Survival Gear

Living on a Boat

Lately I’ve received a steady stream of emails from people looking for information related to off grid boat living.

Boat on the Ocean

Before setting sail, it’s important to understand the lifestyle and figure out if you can actually handle living on the sea. The first thing you should do is choose a marina that you can live in for 3 – 6 months. This is an important step to mentally and physically preparing to live at sea. Your body needs time to adjust, and your mind needs time to become accustom to this new way of living.

If you’ve determined that this is the lifestyle you want to live, then there are some steps that you need to take.

Choosing a Boat

Research, Research Research. When choosing a boat, don’t jump right into the first cheap one that you find on craigslist. The upkeep on these things can be incredibly expensive, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you could be in for some unwelcome surprises.

When choosing a boat consider the following things:

  • When considering how much to spend on a boat, take the amount that you are willing to pay and subtract about 30%. You will want that extra 30% for any maintenance issues that may pop up.
  • Check for Leaks – Before purchasing a boat, do a thorough inspection to check for leaks. Any leaks need to be taken care of right away. Mold will become a huge problem, and can make your boat unlivable if left unchecked.
  • Mold – Mold can be a problem so make sure you check the boat for signs of mold.

Where to Dock

Boats docked at a Commercial Marina

Anchoring. Anchoring or ‘living on the hook’ is going to be your cheapest option, but it also means that you’ll have to be fully self-sufficient. To be able to pull this type of living off, you must.

  1. Have a way to generate your own electricity (solar wind etc…)
  2. Have a way to store enough water, or be able to generate your own drinking water.
  3. Be mentally and physically prepared to live at sea.
  4. Buy a good dinghy for coming to shore for work, supplies, etc.

Mooring. Another cheap option is called mooring. A mooring ball is a method of anchoring your boat without an anchor. It works by attaching your boat to a chain that’s attached to a heavy sunken cement block. There is usually an initial deposit or setup fee and a small monthly fee is usually involved.

Marina Living – Depending on the location, this option can be pretty similar to an RV Park. A growing number of Marinas offer electrical hookups and supply stores within walking distance of your boat.

We highly recommend Marina living for those who are just starting out. Before setting sail, marina living can help make sure you’re able to handle the lifestyle. Choose a marina that you can live at for 3 – 6 months. This is a crucial step to mentally and physically preparing to live at sea.

Safety Considerations

House Boat in the Ocean

This type of lifestyle is filled with hazards. While it is enjoyable and liberating, if unprepared it can quickly become a nightmare.

  • Pirates – Believe it or not, in certain parts of the world this is still a pretty big problem. Make sure you have the proper equipment to be able to defend yourself in case of attack. (SHOTGUN!)
  • Make sure you know what you’re doing! – If you are not familiar with boating, you should take at least 6 months of time to cruise around shore. I highly recommend taking lessons and becoming familiar with your boat before sailing off into the sunset.
  • Communications – Cell phones when near shore, satellite communications, a marine radio, and a Ham Radio should all be on the top of your list of considerations.
  • Boats require a lot of maintenance. Make sure you know the ins and outs of your boat, and how to troubleshoot anything that might go wrong when you’re out at sea.

Check out our Off the Grid section for more unconventional and alternative ways of living.

222 Comments on Living on a Boat

  1. Bikerman

    Hey, some big draw backs to think you’ll go live on a boat. As suggested above, you’ll be confined, make sure you can live that way. Maintenance can eat you up and sink you, so buy what you can afford to operate and maintain. Sail boats are not free to travel in, sails and rigging wear out and nee to be replaced.

    Having a gun of any kind on a boat outside the US can be a big problem and can land you in prison. You can be considered as importing a gun into Mexico for example and end up as a guest for years. Pirates? Yes, some gang is off Mexico in the gulf, but most are on the east coast of Africa, just don’t go there.

    If it becomes a matter of survival and you are sitting on a boat in some lake or large river, you could easily be a target with an indefensible position, you are literally, a sitting duck!

    If you do go the boat route, most liveaboards suggest buying the smallest boat that suits your purpose. A well constructed seaworthy boat can be built or purchased that is only 15 feet, 12 foot boats have traveled around the world! Some 25/26 footers can serve as a liveaboard for 2 people! Many do it.

    I’d rather go small and be able to gunkhole (anchor in some river or lake cove in a covered area) and be unknown than to ever be at a marina tied up during any emergency.

    • hobocos

      a small sailboat 25ft or less is quite inexpensive. if you are very anal it might be expensive but then you wouldn’t be the type to live on a boat. i spent 75 dollars in 10 years on a bayliner buccaneeer 21ft. but i didn’t have to paint the bottom as a oil company had a spill and painted it for me. the cramped space is nice, your stove is right there bathroom right there what else do you need. the big problem is don’t let things get cluttered up, you can’t sail your boat if you are a horder or close to it, no more than 10 min time between deciding to leave and sails up and on the way 5 for me. most marinas have an underground comunity of illeagle liveaboards so when they say you can stay 3 nites a week you get around it. finding a place you can anchor in safty and peace i’m not sure of. make sure you have a good anchor. halfmoon bay ca you can anchor in the bay for 2 weeks then you have to move on. don’t forget a dingy or rubber raft. raft is cheeper. harpoon is good and fishing pole don’t forget fishing lisence. use mussles for bait they are free. i can live at my marina for 500 a month all expensice high on the hog. stay low key. you will never be off the grid really if you are on a boat that can go out anytime due to regestration, but you can come close. a handheld vhf and computer are all you need for comunication as you can always find a free wifi somewhere or get a cellphone. get used to not taking a lot of showers or join a gym, i would just stink as girls don’t typically get impressed with small sailboats. if you want to attract girls get a wakeboard boat. learn to single hand sail as it’s harder than you would think to get people to go out. meet other underground sailers just don’t leave money hanging around most wont steel but some will. living on a boat on or off the grid is great if you learn to love it, sometimes it can take a while to reach this state of mind it is a little like being homeless.

      • Beantown Bob

        alot of what u say is true. One should keep in mind that on a hook is dangerous, you are living on or near an ocean where anything can or will happen. I lived on a boat in a marina for years in New England making sure bubblers are working, to keep ice out, i had a space heater catch my sleeping bag on fire almost died, my water hose broke to waterheater almost sunk boat.
        allthough it was probably the most peacfull sleeps i ever had, its a lonesome life style. Fare weather friends are in every port just stay close to boat because you have to gaurd it from dock theives and prancsters. its a different lifestyle that takes a fit person if you are sickly no place for anyone liven on the hook
        set your waypoints and fare wind
        3 beer bob

        • Sylvia Miles

          I have lived on both a sailboat and a power boat for over 30 years. Have sailed all the Caribbean, Galapagos, S. America and southern US.
          It is great. You have to be no more careful than living on the land and the rewards are awesome. You meet very friendly,helpful people from all
          walks of life. Many problems mentioned by people that live up north do not exist. I am now living in the FL Keys. It is the safest place in the US. Weather is great

          • Robert

            hello Sylvia, my name is Robert I live on the outer banks of NC. i’me 66 and tired of the every day hustle and bustle, I have been around and on boats all my life the water is no stranger to me, but I have never lived on it.have a question are there a lot of marinas in the keys to dock and live at and are the docking fees high, I don’/t like sail boats my self I like a power boat not to say sail boats aren’t nice they are beautiful but I tried it once and it was a lot to learn and I have had a lot of power boats big and small. thanks for listening to my questions and if you can give me some advice about this way of life I would appreciate it so much. thanks again Robert

          • anne

            hi, I am searching for the best boat to live on, in the keys as well, what footage is the accommodating for most marinas?

            thank you

          • can you say without too many details if its smarter to go the powerboat or sailboat route? im 6’3 and will be working as a diver in Marathon


          Hi , give me some recommendation to start to live in a sailboat in Miami marina , I appreciate your recomendation . Thanks

        • Greg Hunt

          Gas and propane are dangerous, and one can live with out it. Two years now aboard my boat the SV Garfish, with few problems. Less is more.carry water, caned goods, fish, minimize electric for radio, sonar ect. Old sailors lived with out.

        • Sylvia I want to bein key west this time next year. Need help with the living there while I finish my captains lic from the coast guard.

    • Seagurl

      I don’t think the guy was being negative. He was just telling you the truth. Having lived aboard for a few years, the reality is quite different than the romanticised version.I loved parts of it but found other parts to be quite difficult. And although my boat was a “yacht” it was indeed confining and a little like being homeless at times. There were other times at sunset with wine and Bocelli playing that I thought I could die happy, right then and there.

      One of the things I would like to comment on is the assumption that you have to be “out to sea” if you live onboard. Even in a doomsday scenario, creeping along the coastline would be fine and even a novice can learn their way. Going up and down the intercoastal is easy (though a shorter draft helps. There are many places to hide and be protected that are not in 60 mile an hour winds and 15 foot seas. I have owned boats for 15 years and never took any of them out of the harbor unless it was on the intercoastal and brief periods of blue water access. I am still a novice but was able tolive aboard with great success. Go for it, but realize it is a big change if you are used to living on land.

      • Sadie

        Where are some safe places to hide?

    • guy

      while I agree its not hassle free, you are allowed to carry a firearm on your yacht under international law, you must declare it at customs, some countries will remove it from your possession until you leave. It makes sense to have a gun safe on board as this usually waives the requirement for the customs to hold it for you, gunsafe is a good idea anyway if you own firearms.

      • glenn packer

        But you wont need the firearms while at sea…only near land where the people are.
        Use your head not a gun. Of all the people roaming the world on yatchs its Americans that have the biggest problems.

        • paul

          I would recommend a semi-automatic assault rifle. Piracy is a real problem and you need to be able to lay down some lead. Lots of ammo also. Safety through Strength

          • circusboy90210

            defending yourself is not a problem. defenatly travel heavily armed as you can afford too. the problem is the pirates not the well armed law abiding person.

          • steve mac

            Typical paranoid american slant on pirates. I have been traveling the globe this last 20 years on yachts and have never seen a pirate yet. As for laying down some lead if you do come across a pirate chances are it will be off the coast of somalia and they going to be a lot more heavily armed and a hell of a lot more willing to use force than the average chump on a sailing boat. Chances are you are going to come out of it a lot worse than if you had stayed away from known pirate hotspots, keeping yourself and the poor buggers that are going to have to rescue you out of harms way.

          • smokeslinger

            I’m thinking of buying a cheap boat and sailing into the world’s troubled spots for fun. I’ve got myself the firepower I might need to protect myself and the floating love machine a 50 calibre M2 Browning machine gun strapped 2 the back,two Daewoo USAS-automatic shotguns and two 9mm with built in lazer sights strapped 2each leg for close up combat.I’ll also need a 21year old busty blond who can fish, clean cook and suck (any leaks out of the hull obviously that’s what I meant) and who begs for the pork sword 4times a week. Any takers??? My thoughts were Somalia first then on to Lagos (Nigeria) and then onto the gulf of Aden/red sea then onto the Singapore straits to finish of. Any out there fancy it.?? Or can anyone advise me on what boat to get. l can’t swim very well so it’ll need to be a good one. Will I need oars cos I’ve ordered a pair on eBay

          • Jason

            Well stevie mak you have never seen a pirate in 20 years hmm? Well I have never seen a rapist in 28 years. I guess rapists must not exist!!!

            Feel free to let your daughter wander around alone in dark alleys and dont worry about giving them a cellphone everyone because rapists and sex-trafficers dont exist according to stevie mack’s logic.

            I have also never seen a heart attack…they must not exist either.

            I should throw my fire extingisher and smoke detecter away after all my home will never catch fire.

        • Shawn

          So, what you’re saying is that one should just stay out to sea :/ Don’t be a tard. Get a firearm just in case. I have absolutely no plans to use one and hope I never do. But, it’s always better to have and not need than to need and not have.

          • J.J.

            Guns are safe if you secure the ammo with lock and key.

          • Jim

            Ref: Pirates

            in 1993, I was returning from the Bahamas, to West Palm Beach, with a friend who was taking a turn at piloting. I noticed about a 1/2 mile ahead two identical Cruisers w/all glass covered w/either cloth or some solid cover. No people were seen, but I had been forewarned about pirates. One was heading straight for my starboard side, and the other for the Port side. My friend thought I was nuts getting my gun, But, I was waving my gun in one hand while coming up to the deck to keep balance (the sea was very rough as a hurricane had just fizzled out the day before). Evidentally, the must have thought I was challanging them!! At any rate, the both turned simultaneously 90 degrees going 2 different directions and they kept that course until I was out of sight.
            ;BE PREPARED.

      • nitro joe

        a flare gun is a legal weapon on your ship no declareing anything and shoots real good try fireing it just for effect see what i mean

        • Bobby Fingers

          Nitro Joe,

          I many countries a “Flare Gun” is actually considered a weapon and could get you in just as much trouble as a handgun..

          No BS, Canada for instance does not allow them, some of the islands can be tricky especially if you are the type to draw attention to yourself.

          Just check with local regulations on firearms and / or flare guns for the destination(s) AND along the route you are planning just in case you need to go to shore in some place other than where you were heading.

          As to what type of weapon to bring (if you decide to bring one at all).

          I recommend a decent nickel or stainless steel pump action 12 gauge (3.5″ Mag) with 00 Buckshot. Buy yourself a roll of rosin (peach) paper, completely disassemble the firearm, clean and oil EVERYTHING, use gun grease anywhere you can, then make sure it is UNLOADED! wrap it entirely in rosin paper and put into a waterproof case. I personally use a FoodSaver vacuum bagger as you can make any size bag you need, and it also is great for keeping the shells, batteries, and oh yea, food!

          Store the firearm in an upper bunk or cabinet where it is away from moisture, even in the bag it could sweat.

          As to declaring the weapon, again, I would be VERY careful when bringing it, and use the utmost discretion… TELL NO ONE that you have it on-board.

          One last thing; I have seen people use modification kits to make a flare-gun fire shot shells…

          ****DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT THIS!!!
          It WILL come apart in a most disastrous and harmful way!!!

        • gacopper

          ok I had to lock my ammo in my car trunk because my gun safe sunk my tender (dang me guns are in it)
          I guess I will try my flare gun now

        • matto

          You can also use wasp killer spray. Shoots at least 15 feet and cheaper than mace.

          • Robert

            Get a couple of super soaker squirt guns and fill the reservoir with gas if pirates are approaching. Effective range is about 35 to 80 feet depending on how much you pump them up but they make great flame throwers. They are only good for one or two uses because the plastic melts but effective short range weapons.

          • jason walshEnter your name...

            wasp spray is very effective. i rode my HD motorcycle from Colorado to Honduras alone. i obviously could not bring a gun so i brought bear spray that i use for camping in Alaska. it is made to repel 200lbs brown bears, many small hand guns cant do that. truth is intellect knowledge and just having faith in yourself is the best protection.

