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Ahoy mateys! Are you ready to embark on a journey of adventure and freedom? Becoming a boat liveaboard can be a dream come true for those seeking a simpler and more adventurous lifestyle. But before you hoist the anchor and set sail, there are a few things you need to know. Fear not, for this ultimate guide will provide you with all the tips and tricks you need to make your boat living experience a success.

Preparing for Full-Time Boat Living

First things first, you need to choose the right boat for your needs. Consider the size, type, and condition of the boat before making your purchase. Make sure you have a budget for maintenance and repairs as well.

Once you have your boat, it’s time to prepare for living on it full-time. This means downsizing your possessions and making sure you have the necessary equipment, such as a generator, solar panels, and a water filtration system. You’ll also need to stock up on food and supplies for long voyages.

Safety is a top priority, so make sure you have all the necessary safety equipment, including life jackets, flares, and a first aid kit. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with all the safety procedures and regulations.

Living on a boat also means being self-sufficient, so learn how to navigate, operate the boat, and perform basic repairs. You should also have a plan in case of emergencies, such as a breakdown or bad weather.

Liveboard Tips for surviving on the water

Living on a boat is not all sunshine and rainbows. It can be tough at times, but with the right mindset and preparation, you can overcome any challenge. Here are some tips for surviving life at sea:


Seasickness is a prevalent problem experienced by many individuals who engage in boating activities. However, there are several effective methods to prevent and alleviate this discomfort. Here are some additional details and tips to address seasickness:

  1. Hydration: It is crucial to stay hydrated before and during your boating excursion. Dehydration can exacerbate the symptoms of seasickness. Make sure to drink plenty of water or other non-alcoholic beverages to maintain optimal hydration levels.
  2. Diet: To reduce the likelihood of seasickness, it is advisable to avoid consuming greasy and spicy foods before sailing. These types of foods can contribute to an unsettled stomach and increase the chances of experiencing motion sickness. Opt for light, easily digestible meals instead.
  3. Medication: Taking medication specifically designed to prevent motion sickness can be effective in mitigating seasickness symptoms. There are various over-the-counter options available, such as antihistamines or dimenhydrinate. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or pharmacist to determine the most suitable medication for your needs and any potential side effects.
  4. Sea-bands: Sea-bands are wristbands that utilize acupressure to alleviate nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. These bands exert gentle pressure on specific points on the wrist, known as the Nei-Kuan point, and can help relieve symptoms. Sea-bands are widely available in pharmacies and are considered a non-invasive and drug-free solution.
  5. Ginger: Ginger has long been known for its anti-nausea properties and is a natural remedy for seasickness. You can consume ginger in various forms, such as ginger candies, ginger ale, ginger tea, or even raw ginger. Ginger helps to calm the stomach and can significantly reduce the severity of seasickness symptoms.
  6. Fresh air and focusing on the horizon: When you start feeling queasy, it can be helpful to get some fresh air by going out on the deck or opening a window. Additionally, fixating your gaze on a stable point in the distance, such as the horizon, can provide visual stability and alleviate the sensations of motion.

Remember, it is essential to be proactive in preventing seasickness rather than relying solely on remedies after the symptoms occur. By following these suggestions, you can enhance your comfort and enjoyment while boating, minimizing the impact of seasickness on your experience.

Swabbing the deck:

Maintaining a clean and tidy boat is crucial not only for aesthetic purposes but also for creating a comfortable and functional living space. Here are some additional details and tips to help you keep your boat clean:

