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How to Live on a Sailboat for Beginners

This is a guide for how to live on a sailboat – but be warned, if you have any desire for the liveaboard lifestyle, you might quickly become on of us! Living aboard a sailboat requires an enjoyment of water, being okay with small living, and a sense of adventure. It’s not hard to begin living on a sailboat, but a few tips can help.

Let’s consider a few basic liveaboard questions first:

Is it living on a sailboat a good idea?

Living aboard a sailboat give you freedom that you won’t find in any other lifestyle. A suburban house can not be moved from place to place. But living on a sailboat gives you the options to live anywhere – literally in any country in the world! Living aboard a sailboat offers such a unique feeling of freedom to explore that you won’t find anywhere else.

Is living on a sailboat hard?

It is tough to live on a sailboat in a place like San Francisco where everyone is trying to escape super-high rent. In resort areas, many marinas have years-long waitlists for a liveaboard slip, and these slips cost double than a regular slip. However, not all places, in fact most places are easy to liveaboard.

Are you thinking about living aboard? Well, it takes time, planning, and preparation to being living on a sailboat. Here are a few videos to help you make a few calculations.

Adjusting to Liveaboard Life

Today, Emily sits down with 3 other female friends in the harbor to chat about how they transitioned from being landlubbers to liveaboard sailors in recent years. We’ll let you in on the conversation, and 4 different perspectives (though there are MANY others in the world).

Credit: Girls on a Sailboat, Adjusting to Liveaboard Life
  • Emily, 34, aboard Temptress – liveaboard for 5 years
  • Kris, 57, aboard Sixth Girl – liveaboard for 1 year
  • Meredith, 44, aboard Tla Hla – liveaboard for 3 years
  • Hannah, 26, aboard Sojourner – liveaboard for 2 years

How to Afford and Start Living Aboard

Your dream is to become a liveaboard? You want to know more about sailboat life, and what it means to live on a sailboat? You want to know how to afford living on a sailboat and how to afford staying liveaboards? How it feels to daily hoist the sail and follow the wind?

Credit: When Sailing, aboard SV For Tuna

Start Small, Start Now

One philosophy in getting started living aboard a sailboat is to start small, start now. That doesn’t mean you have to buy a major refit project of a sailboat. You can get started in a small 24 foot single cabin boat for less than $10,000 or a mid-size 36 foot sailboat (see video below) for less than $60,000. Or grab a 1980s fixer upper that’s 42 feet in length that costs $25,000 – but beware, a fixer upper is a major expense even when you do it yourself.

A Beneteau 361 is an example of an affordable and newish sailboat to start living aboard.

Is Living Aboard for You?

No one can answer this question except you. However, if you enjoy freedom, have a sense of adventure, and love the water, then you might enjoy living aboard a sailboat.

We hope you enjoyed this how to guide for life on a sailboat for beginners. Leave us a comment or question a below.

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