        • chuck

          Good choice if you don’t have a real gun. I prefer a shotgun and have a “toolbox” 357. The issue is the quantity of “pirate” attacks is minute compared to actual attacks. All countries consider attacks in their territorial waters as an attack by a common criminal only, attacks that happen in international water are the only attacks properly refered to as pirate attacks. If all attacks on boats with theft and carnage in all water even coastal water the issue would be well known to all you in this forum.I suggest you Google attacks on cruising boats you will see what I mean,a couple yachting magazines spend resources to try to properly report pirate attacks. I was with a friend only 20 miles off venice fl when we had a boat approach when my friend fried up and I was pulling the hook he tried to cut off out escape I cut the line and thankfully we were considerably faster… I’m prepping for a year long cruise to south east asia and all the places I’m going a shotgun is ok they will want it left on boat and also a count on your ammo…

    • Liam

      You are out of your mind to suggest living on a 15 foot boat. The fools that sail around on small boats are fools–like you. You can probably live on a 28 foot boat in a marina. If you are single. I know people who have. If you want to sail on the ocean, 45′ is a better size that can cover some ground. If you want to go fast enough to get anywhere you will need an extra big fuel tank, and an efficient prop. There is little to worry about regarding piracy in the US and most of the Caribbean. Avoid So. America and Mexico. I do agree it is nice to be able to gunk hole in small harbors. Still there are plenty of nice spots for vessels with drafts of 6-8 feet. And you can buy a few flare pistols to defend yourself.

      • TAT-ONC

        Lots and lots of misinformation on this site. As you may now, one of the more famous liveaboards and a true sailor, Eric Hiscock, traveled the world in a 30-foot boat. Size isn’t the deciding factor in the seaworthiness of a vessel, though I would say that storage of the essentials, food and other provisions, sails, anchors and what have you, would be a factor to consider. I’m on a 31 foot, full-keel sailboat with a broadish beam (11.6′) and have considerable storage space. As for pirates, never seen them except make-believe ones at re-enactments in Beaufort, NC and Ocracoke Island, NC. Living on a boat certainly isn’t for everyone nor should it be, especially those of a “survivalist” mentality. Mostly, sailors are a caring loving community far removed from this nonsense about automatic weapons and firepower. If I were a religious soul, I would pray for you those of that persuasion to stay land-bound. Peace and long life.

        • GDTURU

          I would say if you have to think about living on a small boat, you do not belong, you see I think its in your blood (DNA) to live on the sea or make port calls. If you live on a boat you know exactly what I mean (smile) Happy Sailing

        • Jason

          Well if you ever see one you are screwed. If I ever see one they are screwed. Keep sailing and one day it might happen and then you will feel very stupid for insulting us for preparing when you didn’t. Riots, pirates, gangs, home-invaders, rapists, pedos, and sex-traffickers are not make believe and to scoff at those who realize this, train, and take precautions shows what a fool you are. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

          I suppose if you have never seen a rape that you believe it will never happen to you or anyone you know and think women who take self defense are idiots since it only happens in the movies.

          You don’t want a gun fine but don’t insult people who had the intelligence to prepare for danger.

        • Darcy

          I would like to do this. my downfall is needing an online career to help fund

      • Enter your name...

        well flare gun would work but now my boats on fire

      • Joe Mamma

        There are no pirates in the USA until a man has a starving child. Then they are everywhere. If you don’t think that desperate people will do stupid things to get what you have then I hope you’d consider reading some history books about societal collapse. The sail boat isn’t a survival bunker it is a BOB (bug out boat). If things hit the fan sail/motor to a cleaner fan.

      • Jason

        A flaregun for self-defense? No thank you. I prefer my AR-15.

        • chuck

          223 rounds would do nothing to sink a boat that a good bilge pump couldn’t overcome it’s also to small a round to do damage to an in board hence my preference for shotgun. I keep 4 oo buck first then slugs so I can spray pellets in direction of operator or gunmen then shoot out engine. Have you shot from a boat on the water before? Its a lot like having sex while jogging…just my opinion but a 22 is better then pleading with possible murderers who will throw you overboard and take your boat or if your lucky they will only kidnap you.

    • T

      We have a large sailboat….First of all you can not CARRY A SHOTGUN out of the USA. I have done extensive research and if you do be prepared as to what the foreign countries can do to you. Be smart get a PROTECTION DOG!
      People so do not understand what it is like living on a boat. It is a lot of work and money do not fool yourself. Bikerman you were correct in your writing. Not slamming a dream. When you sail run with other yachters, this helps with pirates. Mexico is safe, be careful in Africa and the Philippians….Serious stuff goes on there.

      • Randall

        Philippians?…. ulok maliit na unggoy….I think you meant it’s spelling to be Filipinos… Filipinos come from the Philippines… This tells me you are not as traveled as you’re making out to be…

      • S.Roanoke

        People who have never lived on a boat don’t understand what it’s like, and people who have will have different opinions and experiences. It is a lot less work than living in a house, that’s for sure. And far, far cheaper than any other way of life I’ve led (houses, apartments, dormitory, etc.)

        If you like dogs and have room, excellent choice. I didn’t.

        For off-grid living, a boat is hard to beat for learning to do without. You are forced to get used to less-is-more. Some people would hate that, but I loved it.

        For a survivalist, a boat could be good, or not. It’s a great way to live near a metropolitan area (such as Seattle, where I was) and still be able to bug out in under 10 minutes if you want to, without depending on a road network that would be jammed with cars in a disaster. A sailboat will allow you to travel in almost any situation. (I don’t like depending on engines.) However, they are very vulnerable to anybody willing to do violence. A single person in a fiberglass boat cannot defend against a gang in a speedboat armed with rifles, period. And if you go ashore, there’s not going to be any way to secure the boat against intruders.

        The beauty of the liveaboard lifestyle is that in normal times, you don’t have to do any of this. I never met anyone on the water that I felt threatened by. Storms, passing ships, treacherous shoals, yes..but never people.

        • Jason

          What if the single person on the sailboat has his own rifle and the bad guys dont know it? Im sure a few dozen well placed shots from will sink their boat. Im sure if I had a hundred round drum and some green tips id be fine.

          Sharks get a free meal and maybe I can use one of the pirates legs as bait…have me some shark steaks.

      • Jason

        Mexico is safe? Are you Serious?

      • Jason

        Your “extensive research” lead you to believe you cant bring a gun outside the US?. You can carry guns on your boat in international waters and you just have to check the laws of the country you are sailing to and declare them from what I have heard.

        Also Mexico is safe my butt. The gangs control that country. I would never go there.

        • tracie

          Mexico is safe. The roads closest to texas and arizona are not safe. Baja california, south of san diego there is nothing to worry about. And guns are never allowed to be brought into mexico.

          • Mike

            So Mexicans don’t have guns? Hmmmm!

        • jason walshEnter your name...

          in 2013 i solo rode my big red Harley from Colorado to Honduras all throughout Mexico in big cites and small villages. same in Guatemala, Belize and Honduras. is there potential for danger yes! i was stopped several times by armed people. most were polite and just protecting their village, some made adhoc tolls of 2-3 dollars. that said Mexico is not that bad, better than Detroit places in Chicago. most people were extremely friendly and incredibly generous. BTW Honduras makes mexico look like disneyland

      • Jason

        Why not get a dog and a gun?

      • Kere

        T.Sorry to bust your bubble but their are many countries that do allow shotguns.I have lived all over Europe and in Russia.My favorite is a 410 as no kick(I’m a female) in Russia they have a no recoil automatic shotgun.The west side of the Gulf of Mexico does have pirates plus drug trafficking. Central America is iffy.Something to remember which no one seems to have mentioned is the Coast Guard,Marine police, etc.can board your boat anytime without your permission.This is also true in other countries and beyond the mile limits. Living on a boat is something like living in an older RV with increased maintenance and on the water with movement while sleeping.

      • chuck

        Reading forums is not real good investigating… You can Google just don’t stop at opinion sites. You mention Philippines, You declare meds and guns and amount of ammo they will tell you leave weapon on board and will want you to turn in you meds to customs unless you have certified letter from US Dr and pharmacy and they will count ammo when you leave…btw theirs a large population of Muslims on southernmost island on Philippines and they have attacked many boats even at a marin a on one occasion. All were considered criminal attacks. NOT piracy…

    • ChrisFromMonroe

      For anyone serious about living off the grid on a sailboat you should not worry about fending off pirates with flare guns. Weather, the Coast Guard, electricity generation, boat rigging, and proper gear are the things you should be worried about. I read many of these posts and nobody is talking about gps, charts, vhf/weather radio, EPIRB, tow insurance, tides, mooring lights, beacons, shiping lanes, coastguard regulations or anything else useful that will be considered musts for your adventure. Living in a marina on a boat is just like living in an RV park but costs more. Buy a 28 foot or better boat and go for it. It will be the best thing you have ever done and will really change the way you look the world.

      • Lissa

        Perfect post… But living in these (Hawaii) Marina’s isn’t even close to living in an RV!! Haven’t been in one yet that comfortable.

        • Andy

          Tell us more about liveaboards in Hawaii. Thought it was expensive and hard to find. Shed some lihht for us

      • joel


        Is there a chance we could chat for a bit? I would really appreciate it. Thanks joelbass@ yahu

      • Scott

        Thx for leaving the paranoia out of the post.

      • AZ

        Excellent advice @ Chris.. Thats the type of info I am looking to better understand. Can you go into a bit more detail on key regulations pertaining to shipping lanes?

      • Kere

        I found RV parks more expensive avg.$35.00 a day where as boat slips charge by the foot and I found $10.00 a foot was the average for me.ALSO newbies should really take a class on reading and using the equipment on board plus maritime law.

        • Kere

          Opps I forgot the $10 a foot was for the month not the day.

    • Bob

      OK so I am on board for the past 4 years anyone out there want to go to Cuba for a year !???

    • Jason

      Bikerman personally I would prefer a AK, M1A, or AR-15 to a shotgun myself. I don’t think you would be to much of a sitting duck armed with one of those. Of course a Saiga or VEPR 12 loaded with slugs might be nice for sinking Pirates I would think. Muhuhahahaha<—-(Maniacal Laugh)

      If I was rich I'd say Barrett M107A1.

      P.S. I hate gangbangers and Pirates.

    • Raymond Verret

      What about a spear gun with Co2 canisters as a weapon…might be better than a gun in a pinch.

    • SouthernNYer

      Hi all.. I hope there are people still here. I just got a 26′ Cruisers Bar Harbor for FREE. It needs some remodeling inside but I can do that.. the engine is still in good condition. As my name implies, I am currently living on Long Island but would like to start living the boat life as soon as I get the boat completed and ready. It is a 1980s model and the owner told me that I don’t need a title to get it registered, only a Bill of Sale. Is this true, and what else will I need legally to run it? Also, what is the best way to come ashore without having to pay huge cash for a marina boat slip? I’m very comfortable being alone, I am 50 in a couple months and in decent health.. and want to work my way down to the Keys.. Does anyone have any experience with that model and any other advice will be appreciated.. and I have a lot more questions…THANKS and it is Christmas night so Merry Christmas!

    • Marine preper

      Hello everyone I am marine preper live here in Florida me and my wife live on a 32 foot sailboat outfitted for Bluewater cruising I am a survivorlist and proper I also used to work for the government for me it is the best way to bug out we have a crossbow longbow food for year wind generator solar power engine power we carry 160 gallons of diesel fuel 100 gallons of water plus a water maker AM so much other things if anyone has any questions please contact me

      • chuck

        260 gals of fluid and a year supply of food and room left for two ppl to live? I gotta call be on that beside with you generating power your lucky to be able to even use a radio… Yeah b.s….

  2. Tim Bisbee

    This is not for the novice. unless you are independently wealthy and can withstand to lose ALL that you invest. And if you are novice, you must learn a lifetime of knowledge first.
    When bad things happen they happen faster than you can respond and you are alone, even if you radio the Coast Gaurd you are still 99% alone. They will save you,if they can find you in time, but thats it, if your vessel needs saved thats not their job, except for a very few conditions you will probally not fall under.
    I lived in this fashion for many years and finnaly ceased to do so due to a trifecto of causes, these being getting worn down by hurricanes Jeanne, Francis and Wilma while I was suffering three herniated discs in the lower back and trying to further my carrer as a marine industry professional.
    Most, and I think eventually all, marinas and moorings do not allow “live aboards”.And if they do it will be at greater cost than to live on land. Being of the grid and living anchored out is way more harder than you think. Most waterways are “owned” by someone, yes you can ‘own” submerged land. whether it be state,govt,private it is owned and you are a tresspasser.
    Federally you can “anchor out” as long as you wish,as long as you are in a federal ancorage which is inside most inlet areas prior to passing under the first bridge inland of the demarcation line of the inlet, you most keep out of the assigned waterways managed by the USCG for thru vessel navigation.You can not pump out “waste” legally your holding tanks will fill while your water tanks deplete. both must be serviced at dock and at cosiderable cost. Think five times your normal water and sewage rates on land.
    Now that thats overcome, groceries and supplies are seldom bought at dock. The expense is to great even for these multi-million dollar yachtsmen. You can’t just row to shore anywhere, your probally trespassing,some marinas “will for a charge’ allow you to dock a dinghy for shore leaves,if you do this.dockspace is at a premium. Public areas like parks? theres beaches, but most don’t allow a tender to be pulled up onto them, someone might get hurt tresspassing on it, no-one ever really builds a dock for unrestricted public use, and if so you can’t expect your dingy to be there when you get back. OH,, Pirates. pirates pirates, avast ye; and drop all yer deluded childhood visions about pirates, I actually known a few, only two had gold earings, there’ye everywhere. don’t romantisize what a pirate is, they are as common as street gang members in a county lock-up. They live next door somtimes and even have day-jobs They will row up and swipe yer outboard,deck hardware, break in and take your valuables and leave with hardly a sound. Your shotgun is only of use if your’re on board to use it, and trust me if you do, when you go to court without an established street address ( P.O. boxes don’t cut it) because your a ‘liveaboard’ you will not make bail Mr flight risk. hunker down and wait, Most lawyers would’nt touch you because of this also so having a very meaty cash savings is vital, now in the judges eye your no better than the damn pirate as a matter of fact what you did was worse than what the pirate did since a vessel is not veiwed as a home,residence etc,. You will notice that you are in a caste system. no one likes a liveaboard, employers, insurance agents,marinas,police, other weekend boaters,commercial boaters,local citizens, you are a hobo, a homeless person, you can’t be pinned down,made to be responsible, your a loose cannon, not to be trusted, and the closer you are to the water the greater the dislike for you grows. This isnt at all helped by the fact that most “liveaboards’ reek like B.O., have very weathered look to them, worn sun faded and frayed clothing like a castaway, grease stained hands from maintenance, at least real liveaboards do, in the areas freqeunted by liveaboards like where I lived in south florida.
    It is nearly impossible to stay clean onboard, resources are at a premium, a degree in air conditioning technology is extremley useful, this is a hard way of life, I found my experiences very rewarding and but eventually non-sustainable,few memories are as favorable to me as those “on the hook” if you do this, my advice is to have at least one certain escape route. Man was not meant to live at sea, The sea was meant to test mans endurance, fortitude and resourcfulness.The sea is unforgiving, and your boat has no brain of its own, it must use YOURS for everything.
    I can be contacted by those whom belay my warnings and cast off anyway at I am willing to share my experience and knowledge with ya.