  1. Establish a cleaning schedule: Creating a cleaning schedule will help you stay organized and ensure that cleaning tasks are performed regularly. Determine the frequency of cleaning based on your boat’s size, usage, and the environment in which it operates. For example, a boat frequently exposed to saltwater may require more frequent cleaning. Divide cleaning tasks into daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal routines to ensure comprehensive maintenance.
  2. Gather the right cleaning supplies: Investing in good-quality cleaning supplies is essential for effective boat cleaning. Here are some supplies you may need:
    • Boat-specific cleaners: Use cleaners designed specifically for boat surfaces to avoid damaging or discoloring the materials. For example, fiberglass cleaners, vinyl cleaners, metal polishes, and teak cleaners are commonly used for different boat components.
    • Brushes and sponges: A variety of brushes and sponges suitable for different surfaces and materials. Soft-bristle brushes work well for delicate surfaces, while tougher bristles may be needed for more stubborn stains.
    • Microfiber cloths and towels: These are useful for wiping and polishing surfaces without leaving lint or scratches.
    • Cleaning solutions: Depending on the task, you may need general-purpose cleaners, stain removers, mildew removers, or disinfectants. Read and follow the instructions on the product labels for optimal usage.
  3. Clean exterior surfaces: Start by rinsing the boat’s exterior with fresh water to remove any salt, dirt, or debris. Use appropriate cleaners and brushes to scrub the hull, deck, and other exterior surfaces. Pay attention to areas prone to buildup, such as scum lines, bird droppings, and algae growth. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of cleaner and allow the boat to dry.
  4. Clean interior spaces: Vacuum or sweep the floors to remove dirt and debris. Wipe down surfaces, including countertops, tables, and cabinets, using suitable cleaners. Clean windows and mirrors with a glass cleaner to ensure a streak-free shine. Don’t forget to clean and disinfect high-touch areas like doorknobs, light switches, and handrails.
  5. Organize storage spaces: Keep storage areas tidy and well-organized to maximize space and accessibility. Utilize storage bins, dividers, and racks to categorize and store items effectively. Regularly declutter and remove any unnecessary items to maintain an organized and functional boat interior.
  6. Consider preventative measures: To minimize the accumulation of dirt and grime, consider using protective treatments on surfaces. For example, applying wax or sealant to the boat’s exterior can help repel dirt and make cleaning easier. Installing mats or rugs at entry points can help trap dirt and prevent it from spreading throughout the boat.
  7. Regular maintenance: Alongside routine cleaning, regular maintenance tasks such as checking and cleaning the bilge, inspecting and cleaning air vents, and ensuring proper drainage are essential for a clean and functioning boat. Stay on top of these maintenance tasks to prevent issues from escalating and causing more significant problems down the line.

By following a cleaning schedule, using appropriate cleaning supplies, and implementing preventative measures, you can maintain a clean and inviting boat environment. Regular cleaning and maintenance will contribute to a more enjoyable boating experience and help prolong the lifespan of your boat’s surfaces and components.

BoatUS Boat Cleaning with sponge
Courtesy of BoatUS


Living on a boat can indeed present unique challenges when it comes to staying connected with the outside world. However, there are several strategies you can employ to overcome the potential isolation. Here are some additional details and tips for staying connected while living on a boat:

  1. Books, music, and games: Keeping a selection of books, both physical copies and e-books, can provide entertainment and a means of escape into different worlds. Music, whether through a portable speaker or personal headphones, can uplift your mood and create a pleasant atmosphere. Additionally, having board games, card games, or puzzles on board can provide opportunities for leisurely entertainment and social interaction with fellow boaters or visitors.
  2. Utilize technology: Technology plays a significant role in enabling communication and entertainment, even while living on a boat. Here are some technological tools to consider:
    • Internet connectivity: Invest in a reliable internet connection for your boat. This can be achieved through cellular data plans, satellite internet, or Wi-Fi extenders that capture signals from shore. Having internet access allows you to stay connected with loved ones through email, messaging apps, video calls, and social media platforms.
    • Smart devices: Utilize smartphones, tablets, or laptops to access online content, stay updated with news, stream movies or TV shows, and engage in social media platforms. These devices can also provide access to e-books, digital magazines, and online gaming.
    • Streaming services: Subscribe to streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video to access a wide range of movies, TV series, and documentaries. Streaming services offer a vast library of entertainment options that can keep you engaged during leisure time.
    • Social media and online communities: Join boating-related online communities, forums, or social media groups to connect with fellow boaters. These platforms provide opportunities to share experiences, seek advice, and meet like-minded individuals who understand the boating lifestyle.
  3. Explore local activities and events: While living on a boat, take advantage of the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas and participate in local activities and events. Attend marina gatherings, boat shows, or local festivals to meet other boaters and engage in social interactions. These events often provide a sense of community and a chance to connect with people who share similar interests.
  4. Plan visits and trips: Coordinate visits from family and friends, or plan trips to visit loved ones on land. This can help break the monotony of boat life and provide opportunities for quality time with those you care about. Additionally, visiting new destinations and marinas can introduce you to new people and communities, expanding your social circle.
  5. Maintain hobbies and interests: Engage in activities that you enjoy and that can be pursued on a boat. Whether it’s fishing, photography, painting, writing, or any other hobby, dedicating time to these activities can provide a sense of fulfillment and connection to your personal interests.

