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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all...
I love the ocean.. near the ocean is the only place ive ever been happy. Unfortunately my family lives in the mountains (we've lived all over the florida and texas coasts before and ive lived on the coast in florida a lot)... not a fan of the people.. love the mountains but never been happy here. But .. family...
I really want to retire to a sailboat. A morgan out island 41 is my dream boat. I do not know how to sail. But im a trucker... to you a 12 foot car is challenging. To me a 48 foot trailer on a 26 foot truck is small.... wont be a problem.

When i retire .. i want it to be about me finally and i want to visit as many countries as i can. But i need to pay for $100,000 in tuitions etc so i cant just put money into retirement. I want to know how much income id need to retire aboard a sailboat and see the world (coastally mostly). Im hyperfit.. can do most maintenance myself. Have no desire to sit in a marina or eat out at restaurants there. You know the "i was a stock broker who inherited 2 mil from mommy" lifestyle. I just want to sail the coasts , meet people the world over and not starve or run out of beer/vodka. What would this lifestyle cost? A note im a programmer/trucker and a geek so ill be spending money on internet at ports haha. But ive seen estimates from very reasonable (a post on this forum seems VERY realistic) to trust fund kiddies claiming you must have 300k a year and the latest boat ...... I need reality. I can live on a boat or i can buy a cheap house on the intercoastal.. i have 12 years to decide and i need real liveaboards to give me the good and bad news.
 

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We liveaboard for most of the season, but not permanently, so our experience isn't quite what you're asking. Step one for you, is to get some sailing experience to know if the sport and lifestyle fits. Crossing oceans is a long way off, for a greenhorn. It take a couple of days to learn how to sail. That's it. It take years of sailing to learn enough to deal with mother nature, offshore, out of range of help. Being mechanically adept is a great advantage, almost a prerequisite to cruise as far as your dreams. However, there are many marine standards that are not intuitive and those that apply land standards sometimes get themselves in trouble, especially with electricity. Take it a step at a time and I hope you achieve your goals.

Budget is crazy variable, it depends on the boat, one's lifestyle, random repair needs, marinas vs anchoring, boat insurance, health insurance, repatriation insurance, etc. There are several threads here on how much it actually costs some people. There is the mythical $500 per month threads, IMO. They leave out basics, as far as I'm concerned. The entire lifestyle can probably be summed up this way.....

Q. How much does it cost.
A. However much you have.
 
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As to costs, search this forum as there are a couple of excellent threads that detail costs that cruisers are seeing. If I were to come up with a ballpark number for the annual costs to live on a 35 to 40 footer, I would guess $40,000 to $60,000. That's after you bought and upgraded the boat.
 

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As to costs, search this forum as there are a couple of excellent threads that detail costs that cruisers are seeing. If I were to come up with a ballpark number for the annual costs to live on a 35 to 40 footer, I would guess $40,000 to $60,000. That's after you bought and upgraded the boat.
Could you outline this?

Some expenses are the same or similar for a boat or a dirt existence
food
health care costs
insurance
"purchase of a dwelling" (on land you can rent)
ownership costs - repair and maintenance
utilities including fuel, gas and electric
comm costs
interest on loans
taxes
entertainment: tickets etc.

On a boat:
mooring, docking
comm costs
fuel
maintenance (gear)
utilities including fuel, gas and eletric
fees & permits

Big house... bigger costs
Big boat... bigger costs

Boat existence is "smaller" and should be less costly than living on dirt... but it's not a square foot comparison.
 

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This appears to be one of those: "How long is a piece of string?" questions. It's as long as you need it to be. It's like asking, "how much does it cost to live on land?" The answer is, it depends a whole lot of factors.

Costs me about ~$25,000 CND (so about $18,000 USD) to live this lifestyle. I cruise as a couple. We normally live about 1/2 the year on the boat and 1/2 on land doing other stuff. The $25k covers the full 12 months, although we tend to spend more on the land side of the equation.

Some posters have taken great pains to provide their full financial details. These are great. It shows what it costs them. You need to be able to extrapolate from their situation to yours.

Cruising cost are dependent on a whole bunch of factors that can vary considerably from person to person. This is why it is impossible to give one single answer to this question. A partial list of factors would include:

• Type and size of boat.
• Age of boat.
• Capacity to do your own work vs hiring out.
• Location, location, location. Some places are inherently more expensive than others.
• Lifestyle: Are you a restaurant steak and lobster cruiser, or are you into home made rice and beans?
• Lifestyle: Do you need expensive entertainment, or is the sunset good enough?
• Lifestyle: Does your boat need to be kitted with the latest labour saving tools, or are you content with older, simpler, devices?
• Marinas vs anchoring.
• General approach to sailing; do you drive your boat hard, or are you looking for the least exciting passages?

The list goes on and on, and the answer to "how much it costs" is found at the intersection of them all.

In the end, most people find it costs what they have, or what they can afford. At least this is true for those who stick with it. Some get in over their head, and sink quickly. But most who have done it for a while figure out how to make it work for them.
 