    • kingsailor

      seems like you want to shoot down peoples dreams….i suggest you stay on land…

      • Crushing dreams

        If your navigation skills don’t get any better than what I’ve seen here on the blog, you should also consider that option. Stay Safe!!!

      • chriscraft

        I agree. Land is the best place for this guy. Guys we got to keep in mind that when the shtf gold and silver will be worth 10x the amount now. So have some live off the coast of FL. And have a 40 yacht not a sail boat. Nothing against them either. And I financed it 1990 for $300 a month. And $100.00 for insurance. Docked at my back yard! Oh yea I’m ready. Plenty of islands in the gulf of mexico maybe 4000. Food, fuel,water,and commodities will be the new dollar. The whole world won’t collapse at the same time, not even the same regions. There will always be some where to dock and dingy to land. Keep a little scotter on board as well.Helps you get around on land. We’re ready. With the world technology today the SHTF will be on a scale that we’re not keeping in mine.So have plenty technology. We travel the Coast once month and jump from resort to resort and marinas to marinas. So we’re getting our money worth out of it until we need her.After a few lesson and boater ed anyone could do it . So keep this one at the top of your list. Easily find an island with acres of land and carry about 2 acre worth of seed. Weapons and tools to build on land and you could easily last 10 years.

        • Jason

          Besides having seeds and stuff ready to go you could also try getting into freediving and scuba as well as crab traping, fishing, shark fishing, lobster diving, hunting and stuff. There is so much meat in the ocean avalible if you know how and where to get it. Lots of stuff to hunt on the mainland. This is the main reason living aboard a Sailboat is great for shtf.

          Heck your idea of planting a big garden on a island is good but I would add that sailing back and forth and planting on multipul islands could be a good idea incase you have to bug out of an area.

          Another idea for shtf is getting two female dairy goats as kids and training them to use a litterbox. This way you could have dairy products and take your goats with you when you bug out in your boat. (Just in case shtf and you cant find males to breed them with you could keep some male goat stuff frozen in the freezer. You need to breed them every once and awhile so they keep producing milk)

        • Jason

          You cant eat gold and you cant shoot it. Also with your plan you could last alot longer then 10 years. You could last indefinatly.

    • KMB

      I agree…you should stay on land. I’ve never lived on a boat before, but my wife and I are planning it and getting ready. We are both retired Marines. I’ve been researching this decision for the past year, and I have yet to read as many negative comments in one past as this one. I could go point-by-point debating just about everything you’ve said, but I won’t waste my time. Most people who’ve done their research will see that you are pretty much only presenting the negative side of being a liveaboard. Yes, it’s difficult, expensive, and can tax the best from what I’ve read, but the rewards seem to outweigh all that for many who do it.

      • Christian koehler

        I have lived aboard my Catalina 38 for almost two years now. I can trufully can say that I have never regreted this wonderful living arrangement. In some of the replys on this topic someone mentioned that live aboards are like hobos, LOL.Yes there are those that live like pigs, also if you were to look at their boat it also suited for a pig. It’s now you carry yourself and how mom raised you I guess(-: Go with your dreams and never look back. It’s a good life!

        • Tim Bisbee

          An optimal response about how one carrys oneself.

      • Marylou

        Live your dreams and don’t let anyone talk you out of it. I have been cruising for 5 years and love this lifestyle. When on land I am like a fish out of water. If you need crew check out Find A Crew. Net. You can get on someone else boat and get some experience and see if you really like it before you buy. Mary Lou

        • Dave

          Hello Mary Lou. I know this is a older posting but hopefully you find this. I have pondered the idea of living on a boat for many years but up until recently, finances have been a deterrence. I have been seeing some very nice cruisers in the 40ft range that I can, with financing, actually afford. I do still work in Seattle where nearby livaboard moorings are available and will continue to do so for the next ten years. Soooo, my question is, at 55, and in good health, am I too old to considering this?

          • Art

            I am 53, on my second (and larger) boat. I just pruchased a Hardin 44 and it is an apartment on the water. She is a slow but steady boat. I have heard from folks in their 70’s still living the life.

    • Tim Bisbee

      sur•vive (s r-v v )
      v. sur•vived, sur•viv•ing, sur•vives
      1. To remain alive or in existence.
      2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere: (families that were surviving in tents after the flood.)
      3. To remain functional or usable:( I dropped the radio, but it survived.)
      1. To live longer than; outlive: (She survived her husband by five years.)
      2. To live, persist, or remain usable through: (plants that can survive frosts; a clock that survived a fall).
      3. To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after: (survived child abuse).

      Please read the above description and meaning of the word “SURVIVE”.
      There is a lot of, what one could call, “negative connotations” attached to its description up there above.
      What I wrote on Oct, 10, 2010 was for a “SURVIVALIST” blog,… You know? For the type of person that buys gas masks, survival knives, and iodine tablets. If I was writing an article on tournament fishing, boating vacation getaways, waterskiing or any of the other wonderful things you can do on the water, well, I would have chosen another venue. But this is a SURVIVALIST BLOG.
      So for your sunny adventures on sparkling beaches please go read “Cruising World Magazine” And get out of my hair about what a negative guy I am. My little ramble back then was long enough without mentioning all the things that you don’t need to survive.
      The boating community and lifestyle are great. So are our national parks and wildlife reserves, but if I read an article about snakebites, bear attacks and dysentery from drinking in streams I would not flame all over the author for his perceived negativity of our forest community.
      YES,YES…. I only touched on THE NEGATIVE SIDE, …WHY? Because one does not get much credit for SURVIVING THE POSITIVE SIDE of things now does he? And this “is” a SURVIVALIST BLOG.
      And for those of you that are under the impression that “I think” of anyone, as being a smelly hobo, That was not my intent to imply, I just wished to share with the audience how I have personally seen (some)others view live aboards, this to include law enforcement and other civil entities, other “weekend boaters” ,entrepreneurs and merchants and employers.
      I thought it would be a bonus for employment being a live aboard as I was, and still am a marine industry worker, but I have actually been turned away(by boatyards) at least twice due to that status, and no, I did not ask for free, reduced or any other dockage for that matter either. This was due to their previous bad experiences with live aboard employees.
      In general boating is very safe especially for those who are cautious and prudent, every year I see dozens of unfortunate accidents due to alcohol, tom foolery, testosterone, inexperience and other causative mechanisms. Just hang out at a busy boat ramp on a holiday weekend and you can get a sense of what I am saying just from doing that.
      I am recognized by the American Boat and Yacht Council as a MASTER TECHNICIAN.
      I have a current Operator of Un-inspected Passenger Vessels license with the U.S. Merchant Marine.
      I have nearly ten years of service with The U.S.C.G. Auxiliary, to include numerous Search and Rescue, Patrol, Aids to Navigation as well as other various missions with Active Coast Guard and Law enforcement entities.
      That is all a matter of public record, Also…I write by my true name, unlike most….I have to live by what I say.
      My intention is not to scare you away from boating. It is possibly one of the greatest experiences you’ll have in life, I wish you to be cautious and wise is all.

      • HAT

        Please don’t call me “crusher of dreams” or any more of that non-sense. As I have elsewhere stated in this blog. there is essentially no need to “survive” the high end side of living aboard. If your a Former British Marine living aboard as security guard, as one of my haters is,chances are you are on quite the cushy ride if the owner can afford a security contingent. The link above is a view of the “real world” those yachtsmen with onboard security personnel just steam straight past. However if you bought your 30′ chris craft off its third owner well this is what the neighborhood can look like in more metropolitan areas.The article comes from California,But I see a mirror image in alot of places.

      • oz

        Thanks for the useful insight Tim. Unlike others I think your comments are positive and not negative.

        • Jodysworld

          As previously said by others, you give the boater and the survivalist, reality checks! You are right, I have sat at boat ramps and watched the craziness that “pops up”. I am a novice boater, but common sense tells me that I need to be sober and watch out for my safety at all times. I too bought a boat to live aboard, and yes, I have already had my 911’s, at a good expense, but, I am committed, and it is a commitment for a long term dream. And that’s what will keep me afloat, and living the dream. Pirates? Yes, like Tim said they are everywhere…have had stuff taken right off the back of the boat from late night raiders. Ask yourself, is that dinghy, outboard secure enough? Well make it secure…you’ll sleep better and pirates won’t waste there time, they will move on to the next one! So what is on this blog is all factual and should be used as a word of caution, cause stuff happens no matter where you are!

          • Jim

            As we said in the Navy:
            Live by the “Six P’s”
            Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!

          • Jasob

            Or you could make it secure but make it seem insecure and then feed the pirates to the sharks when you catch them. Those Thieving scumbags!

      • Paula

        Tim your responses are so long, convoluted, and full of negativity. We can all find our own negativity, what is of much more help is tell us about your good experiences or for gods sake tell us nothing at all. In other words, in my opinion you have so much to say and have said NOTHING of value.

    • Liam

      I suggest you all listen to Tom. He knows what he is talking about. I’ll add that if you chose this lifestyle, it is best done with someone else–a wife or friend, or son. It is even better on a much larger vessel with more people. Safety in numbers, and someone can stay with the boat, drop people off on shore, pick up etc. All this is hard to do, most people want their own boat and the freedom that goes with it. I will also reinforce some other things said here. You must keep up appearances. It is easy to slack off. Shave, dress neatly. Act with decorum. This applies to RV’s also. If you are pegged as a bum, you will be treated like one. On the plus side, if someone hassles you, it is so satisfying to move on and leave the crappy people behind you.

      • 1moken

        I am 66 this year was in the navy have been on or near the water my whole life.what people are saying is mostly true,some of them are writing from bad experiences,these I listen too andasses what to do different !!! Others are enjoying good times and havhe plenty of good experiences AND times .I will get me a fixer upper and start my journey on the water,it may take me awhile ,as I am not trying to impress anyone anywhere.I DO THE BEST I am able but am not out to outshine or1 up anyone!!!! If you see me wave and be cordial I will return the salute!!!! I always try the nice side FIRST ,then on to the ugly things . I wish all of you a fine journey and fair winds where ever you sail !!!!! 1 moken

        • Michael Windham

          1moken…I am replying to your post well over a year later. I am 65 and a former Marine. I was wondering if you have made it to the life on the water yet. i don’t have a lot of money but I do have a house I hate! The house will eventually go and be replaced by a live aboard status. If you get to read this send me a mail. Will be waiting.

    • Clark

      have you had any expierances with the Coast Guard? Were they good or bad and how? Are you saying you can only spend 3 days on the hook at any inlet or federal waters? Any reservations about Mexican waters? Any other advice, I Absolutely loved your article!!! Thanks, Clark

    • steve

      Having lived aboard for five years. I agree completely.My wife and I Moved ashore and are now enjoying our seventeenth yr of full time living aboard a forty foot motorcoach. homeless. yes..the IRS actually classifies you as :a moderately affluent homeless person: not a wholle lot different, new set of problems maintenance wise. and you wont drown. but everything else pretty much best advice. try it before you buy it. Z

    • yo ho ho

      I have friends that sail and refer to people like you as a ‘walters’. Theres no reason to discourage,just be honest. I have a lucrative job I can do anywhere and Ive spent a lot of time talking to people that live like this and it seems youre talking of the people at the bottom of the barrel. what a negative person you are. let people live their dreams for lifes sake cause on the other hand my friends that do it love it and dont stink.and they are stand up people. I think youre just one of those people that thinks they know everything and is arrogant and basically unhappy cap’n.

    • camilo veiga

      Bisbee ,Man was not meant to live at sea ? you must be a spoiled brat , if was not for the adventures of man and sea your country would not be the greatest country that is today what is . stop runing other peoples dreams and stick to your leaving shell ass———–hole

    • Trusty Shellback

      Wow, What he said is true he just said it in the most negative way. I have lived onboard over 750 days on a aircraft carrier and would love to go back! There were bad days believe me but the good days are what I remember.

    • dukebravo

      everything tim says is spot on. Ive lived aboard for 6 months and I can tell you there’s a lot of people who get all prepared for a life at sea are back within a number of weeks filing for divorce. definitely should take it slow as the original poster mentioned and live at a marina for a number of months to see if the lifestyle is for you.

      Tim is telling it like it is.

    • Enter your name...

      I am a female that has lived aboard a 31 ft sailboat for 10 years and another 10 on a 46ft. All if what you say is true. Most of my time was spent in Texas in nice marinas or private yacht clubs which I enjoyed.
      Recently retired and we are moving the boat to the east coast of Florida. This is a different experience with different challenges with fog, crab pots and depth and current issues. It has been very stressful for me so I guess you might assume this is not a life I want fir very long.
      When crossing from Panama City to Clearwater, it was an overnight crossing and about 2am a boat in the distance which was well lit had a 40 ft boat launch from its stern. All you think about are drug peddlers and if that’s who they were we were sitting ducks. Changed our course away from them.
      All you say us true!

      • Oh Oh

        LOL! A 40 footer from the stern? I doubt that was a drug smuggler…probably a Navy or USCG power barge dropping off a surveillance vehicle.

        FYI-The day you run into a drug smuggling operation…2 A.M.? In a sailboat? It will be your last.

    • Joe Mamma

      The solution to your sewage tank is to sail out farther than 3 miles from shore and open the valve to release it into the sea. That’s the legal distance.

    • chuck

      Kicks castle headwaters soap leathers in salt water and it only take a quart or two of fresh water to rinse and your squeaky clean. I have no idea why ppl go without bathing it’s not hard. Here in fl we have been able to shoot to kill to protect property even before the stand your ground law which means you can kill if you feel threatened. I fing most of the Grubbs we’re ppl trying to live on no income and those are also the most likely to be pirates. I retired early and have an income although barely a middle classier I can live a wonder waterfront lifestyle but I first lived aboard at 18 and grew up on the waterfront on west coast of fl.

      • c

        K I r k s not kicks, Damon spell checker on this phone

  3. Survival Gear

    You won’t catch me on a boat WTSHTF! It is going to be tough enough on land but out on the Ocean things will be even harder if you ask me. The pirates will be everywhere and every boat on the water might as well have a huge target painted on it. If that isn’t enough reason not to do it then the other reasons that Tim talked about should stop you. I would rather fight on my feet on dry land any day. At least I won’t be shark food.