Remember that living on a boat offers unique opportunities for solitude, self-reflection, and closeness to nature. While it may sometimes feel isolating, there are numerous ways to stay connected and maintain a sense of community, whether through technology, local activities, or personal relationships. By actively seeking out connections and engaging in fulfilling activities, you can enhance your overall experience of living on a boat.

Lonely person, maybe a liveaboard looking out at the water


Being prepared for unpredictable weather conditions is crucial when spending time outdoors, especially when on a boat. Here are some additional details and tips to help you stay informed and have a backup plan for bad weather:

  1. Weather monitoring: Stay informed about weather patterns by utilizing reliable weather forecasting services. There are various sources available, including local meteorological websites, weather apps, and radio broadcasts specifically designed for boaters. Regularly check these sources to stay updated on current and upcoming weather conditions in your area.
  2. Understanding weather indicators: Familiarize yourself with common weather indicators that can help you anticipate changes in the weather. Keep an eye on the sky for cloud formations, such as dark clouds, towering cumulus clouds, or an approaching line of storms. Monitor changes in wind speed and direction, as well as shifts in barometric pressure, which can indicate weather disturbances. Sudden drops in temperature or changes in humidity can also be warning signs.
  3. Develop a weather checklist: Create a weather checklist that includes essential items to consider before heading out on the water. This checklist should include:
    • Checking the weather forecast: Prior to setting sail, review the current weather forecast and the forecast for the duration of your trip. Pay attention to any advisories, warnings, or special marine weather statements that may affect your boating plans.
    • Safety equipment: Ensure that all safety equipment, such as life jackets, flares, and first aid kits, is in good condition and easily accessible.
    • Communication devices: Make sure you have reliable communication devices on board, such as a marine VHF radio or a satellite phone, to stay connected and call for help if needed.
    • Anchoring and mooring options: Identify suitable anchoring or mooring locations along your intended route in case you need to seek shelter quickly. Research marinas, protected coves, or other safe harbor options that can provide protection from inclement weather.
  4. Have a plan B: Always have a backup plan in case of bad weather. This could involve having alternative routes or destinations in mind that provide safer conditions. It’s crucial to communicate your plan B with your crew or loved ones, so everyone is aware of the backup options and knows how to proceed if needed.
  5. Monitor weather while on the water: Even if you’ve done your pre-departure checks, weather conditions can change rapidly. Continuously monitor weather updates while on the water to ensure you’re aware of any developing storms, severe weather warnings, or sudden shifts in conditions. If you observe deteriorating weather, make the necessary decisions promptly, such as altering course, seeking shelter, or returning to shore.
  6. Practice seamanship and boating safety: Enhance your boating skills and knowledge of seamanship techniques, including navigation, boat handling, and storm preparedness. Understanding how to operate your boat safely in various weather conditions is essential for mitigating risks associated with unpredictable weather.

Remember, the safety of you and your crew should always be the top priority. By staying informed about weather patterns, being prepared with a backup plan, and making informed decisions based on the conditions, you can minimize the potential risks associated with unpredictable weather while enjoying your time on the water.

