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merc2dogs 01-12-2006 12:15 PM

Very curious about expenses
I know that the subject has been discussed death before, But I am VERY curious as to what expenses people include when figuring the cost of living aboard, I''ve read everything from $500 a month which sounds like a logical $6000 annual, to around $60000+ which comes in at an unbelievable $5000 a month, most seem to be in the range of $2500 a month. What all are people figuring in (boat/house/car payments/insurance?) Do they include luxuries (satelite radio/tv/internet)? or just basic needs including food, water, fees, maintenance, insurance etc? I know people vary greatly, and what one considers a luxury, is a neccessity to the next, but I can''t qualify that great a difference.

My intention is to move to either the east coast or the gulf shortly, (soon as the boat''s finished, and the water''s clear) and live on the boat for a while and I''m trying to get a grip on possible expenses.

My boat is 28.5ft, paid for, insurance runs at $600 annual,(agreed replacement $10k) I don''t watch TV, and don''t have expensive tastes, so live pretty cheaply anyway, but living on the hard, I manage to do so on roughly 15k annual, (car insurance, rent, fuel, phone, utils, food etc)


WHOOSH 01-13-2006 01:44 AM

Very curious about expenses
Ken, you''ve really already answered your own Q - every crew''s budget is unique and they range from very little to vast amounts.

If you are funding a car and hard-stand storage for your boat on $15K/year, I would think you should find it pretty easy to live on that same amount in a warmer climate without a car or permanent marina berth PROVIDED that you locate the boat in an area compatible with living for extended periods on the hook. Just don''t overlook that some costs accummulate incrementally but are not readily apparent, e.g. every day your bottom paint wears a little, a VHF that is faithful for many years suddenly dies, etc. I would also suggest you think about having an emergency or ''just in case'' fund, e.g. if a family member becomes ill & you need to leave the boat in a slip, or a squall blows out a sail. ''Stuff happens'' even when you''re relaxing in paradise...


merc2dogs 01-13-2006 05:20 PM

Very curious about expenses

I think you misunderstood the question, I didn''t phrase it as well as I could have.

I''m trying to get a basic idea of what people are paying for when they consider it as living aboard expenses, I know what it costs me to live, food, clothes, heat, electric, etc are constants, something I have to take care of whether living aboard, or in a house, certain expenses are there for the boat regardless of whether I live on it or not, as it''s always in the water.


WHOOSH 01-14-2006 01:13 AM

Very curious about expenses
Ken, while that question is more specific, the answer remains somewhat ''it depends''. You do sound like someone with economical tastes and lifestyle, and the fact your boat is small certainly helps...but over any meaningful period of time (let''s assume 1 year), significant variables can still make quite a difference.

Will you be sailing regularly and/or over longer distances? If so, the boat''s gear will wear faster and so maintenance costs increase. Will your engine be your only source of DC power aboard while primarily anchoring out? If so, that will add a bit of diesel fuel and maintenance costs (filters, lube oil) to the budget (vs. e.g. having sufficient solar panels to meet your needs). What condition is the engine in? You may not really know, as often it isn''t until one starts relying on systems regularly that problems make themselves known.

Bottom line: You may find you spend <$100/month initially, if you stay in one place and your boat starts out in good shape...or it could be more than that. As a general thumb rule, longer term (over a period of a few years plus), full-time cruisers report a boat''s annual budget typically is ~5% of the value of the boat. Boats that are used offshore sometimes will require ~10%.


Toyboat 07-18-2006 03:21 AM

My Cost Calculations
Per Month

Moorage: $540 (for 60ft boat) + $75 (Marina Insurance/ Liveaboard fee)
Tax: $41
Insurance: $266
DHL and Phone: $40
Electricity: $40
Gym: $40 (for long showers :)
Mailbox: $5

Total: $1,067

This is for a large boat in Seattle - on Lake Union.
And, of course, the cost of the boat would need to be factored in.

Hope that helps...

SmartCaptain 09-13-2006 03:19 PM

Hi Ken,
I've lived aboard full-time on a 38' sailboat for two years now. I summer in New England and winter in the FL Keys. I travel about 3500 miles per year, motoring approximately 20% of the time.