    • KMB

      You guys kill me! You make living aboard a boat sound like a battle zone! Most areas of the world are safe for boaters. There are only a few places where it’s not safe (off the coast of Somalia, some places in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Venezuela), but those are the exception. And if you live amongst other liveaboards, you’ll find that they are a VERY protective crowd…out of necessity! If you do your research, you’ll find some web sites that list all reported crime-related incidents on the high seas, and there are exceptionally few! And believe it or not, IMHO, it’s much easier to defend a boat than a house! In a house, someone can break in when you are home, and you very likely won’t even hear them because of the size of the house, but on a boat…unless you live on a mega-yacht, it would be very difficult for someone to break in without you knowing it. And there are ways to defend a boat without having a firearm…which would land you in jail. Many ways, actually, from noises, electric wires, pepper sprays, etc. The key is to be low-profile and not make yourself a target.

      I’m glad guys like Mr. Bisbee and Survival Gear are on land. Leaves more for those of us who want the adventure and excitement of being on our own to enjoy!

      • Jim

        If your a recreational boater you already have an idea of problems you can run into. Everyone on this blog keeps talking about shotguns and firearms for looters. I have lived aboard for several years now, have a full time job and don’t have a firearm. I own a spear gun. Take an extremely legal(and doesn’t need to be registered) spear gun and shoot it the length of your house into 2 or 3 sheets of plywood. The spear will go right through. If you don’t know boats, stay on land!

        • Jason

          My AR-15 is legal, doesn’t have to be registered either, and unlike your spear gun it is not single shot. I’d prefer 20, 30, or 100 rounds on tap rather then just one bolt…in case of multiple attackers and what-not. Plus it is easier to reload and has a safety.(I’m not sure if spear-guns have a safety)

          Plus I am sure that if I empty enough rounds in the right place it would probably sink an attackers boat.

          • oh oh

            Violence is the last resort of the incompetent.

            Guns are needed where people have guns and have access to them. Killing someone is not the answer to every societal problem.

            I arrived at a marina where they were having problems with scum. I told them to organize. They all looked at me like deers in the headlights.

            Simple: organized, surveillance, evidence, penalty phase- and this phase can be legal or illegal.

            You don’t have to involve the police. Trust me, catch the guy, blindfold him, breaks his arms, tie a rope under his armpits and take him out into blue water. Throw him overboard and bob him for an hour. Take him to a secluded spot at night, drop him off and leave and call the authorities, leave no evidence. He will never come back, because he will not know who to come back to while he will know that if he does next time he might not come back alive.

            So they did. Within 6 months there were no more scumbags in the area. Fear is better than a gun and with less legal consequences.

            Also, Harbor Freight sells driveway sensors and they are wireless. Buy a few and place them in your boat. They reach 400ft.

            My friend caught a guy breaking into his sailboat, when the sensor went off and he was on shore. Jumped in his Dinghy and chased the guy down…

    • SailorDave

      Been living on and off the hook for years. I am certain driving down the highway is a lot more dangerous then being anywhere on the water. You can talk all you want about how unsafe living on the water is, i assure you, land is a lot more dangerous.

    • Liam

      It is far easier to pick up and move away from the shit than to stay and deal with it. In any event it is good to have options. An RV and a live aboard cruiser.

  4. FlaPrep

    We have lived-aboard boats in marinas, and also cruised long-distance aboard boats (“cruisers.”)

    Boating does NOT require deep pocketbooks, nor life-long boating experience. Sure, these both HELP AL LOT!!! But, we have come across MANY successful rookie and penniless boaters and liveaboards. We have also seen our fair share of “professional skippers” run aground or sink their boats, too!

    The main recipe for success is COMMON SENSE.

    As far as all the comments about “gun laws for boaters going to foreign countries” and such — IT’S THE SAME FOR LAND-LUBBERS,TOO! You can’t carry your AK47, 12ga pump, or 9mm pistol aboard the plane, or through customs, either! Heck, I’d even argue that port security is much more relaxed than airport and road-based border crossings. If you were bent on having weapons with you as you cruise, you simply toss them into a weighted waterproof bag, and toss them overboad (in shallow water) as you approach your new port-o-call (and mark them via your GPS.) After checking through customs in your new host country, you then return to your GPS waypoint to retrieve your illegal booty.

    I’m NOT supporting nor encouraging guns aboard, nor smuggling weapons in/out of a foreign country. I’m simply stating that there is MORE freedom aboard boats (and among the boating community) than there is among the “usual” land-based population. Boaters RELY on fellow boaters (more than typical land-lubbers rely upon their neighbors.)

    As far as TEOTWAWKI situations, a well-equipped boat will have HUGE advantages over any land-based approach. When we cruised our boat last year for just over 1,000 miles, we passed maybe 3-4 dozen boats enroute? Try to make that same trip via car/roads, and you will encounter that many vehicles per MINUTE!

    A well-equipped sailboat has a nearly endless range, and can truly reposition globally. Here’s an exercise for ya’: Try MapQuesting a road-based route from any city in the USA to Rio, Brazil. (You can’t get there from here.) A sailboat is the ULTIMATE bug-out vehicle. It has its own watermaking gear (saltwater into freshwater.) This also serves as a source of income (selling bottled freshwater, which is worth more than diesel fuel per gallon in much of the world.) You can fish and catch crabs/lobster/shellfish right over the rail. Food + water + endless range.

    Pirates: There are 1,000-times MORE land-based pirates than water-based pirates. (Just tune into the news any day of the week?) From bums on the street corner, to the pin-striped-suits playing ponzie games, to government officials and their votes-for-kickbacks in DC. Whereas, if you get yourself 20+ miles offshore, you will be hard-pressed to find ANY boats (let alone pirates.) We made a recent Gulf of Mexico partial-crossing, and in 36+ hours, we only saw about six other boats (and you had to be LOOKING HARD to find them — they weren’t “near-misses.”) Heck, they were barely within VHF radio range.

    Wanna read about a couple who sold-up and set-sail with ZERO boating experience (and they are now halfway around the globe, and LOVING it?) Visit:



    • Tim Bisbee

      Yes, money and experience help ALOT as you say. And you can live on the cheap. You can set off with zero experience, you can also drive without a licence on land, it’s just playing your chances and not standing out or getting into an unfortunate situation even by no fault of your own.

      • glenn packer

        If you admit to all bad stuff happening to you being your fault then you free yourself from fear.No drivers lic. but need to drive? Stay away from cops and drive defensively and stay out of rush hour. Victims could always have prevented the problem (adults). Pay attention to your surroundings…your spouse..your neighbor and employer..or anyone else that can hurt you. I see it coming and so can you.

  5. Jayrod

    The talk about pirates is frankly silly. There are literally tons of “cruisers” (mostly retired) who bum around the Carribean. I’ve never once heard of any fellow cruisers have any issues whatsoever with pirates. The Gulf is far too well policed and traveled for pirates to be able to really do anything. Pirates rely on places where they know authorities won’t come after them and where passers-by are scarce – namely the Ivory Coast and East Africa. Your chances of getting attacked by pirates in the Gulf are far, far, far less than getting mugged on the street.

    As far as cost, living on a boat can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. It can be absolutely way cheaper than land living. The initial investment in your boat is not much more than an apartment (depending how big), maintenance can be relatively inexpensive (learn to do all you can yourself, and try to get work done in cheaper places like Trinidad rather than Texas), and it’s also terribly relaxing! Yes, you do spend mornings doing chores and boat maintenance, but the afternoon and evenings hold a strict no-work policy! :) There’s a lot of cruisers out there living on their social security check and nothing more – the islands are cheap! As far as guns getting you in trouble, that’s nonsense. Simply be honest and make sure you claim it and let customs and other authorities know you carry it.

    With the advent of solar panels and watermakers, boat living is perfect for people who want to live independently and off the grid. Happy sailing!

    ( and ebaymotors are great resources for info and potential boats!)

    • Jason

      I have never once heard of anyone I knew being sold into sex-slavery. Therefor sex-traffickers don’t exist.

      No one I know has ever gotten HIV therefor it is silly to be concerned about it and no one promiscuous or otherwise really needs a condom.

      I could go on. You were never attacked by a pirate that means they don’t exist and anyone who prepares for that unlikely event is silly.

      • Ball Buster

        Jason you are Paranoid. Fear is your daily food. Violence is your comfort food. Nobody is saying what you are implying that they are saying.

        They are just not paranoid like you…

        So, in line with your reasoning…a medic becomes a medic in combat, because he was stupid?

        It is a fact that there is more good than bad. There are more good people than bad people.

        I have never met a real cruiser who was a bad soul.

        • chuck

          Yeah, happy thoughts will keep you afloat and safe from pirates…

  6. Richard

    For a while I have been planning my escape from the day to day life of work and home. I have decided that my escape will come in the way of a houseboat. I have purchased a 1959, all aluminum boat that I am gutting completely. Come spring, I will set it in the water and see if it floats. If it leaks, I will fix and continue on. I found a 1958 penta volvo I/O that had the outdrive rebuilt and will use that connected to a WarP 9 electric motor. The boat is only 28 feet and the motor puts out about 35 hp. I hope that can move me around. I will also put in wind turbines to charge the batteries along with a generator. I would like to use total alternative energy, but I don’t think it is possible. If all goes well on a few practice voyages, I will be cruising the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. At least that is the plan. I would like my gal friend to come along, but I don’t think that this is her thing. Just saw your site and would like to share what you all are doing and how you are surviving. Thanks

    • RJGrones

      Life is a fleeting short adventure here.. Do it..

    • Skipper

      Richard, if your “gal pal” isn’t worth staying home for, then you sure don’t want her on your boat.

    • chuck

      Please please please read opinions from ppl out there living the life say about energy production, a wind gen or two can be a minor help during storms when uv is down and wind is up but the opinion from vast majority will tell you comparisons on batteries also and don’t go cheap.u need engine battery separate from house battery and a separate bilge pump battery wouldn’t hurt. I know ppl who generate enough to seldom ever need a genset.remember a gender big enough to run everything (because wind gens will only keep bilge pump battery charged) will use close to a gal an hour vs a very small unit that would use a gal in the 4-5hours to top off battery when you use ac at nite…

  7. Lou

    Here’s my experience living on a boat in the waters of British Columbia (damn close to Alaska). True,a liveaboard does face some unique challenges, however as with most challenges, attitude and planning goes a long way. In my case I looked for for the right project. I finally found a 50ft aluminum sailboat which I bought for it’s scrap value. I then spent 2 years fitting it out so that I can maintain every system I installed with my own 2 hands. Food? we keep 6 month supplies on board, otherwise the tide goes out and the table is set, we eat a lot of seafood, I fish regularly, and not for sport. Water?, how about a waterfall so close at anchor that I use a large funnel and hose to fill up the tanks, 600 gal at a time, and yes it’s free, and I trust it way more than the the stuff out of municipal pipes. Ya I’ve got the solar panels, watermaker, genset, heating, woodstove etc. we’re self sufficient. Do I worry about pirates, you gotta be kidding, I look out for Grizzlies.

    • Debbie

      Hi Lou –
      Thank you for your post. Love your common sense and creativity in sustaining what sounds like a very fulfilling way of life. Would you be willing to share your 6 month supply list?
      Thank you

    • Ball Buster

      Beautiful…Thanks for that insight!

  8. Timothy

    I worked for Sea Ray boats in engineering for 6 years and put my work experience to work living the life. On the hook just outside of Cocoa. Literally walked into shore but I lived very differently than most. I purchased a big flat steel barge, welded a superstructure on top, and had everything I needed locked AND hidden in special part of the boat. When I took off for 2-3 days on a trip and left the boat there was nothing insdie they could find or take of value. Now I Vanabode which is seriously way more fun, way safer, and provides WAY more variety than boat living.

  9. lone wolf

    pirates are only a problem in a few places and you could spend a lifetime as a liveaboard in places that last saw pirates when they were called Bluebeard etc. The Med is a great place to be a liveaboard…cheap (in places), varied and on the most, easy sailing.

  10. cliff

    I am trying to do all of the above; Grow my own food, catch rainwater and recycle the “black water”. My biggest problem is how to have airconditioning on a small, 16 ft. boat. I was told that one can grow enough food for one person on only 144 sp feet. If so living aboard is possible. Also, if you observe the us navy type water hours, a show becomes possible. You just need a still to deal with the “black water” produced.

    • Liam

      Consider an Incinolet. It requires power to run one. A small Honda 3000 generator will handle one cycle. One hour running.

      • chuck

        Those are bad ass and leave a cup of ash instead of all that other shit. Pun intended.. We had them on a pacemaker I ran for a Dr and I loved them. We ran miss out a thru hull so no holding tank. Also ran shower into bridge and that helped keep grime from building up.

  11. Amy in Tampa

    I am leaving my house and trying out boat living for a few months. We are common sense type folks who will be working down the street from the marina we will be staying at. I have a car and plan on driving to get my basics. I am a woman who loves to have stuff, but I would love the experience of what it is like living with the minimal.

    I believe the experience will last a lifetime and heck maybe in the future I would buy a sailboat and travel the world. Dock fees are going to save me an astronomical amount of money in this dingy econnomy we’re in. I will actually have a surplus! So I am looking forward to saving my money, living with the basics, learning something new, and experiencing something i’ve always dreamed of. And I can’t wait to rock the boat with my man. Haven’t done that one yet lol.

    • Jason

      If you don’t get what you want from the boat experience try the Vanabode lifestyle instead.

    • Sherry

      So did you go and do what you wanted Amy? I am considering the same and would love a woman’s perspective.

      • robknob

        hey sherry. go to amazon and buy “cruising on a small income” by Annie Hill for a good woman’s perspective.

    • chuck

      There is a marin a on manatee river no bridges to tampa bay that allows liveaboard rent is 950 a ft that includes ice everyday free WiFi showers laundry room and a kick ass restaurant with happy hour bargain munchies.I for the life of me can’t recall the name but Google live a board marinas in tampa and it’s only one on the river. Its kinda shallow so if you draw more then 6 ft its not for you.I plan to move my powerboat there in a couple months…

  12. Misti in Oklahoma

    We are planning on buying a boat and setting sail in two years. Two of my biggest concerns is…will I be bored? and what do I do with all my sentamental stuff that i’ve collected my whole life?

    • Off Grid Survival

      Boredom could be a huge issue. You might want to think about doing a practice run for a couple of months to see if it’s something that you want to do long term.