Boat navigating weather and stormy seas


Living on a boat offers a unique opportunity to embrace a slower-paced lifestyle while enjoying a variety of activities that can keep you entertained and engaged. Here are some additional details and suggestions for activities to enjoy while living on a boat:

  1. Fishing: Fishing is a popular activity among boaters as it combines the thrill of the catch with the tranquility of being out on the water. Whether you prefer deep-sea fishing, freshwater fishing, or even fly fishing, there are numerous opportunities to cast your line and try your luck. Research local fishing regulations and obtain any necessary licenses to ensure you’re fishing within the legal limits.
  2. Swimming and water sports: Take advantage of the proximity to water by engaging in swimming and various water sports. Dive into the refreshing water from your boat or nearby beaches, explore nearby coves or anchorages for snorkeling opportunities, or enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, or canoeing to explore the surroundings at a leisurely pace.
  3. Exploring new ports and destinations: One of the great advantages of living on a boat is the ability to explore new ports and destinations. Plan trips to nearby marinas, islands, or coastal towns to experience different cultures, cuisines, and landscapes. Each new port offers the opportunity to connect with fellow boaters, discover local attractions, and expand your horizons.
  4. Wildlife observation: Living on a boat provides ample opportunities to observe and appreciate wildlife. Keep an eye out for dolphins, whales, seabirds, and other marine creatures that inhabit the waters you traverse. Wildlife photography or simply appreciating the beauty of nature can be rewarding activities that connect you to the natural world.
  5. Waterfront dining and socializing: Many marinas and coastal areas offer waterfront dining options, ranging from casual seafood shacks to upscale restaurants. Enjoy a meal with a scenic view or connect with other boaters and locals by visiting marina clubs or participating in social events. Engaging with the boating community can provide a sense of camaraderie and an opportunity to share experiences and stories.
  6. Water-based hobbies: Living on a boat allows you to pursue water-based hobbies that may not be as accessible on land. This could include sailing, yacht racing, boat building, or even marine photography. Embrace your passions and explore new interests that are inspired by your surroundings.
  7. Relaxation and mindfulness: Living on a boat also provides an ideal environment for relaxation and mindfulness. Take advantage of the serene surroundings to practice yoga or meditation on the deck, read a book while enjoying the gentle rocking of the boat, or simply bask in the beauty of the sunset or star-filled skies.

Remember, while living on a boat can be slow-paced, it offers a multitude of activities that can keep you entertained and connected to the natural elements. Embrace the freedom and flexibility that comes with living on the water, and let your surroundings inspire you to explore, connect, and find joy in the simple pleasures of the boating lifestyle.

Boredom while living on a boat, shown through a porthole of a boat's interior


Space management is crucial when living on a boat, as the available storage areas are typically limited. To optimize storage space and make the most of every inch, here are some additional details and tips:

  1. Assess storage needs: Before organizing your storage spaces, evaluate the items you plan to bring on board. Determine what is essential and what can be left behind or stored elsewhere. This assessment will help you prioritize items and make better decisions about what to keep on the boat.
  2. Utilize vertical space: Make use of vertical space within cabinets, lockers, and closets. Install shelves or use stackable storage bins to maximize storage capacity. Consider adjustable shelving systems that can be customized to fit different items and accommodate changing storage needs.
  3. Invest in storage organizers: Purchase storage organizers specifically designed for boats. There are various options available, such as hanging organizers, storage nets, collapsible bins, and drawer dividers. These organizers help keep items neatly arranged and prevent them from shifting or getting damaged while the boat is in motion.
  4. Utilize under-bed storage: Many boats have built-in beds or berths with storage space underneath. Utilize this area by using storage containers or vacuum-sealed bags to store items like spare bedding, clothing, or seasonal gear. These containers can slide easily in and out of the under-bed space, making them accessible while maximizing the use of the area.
  5. Optimize galley storage: The galley (kitchen) area is essential for food storage and preparation. Use clear, stackable containers to store dry goods, spices, and non-perishable items, which allows you to see the contents easily and utilize space efficiently. Hang hooks or install racks on the walls or inside cabinet doors to hold utensils, pots, and pans. Consider using nesting cookware and collapsible food storage containers to save space when not in use.
  6. Pack efficiently: When organizing items in storage spaces, pack them efficiently to utilize the available space effectively. Roll clothes instead of folding them to save space in drawers or shelves. Use vacuum-sealed bags for clothing or bedding to minimize their volume. Keep similar items together and store them in designated areas for easy access.
  7. Purge regularly: Living on a boat requires regular decluttering and purging of unnecessary items. Space is limited, so periodically assess your belongings and get rid of items that are no longer needed or used. Consider donating or selling items that are in good condition but are taking up valuable space on the boat.
  8. Use multi-purpose items: Select multi-purpose items that serve multiple functions. For example, choose furniture with built-in storage compartments or ottomans that can be used for seating and storage. Look for collapsible furniture or items that can be easily stowed away when not in use.

