So, you’re considering swopping “regular” life for the exhilarating world of yacht living.
Life on the water can seem idyllic. Exotic locations, interesting new people, exploring port after beautiful port – you’d have to be nuts not to grab such an opportunity with both hands, right?
But heavenly as it may sound, yacht living comes with its own unique set of considerations.
Most yacht owners only live on their boats for limited periods, enjoying shortish “water holidays”.
Don't get us wrong; to live on a yacht is incredible. But it would be wise to investigate all aspects of this unique lifestyle before giving up your brick-and-mortar abode to make your vessel your permanent home.
LIVEABOARD YACHT LIFE – THE PROS
You’ll get to live the laid-back dream.
Living a tranquil life on a liveaboard yacht is the stuff of many peoples’ fantasies.
Going to bed under the stars, being woken up by seagulls and dolphins cavorting mere metres away and feasting on all the fresh seafood your heart desires – the list is endless.
Ocean living is blissful. Think freedom, simplicity, a life lived close to nature as a member of the global sailing community, with “family” and new friends awaiting you in every port.
An unexpected bonus of liveaboard yacht living is that it entails quite a bit of maintenance and physical chores, which will keep you fit and active. That can only be a good thing, right?
You’ll get to see the world.
Unless you plan on dropping anchor and settling down permanently in a marina, you will have the incredible opportunity of travelling the world on your own terms, staying on as long as you like and lifting anchor to explore new places whenever you feel ready to move on.
You’ll have a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
How many people get the opportunity to live on the ocean, close to the elements and surrounded by all kinds of fantastic sea creatures?
The places you’ll go! The things you will see! The stories you’ll get to share!
If you have an adventurous spirit, you and liveaboard yacht life might be a match made in sailing heaven.
LIVEABOARD YACHT LIFE – THE CONS
Limited space and privacy.
You’ll have to be able to live in close proximity with your liveaboard companions for extended periods, so make sure that you pick them well.
Have a look at our blog about the characteristics of a good sailing buddy.
It outlines all the essential qualities to look for in a liveaboard yacht companion.
As a rule of thumb, a somewhat laid-back, handy, considerate person with a great sense of humour is an excellent start.
Out on the ocean, simple things aren’t that simple.
If you live on a yacht permanently, you’ll have to be pretty organised – and that means learning to plan ahead.
Forgot to stock up on some food basics?
Just popping down the road for a pint of milk is not that simple when your home is a liveaboard yacht on the open sea. Transporting your shopping bags from the shops to the dock to your boat is also not as straightforward as it may sound.
Things can get rough.
Living on a yacht, you will be much closer to the elements than in a regular house. When the wind is howling, and swells are enormous, it can seriously interfere with your good night’s rest.
In stormy conditions, the size of your vessel will determine your level of comfort. The bigger the boat (and the more hulls it has), the less it will be at the mercy of the elements.
Mod cons can be hard to come by.
Things landlubbers take for granted, like wi-fi and TV signals, can become luxuries once you set sail from a port. Thanks to satellites, you might still be able to connect to the internet via your smartphone when out on the open sea.
Nature will get close… real close.
Living on a yacht, you will encounter a fair amount of furry and feathered creatures, including feral harbour cats, cheeky seagulls, curious seals, rodents galore and many other animals of all shapes and sizes. Closer to shore, mosquitoes will become a familiar sight.
Excellent refuse management on your liveaboard yacht will go a long way to keep these critters at bay. Try to be tolerant and remember that most of them are merely acting on instinct and trying to keep their tummies full.
The short answer? A Multihull.
The best boats to live on, like double- and triple-hull catamarans, are stable in rough sea conditions. They also offer separate living areas in the hulls (think privacy, a necessity if your boat is your permanent home).
What’s more, on a multihull, the above-deck area will be spacious too, which means breathing space and room to move.
Apart from the stability of a multihull, picking a boat with all the necessary kitchen, sleeping and bathroom amenities will also be wise.
A well-equipped galley, a washing machine and air conditioning will also ensure a much more comfortable yacht living experience.
It’s a simple fact of life. Boats you can live on aren’t cheap.
Buying a catamaran is a substantial financial investment. Liveaboard sailboats could easily cost the same as a luxury home and, with add-ons and luxury amenities, it can be even more expensive than that.
However, yacht living can also be quite a minimalist lifestyle and many yacht “liveaboarders” claim their living expenses on a yacht are lower than when they lived in a conventional home.
Here are a few tips and recommendations:
It’s a fantastic way of life, but, unless your yacht has a dedicated crew, it is not a lifestyle for the lazy.
Living on a yacht, having some technical or mechanical know-how will save you a ton of money, too.
The internet is a fantastic resource. Research your docking place well before you drop anchor and be sure to meet your prospective neighbours before deciding to stay on in a marina for an extended period.
You need to be sufficiently prepared if you – or one of your guests – suddenly fall ill or get hurt while out on the ocean.
A well-stocked first-aid medical kit should complement any first-aid training.
There are also anchoring and mooring fees, customs, cruising permits, border control and other types of bureaucratic expenses to contend with.
If you’ve ever asked yourself “What should I know before living on a yacht full time?”, we hope these tips will be useful to you.
Yacht living may not be for everyone. But for those who are adventurous and well-prepared, it can be the experience of a lifetime.