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We liveaboard for most of the season, but not permanently, so our experience isn't quite what you're asking. Step one for you, is to get some sailing experience to know if the sport and lifestyle fits. Crossing oceans is a long way off, for a greenhorn. It take a couple of days to learn how to sail. That's it. It take years of sailing to learn enough to deal with mother nature, offshore, out of range of help. Being mechanically adept is a great advantage, almost a prerequisite to cruise as far as your dreams. However, there are many marine standards that are not intuitive and those that apply land standards sometimes get themselves in trouble, especially with electricity. Take it a step at a time and I hope you achieve your goals.

Budget is crazy variable, it depends on the boat, one's lifestyle, random repair needs, marinas vs anchoring, boat insurance, health insurance, repatriation insurance, etc. There are several threads here on how much it actually costs some people. There is the mythical $500 per month threads, IMO. They leave out basics, as far as I'm concerned. The entire lifestyle can probably be summed up this way.....

Q. How much does it cost.
A. However much you have.

What is repatriation insurance?
 

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First off, depending on how long to the 'tuitions' see if you can find a college fund for your kids. At birth, we put about 10gs in a college account and it covered the college when they were ready. No sweat off my back.
Second, as much as you may sit at home thinking you aren't going to want sundowners with your friends now and then, or join a group for dinner out, it is very uncomfortable to ask and ask a new friend to join the group out now and then, and come to realize that they just don't have the money to spend. Sometimes you can offer to pay, but that is also awkward. So, build in a little mad money into your cruising kitty.
Cruising can be as expensive as you can afford on a monthly budget, but not having a significant cushion can be disastrous. Running on a reef, blowing an engine or sail and not having the money to get going again can end your dreams PDQ!
I've been living aboard since 1969 and I want my home on the water to be comfortable, with some mod cons. If you can't even stand up in your home, cook a good meal at sea or at anchor, etc, then it's just camping out on a boat to me.
Therefor,, you are talking about a boat at least 32' with some comfort. Most guys who sail smaller boats spend all day ashore, though I can't figure out what it is they do, and just go back to the boat to sleep, especially when it is hot.
All that adds up, with an annual haul out, repairs and maintenance, as the basic expenditures each boat demands. Food is pretty much as you would eat at home on a budget. If it's not in season, we don't buy the expensive imported fruits and veges, etc. I haven't found fishing to be a reliable source of food for many years now, and it is getting harder every year.
Fuel can be a moderate expense, but a quality dinghy and motor are pretty high on the list for most, as that is our car to get around on. Cruising permits can run from us$50.00 a month up to well over a hundred, with entry/exit fees, at least here in the Caribbean, between about us$30 to $75.
I don't think anyone can give you a figure that is cut and dried. The older the boat, the more maintenance. Unless you find some way to make some money off the internet, or have income from home, do not count on working in any country but your own. Work permits are expensive and difficult to get, unless you have a trade no citizen can do. I set up an annuity upon retirement which pays me a set monthly amount until I die, which is why we are surviving without our charter income during these hard times.
Good luck, and I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the responses especially Mike. On tuition: im 56 and ill be paying for my niece and nephews college. She'll be going in 5 years so im saving about 10k a year for that. That cant be changed.

I often see the comments about it requiring 60, 100k a year.. about boat maintenance costing 50k a year alone etc and it .. kindof boggles my mind that people think that way. I guess if you eat out every night in a marina and live in a $1000 a month slip.... etc... that seems crazy to me.. you may as well just buy a condo on the ocean. My current income is 50 to 60k. It has been more and less. My total living expenses are about 1400 a month. (excluding an airplane loan). I have a feeling to the people quoting high 5 and 6 figures that seems impossible or a poverty lifestyle.. it isnt .. if i want something i buy it (hence the plane i cant fly lmao).

RE sailing i have zero plans of jumping in a 40 foot boat and trying to sail around the world year one :) Ty for that advice but im aware. It took me years to become a competant trucker.. our entire industry is based on experience. I fully expect a long learning curve starting with paying someone to teach me. I believe i have a pretty huge advantage because of what i do though.. 40 feet to you guys.. like most people.. seems like a huge thing to drive. To us that's.. frankly tiny.
 

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Beth Leonard wrote a book that goes into this question in great detail. But it also covers a LOT of additional information about acquiring the boat, hat boat to have, and on and on.
I highly recommend this book.

after reading it you will be able to ask much more pointed questions.


But also, the more you can do yourself, the less you need to be happy, the more financial freedom you have. Of course your spouse needs to buy into this lifestyle.

At your financial level living will be fairly spartan. Which is just fine by me and my Wife. Except for refrigeration, need that ice and cool drinks. Everyone is different.

To push the lunatic fringe read “Voyaging on a Small Income” by Annie Hill.


You can't do it cheaper than Annie.
 

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A boat costing an average of $2,500 / month in maintenance is in bad shape.
Slips are expensive.... often you can anchor off for free
Fuel is not terribly spendy unless your engine is running all day long.... but why???
Entertainment is a variable. If you are sitting in grand tied at the metopera it will cost a couple $500 for one performance... but a walk through Central Park is free... as are the concerts there.
Dining out is a huge variable... You don't HAVE TO dine out.