    • Tim Bisbee

      Wow, depends what you got that’s sentimental, chances are good most of it should be packed nice and safe and stored with friends or in a storage facility. you’ll be collecting new sentimental’s as you go along, one of my favorites to this day is a conch shell my wife carved out to use as a horn, believe it or not it is a legal marine signaling device, we used it all the time to signal for bridge opening requests here in Florida.My own favorite hobby for boredom was species identification of marine life, opportunity to practice was prolific and source material to study was also. And it comes in very useful too, A lot of marinas have book exchanges which are fun anyway, but allot of books about the marine environment was there for the picking. Cooking too if you like that, cooking on the hook and sitting down to eat with my soulmate, in the beautiful natural setting as the sun set is one of the fondest memories of my life. Learn to scuba or snorkel, learn kite fishing,navigation was a chore for me at first but I knew a few people that charted just because it was fun to them, like Sudoku or something.Even if your just an intra-coastal sailor it’s a big blue world full of life, settling down at night and listening to the fish and what not talk and sheephead pounding the hull to eat off barnacles, laughing about how hard they hit their heads, is another very found memory. I think if you fight the environment you’ll get bored, if you reach out to it, two years won’t be enough.

      • Patrick

        Thank you for the comments. I was wondering the same thing about boredom and what I should do with my stuff when my lease is over. I really appreciate the insight.

    • SailorDave

      Bring a laptop and a bunch of good games. Also start recording all the movies you can from tv to dvd’s. Look on ebay for a used 12 volt 19″ zenith hd tv. you’ll find one sooner or later under 70 bucks,(I bought 2 for 50 each, still on the first on after 3 years). between computer games, movies, fishing and diving, I usually don’t get bored. Although soloing, I do get lonely and go to shore to just talk to people a lot. I’ve met some of the greatest people living on the water.
      So to answer you question…It’s up to how you prepeare and what you find you like to do to pass the time. Prepare for days on end sitting in the rain. As far as all your junk, if you haven’t used it in the last 2 or 3 months, you probably don’t need it.
      Let me add, prepare before you go. I spent 5 years preparing my boat, 4 100 watt solar panels and wind generator for power, lecro-san for waste (takes care pumping out, but can’t go to key west and a few places that don’t allow them), water maker, best investment I ever made, good navigation system with new maps, 12 golf cart batteries all on a 31 ft. sailboat i bought for 12 grand and refitted, including ripping out the interior and making it for one person with a lot of toys. Spend the money while while your working and dreaming, not after you start out. I’m living on abour 120 a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, but it was because i spent and prepared before i left. Don’t give up the dream and don’t wait forever to do it.

    • Liam

      Your biggest issue is to avoid alcoholism.

    • avera

      Hey Misti…I was looking at the site for the marina in Claremore OK and couldn’t figure out if they allow any living aboard…do you happen to know this place and their liveaboard policy?

    • Jo

      Hi there! Just wondering if you did this, and how it turned out!

    • Jason

      You could rent a storage or store it at friends or relatives place maybe.

  13. I am a an ex-advertising executive in New York and am considering life on a sailboat. I grew up sailing small boats in Fla and preliminary investigations have me considering a Bavaria. There appears to be enough room for my wife and I and moving away from the land is something I very much look forward to. I want to go into this with open eyes so the experience of others, pros and cons are greatly appreciated. I welcome all points of view regarding “living on the hook” and am trying to get a handle on maintenance, high technologies, etc.

    • Eric

      Good luck convincing your wife of your plan. Seriously. Good luck.

  14. frank sherman

    i lived on a thirty two ft. house boat for two years and it was just great. all of the problems i faced (rough weather,mechanical problems,food supplies,water,docking fees,marine patrols,idiots in power boats etc. were all easy to handel,but i was thirty years old ,now at sixtyfive i dont think i could do it again.juust a thought, be sure you are up to the stress at what ever age you are at. like a lot of things it,s great when you are young and tough but things change as you age. i,m still eighteen at heart but my body and nerves are not what they used to be. and believe it or not you will age.

  15. Ronin1965

    Tim Bisbee……….you clearly have no experience of the environment in which you claim to have lived!

    I am a former British Royal Marine, who has lived on boats -in numerous locations for the last 15 years. I make my living in the maritime security industry, and choose the liveaboard life purely because I love the sea. I have berthed in marinas in the US, Mexico, various South American Countries, the UK, the Netherlands, East Africa – to name but a few. On the whole, it is FAR CHEAPER to live in marinas thn it is to rent an apartment or other accomodation. Shopping for groceries is the same the world over, you find the best and cheapest location by experience. I very rarely buy anything other than fuel in marinas!…(although the odd beer is welcome sometimes..) There are numerous websites which one can use to monitor the international piracy situation – all free of charge to the boating community, so there is no reason to be unprepared. All that is required for a successful liveaboard life, is a little research- and buckets of streetrwise common sense.

    – As to carrying weapons onboard…… stay out of areas where piracy is rife, and stick to spearfishing, and a rod and line. You’ll stay alive a lot longer that way.

  16. Steve

    I am planning on retiring (again) early next year like in February 2013. I am very much hoping to and planning on retiring on a boat this time. I am looking for the right boat to live on now and hopefully will find the one I want before then. I’m planning on mooring it in Morro Bay Ca. for a couple of reasons, one the weather is perfect year round for living on a boat, in the winter it only gets down to 55f-60f and in the summer it only gets up to 70f, perfect weather and the second reason being that my daughter and her family live in Morro Bay. I’m in very good heath and am mechanically and electrically inclined so doing my own maintenance will not be a problem. I’m by myself so I’m in the market for a 36 to 45 ft motor boat or houseboat that is used. I’m not sure yet as to witch one I like better. I don’t plan on going anywhere with the boat so I will be sitting on the deck at night and watching the stars from Morro Bay. Maybe short trips now and then. As I said I am living alone and don’t plan on getting involved with anyone so living in close quarters is no problem for me. Just though I’d write this after reading everyone’s comments both the good and bad. But it looks like there are more good ones as for living on a boat.

  17. I started to read but no time right now. Still, i want to say this: I lived on a boat for thirty years (30) some twenty of that (20) I also had a Harley Davidson as my second “lifestyle”. They both work. I am not wealthy but can hammer a nail in the wall if I have to. Living on a boat is as close to getting independent as it is possible these days. Nevertheless, you have to be able to be self dependent and that is what makes it worth while for most of us that do it.

  18. tim bird

    i have lived on my sail boat since 1981 its 25 ft holds 28gal of fuel solar and wind power,i pay 172.00 per month for slip fees i get free wi-fi free tv my onboard heater runs on bio.diesel i have 9gal water tank last for about 2 months,the only pirates i see are on tv the marina has showers clubhouse,i work on boats for a living im never board,yes there can be some problems but they have problems on land to i have lots of good friends around the marina including 2 ducks that stay by my boat,there are grocery stores,marine supply,mall,target,all in walking distance,

    • livi

      we should stay on land but we need to go out to sea sometimes for food and discovery with an animal and other sea living creatures

    • livi

      we could stay on land but we need to go out to sea sometimes for food and discovery with an animal and other sea living creatures

    • andrew hamilton

      Hey Tim,
      it sounds great .. where are you doing all this?

    • Terry Webb

      Can anyone advise me to a nice live aboard dock with a cove that is reasonable on monthly rate. My wife and I are gonna give it a go I think. Probably around a 30-40 ft. Boat Preferably South Florida. And any tips on what to look for on a live aboard boat. Thanks

  19. Al

    I think Tim Brisbee’s words are food for thought. I’ve read many books on sailing, sailboat construction, living aboard, cruising, etc., with the intention of eventually doing it all.

    I’ve sailed on inland lakes (I love sailing,) gone out deep sea fishing, and spent a lot of time talking to people on the docks.

    I do think that this whole idea of living the “free” life on a sailboat can be romanicised, as “seagurl” points out, and in reading books by the most well-known seafarers, like Lynn and Larry Pardee, I have an appreciation for how spartan, lonely, boring,trying,and somewhat dangerous,this lifestyle can be.

    Like ANY lifestyle, it involves commitment and dedication, whether you are slaving at a desk to fund your lifestyle and trying to avoid a heart attack, or putting up with the trials and tribulations of living/cruising on a sailboat, and trying to avoid drowning.

    Drinking water, waste water and stores are all huge considerations on a boat, not to mention safety and comfort.

    Many sailors who have written online and in the traditional book market led a boating lifestyle and returned to land. That should tell us something.

    I’m still very seriously considering buying a sailboat and cruising. However, I expect it to be an adventure, not a long-term lifestyle.

    Read, read, read about the cost of boat living and the many discomforts (noise,for example) that boaters have to endure. What I’ve always assumed I could easily handle, I now question. Not because I’ve become chicken, but because I’ve read enough about real sailors write down-to-earth books and articles, to realize it might not be for me.

    Rot, mold, continuous humidity, heat, cold, storms, isolation, dingy thieves laundry,fire(the worst of all on-board disasters other than man-overboard situations,)port authorities, Coast Guard authorities…blah, blah, blah.

    My plan is to actually pay for fairly long-distance trip aboarda sailboat to determine if I think I can handle this sort of adventure.

    I suspect I can, but before I sink a bunch of money into something, I’m going to do the best I can to be sure. Ease into it with the least upfront cost as possible and with an “escape plan” if it doesn’t work out that doesn’t drain my bank account.

    • Tim Bisbee

      Now see, this is the response that I had hoped to generate. Now I was feeling a little on the gloomy side when I wrote down my previous input above,and I did want to scare off those that need scaring off, but this very well thought out,planned and staged approach,by someone with true commitment, is exactly what I wished to generate. I myself did very well living on board and traveling and I did have some really great experiences that made it all very much worth it.But I knew what I was doing (most times)and approached everything with forethought and respect.

      • hank tatham

        thanks for the advice tim.i was in the navy for four years.i think that started this.worked construction for about 20 im a truck driver for 12 years everything is common sense see it on the road everyday.but for the last couple years my gut has been looking at boats and places i have never seen.i believe every country has truck drivers.i think i will buy a boat put it marina learn from other people.meeting ppl is key here then sail afew miles off coast afew times.then go,lol.common sense is good but mother nature is a whole new thing,i look at it this way if its your time to go you will go,dont matter where land,water air.but thanks for the advise maybe we will meet on the water on day and swap tales

    • turtle dove

      Hi there,

      How did you go about finding someone for a long-distance trip aboard a sail boat? If you have any info you’d care to share, thanks in advance.


  20. Michele

    My soul mate and I are thinking of buying a sailboat and taking off for a year. We raised our kids and yes, we do not have enough money to retire but, so many of the people around us waited to long and they never got to retirement. My feeling is why wait till you are too old to do anything anyways. I am 48 and Jim is 56. We are new to sailing having been given a 25 foot sailboat and a cheap mooring on a lake that opens to the intracoastal waterway. So tempted to upgrade to say a 35footer and just do it. We need a little more sailing experience and the guts to jump. We are both avid outdoor people mostly mountain sports like hiking, white water kayaking, road biking… this is just something else we want to try for awhile. How did someone else finally get the guts to jump their good, corporate job for this life? I am hoping when I get back I can find a job… NOT. Probably will not want a conventional job after a trip like this… who knows. I guess the unknown is a bit scary. But, it seems it is our next adventure. Any advise from similar folks is greatly appreciated.

    • SailorDave

      Best advice, do it, stop thinking about it. I thought about it for years and years, finally at 60 I’m doing it and wonedring why I waited so long. I could have done this years ago, just make sure your boat is prepared. Making sure everything is the way you want before cruising will be easier then trying do do it out there. Of course you’ll run into maintenance and problems, but never as many as you do with a house and you’ll have more time to do things.

  21. Vlad Z

    I live in NYC and will retire soon. I had an idea to buy a big enough boat to live aboard for a few winter months in Florida. Sometimes to sail out, but mostly stay at the marina. Tell me what you, experienced people think about it as an alternative to buying an apartment in Florida ??? Thank you.

  22. Avanti3258

    I have cruised on both sail and power boats for 45 years. I have lived aboard my current boat, 35′ fly bridge on a number of occasions. It has a generator, large head, AC/heat. Very comfortable for the two of us. Living on the dock is $450/mo. including water and electric. More social activity than I want but you can be selective. You eat the same food you would at home. Maintenance on the boat is about $2K per year (motors, detail, bottom every 2-4th year. If you are difficult to entertain, don’t try to live aboard or cruise for more than a weekend. On the other hand if you like to read, watch nature, perform standard maintenance and just relax you might love it. Main benefit to me? When you get tired of a location/people just move to a new one!

  23. J. Puma

    I am disabled (Fibromyalgia/chronic pain) and living on SSI/SSDI is near impossible. I have wondered if boat living might be a solution to too-high rent? I don’t have a problem living in a confined space, as its not much different then renting a room. the motion I suppose I can get used to, for all I know it might even be soothing to my condition? However, I am in CA and finding a place might be hard. Plus I would have to learn how to handle a boat (One a lot bigger then some little outboard motor job on a lake, I mean). Really long as I have internet access, I could prob live anywhere thats cheap and I do like boats, even if I have limited experience with them.

    • tim

      attn j puma try living on a small [shantyboat] and use a small skiff to move it around and access land. extremely cheap to build and live on and for those who are handicapped it allows them a decent retirement.the main benefit is you live under the radar of most officials.

  24. amy

    when your living out on the sea and you want to go from country to country like say back and forth from the U.S. to the U.K. What immigration laws are there pertaining to that???

  25. cliff

    has anyone investigated how to grow basic food at sea? I was thinking potatos, peanuts, garlic, kudzoo tomatos and rice. I have been told that only 144 sq ft. are required to grow enough food to feed a single person. If grow indoors using ‘druggy’ type tech with pressurized CO2, this might be reduced. Of course, this would require a larger boat, but it would also allow you to sell FRESH VEGETABLES to passing boats at sea. If anyone has looked into this would you email me. Cliff
    Oh by the way, my brother is so impressed with my seafaring prowess, he told me to never go out where the water is deeper than 2 feet; so I can walk ashore, WHEN–not if, my boat sinks.

    • Jason

      Maybe you could grow edible seaweed in the ocean? Just mark on the GPS where your patches are. You know the Japanese wrap their fish in seaweed, it’s delish. Sushi and Sashimi is Om Nom Nom Nom good!!!

      Rice and Flour would be cheap enough. Potatos are cheap to. Maybe if you have a second person on board to watch the boat you could use a fishing kayak to go to shore and get some cheap brown-rice or some flour and stuff.

      Maybe you could cut a plastic food grade barrel in half and plant potatoes? Not sure. I know you could catch plenty of Fish, Crab, Lobster, Clams, and other high-protein foods but you would still need some carbs.

