by keeping systems simple (we have NOT), will dramatically get the numbers down. Also keep cell phones and other communication down, no trips home, marinas to a minimum can cut costs. These are the things that typically get the costs higher.

Books by Annie Hill and the Pardey''s explain how to cruise much more simply and cheaply.

TrishLambert 09-10-2003 10:06 AM


I think you''ve done an excellent job of budgeting. Very realistic, and good insight into the things that can be dialed up or down to stay within your numbers. There really ARE a lot of choices--the $250 per month I lived on in Baja left out pretty much everything but the basics--no boat or health insurance, no marinas, no inland trips or trips home, no sit-down eating out (taco stands were within budget!), not even any fancy potluck dishes!!! I think the biggest thing I missed living that cheaply were the inland trips to get to know Mexico better. Many of my buddies did some really interesting stuff onshore and learned a lot about specific areas and people, and I wish I could have afforded similar trips. I was able to do some of that further south in Costa Rica and Panama--when our funds allowed it--and the experience was wonderful.

Other than missing that one thing, life in Baja was great on that low number. As I get older I''m getting more cautious, so insurance now figures in to the budget. Am on the west coast of Florida now, in a marina, so costs add up for that too. We are now living in the $1500-2000 range that you cited above.

Trish Lambert

Nereus32 09-10-2003 10:43 AM


Where is your $1500 a month going to take you? What is your planned cruising area?

fourknots 09-12-2003 04:44 AM

1995-1998. 30-ft simple, well-found boat, two adults and two kids. Few marinas, occasional eating out in cheap places. A couple of inland trips. No major repairs, but two haulouts for paint. 3 years total. Average $800. Averaged $400 in Mexico.

2002 Bahamas. Same boat - bigger kids. Average $1000/mo. We could have sailed anywhere in the world for that assuming no major breakdowns (had a special $10k no-touch fund for that). Would still be out there if one of the kids didn''t have to return for college.

mcain 09-15-2003 10:12 AM

fourknots, this is good information. A couple of the biggest expenses that seem optional for cruisers is boat insurance and health insurance. Do your numbers include those two items?

cptnoz 09-16-2003 12:35 AM

What''s my budget - certainly different to yours and aint that the truth.

There are some common things that we all have to allow for but beyond that even if we are being honest with ourselves (and remember there''s a lot of difference between a budget and the real thing) we can make sacrafices or readjustments that make the cruising life quite easy on the purse.

I found cruising around Australia for years that the cost even by today''s standardsd would be less than $10,000 a year even if I lived well. Remember that for you folks in the US of A you can cut that in half depending on the value of your dollar.

Hey at that rate who wants to be a landlubber?


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