Living on a boat may be the dream of many, but it is the reality of some people.
Making the decision to live on a boat is a daring one. But it’s a decision that if made, can lead to more freedom and less cost. And who doesn’t want those?
Some years ago, Sam Train, a naval officer stationed in Newport, Rhode Island, asked his wife, Francesca Spidalieri, if she would be willing to live on a boat.
She was. Because it made perfect sense to Francesca.
“At least this way, we get to own something and bring our home with us,” she said.
This decision led them to buy a pre-owned 40-feet Catalina cruiser for $150,000, with payments of about $800 a month. For the first two years of having the boat, they lived on it during the summer and moved to an apartment during winter because of the weather.
Then after these two years, they had to move to San Diego. Which was the main reason they bought the boat in the first place. With the mild weather of San Diego, they figured they would be able to live on the boat throughout the year.
“I did the maths and figured out that we’d save $50,000 over three years if we lived on board instead of renting an apartment in San Diego and leaving the boat on the East Coast,” Sam said.
Sam and his family used the Navy’s relocation allowance to move their boat from Rhode Island to California. A year after moving their two-bedroom and a kitchen boat, they still believe it was the right choice.
In an average month, it costs them around $2,200 to live on the boat. If they had chosen to rent an apartment though, they could have seen their cost run up to $2,500 to $3,000 and they would still have to pay $800 for the boat’s mortgage.
In some cases, living on a boat may just be the bold decision that you need to take, especially if you’ll be moving every few years or you work remotely. It would be a necessity rather than a luxury. And the beauty will be that you can move your house at the switch of an engine.
And on a weekend when you have that feeling of exploring, you can get your house on the move and enjoy a cruise.
The Boats For You
There are many boats that are built to meet your needs of having a convenient lifestyle. Even when you think your house is beautiful due to high standards, there are boats that will meet these standards and even exceed them.
When you enter these boats, the only thing you’ll be thinking of is how you can pack in and live there.
I’ll talk about three of these boats. These range from boats that make sure you can get a comfortable lifestyle even at a low cost to those who spared no expense just to offer the best standard of living you can get on the water.
Great Harbor N37
Once, Ken Fickett went searching for a boat he could cruise aboard with his family for a year.
He found no boat that suited his tastes. But Ken Fickett would not be denied his one year on a boat with his family, so he enlisted the help of naval architect Lou Codega, who helped Fickett design the boat that would become the N37.
Because of Fickett’s search years ago, you won’t have to perform too many searches of yours. Because the N37 led to the Great Harbor series of trawlers built by Mirage Manufacturing in Gainesville, Florida.
The Great Harbor N37 has a cored superstructure and deck that possesses enough buoyancy to keep the vessel afloat if you face challenges offshore. N37 has a length of 36 feet 10 inches and a beam of 15 feet 10 inches.
With this relatively small space, this boat offers a comfortable space, especially for couples. Despite its small size, it also offers voyages that boats of its size can’t attempt. For instance, when it was launched, it became the smallest twin-engine powerboat ever to cross the Panama Canal onto Hawaii.
On the main deck, there’s the saloon, where you have a dinette to port and a settee to starboard.
After this, you have the bridge, with a seat for the captain to starboard and a double-wide bench facing a chart table to port. The steps between the seat and bench lead to the accommodation level.
At the accommodation level, there is a master stateroom that has plenty of storage and two big hanging lockers for most things you’ll like to keep, especially your luggage. It has a full-size galley to starboard, arranged in a U-shape.
It has home-size appliances like a 23-cubic-foot refrigerator and double sink and a counter space wide enough for feeding. Part of the countertop can be cantilevered to accommodate a pair of bar stools, which makes it convenient for eating and socializing.
Opposite the galley, there’s an area with a settee that converts to a double berth. You can sleep here but you can also turn it into an office space where you can work remotely. The N37 has a weight of 48,000 lbs and a water capacity of 300 gallons. Although this may not be as much water as you’re used to, it should still be good enough for 1 or 2 weeks of usage.
And if you have to go on a cruise over the weekend for a family outing or just to change the environment, the N37 has twin 54-hp engines and a fuel tank capable of holding 500 gallons of fuel. This amount of fuel can give you a maximum range of up to 1,500 nautical miles.
Ranger Tugs R31
The Ranger Tugs R31 provides a lot of space for your abode. At least for a 31-foot-long boat with a beam of 10 feet. R31 has added features to it compared to its siblings, R29 and R27. One of these features is the retractable flybridge which can be useful if you aim to use the boat in a warm climate or during the summer.
There are bench seats in the cockpit that fold out of the gunwale and hang over the water. This leaves enough space in the cockpit whether the seat is deployed or stowed.
From the cockpit, there is a nice stairway that goes from the cockpit to the flybridge. On the foredeck, there’s another stowable seat with a table for dining and relaxing.
It has a standard bench seat in the transom with a table and the cockpit is equipped with a refrigerator, sink, and storage pod. Under the transom bench seats, there’s access to another compartment that can house the optional Onan 5kW generator.
When you step into the salon, there is access to go into the lower stateroom.
The stateroom has a double berth and the day head. On the port side, there’s a convertible dinette with an electrically operated hi-lo table. When you’re cruising, the forward seat flips over to become the navigator’s seat.
The galley occupies the length of the starboard side of the salon and is furnished with electric appliances like a stove and oven, a refrigerator, and a microwave. The forward stateroom has an island berth, with an ensured head and shower.
