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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 03-12-2008
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Your cost of cruising by area...

I have looked at a number of Sailnet threads and other sites re: "the cost of cruising" and most cruisers seem to suggest 25K per year will provide a couple with a comfortable lifestyle on a boat 35-40'.

This does not allow them the luxury of eating out 3 times a day or all the side trips they would like. To reach that level a couple would probably need 35-40K per year. This also does not include major expenses such as repower,sails etc.

I would appreciate hearing from cruisers currently out there or who have just returned if they feel these figures are reasonable. Please specify your cruising area and size of boat, lifestyle. It would be very useful to compare cruising grounds such as Sea of Cortez, Caribbean, Central America, South Pacific etc.

PS: I apologize if this question sounds redundant to some but alot of the info online is very dated. Thanks in advance!

Last edited by wannabe4; 03-12-2008 at 08:16 PM. Reason: expanded question
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Old 03-12-2008
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It really has too many variables to say. What you eat has a big impact of the cost of cruising. If you're willing to eat a lot of seafood, your food costs can go down quite a bit, but if you like red meat....your costs are going to be a bit higher. It also depends on what boat repair and maintenance skills you have—if you require a boatyard to do things like replace a through-hull or re-wire a new navigation light—you're going to need a higher budget.

It also depends on the boat, and whether you're going to be anchored out or at a slip, whether the boat has passive energy generation or you need to run the engine or a generator to re-charge the batteries, whether you have a watermaker or need to buy water... and so on.
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Thanks Sailingdog. Yes, I plan to repair my own boat. I have the skills to do most work and will be taking a watermaker repair course with Spectra in June and sail repair in the fall. I also plan to anchor out alot and generally use all reasonable methods to reduce expenses. I have a budget between 35-40K/year and feel I should do well with a completely refit boat. Your thoughts?
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I've talked to cruisers that had budgets from $6000 a year up to $50000. 35-40K is probably too much...but it depends on what sort of cruising you're planning on doing and how much you stay in marinas.
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Old 03-12-2008
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You have to look at how you live now. If you eat out often, your not going to change your habits easy. If your anchoring out, not paying marina fees, I never really understood the $25,000 cost per year. Sure you have insurances to pay. Boat maintenance isn't always about replacing parts but it is also about maintaining the parts you have. If your on the boat 24/7 wouldn't you be doing that more ? Add up what it cost you to live per month now. Minus the cost you will not have on the boat.
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Too much?! Thats very encouraging to hear! Maybe I can buy a few more cervezas! I initially plan on spending time in the Sea of Cortez and then work my way south. Possibly to the Caribbean or across the Paciific. I will stay in marinas periodically......
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Old 03-12-2008
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There are certain "fixed" costs, that will vary with the area you are in. For instance, marina's and yard rates in Florida are more expensive than North Carolina, on average. Insurance, maintenance budget, parts, etc. are less variable by area.

Usually what makes or breaks a cruising budget is the costs you have more direct control over, such as food, dining, staying in marinas, etc.. The optional things, so to speak. You'll probably spend your first year, figuring out just how you want to deal with them, and I can almost guarantee, that first year, you'll spend more than you planned on. Once you establish a new rhythm to your life though, you'll be able to control them much better.

That at least has been my experience during my first year out.
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There have been books written about how to cruise successfully on a $5K/yr. budget and there have been lots of books written where the authors spent considerably more. The whole thing boils down to how much money you have to spend. The more you have, the more you'll spend.

There a 3 major expenses you have to plan for while cruising; repairs, dockage, food & entertainment. You really don't have much control over unexpected repairs. However, your lifestyle will determine how much you'll spend on the other two.

If you love to stay in full-service marinas most of the time, you will spend much more than you would if you stayed out on the hook. Also, when you're tied up to shore, it becomes awfully tempting to eat your meals in the marina's restaurant and sip fancy (and expensive) libations at the dockside bar.

As far as your daily food bill, it should be much less than you were spending at home. Eating a tuna sandwich for lunch costs much less than a visit to McDonald's. I suspect that many cruisers, including me, actually lose weight while cruising, both from developing better eating habits (no dish of ice cream before going to bed any more!) and the increased amount of physical exercise we must engage in.

Getting back to your original question, I offer that the following cruising budget may be fairly accurate for a couple cruising on a 30 ft. sailboat

Dockage- 2 nights/week @ $45/night ($1.50/ft), $90/week.
Fuel- 5 gallons/week @ $4/gallon, $20/week
Food - Breakfast- $2/day pp, $28/week
Lunch -$3/day pp, 42/week
Supper -$5/day, pp, 50/week
Eating Out - 2 nights/week @ 40/night pp, $160/ week
Liquor & soda - $50/week
Miscellaneous - $30/week

Total= $470/ week X 52 weeks = $24,400 per year.

In our case, while cruising (mostly in the Bahamas) we rarely tie up at marinas. We anchor out almost exclusively, or take mooring balls when we have to. This can save close to $4K/year. If we eat out for lunch twice a week (most common for us), rather than going out for dinner, we spend approx. $20/pp. At 2 times per week, $80, this shaves another $4K off the cost. So, for us, a cruising budget of approximately $16K/year would more than adequately meets our needs.

Of course Ive omitted repairs and the costs of flying home periodically to visit the family,as these are exculsively related to your vessel and your travel choices.

Than you for giving me a reason to sit down to analyze how much it really costs us to go cruising instead of going off to work each day.
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Old 03-21-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanBrown View Post
Getting back to your original question, I offer that the following cruising budget may be fairly accurate for a couple cruising on a 30 ft. sailboat

Dockage- 2 nights/week @ $45/night ($1.50/ft), $90/week.
Fuel- 5 gallons/week @ $4/gallon, $20/week
Food - Breakfast- $2/day pp, $28/week
Lunch -$3/day pp, 42/week
Supper -$5/day, pp, 50/week
Eating Out - 2 nights/week @ 40/night pp, $160/ week
Liquor & soda - $50/week
Miscellaneous - $30/week

Total= $470/ week X 52 weeks = $24,400 per year.
You really can't omit the extras. While in the Europe/USA/Canada, my budget is close to the above, but with upkeep, boat/health insurance, annual haul-out, entertainment, very occasional car hire and a flight home annually the total comes to around $45,000. (Two people and 38ft boat).

And I would say we are well at the low end of the spending range, among similar cruising couples we meet. Still can't afford chart plotter, AIS, SSB, satphone or many of the other wonderous goodies frequently discussed here, dinghy is home-made, do all own maintenance etc.

In years when we are at sea a lot, or traveling in third world countries, it is less. $38,000 in 2006 when visiting South America. Not only is everything cheaper but there are fewer temptations.

Don't underestimate the costs, you will not have a good time if money is permanently too tight. Cruising on $20,000 pa is strictly for the younger generation willing to rough it .... or those wanting to write a book about how they did it.

Last edited by LynW; 03-21-2008 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 05-16-2008
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Cost

We cruised several years ago for about $25K per year, mostly on the hook.
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