MIke O's numbers seem more rational.... non boating expenses like tuition.... or flight school are not typical of annual expenses of a live aboard cruiser,
 

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All good advice from those who have actually done it. To Howard's (hpeer) list I would add many titles from Lin & Larry Pardey, most particularly the Cost Conscious Cruiser:

Cruising doesn't have to be expensive, but it's easy to make it so if that's what your choices dictate. It really comes down to you, and what you value.

Take heed of Capta's wisdom though. We live this life on the lower end of the expense side, but we do have a modest nest egg to manage larger financial surprises. And surprises will happen, so having some savings is important. I think this is true no matter how one lives, but when your home floats, it's pretty important to be able to plug any leaks fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks.. ive been researching living aboard for years i know the maintenance etc challenges hence why no wooden boat :p
Solar wind and current for electricity. Also im single.. when i go out with my friends i buy.. single is good :D In the US i can hop off the boat and get a short term job making 1000+ a week.. not a problem. Also was a programmer/seo so more income is doable in a pinch.
I thank you for all the book links ill check them out.
Im hoping a coastal internet solution becomes available affordably. You can build long range wifi systems cheaply but... you'll need someone to buy a connect from (by long range a mile to a few).
Ill definitely build a nestegg that's good advice thanks.

Ive also considered buying a small cheap piece of land on the coast (away from cities and tourist areas it's not that expensive) or intercoastal as a maintenance, get on the land, store your stuff spot.
 

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What is repatriation insurance?
It's a policy that will bring you back to your home country, in the event of certain serious medical issues or injuries. In some cases, people have medical coverage at home, either through a private policy or state sponsored care, but it doesn't pay overseas. Since very basic care for cuts, bruises or infections can be inexpensive in many cruising areas, some just self insure those costs. If they needed cancer treatment or serious trauma therapy, they go home. In the US, one used to be able to buy a catastrophic policy, with huge deductibles, just for those rare ailments and self insure the rest. I don't think that can be done any longer.
 

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you may as well just buy a condo on the ocean.
If you're saying, for even money, one might choose a waterfront condo over a boat, I disagree. Our boat is our second home and we substantially prefer to sail our home, with the same view and access as those ocean front condos. Indeed, our boat is a bit spendy, but actually way less than any house one might try to maintain on the water here.
 
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Im not a liveaboard (yet) but I've owned and maintained cruising boats for about the last 30 years. I've always been a do it your self type owner and over time it's sort of surprising how much you can do yourself. Your can-do attitude and experience as a do it yourselfer will save you a LOT of money once you can translate your knowledge to boats and boat stuff. So, for now do a lot of reading. The books that have been mentioned are good but also read the threads on this site and others about various systems issues that other cruisers are dealing with and take notes for future reference. You can learn a lot from these discussions and this knowledge will give you a head start and help you make good decisions on how you want your future boat set up. Then, if possible, buy your boat a couple of years before you plan to move aboard full time so you can get to really know it and modify systems to suit you without a lot of pressure. It's good to have plenty of time to think about and digest modifications you'll want to make, and to research and procure the parts you'll need. I find it to be a fun process and I think you'll enjoy it too as you continue in your current line of work prior to retiring and moving aboard full time. Good luck!
 

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I lived aboard for a while. I would say it costs about the same as living on land. As with living on land, you adjust your expenses according to your budget.

Sure, you get big, medium and small expenses that come up on a boat, but there are with homes too. New furnace? New roof?

Using the house analogy- is it going to be cheaper to replace the roof or furnace on a 1200 square foot house or a 5000 square foot house. Start off with a boat that you know you will be able to fix those big ticket items 5 or 10 years down the road and it shouldn't be a shock or a problem when the time comes.

There is no fixed cost or how much does it cost to live on a boat equation. The budget/expenses are something you can control to a large extent.

I have known people to live on boats with just their Canada Pensions ($1200-1600 a month), and I have known millionaires to live on boats. Their boats don't necessarily look the same, their destinations don't necessarily look the same, but both are very much living on boats. If they were living on land, their houses and lifestyles very likely wouldn't be the same either.
 

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Take a look at some of the popular youtube folks. They have all done a what does it cost to live on a sailboat. Just search for cost or something within their channel. As everyone has said it all depends. Eating well seems to be one of the higher cost along with maintenance. The more complicated your systems the more it cost to keep it going. You will see where some live in poverty and some live pretty good.(off other peoples money). Search as below and watch till you are bored.

Sailing Yacht Florence, cost
Sailing Good, Bad Ugly, cost
Sailing Delos, cost
Tula's endless Summer, cost
Sailing Ruby Rose, cost
Sailing Fair Isle, cost
Sailing Nandji, cost
 

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If you're saying, for even money, one might choose a waterfront condo over a boat, I disagree. Our boat is our second home and we substantially prefer to sail our home, with the same view and access as those ocean front condos. Indeed, our boat is a bit spendy, but actually way less than any house one might try to maintain on the water here.
I'd love to think that even money would be possible. Up here in the PNW, the price of a waterfront condo would put you into some extremely nice boat territory. As in brand new and not small.
 
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