  26. Rob

    I have been pondering the idea of buying a sailboat to live aboard at a marina in Florida. It is the cheapest way to live in Sunny Florida! Dock fee’s I have found range anywhere from $175 month to $500 month. I do not plan on sailing around the world, I am looking at it as simply a unique way to enjoy nice winters as cheap as possible. The problems you talk about with owning a boat are the same problems you experience owning a house! Replace roof, yardwork, plumbing problems etc…..I have renovated a 1883 cottage I bought and let me tell you a home can suck you dry…..I have done a lot of work investigating living in a marina on a sailboat….you know I have wanted to do this for some time…finally…you know what made me realize its time? I found out I have a terminal illness!!! In remission right now but life is short, take a chance! I lived 22 years in Florida and now have lived lived in Midwest for 12 years… and God I miss the warm weather, the beach, the lifestyle! It has its bad points but to me nothing as bad as shoveling snow off the drive way in 5 below temps!!!! So there is good and bad in everything….I am not worried about pirates unless there living around the inter coastal areas…I am not thinking of sailing my boat to distant lands looking for trouble….I want to spend time at the beach, on the water, fishing…somewhat kind of the simple life! Take it from me!!!! Life is short, and its a great life if you don’t weaken! Thanks

  27. Ronnie

    Hooray for you!!! I have a travel trailer and some of the rv parks charge as much as $1,000 a month to park in!!!! A lot of them take advantage of people wanting to escape the winter months up north! Then when I park my travel trailer usually you are about 6 feet next to another Rv…..maybe I should sell the travel trailer and buy a boat!!! Anyway, good luck on your seaworthy travels and life is soooo short so enjoy! Good Luck and thanks

  28. Troy

    For the production of fresh vegetables, may I suggest sprouting seeds and pulses? Seeds store very well are cheap and once sprouted, escalate dramatically in food value. A little research will be well rewarded.
    I am a marine engineer and love living at sea. I do it for a living but I got into it to get the skills required to live at sea permanently.

    • Troy, I would love to talk to you privately about your goal to live permanently at sea. I am a writer doing research.



      My twitter handle at gmail is my address.

  29. Wondering

    Judging from the posts here it seems that knowledge is the difference between an insurmountable problem and something easy to fix. So the earlier you start with sailing/boating living the better. I see many older people contemplating the lifestyle when they’ve never spent any time in a small boat. There may be a few surprises waiting for them.

    What about living in a large bus or cube/box van like this:
    (Just do an image search on Google to see lots of examples – it should have a sliding door joining the driving area to the storage/living area).

    Then, when you get bored at sea you live ashore or go somewhere. Move all your valuables to the vehicle. This allows you far more flexibility albeit with more responsibility of course. The key is to leave nothing of much value in an unlived in place.

    • Tim Bisbee

      My wife and I had a van (good storage) and a car, coastal cruising we would take both vehicles to the new spot, drive back with just the one, then sail on down, then both of us would drive back again to get the other. this is called the intra coastal shuffle.
      four trips by land and one by water. about the same for living on land and moving, Its a bonus if your new marina has security, get to know the guards,bring them goodies when they’re on duty get to know them. Thieves like vans to target in marinas and construction areas,they know they are prone to have goodies inside, the marina residents often do a superlative job watching out for each others boats, but the parking lot is often hard to see especially at low tide.

  30. SailorDave

    The shotgun thing is a load of crap. If you get attacked by the kind of pirates he’s talking about (and you won’t), they would have machine guns, rifles, and a bunch of guys. Pull out that shotgun and your dead. I would rather be floating away watching them take my boat on my dingy then dead. I’ve can’t even think of one time i needed a shotgun while cruising. Stay safe and stay away from places where there are ungoverned waters, you’ll never have any pirate problems.

    • Jason

      I suppose according to your logic since I have never gotten raped rapes don’t happen. Anyways I have an AR-15 which is much better then a shotgun. And who says they would see me pull it out Shirley.

      I have never needed a smoke detector or a fire extinguisher. I guess I should save space and chuck them in the trash.

      Pansys like you are why pirates are able to stay in business. If your going to get killed by pirates you should at least die with your boots on and take a few of those pieces of scum with you. Oh please Mr. Pirates don’t kill me, please just throw me in the dingy and send me on my way.

      You think they would leave witnesses? I wouldn’t chance it. I’d rather do the world a favor and kill all those pices of crap so they wont get a chance to murder some more poor defenseless smucks.

  31. Steve

    Does any one know any decent marinas in the Mediterranean I have a 25ft cobra bilge keel sailing boat spent getting her up to scratch, band I’m determined to get away from the misery of Britain I’m 34 n just wanna get up and go been sailing 3 years in north Wales but this year has been the worst rain rain rain I want abroad for at least two years

    Any one know any decent n cheap locations round the med

  32. joe keightley

    My wife and I have been livin full time in an rv for awhile.It took some getting used too but its was very manageable.I’m curious to the boat livin lifestyle. We may try to go to florida this winter ,maybe rent a dock side boat for a few weeks or maybe a month to get an idea.I’m very mechanically inclinded , welding and fabrication skills. If I were to buy a small Barge or something like that and just back the rv trailer onto it.
    Would it be too big for most docks? Would it be too big to navigate close to shore to change scenery and locations occasionally. I would not attempt to take it around the world.
    Where are some good docks,moorgaes in Florida to rent for a month and try this out? thanks for the help.

  33. John

    WELL BOO…HOO to the bad guys…I have live 2/3rds of the way around this world. I loved sailing when I learned(self taught and info from fellow sailors) to sail.
    I find most people more than willing to help, giving info and assistance when needed. I am single and love not having the strings and binding land lover’s problems.
    I think the best info is in the movie “Captain Ron” and even then he only had trouble when he created it.
    I love the independence of travel, and being able to take my own time getting anywhere. I love listening and telling sailing experiences and stories…got a few myself.
    SURE, be careful, but NEVER give up your dreams…just learn how to make them work.
    I am also in talking to other sea sailing lovers.

  34. Christina

    My husband and I are traveling to Florida keys to buy a livaboard. If you can steer us the right way on these questions…
    1. Is there a best time to purchase a boat (time of year)?
    2. Where are great places to dock our boat for few months stays?
    3. What is the best solar and wind power options? We want to use alternative methods of fuel when possible.
    4. Interested in installing a de- salination system for our water supply…any suggestions?
    Thank you for your experienced help, happy sailing. :)


    • Eric

      First off, I want to point out I am not a survivalist per se, although I could be if SHTF, I suppose. I appreciate the candidness and vividness of Tim’s comments and information, as well as others both positive and negative. As a new sailor with a wee 16′ Compac, which I anticipate replacing with a larger vessel within just a few months, I would be most interested in hearing about the ups and downs of living aboard for maybe a couple weeks at a time. Can it be done at anchor on the “nature coast” of Florida? I own a house and won’t give it up, but would like to experience some “camping” and roughing it a little with the realization I can come back home to civilization. I am not rugged enough to truly live on board full time and have to work my business on land. Is it possible to cruise the coast, anchor, sleep on board (supposing a bigger cruiser) and come ashore daily while getting a feel for the sea and sampling the “life”? I was thinking on the lines of a month long sabattical away from everyday comforts.

      Thanks for any relevant responses. You guys that live aboard and do it right get credit from me…maybe someday.

  35. Chuck

    I suppose I am a frugal sailor but you wouldn’t know it by looking at my boat, it’s 41 feet long and fully equipped for long term cruising, what I mean by that is…I repowered it myself with a new engine,it has two bathrooms with two composting heads, pressurized hot water,plenty of solar power and wind generator and battery banks,I have a large enough fridge and freezer.The list seems endless…auto pilot,very good ground tackle(anchors and chain with heavy duty windless,Garmin GPS’s,Radar,water maker,LED lighting to conserve power,genset,food stores to last for about six months and many more things to make my boat comfortable.

    For anyone thinking they can just go out and buy a boat and be on my level with a limited budget,it’s not going to happen easily. I have been preparing my boat for years,lots of money spent over time, blood sweat and tears. It is a major commitment and my boat is a piece of me and I trust it with my life.

    As far as experience I have a lot and have been a licensed captain for 15 years and work on the water. I also have another business that caters to the marine industry. Having the dream is great, I also had the dream many years ago, I have had my boat for 11 years and I know it inside and out. Before that I started with smaller boats and learned all I could. Believe me,it’s a wonderful existence but never forget that your boat is floating on Mother Nature,all hell can break loose at any time, to me that is a thrill in itself but for others it may not be.

    I say if your not experienced try it out first, if you have never even experienced it then you might not even last a week or you could love it like I did. I see many folks out there doing it in much smaller boats than mine that are not nearly as well equipped,on the other hand I see people doing it in much larger vessels too,it’s all relative I guess. I would encourage anyone thinking about it to give it a try, but it’s not that easy to buy a boat that you don’t know and start cruising the planet. You have a lot to learn believe me if your just a beginner. If your just wanting to live in a marina, anyone can do that but most who cruise and go places have much experience and well equipped boats. Good Luck.

  36. James

    Boaters take showers lol. Most marinas have nice showers and laundry rooms. Being a single guy I’ve lived on my 24.5 cabin cruiser for 4 years and it’s fine. Depending on where you live though. I spent a year on the river and wind and boat wakes forsure make it uncomfortable. But the new marina has a cove no problems. I have a microwave, LCD tv screen and DVD player, heater and ac and fridge.

    Mold and moisture can be problems an investment in a dehumidifier can be priceless. Most marinas have grocery stores and attractions close by. Back up everything is always recommended though, water, canned foods, batteries etc.

    How you decorate your boat, and keep it clean is a direct appearance of yourself. Boats have everything homes have at least newer ones. Keep it clean, and full of luxuries and you won’t feel like your roughing it.

  37. Capt. Natural-Lee Young

    I am a Vietnam Vet who has decided that livin’ on a boat is the way to be free and enjoy the freedom I once fought for. My vessels are not your ordinary types of vessels. The first vessel I built and still have was a 16′ canoe with two outriggers. It was modified many times as the years past, and has been since turned into my floating shop and store that I sell my art from to folks along the rivers in Central Florida (St. Johns mainly). I was fortunate enough to purchase a 27′ Bayliner Buccaneer sailboat for %500 bucks and have turned it into a full time residence. Living on the water is so very calming and peaceful. I wouldn’t live any other way and won’t until the day I die….probably eaten by a gator. You can see the vessels on my web site There you’ll see that it don’t take a lot to make a home on the water! Happy and safe waters to all!

    • Joe R

      Capt. Natural-Lee thank you for sharing your story. It gives me hope. Thank you for your service in Vietnam as well. I live in VA currently. I grew up in Orange City Florida right next store to St. Johns. As the winter rolls by the ocean calls my name. I love the Blue ridge mountains but the ocean and warm weather stole my heart a long time ago. I have spent the past year researching Sailing/Navigation/Living aboard. The more I read the more I crave the adventure and life style. Im 31. A former Marine. I feel like this is the time to really get out there and enjoy life in a simpler form . Every year goes by a little faster. I have been worried about the storms and my pets. Any advice on the pets and storms you or others have would be appreciated. I have a large boxer pit mix and a cat. They are like my children. Is this possible in your opinion to liveaboard with two pets. I will be able to afford a sail boat in the 30′ range when that time comes. I am going to start off slow. Sail around locally. Learn and prepare for everything. Might not leave Florida. Who knows. That’s what makes it exciting. Ive enjoyed reading these blogs. I hope all of you find your way on land or at sea.

  38. mike

    I stumbled on this site, and have read some of the comments. Mmm I’ve live up a lovely peaceful river in the southwest of gun free England. Absolutely love it.
    Finally settled on 36 foot aft cabin twin engined cruiser. Perfect for old git like me. Had my fill of Man’s noise and concrete and relentless rush to wherever and back again. Bye

    • Jason

      England isnt “gun free”. The gangbangers and criminals still have guns. Btw your violent crime rate went up dramatically after the 97 ban.

      Most of the Crime in the U.S. comes from areas with the strictest gun control.

      If it wasnt for just a few of our anti-gun cities we would have one of the lowest murder rates in the world.

      Also look at how many guns Switzerland has and how much lower their crime rate is.

  39. tbowne

    I’m looking to move to Florida this winter & have been considering a 35′ +/- size cruiser to stay on while there. Im an RN & so would be working while I’m there & not overly fussy about exactly what city or town. Not new to boats/boating, engines, etc. Also looking to stay on the Gulf-side & wondering where the best rates for extended-stay are, & at which marinas. Not looking to “live off the grid” but have always wanted to try this, at least for the winter prior to moving full time (condo, house, etc) Any details or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  40. Maurice

    Wow! What a range of opinions, You know it’s funny that some people are dreamers. Always looking at “What If” They are the ones that gave us Travel to the moon, Cures for Polio, measles, small pox, etc. Then there are others that say “Hell No” they gave us what? Keep dreaming people. If you try it and it doesn’t work Oh well, move on to the next dream. I would rather try a thousand things and fail, than try nothing and succeed. Keep dreaming, when you stop you’re dead.

  41. capnmoe

    Ft Myers Has one on the River across from downtown
    I don’t know the name. I found it by googling. Tampa & Sarasota also. I Know theres a mooring field in Sarasota. Bon Chance

  42. Wayne

    I am an over the road trucker for 20 years and I have heard it all! From prostitutes to thieves to faulty workshops botching up a repair job, and I have learned a lot traveling the US every single day for the 20 years. Most of what I see in this thread is directly related to my lifestyle. I live in a cramped environment and I am leery of ANYONE who hangs around my truck. I stay where I know it to be safe and I don’t mess around with places that I don’t know about. ITS ALL ABOUT COMMON SENSE. If you don’t have mechanical ability and you have low funds in the bank, then stay off the boat. There have been numerous people who have travelled the globe on a boat (The Pardey’s come to mind first) without an engine, and living in a 25 +/- foot sailboat made of wood. It’s a different lifestyle, but its definitely doable. If you don’t have street smarts and you have no money in the bank, then stay out of this lifestyle. Money will save you in most situations, but knowing who to pal with and who to stay away from is KEY to traveling and I don’t care how you are traveling, be it by motorcycle, boat, car, plane, or blimp. You must be street savvy to get around. A moron will screw up anything, so the more learned you are and the more able-bodied you are, the more likely it will be for you to succeed.

    Just like my truck, the nicer the boat, the more attention it will draw, so the shabbier the boat, the less likely the chance for vandals to come aboard. I don’t like to live like a pig, but its safer when you are low on funds.

    My current truck costs 300K and I wont leave it for a second somewhere that I don’t trust it to be watched while I am gone.

    Meanwhile my old 20K truck, I would park in East LA for the week and not worry one second about it. No one would touch it or come near it, and even if they burnt it to the ground while I was gone, it was only 20K! I could replace it tomorrow.