You can also enjoy access to TV channels through the 22-inch TV. A locker provides access to helm electronics and below that, a hanging locker.
The R31 has a lot of room for your family and room for guests that might want to spend the night. In total, the two staterooms on the R31 are able to accommodate 6 people for a night.
It has a weight of 11,500 lbs and water storage of 80 gallons. This is one downside of the R31 as you may have to replenish your water storage more often than you’d like.
When it’s time to cruise, your R31 is ready to meet your needs. This boat only needs navigational electronics to head out on its first expedition.
You can cruise at a low speed of 6 knots to enjoy the view of the coastline or push the Volvo D4 300-hp engine to its cruise speed of 16 knots if you prefer to go faster. You can enjoy a good ride.
The R31 has two versions, the R31 CB and the R31 S. There are some differences in features and the R31 S is about $20,000 cheaper than the R31 CB. Of course, for any of the two that you choose, you can add more options at extra cost.
If you want to live on a boat and you really want luxury, the Aquila 44 is the boat for you. Aquila 44 has not one, not two, but three staterooms and all these rooms are equipped with their separate heads and showers and the master gets a small settee in a sitting area. There’s a lot of privacy in this boat that may be found wanting in other boats.
Aquila 44 utilized its 43-foot 8-inch length and its width of 21 feet 6 inches fully to give you the best experience possible. The main cabin has a galley-aft arrangement with a dinette/settee forward, along with a separate sitting area.
The flybridge has a large space that contains a huge aft settee, an L- settee at the helm, and a great kick-back spot to the starboard of the helm where there’s a single lounge.
In the galley, you have three sinks, two-burner stove tops, a microwave oven, and a refrigerator. It also has a dinette that can host as many as five people.
The wiring in the boat is structured in such a way that any leak will not expose the wiring to salt water and the batteries are also located strategically to continue to supply the electronics of the boat for as long as possible in case of a leak.
It has a maximum water storage capacity of 203 gallons which may be a bit small considering the size of the boat and all the places water has to run through. The water supply may take about a week or less depending on the number of people on the boat.
If you want to feel the blue water while this boat is on the move, you can use the swim steps that double as seats. You also have seats built into the corners of the bow rails and a huge cockpit lounge. And if you happen to catch a fish while cruising on the Aquila 44, there’s a wet bar with a built-in grill that can be used to cook your catch.
While cruising on your boat, it can move as fast as 17 knots. It has its optimum fuel usage of 2.9mpg at a speed of 7 knots. It has a weight of 35,053 lbs and a fuel capacity of 290 gallons.
In the words of Lenny Rudow, the senior editor of boats.com, “spend a day aboard this boat yourself, you’re not gonna wanna get off it either.”
Living On a Boat
Who says you can’t live your American dream on a boat? You can. But before you make that move, there are some factors that you must consider to make the best decision and buy the most suitable boat for your needs:
Can you live on a boat?
As much as living on a boat is a dream for many people, some people can’t just live on a boat. They even find it difficult to take a long cruise offshore because they develop sea sickness too easily.
If this is you, then living on a boat will continue to be a fantasy for you as you can’t live on it due to health reasons.
Can you live in a restricted space?
Unless you’re buying a yacht, which is usually the realm of millionaires, you’ll probably have a smaller space than the apartment you live in now.
There may be an exception to this rule though. For instance, if you currently live in a room in your parents’ house, then buying a boat could be an upgrade for you.
Where will you locate your boat?
Where you decide to locate your boat will affect your cost of living in a boat. Likewise, it will affect the amenities you’ll be able to enjoy. Will your boat be located in a marina or a mooring field?
It depends on whether your aim of having a boat is to cut costs or to enjoy as much as, if not more than, your apartment on the land. Locating your boat in a marina will give you access to electricity, water, Internet, cable, and laundry.
Upon these, it is easier to walk off your boat daily, especially if you’re transporting pets, bikes, and heavy gear. All these are absent at a mooring field.
How will it affect your lifestyle?
How will living on a boat affect your lifestyle? This depends on many things. If you work remotely, then living on a boat could be a dream for you. You only have to wake up daily, stretch, and enjoy the view of the sun rising.
If you have to go to the office, then you’ll have to account for transportation costs and how easy it will be to get to work early on a daily basis.
Will you be able to accommodate a partner?
If you’re packing into a boat, you have to consider if the space will be big enough for your partner. Let’s say you have your girlfriend or boyfriend coming over, will it be spacious for the two of you or will you be running into each other too frequently (which may be good in some cases)?
If you’re married, is your partner comfortable living in a boat? If you’re the only one who loves this lifestyle and your partner isn’t a fan of it, it might be better to live in your apartment on the land. Regardless of all the cost savings and other enjoyments.
Apart from this, there is general maintenance that would be done on a boat. For instance, after a year, you could have the bottom cleaned for around $300, and have it sanded for repainting for about $200.
You can repaint the bottom for about $1000. There are other costs including the cost you pay for space at the marina and costs like electricity, heating, cable, etc. These costs depend on your location and the size of your boat.
Moving to live on a boat can be a big decision but it can also be the path to freedom. A big part of living on a boat is the boat you decide to live on and the lifestyle you decide to cultivate in it.
Go through these boats and other tips in this post and make that choice today. You just need to take a bold step and go on the adventure.