Remember, efficient storage management is an ongoing process. As your needs and the seasons change, reassess your storage solutions and make adjustments accordingly. By utilizing organizers, optimizing storage spaces, and practicing regular decluttering, you can maximize the available storage on your boat and create a more organized and functional living environment.

Grand Banks 54 interior showing cabinets and storage spaces for liveaboards
Courtesy of Grand Banks Boats


Living on a boat can indeed come with its own set of expenses. To effectively manage your finances and make the most of your boating lifestyle, here are some additional details and tips for creating and sticking to a budget:

  1. Establish a comprehensive budget: Begin by creating a detailed budget that includes all of your expected expenses. Consider both fixed costs (such as mooring fees, insurance, and maintenance) and variable costs (such as fuel, provisions, and recreational activities). Account for monthly and annual expenses to get a clear picture of your overall financial obligations.
  2. Prioritize your spending: Determine your priorities and allocate your funds accordingly. Identify essential expenses that are necessary for your safety, comfort and the proper maintenance of your boat. These may include insurance premiums, routine maintenance, safety equipment, and necessary upgrades. By prioritizing your spending, you can ensure that you allocate your resources effectively.
  3. Cut costs where possible: Look for areas where you can reduce expenses without sacrificing your safety or enjoyment. Here are some potential cost-cutting strategies:
    • Energy efficiency: Implement energy-saving practices to reduce electricity consumption. Use LED lighting, install solar panels, and be mindful of energy usage by turning off appliances when not in use.
    • Provisions and groceries: Plan meals in advance, make a shopping list, and buy in bulk when possible. Take advantage of local markets or affordable grocery stores to save on food costs. Consider fishing or growing some of your own produce, which can provide fresh food options while reducing expenses.
    • Entertainment and recreation: Seek out free or low-cost activities for entertainment. Take advantage of nature’s offerings by swimming, hiking, or enjoying the scenery around you. Utilize libraries or online resources for books, movies, or music instead of purchasing them.
    • DIY maintenance: Learn basic maintenance and repair skills to handle minor tasks on your own. This can help you save money on professional services. However, be cautious and only undertake tasks that you are confident in completing safely and effectively.
  4. Track your expenses: Keep a record of all your expenses to monitor your spending habits. Regularly review your budget and compare it to your actual expenses. This will help you identify areas where you may be overspending or where adjustments can be made.
  5. Research and compare prices: Before making any significant purchases or engaging service providers, conduct thorough research to compare prices and find the best deals. This applies to everything from boat supplies and equipment to marina services and fuel prices. Consider joining boating communities or forums where you can exchange advice and recommendations for cost-effective solutions.
  6. Consider shared expenses: If you’re open to sharing costs and experiences, consider partnering with other boaters for certain expenses. Shared marina fees, fuel costs, or even provisioning can help reduce individual financial burdens and foster a sense of community.
  7. Emergency fund: Set aside a portion of your budget for an emergency fund. Unexpected expenses or repairs can arise, and having a financial buffer can provide peace of mind and prevent undue stress.
  8. Regularly review and adjust your budget: As your circumstances or priorities change, review and adjust your budget accordingly. Periodically assess your spending habits and make necessary adjustments to ensure your budget remains realistic and effective.
Gone with the Wynn's catamaran sailboat cost pie chart
Courtesy of Gone with the Wynn’s

By creating a comprehensive budget, prioritizing your spending, and implementing cost-cutting strategies, you can manage your finances effectively while living on a boat. Remember, maintaining financial discipline and regularly reviewing your budget will help you make the most of your boating experience while ensuring long-term financial stability.

Enjoy being a liveaboard

At the end of the day, boat living is all about enjoying the journey. Take time to appreciate the beauty of the ocean, the freedom of the open water, and the experiences that come with living on a boat

Full-time boat living may not be for everyone, but for those who are willing to take the plunge, it can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. With the right preparation, mindset, and sense of adventure, you can make boat living your dream lifestyle. So, hoist the anchor and set sail, mateys, the open ocean awaits!

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