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Live Aboard Sailboat – Pros and Cons – Sailboat Living

About a month ago, we were very very close to committing to a live-aboard sailboat.  I’m a firm believer in going with the flow and an amazing opportunity presented itself so in typical Angela fashion, I flew into research mode and even recruited 2 captain friends and a couple who currently live on a sailboat along the way.  Here’s what I learned from the experience.


Sailboats are beautiful but an incredible amount of work: It’s essentially combining your car and house and it comes with a ton of upkeep.  My sailing friends tell me there’s always something to fix, clean or do.

Which brings me to my next point, the expense: My friends tell me that often, the actual purchasing of the boat can be the cheapest part.  It’s the ongoing maintenance or repairs that can get costly.  It can also get expensive for renting in the marina or sailing into other territories.  I think my girlfriend told me it was some $120 for a weekend sail into a neighboring island which got to be upwards to $220 for other parts.

Bathroom, laundry, and water: I’ve heard both positives and negatives about water makers but fresh water is definitely not abundant on a sailboat.  The heads are typically small, some have to be pumped out (a compost toilet is another option) and many showers are right over the toilet.  Laundry is typically done in a bucket unless you’re renting space in a marina.

No private space and limited storage: This isn’t so much an issue for us since we keep things minimal but for my friends who just moved onto a sailboat and own a decent amount of things, it’s been a bit of a struggle for them, especially when you have to secure everything down before sailing away.

Mildew, mold, corrosion, and bugs: Apparently these are just inevitable issues.

Storm, hurricanes, and sea sickness: Our captain friend told us that in his decades of sailing, it’s not usual for him to experience sea sickness but it can still strike once in a blue moon.  During particularly stormy times, you have to battle the intense thrashing and swells for a quality nights rest.  Even when it’s not too terribly stormy, water can still get everywhere, even into your staterooms.

Loading/unloading: Hoisting 5 gallon jugs of fresh water on board or even something as simple as groceries can apparently be a pain in the ass, especially if you’re moored out and have to dinghy in.

Mooring ball: You have to dinghy everywhere and create a system where one person isn’t just stuck on the boat.

Close proximity to neighbors: When anchored in a marina like my friends are, they said you can hear everything and at that point, you’re still paying for rent.

Chemicals: It’s not the most eco-friendly as some very harsh chemicals are used to maintain the boat.


Freedom: You can sail anywhere and be autonomous by being off the grid.  You can literally sail the world if you feel so inclined to.

Nature: You’re surrounded by open water and on the verge of an adventure anytime.  I have friends that swim with wild dolphins and arrive to “deserted islands” and island hop every weekend.

J’s personal pro: you’re learning a wonderful skill utilizing an ancient vessel that’s been around forever.  My pro: you can easily sail away from the zombie apocalypse.

Close knit community: Especially if you opt for marina living which my girlfriend tells me often reminds her of college dorm living since you’re sharing bathrooms and laundry facilities.

Economical: If you get into a groove, you can learn how to keep costs down and the live-aboard life can be much more economical if you can plan well and become self sustainable.

In the end, we decided together that we have many more things we want to do before committing to such a large endeavor.  It seemed to me, it’s almost like having a child as well.  We both love the sailing life and intend to pursue it in a few years.  For us, the pros definitely outweigh the cons but it takes way more time than we are willing to commit right now.  We have a few wonderful projects up ahead that I can’t wait to share with you.  As always, you can catch up with me daily on facebook and instagram too.


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