    You could get a 3K boat and fit it out to get you around and replace the whole thing every year if you wanted to. OR, you could get a 300K yacht and be financially strapped, and constantly worried about anyone breaking in while you are ashore. It’s all relative.

    If you want to travel, don’t expect everyone to be onboard with your dreams. In fact don’t expect ANYONE to be onboard with you. Just go out and do it after you have done research. Rent a boat and take it out first. Unless you can just throw the thing away when you are tired of it, you need to do your homework. Renting is the best way to get your feet wet.

    There is a cool website where you can rent other people’s boats (Like bareboat charter) Boat Rental Peer to Peer is like Air BNB.

    Find something that is reliable and will do what you want it to do. I was just reading about this guy who sank his 30 foot sailboat off the coast of South Carolina on his maiden voyage to the Caribbean. My first thought was that he did no homework and didn’t belong at the helm of that boat. Just because you can , doesn’t mean you should.

    If you want to live on a boat in a marina, then you will have less stress than someone who is actively using the boat to travel the world. Like I said, its all common sense and I have seen Truck drivers who operate 80K lbs. vehicles who didn’t know how to change a headlight. They eventually crash the truck or quit because they have no business being out in the world. That is what sets the people apart from the ones who successfully travel on their own and the ones who end up in jail, or sunk at sea, or dead. Every time there is a story of some capsized boat, or pirates taking someone hostage, or some other horrific tale, other than just dealing with the ocean, it is usually because the person or people didn’t take every precaution available and didn’t do their due diligence.

    Check out Lin and Larry Pardey if you want a prime example of someone who has travelled the world with only their wits, common sense, and personal ability.

  43. steve

    Would like to know do I need to give up my pets to live on a boat have one dog and 4 parrots. Some of you talk about cheep boats have not had any luck finding one of these were do I look. Also am a air conditioner tech could I pick up some extra work at docking areas

  44. Naufragio

    We don’t need no more greenhorn hazard-to-navigations clogging our channels and anchorages. Its a hard life, buy a backpack and a bike and stay on land with the other lubbers.

  45. L.D.Sewell

    Living on a boat can be one of the best ways to live independently – if you know what you are getting into – and IF you can handle it. Personally my wife and I have lived aboard a 39′ boat for a year and in a 35′ travel trailer for another year. I greatly prefer living on a boat. There are many consideration to make including your family if you have one and what they are willing and able to handle. You may love living on a boat – they may hate it. To me an ideal boat to live aboard if 40 to 65 feet in length, though others will work too. I currently own a 31 foot Chris Craft that I am rebuilding and I could actually live on it quite comfortably, if need be, because it is very effieciently designed. Its also fiberglass.

    If you are new to boats here is your first lesson – buy a fiberglass boat. Wooden boats are wonderful – but they are problematic especially if you are a novice and they can be expensive. Im talking about old wooden hulled (planked) boats built in the 60’s and earlier. Fiberglass boats are a much better choice for a live aboard. Above all else make sure the hull and all through hull fitting are in good condition as well as all hoses connected to such fittings. Above the water line make sure there are no leaks around hatches, windows, vents or anywhere else.

    If you plan to cruise a lot then diesel engines are safer. Gas can be safe but requires extra attention to detail unless you want to blow your boat up along with yourself in the process. Many do. Power boats have more living space than sail boats in general. They also have shallower drafts allowing them in to areas to anchor that sail boats can never go – an important consideration if you plan to live on the hook.

    People talk about anchoring out to live and using a small boat to go ashore and work shop etc. This is possible and people do it all the time. Unfortunaely they sometimes return to find their boat has slipped her anchor and is now run aground or into another vesel, bridge etc. or worse – or is now on the bottom. I think someone capable of handling the boat should always be aboard if it is anchored – otherwise tie it up to a dock. Just my opinion… do as you wish but consider the risk in making your own decision.

    I have often dreamed of living aboard a very large house boat built on a barge hull. Somthing about 70 feet long by about 24 feet wide, with three levels above the main deck – the first on the main deck taking up most of the deck space and housing the main living areas, then the deck above that being smaller yet still good sized and housing the owners quarters, and finally a small deck house or bridge on top of that. It would look somewhat like old river boats of long ago.

    The hull – in this case, would be steel. Then she would have mooring stations aft and port and starboard for smaller boats.

    Just a thought.

    Personally I love all kinds of human habitats large and small, floating or fixed or even on wheels. The big trick is choosing the right one for you and yours at a given point in your life.

    Good luck in your journey.

  46. Ken Horst

    I have heard it said, “You will spend what you have to spend”. If you have $4,000 a month to spend you will spend it, if you have $500 a month to spend you will spend it.

    • Jonaskinny

      Not all of us. I’ve been wanting a sailing catamaran for decades, have recently paid off my modest house near the beach, and have almost saved enough to purchase the cat for cash. Just don’t spend more than you have to, don’t live in too much house, and pay cash.

  47. Sailor Jerry

    I have spent my original purchase price again on maintenance and improvements since starting this way of life and it is still way cheaper than living ashore. My personal choice was a 1974 35′ winterised catamaran, it has enough space for me, it is heavily built fibreglass, it is warm, sure footed, and tough like me, with a 150watt solar panel, wind Genny, fuel Genny and good heating. As for weapons…Air rifle, Speargun, big stick, machete, a variety of knifes and a winning smile…
    Maintenance is the key to keeping your dream afloat, you must be or learn to be self reliant, if you need to employ ‘experts’ to carry out jobs it will cost you a fortune. Learn how to do everything. Regarding moorings, if you buy a shallow drafted boat with legs, a cat or a bilge keeler you can reach hidden creeks and mud berths or find struggling land owners or marinas that are very cheap . This life gets easier with time, when you know your boat inside and out, when you know yourself in this life inside and out, it becomes just normal. I am very happy, and know many others who feel the same, even the bi-polar crazy ones are happy, they hide away for days and then pop up again smiling. Living on a boat gives people a good purpose in life, more so than any building.

    • kimmerwood

      Sailor Jerry,
      Your truth is speaking to me. Practical, practiced and real. I’m copying and pasting your words to my notes. My intention is to refer to it often ’til we make the shift and go for the dream! Thank ya brutha.

  48. Johnny

    Is there a boat that would be good to use to go from Southern California to Brazil to escape for my life? Im not attempting to live on the boat, I just want to transport myself to a safe place in a quick manner and get back on land. Let’s say in a doomsday scenario, where I need to leave Southern California, what would be a the most secure yet discreet and safe boat for a novice to use, in order to flee to another country for survival? Thanx to you guys who all know more than I for your help!

    • J.J.

      Johnny you need a submarine like Capt Nemo had in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Or a Time Portal perhaps. Anytime is a good time to Escape From L.A.

  49. Rod

    Hello, I am looking at a 23 ft hunter sailboat. Just me and my dog. Wanting to spend winters in florida but want to dock boat year round. No problem with living in tight space. Couldyou advise me on what you think? I liked ur post! Any info helpful! Thanks

    • J.J.

      Rod you can find a longer boat that will work better for you. 28 Footer would be okay and they don’t cost much more than a 23 ft. The longer the boat the faster it will move under sail. If you decide to travel the deep blue ocean you need a long boat at least 28foot. Don’t go over 32ft or it will cost you too much money to operate your sailboat. 30ft would be ideal as one person can sail the boat and it won’t take you forever to get somewhere. Look into Police Auctions for buying a used sailboat. Sometimes you can pick up a good one for peanuts. Live on the hook because dock fees are expensive in most areas of Florida. Or live on a mooring ball, they are pretty cheap. You will need to buy a gun safe and fix it firm to your boat to put all your valubles in when you are away from the boat and a boat alarm too. Unless you can find someone to live on the boat with you, to guard it from pirates.

  50. PA

    I don’t need a boat to live off of, I need one to get away from the congested city I live in (Chicago) to somewhere a bit quieter and safer if the city needed to be evacuated. Getting out of the city via car would be reckless and stupid. The only things I need to consider are the time of year (the lake was almost completely frozen this winter), how many on the boat, and where to. But within those considerations are so many variables!

    • J.J.

      Hi PA, Think about a Paraglider it is cheaper than a boat in most cases and can move you fast and free anywhere you got the gas to go. It is safer than a Hangglider…if you run out of gas just sail down to Earth and fill up again. Horace Greely said, “go west young man, go west” and that is good advise.

  51. SMG

    Are their communities of people living on the water together in lakes or rivers in America?
    How can I find people like that?

  52. Peter C.

    Tim’s comments really struck me at the core.
    I have been an illegal liveaboard for the last 10 years
    at a marina in the Sannich Inlet on Vancouver IslandIt is one of the last 2 that allow illegals ,there used to be 5 or 6.
    As the marinas get bought out they get upgraded and usually kick out the liveboard community that developed over the years.News is my marina is being sold to a rich guy who wants to make it into a megayacht marina and kick the local 100 boats out.
    Now I realize the boat is a liability now if i can’t live on it.I could anchor out but the municipality makes it hard with no parking and dinghys not allowed overnite at the government dock.And no water.
    The local waterfront owners have all put out empty mooring buoys to prevent people from anchoring in front.THe closest marinas that take liveaboards are full up.
    Oh yeah…the insurance company cancelled my insurance saying the could not insure a homebuilt catamaran anymore!!!
    I have finally realized i thought I should go cruising because I built a boat but i never intended t go offshore.
    Anyway i am stripping the boat of anything i can sell and moving back on land.The boat was been an albatrose around my neck as I never really finished it
    I am 58 now and prefer hiking in the woods and mountains than struggling at sea i think.
    Be wary of the liveaboard lifestyle it can trap you and is pretty lonely too.
    I am in shock now because this loss of liveaboard thing made me face up to the fact i never really wanted to go offshore.

    • J.J.

      Hi Peter C. You are not alone. The US Gov’t is tightening its control over the people everywhere in this country. Snowbirds are being driven away from their favorite landing place Quartzsite Arizona. New National Forest laws are so strict it is rediculious for camping. My advice is to take what money you have and go to Reno. Play it all on black lucky 13…if you win you can buy a nice boat and live it up at a fancy marina. If you loose there is always the French Foreign Legion if you can hide your age a little :)

  53. Peter C.

    I think this trend will continue as the 1% buy up all the waterfront and government restricts access to water by way of marine parks etc.More marinas are requiring insurance which is another way to control/restrict the type of boat you are allowed to keep in marinas.I hear even Mexican marinas are requiring it so you would be forced to anchor out at all times.
    Now that I have spent all that money on the boat thinking I would be going sailing…now i have to go back to work as I quit my day job to finish the boat.
    Maybe one lesson here is don’t try to build your own boat!
    I’m going back to work and will turn my van into a stealth camper for my retirement,maybe drive around BC for a while.
    I very much admire the folks who can go out and do the long distance cruising thing but I guess it’s not for everyone.
    cheers Peter

    • J.J.

      Peter life is full of setbacks, live and learn. You need to do more research, as it sounds like you bit off more than you could chew. Don’t be discouraged. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Try thinking outside the box.

  54. Big B

    I loved all of the comments, thank you all for your input. To those without answers to their questions go to or just keep googling.

    I am learning to sail now and hope to buy a nice sailboat for my woman and I in a few years, the only thing I can recommend is READ as much as you can before venturing out, never stop learning.

  55. jt

    I cannot stand the boats anchored all around my harbor that are overflowung with unnecessary junk all over their decks. These people bought boats to live on, not fir any other purpose. The once beautiful harbor now looks like a junk yard. As I sail by I can smell the reek of booze and pot.

    If you have no interest in maintaining a boat do not buy one.

    I live on my boat and love to sail and anchor out. I love meeting others who also do so. But many of the liveaboards I have met on anchor have drug addictions and or are chronic alcoholics…their boats sit in crumbling messes of algae an

  56. Fick

    Yes! This is full of horrors! Pirates, and stuff! Your life WILL BECOME A NIGHTMARE!!! Please, don’t go, OK? Stay ashore. And leave more room for us, poor pirate’s victims doomed for nightmare life.

  57. nick

    hay can anyone help me? im looking to live on a boat but im not sure if there are any taxes id have to pay to do so. like a property tax or equivalent

    • J.J.

      Nick…shush don’t talk so loud you might be giving the Gov’t new ways of thinking about taxing us Tax Slaves even more. Walls have ears and Loose Lips Sink Ships.

  58. Frank Young

    Tim has had some many excellent posts. None of which struck me as only a spectator as negative. Millions of books fill our libraries around the world teaching us how to deal with failure, few if any about how to deal with success. Ther is a reason for this. If someone fails, the problem can be zeroed in on, like a laser guided bomb. Success can be hard to fathom.
    Those points appearing to be negative served to show with precision where faults can be. Would it not be to one’s advantage to have this in mind and in sght for planning purposes.
    So many fine ideas and observations have been expressed. Sadly, some were just plain lacking in any vision and will be found to be woefully inadequate.
    In Tim’s case, there’s been a lot of killing the messenger for brining the bad news.

  59. stan flowers

    I accidentally found this site and I’m quite impressed with the conversation.I’m 57,currently own 2 boats a12’fishing and an 18′ I/o.I love the water.I’d like to sell both and retire on the water at 62.I was actually trying to surf some of the info I found here,thank you.Looking forward to my journey I am!!Fair winds and water to all enjoy!!

    • Chuck U. Farley

      I accidentally found this site, and for the last two hours have been happily giggling at the misinformation being posted in the comments.

      Anyone that is seriously considering living on a boat, (which is cheap, safe, relaxing & just soul soothing), find someone that’s already doing it and offer to be crew. I’ll take someone for a sail if they’ll do the dishes and scrub the topsides.

      Thanks for the laughs, its been fun.

  60. Claude

    Hi all !

    First of all, I shall start with a positive imput, in order to avoid criticism about me being another “Dream breaker”.
    Dear autor, amongst the various ways of supporting oneself offshore you have forgotten a possible source of income :
    Teaching English.
    Agreed, when it comes to dealing with children, it is traditionnally an activity at which women are best.
    (I get this impression, that your post is written from a male point of view, with a lot of useful advices for the single handed seaman to be).
    Whilst I am at it, I am a bit surprised that in your list I cannot see anywhere :
    – learn at least one foreign language.
    Thinking about South America, Spanish comes obviously into my mind.
    Perhaps, the first question one should pose to him/herself is : “am I a people person ?”
    Do I socialize easily with strangers ?
    IMHO, living on a boat implies that you interact far more with others than ashore.
    I understand that here a number of contributors are concerned about safety/security, without insulting anybody, it is quite obvious that your mooring or marina neighbours are more likely to keep an eye on your boat, should you go ashore, if you are in very good speaking terms with them.
    Provided, you have let them know that you were leaving for a while.
    Off course, it works the other way round.