My boat-specific expenses are as follows:

General boat depreciation: $400/month. My boat is almost 20 years old. Something is always wearing out or breaking. You also have to build in depreciation on sails, motor, and all of your systems. Pay attention to basic maintenance and you'll save big $$$ by preventing problems.

Insurance: $200/month. Shop around - prices vary greatly.

Fuel: about 150 gallons - call it $500 per year at current prices

Haul-out and bottom job - $1500 every two years. I have a full keel - takes lots of paint.

Marinas - avoid them and you'll save big $$$. Buy the biggest anchor you can handle. I live on the hook most of the time. Some areas (e.g. Key West FL, Marathon FL, charge for tying up your ding ($70/month).

Pump outs - New England pump outs are free (tip the operator $5 or $10) but FL charges ($10). I get a weekly pump-out. Don't skip this - FL has stiff penalties if they catch you with an open through-hull to your holding tank.

Water - Marathon FL was the only place I ever visited in the US that charges for water .05/gallon nominal fee.

Hope this helps,


CapnTerralAargh 10-06-2006 03:03 PM

Now THIS is a thread I can get into. I'm looking to buy a used sailboat (at least 25ft) to live on within the next six months in the Pensacola area. "Much to learn, I still have."

Esconditas 10-10-2006 08:54 AM

Living aboard a boat will cost about the same as living on land. If you have a big boat it will be the same as having a big house. A new house will cost less to maintain than a old one... same with boats. The only advantage may be property tax or lack of. So Ken, you have answered your own question.

CapnTerral: a 25 foot sail boat is more like camping than living aboard. Maybe consider a little bit larger boat.

Kernix 10-11-2006 08:37 AM

Toyboat & Smart Captain:

You guys mention insurance at $200-$266. Is that boat insurance or health insurance.


I'm not sure how you can say that it is the same as living on land in a house or apt? I'm paying $725/mo for rent, utilities avg $75, car insurance is $100/mo, gas for car is at least $100/mo with moderate driving. I plan on living on the hook most of the time as I am a photographer and I will be constantly moving docking only to take more pics on land - plus I'll have pics that I can take from my boat as well as any islands I can row to. That's how will be making my money.

I was just talking to a buddy about a guy he met here in Philly that rents a slip under the Ben Franklin Bridge - $400/mo which includes electric, cable and high speed internet. If I keep my car that's a $400/mo reduction in expenses - $4800 annually. If I don't keep my car - $600/$7200 reduction in expenses. Living on the hook reduces those expenses even more - let's say by another $200 - $800/$9600 reduction. And living in a happening section of Philly with one bar that sells nothing but Belgium beer, other imports, and micro brewery beer - AND a club that features live original music - AND a bar that has 10 flat screens withthe ability to broadcast every football game at the same time - my "entertainment" expenses are very, very high. Gladly give that up or reduce - it's hard though - there's so many hot babes here in the Manayunk section of Philly. And that reduction would be easily be another $300 per month - that's now a reduction of $1100/mo or $13,200 annually.

So are you saying that all those reductions will be offset by $13,200 in boat maintenance and repair? I can see my health insurance will cut into that $1100 by ~ $200, but are you sure about all of that?

Anyone else's thoughts? Just need to know the reality so that I have the proper game plan

And to the 25 footer - you'll really need to go minimalist - I'm going to start on a Catalina 30 at first. I figure with my reduced expenses and photo revenues that I'll upgrade after "x" number of years.


Pirate's Booty 10-11-2006 03:10 PM

4th Month aboard and lovin' it!
Hi guys,

I just moved onto a 1970 Uniflite 36' Houseboat and I just love waking up on the water - my expenses went a little higher than I had expected, but hey I am in Southern California and it is still sunny and warm here. Ask grandma to send cash for my birthday ;)

Slip = $600 (w/parking, electricity, showers, water hook up, mailbox included)
Boat Payment = $500
Boat Insurance = $35 (got a great deal at BoatUS, under $400 for the year)
Pump Out = $45
Repairs = $200
Extra stuff = $50

Total = $1,430 or so (extra things are still cropping up as I go along)

But, I do not have a phone line on the boat (just use my cell) and no cable or internet. I cut out most of the extras in my life for now and just pay for food, car, etc...

Hope this helps. You should really go for it, I love going home every night to my little floating palace. I work on it every weekend, it is my "first home".

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