    Getting back to my original point above,
    should you travel outside your “comfort zone” and interacting with people whose English is not their primary language, you will find out that English is in demand everywhere in this world, even in the poorest countries parents acknowledge that a command of English is an essential asset for their kids to land a job.
    The harbour Master kids can be your first customers.
    If the locals cannot afford to pay you in cash, they could happily trade English lessons against food,meals, whatever they have got.
    It always surprises me that native speakers (not my case) are not aware of this tremendous asset they have to speak THE international language effortlessly and do nothing with it.
    I have also very interesting imput from posters who are Certified Yacht masters, Marine Engineers, skilled professionals, there is definetly money to be made passing on this knowledge.
    Just my two (Euro) cents.

  61. Pietas

    i just realized i should have never signed that sierra club petition this morning protecting whales. because it is agenda21. i was wondering how earlier and i signed it anyways. but now god sent me this thought. we don’t need land to live on. We can live on a boat our entire lives and while maybe it wont be as good as being on land it can be done. that’s why they want control over the waterways, and they are using whales as a reason to get Obama to try to have stricter protection of cargo ship routes for the whales by pushing them west, but this just needs enforcing and the enforcing will come in the way of tax dollars to support ocean police and these ocean police will also prevent anyone from living on a boat. Just like you can’t live in your van unless you are in designated areas, soon you won’t be able to live on a boat.

  62. Puting

    1. Must be a sailboat. When the shit hits the fan, you won’t be able to buy diesel. At ANY price. You will be stuck. Wind is free.
    2. Must be large enough to contain enough provision, yet small enough to singlehand. For me, something like 40′ will do. I am seriously advocating stocking up with MRE enough for a year at least. With shelf life of 25 years, that is the only stuff to seriously consider. In addition to seafood you catch, this will get you going.

  63. alex

    In SF Bay, your boat must be at least 35′ to live aboard.
    Half the marinas here offer live aboard. The cost is between $500 – 800 avg.
    Most marinas will tell you they do not have any space available when you call but if you get to know the community, you will find that the harbor masters simply want to know what kind of person you are before they grant you live aboard priveledges. I recommend coming in on what they call ‘transient status’.

    Then after two months or so, they know you and you know the marina. You are then able to decide if it’s a place you want to stay.

    If you are looking into buying a boat, don’t forget it’s best to have it surveyed before you buy it. A survey will tell you everything about the state of the boat you are purchasing and give you a heads up about what needs to be fixed and when. Look for consignment shops where sailors can go and sell gear or salvage yards. Even craigslist sometimes has some great deals. A friend had someone one dock over give him a nearly brand new stove for his boat. After you buy your boat, start making friends in the community. Pick up a Latitude magazine and get connected. Once you are connected you will find that like most things, sailing is what you make it. If you are a millionaire who wants to blow all your money, there are plenty of people to take it, but on the whole most of us don’t spend a lot. You just have to learn how to keep an eye on maintenance and deal with the problems as they arise and not put them off so they stack up.

    My Harbor Master also lives in our marina.

    We are not smelly hobos, though there are some who choose this lifestyle because they are down on their luck. Most of us are professionals who love sailing or yachts. We have bankers, coast guard, computer programmers, doctors, teachers, artists, flight attendants and more at my marina.

    We also have a very nice bathroom. Even with the 200+ boats, you can usually find a time to have the bathroom all to yourself. They are accessed with the same key you use to enter the docks, so you don’t have to worry about just anyone buzzing in while you are there. Bathrooms do vary from marina to marina. We also have a laundry. We do not pay 3x the amount for water or electric. Water is included in our docking fee. We do pay for electricity in addition to the docking fee. My bill is about $20-30 a month for a 36′ sailboat. I have a TV, microwave, computer, refridgerator and air purifier.

    Most boats over 30 feet have showers inside.

    A desalinator would take care of your needs when sailing away from the marina.
    A solar panel or wind generator takes care of the power.

    Someone mentioned radar and GPS equipment. This is very important if you plan to sail in the open ocean. And as others have pointed out, it’s really important to get to know your boat and take a class or several classes to be properly prepared to go on any kind of real boat adventure.

    Yes, sometimes there are thieves at marinas. I can not speak for marinas on the east coast. I’ve found that most of us on the west coast are always looking out for one another. We watch our own boats and keep an eye on the boats around us. If there is a problem, we call the authorities. Gates to the dock are locked. You can also lock your doors/companionway. If I see anyone on my dock I do not recognize, I ask them who they are looking for and let them know I’m watching. Most are here legitimately. Anyone who somehow gained access and shouldn’t be here usually leaves the gate quickly. Though thefts at my marina is rare, thieves do frequent parking lots. Always keep your car locked!

    Most of us leave our boats open even when we aren’t around and it’s rare to hear anyone has a problem. This is a different lifestyle than that of the average land dweller. I’ve never found a group that is nicer and willing to help. Because we all know the dangers, we are always willing to help.

    Yes, maintenance can be expensive BUT often you will also find that there is usually someone at any given marina that has a lot of experience and sometimes a great deal of ‘know-how’. I happen to live next to a guy that builds custom sailing yachts and he helps me with everything from engines to rigging for a case of beer!

    I never feel homeless. In fact, I feel like I have my own little island all to myself!
    This is my own private floating sanctuary. I do keep my boat very clean and organized. I can be ready to go in 15 minutes.

    Though I love it and will never live on land again, it is not for everyone.

    There are also community gardens at a handful of marinas here that offer you dedicated space if you want to grow your own food.

    And the comments on fishing are fantastic. Learning to fish and how to prepare what you catch means you can eat very well and it helps you save your stash of food so it lasts longer.

    As for pirates, people on long voyages call in when they see pirates. You will learn in training to stay in regular contact with other sailors and authorities. Avoiding them will always be the best option unless you are looking for trouble.

    It is a small space. The advice to live on a boat at a marina before you try to set sail is excellent. It is not for everyone but for some of us, it is what makes life worth living! I dreamed of living on a sailboat since I was a young kid. I finally bought my boat many years ago and have never looked back.

    Smooth sailing.

  64. AiRiQ

    I’ve sailed the eastern coast for years and have lived aboard for many more. I’m on a 55′ motor yacht now and love my life. My port is on a river in new england and and though the winter has it’s difficulties I wouldn’t live any other way. I’ve been in the same port for six years now and have made some great friends.

    As far as I can tell their are two types of live aboard… the hermits and those that simply love life.

    The Hermits: seem to want to live off hook and come in and out with the tide. Horde all the little shiny bits they find and tend to be a bit skid-dish. think Gollum (My Precious). These are usually not mean or bad people… just a bit lost… just keep an eye on your shinny things if they come to visit… AND WHATEVER YOU DO… DON’T FEED THEM!!! or they will always be at your door…

    Those that love life: There are those who live “normal” lives, maintain jobs, raise children/pets, are productive members of society all while living aboard. These individuals are great people who like the land lubbers live as if they were in a waterfront condo and take their boats out on special occasion or the random long weekend.

    I personally have grown from one to the other…

  65. JeffreyC

    Everything you’ve said is so general, there’s no real information at all. It really doesn’t sound like you know anything about boats or living at sea. And repeating yourself three times, “research, research, research.” was embarrassingly bad writing.

  66. I have read in entirety the posts here. I am a 64 year old retired electrical engineer. Ex Army and self made. I have had to do life on my own and solitude is a way of life for me. I’ve done everything imaginable in life from cleaning bathrooms to sales marketing and public relations. I have hosted motor and sailed off and on for 50 years. I recently totally rebuilt a MacGregor Venture 25 just to get back into the mariners train of thought. Although my BOB (bug out boat) is a near perfect 1977 Ranger with extra sails and a new Yanmar diesel. I have never had any support whatsoever from family as my Dad views me as a competitor rather than a son. This has only served to make me independent in my thinking and trust myself and my decisions. Now you know a few base things about me. I’ve heard a lot of people here ask others opinions about whether they should llive aboard or not. For Christ’s sake people if you want to live anywhere boat included do it.!! The advice here to research, read, test out the lifestyle are valid points. If you are not secure and trusting in yourself I have no idea how you survive anywhere. If you are weak minded and need validation from any entity other than the great creator or whatever you believe, you’re in trouble living in a boat. Living aboard requires a certain knowledge of boats, the watery outdoors and land based society and survival skills. So much of living aboard is like living anywhere…all in your head. Being comfortable in any social setting including being alone..comfortable with your own thoughts! Please do not misunderstand me, I care deeply for others and wish everyone well but you must know who you are deep dark in the late of the night. Do no intended harm. Here I am only attempting to impart some different points of view and it’s an early rainy Sunday morning here in Oriental North Carolina at Pecan Grove Marina. If you travel the ICW you know where I am. In no way am I trying to take away from the need to have knowledge and skills on the water, ofcourse and obviously. The discussions about firearms, it’s America do as you damn well please. If you are venturing into another country..well be respectful and when in Rome do as the Romans do. You can get away with being insecure, needy and weak on land because there is always somewhere for you to hide who you are or someone’s shoulder to cry on. Living aboard your shortcomings will soon become apparent and doom you to failure. If being indignantly offended because of a gender or racial comment is who you are…grow the hell up. No one does or should care about your “little feelings”. Look, life is tough anywhere, rich, poor and in between. The discussions about cleanliness, if someone has to tell you to shower and how to dress…then you’re a pig and be happy with who you are. You will get further with others though by maintaining a certain decorum socially and physically. To the old salts and the newbies. Old salts, as hard as you try you cannot impart your experiences and knowledge effectively to anyone. Newbies, no one can tell you all you need to know, or if you doubt yourself no one can give you the confidence needed to live aboard or anywhere else for that matter. I’m not trying to insult or squash anyone’s dreams…I’m trying to help you. If you want to live aboard..prepare and do it. If you want to dream about it..then dream about it. Be happy and believe in yourself. Be honest with yourself..”to thine own self be true”. Know your limitations and live within them, trying to be better everyday. Do not expect your experiences to be a mirror of anyone else’s..expect your experiences to be YOURS and take those to your grave. In not addressing much boating into here because others have and there’s only so much to say about a boat. I’m trying to get you to go live whatever dream you have and ta hell with what anyone says or thinks (within reason). You only live for a while and if your house or your car or your profession is WHO YOU ARE,, please reexamine you! In a hundred years, or much less, no one will remember you. No one will know if you were happy or sad. No one will know, or care whether or not you lived your dreams. So get off your ads and go live.!!! Defend yourself to whatever measures someone forces you to. Other than that…Sally forth, be confident in yourself and your decisions, knowinly do no harm. Also as someone else here said. If living aboard is not your dream…go live an I that dream…but go live !! In closing I want to leave you with a song I learned in kindergarten and it is so true. Occasionally sing it to yourself..and live !!! “Row, row,row your boat gently down the stream..merrily merrily merrily rush..LIFE IS BUT A DREAM.!! Thank you..and have a great life.

  67. Walt Disney

    I recently bought a boat because I feel like taking an adventure, nothing is going to deture me from sailing non-stop around the world. My boat is comprised of cardboard boxes and rope, the sail is made from Glad© yard waste bags. The local media nick named me “boat boy” so you know Im legit. I watched “cast away” over 400+ times, I feel like ive got what it takes to brave the southern ocean. Thoughts?

  68. Mr. Touopiliol

    Walt you bastard! I was out at sea for ove 2.5 weeks because i fell off your Damn cruise liner!!!

  69. Walt Disney

    Well…..sorry bitch

  70. Dan Ransom

    Wow. What a string. 6 Years! Living aboard is like being a “Mountain Man”, but on a boat. (If you’re Donald Trump you wouldn’t be reading this.) Here’s my 2 cents. If the boat has a marine head and holding tank and cooking facilities (a stove) the I.R.S (and hence other official authorities) will consider it a legitimate residence. Porta-potties don’t qualify. If the marina won’t let you have mail delivered there, rent a mailbox at the Post Office for a couple hundred bucks a year. Lived aboard an Irwin Citation 34 in St. Petersburg and Key West for 3 years. St Pete was $600/ month at the dock. Key West city field was $300 per month and they’d pump out your holding tank every week whether you were aboard or not. Get a good dinghy. It’s a haul into the dinghy dock. They put in new showers and washing facilities a few years ago, so they’re O.K. Lock your bike or they’ll steal it ashore. I recommend Wednesday night at Cowboy Bills Bar. (Topless bull riding.) Dockside living is most convenient, but you pay for the privilege. Figure $500 month at the seedy mom & pop marinas to HOLY SHIT for the upscale places. Costs vary widely state to state. Do your own research. Most places will make you carry liability insurance (figure in a hundred bucks a month) though a few will let you get away with signing a “liability waiver”. (A bunch of broke people promising not to sue each other.) Living on the hook is for the purists. If you can’t generate your own power and water, it’s pretty primitive, but completely doable. It’s also damned near free. (Do you have what it takes, Mountain Man?)Careful where you drop the hook. People like to complain and they don’t give a shit about legal technicalities. They tend to consider us, “Homeless people who live on a boat”. THE BOAT. Many boats sold in the secondary market are owner financed to some extent. Banks won’t lend money on a boat older than 20 years. I’ve bought two that way. The down payment is whatever you have and the monthly payment is whatever you can afford. Figure out what you can truly handle and stick to it. There’s always a slightly nicer boat for a little more. Buy all the boat you can afford, but don’t bury yourself. Be careful and realistic. My current boat (an old hunter 34 in decent shape) was purchased for $17500. ($3000 down and $500 per month.) Make reasonable offers and make lots of them. There are guys out there who are on their knees every night praying “Dear God, please send someone to buy my boat.” Make it win/ win and you get a boat. My last boat was $6000 down and $300 for 36 months. No bank. No interest. Simple promissory note with a complete stranger. If you’re not mechanically inclined, bring a fat check book or stay ashore. Normal maintenance runs about 10% of the boats value. (A $20,000 boat cost $2000 per year just to keep it fully functional.) Sailors are a tight community. There are always people willing to help in the sailing community, but you need to be self reliant as much as possible or you’ll become a pariah. (Geez… I wonder what he needs now?) In the final analysis, learn and research all you can, then go for it. There are times when you’ll wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?”. There are times when you’ll have a rail buried in the water on a beam reach smokin’ along like a rocket sled on rails with dolphins surfing in your bow wave. There are also times when you’ll have your feet up, your arm around a warm, soft woman and your hand on a cold drink, watching a picture book sunset with a couple steaks sizzling on the grill. It ain’t for the meek. But, the rewards are proportionate. You may love the lifestyle. You may hate it. You’ll never know which if you live your life in fear.

  71. Bjdrawh

    I came to this page to get real information ,,but as most Groupe pages it get taken over with BS an off subject riff raff ,,,I’m a disable vet ,,,I would like to know what type of boat to get an i would like to sail to hawiia then the philipines ,,,fron the east coast tks

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