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Old 15-12-2012, 03:13   #31
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

I can't support the idea that a cruiser's budget will be equivalent to all that they have. I realize that some people do spend everything that they have available, but I believe that those that are out successfully cruising tend to be careful with plans. As retired public school teachers, we were already accustomed to being wihout pay for our summer cruising and we have little difficulty planning a budget that is less than our income. We've been retired cruising for eleven of our years aboard and we have double the reserve money that we had at the start. We spend an averrage of $500/month on the operation and maintenance of our boat. This number is far lower when we are underway and increases at ports where we are repairing and completing maintenace projects (not new equipment). We are DIY cruisers and rarely hire someone to work on our boat, though we need to rent the slip for times. We often spend eight months of the year underway and spending less. Our other expenses, - groceries, medical, entertainment, clothing, etc. are not specific to liveaboard cruising and, though very different among individuals, can be expected to be similar to what is spent ashore.
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Old 15-12-2012, 03:59   #32
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pirate Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

If you were to try and make a Graph of my live aboard costs it would likely resemble a 24hr tide cycle as I tend to spend as it comes... eat and drink very well then taper off for a while...
I believe its called 'Binge-ing' these days...
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Old 15-12-2012, 06:06   #33
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

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I can't support the idea that a cruiser's budget will be equivalent to all that they have.

I have to agree with that. The "it costs whatever you have" to really just such a copout answer. Your goal is spend what you have budgeted for and the budget should be less that what you have!

I've asked the OP question a number of times over the years. I have come to the conclusion that the way to make your own budget is to look at other cruisers costs (blogs etc) and see how they are cruising (what type of boat, where they are, marina use, Dyers or yard labor, entertainment, dining out, etc.) and see how it compares to your own plans and cruising style.

I also think is makes a big difference if you plan to be a cruiser, or really just to live on a boat in a foreign place.
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Old 15-12-2012, 07:15   #34
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

Here's the details of what we spent for the last 3 years of traveling US East Coast and Bahamas, living very well for $2500/month: Life Afloat Archives: Cost of Living ... Afloat
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Old 15-12-2012, 08:38   #35
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

I have read several of these discussions over the years about the cost of living per month to cruise the caribbean and I finally have to chip in and say most of the rubbish estimates are delusional. To start with the U.S. government statistics for a couple defines the poverty line in 2011 as $14,710 or $1,225 a month. In America, with free housing and no maintenance. First off why would you want to buy a boat and live in poverty?
Some of the estimates of $500 a month are a joke and misleading to some poor boat buyer with a dream. I live on my boat in the caribbean, right now.
I have cruised extensively and traveled in general to over 50 countries in the world and doubt an American couple could live on $6,000 per annum which is about on par with the average Albanian who deosn't own a boat.
The cost of living on a cruising boat in GOOD condition is probably less than the average land based couple. BUT. Almost all of the caribbean countries produce nothing and grow nothing therefore they import EVERYTHING, think transportation costs and duties. I am currently in the BVI and the cost of food is between 30% - 50% more than the U.S., gasoline and diesel start at $5 a gallon. I am not saying you cannot go cruising in the islands but be realistic. If something breaks on your 40' dream boat the $500 replacement part you would buy in the states will cost you $1,000 plus shipping and take weeks to get unless you want to add $250 to ship it FedEx. Even if you anchor out 90% of the time, have no social life and eat like a broke college kid you are still going to spend some real money to live the dream. If you were living on" X " a month before you lost your mind and bought the boat plan on 2/3 of that at least if you have any plans to enjoy the "dream".
I have met a lot of cruisers down here and none of them are living on $500 a month and that includes a guy who was living on his 20' jet boat who was on his way to Brasil.
Your best bet would be to do some research online, and talk to some boaters who have been cruising in the caribbean extensively in recent times. Most of the stuff you will read on here is people who have been nowhere, done nothing and theorize about what might be.
Good luck.
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Old 15-12-2012, 08:47   #36
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

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Most of the stuff you will read on here is people who have been nowhere, done nothing and theorize about what might be.
Good luck.

Hey I will admit to being one of those, which is why I have made numerous attempts at asking the question.

So how much are you spending to cruise and live on you boat? Total with everything included just like in real life dirt living.
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Old 15-12-2012, 09:07   #37
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

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I have to agree with that. The "it costs whatever you have" to really just such a copout answer.
NO it's not...

If you have enough to buy radar, you will have one. If you have enough for a great auto pilot, you will have one. When you have saved enough for a great chart plotter, you will buy one.

You will buy the biggest boat you can afford, no matter how wealthy or poor you are.

When you have enough to enjoy a nice marina with a pool and fancy restaurant, you will stay there.

If you only have enough to anchor out and enjoy cheap wine, you will be still be living a better life than the folks sailing the L-Z-Boy.
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Old 15-12-2012, 10:47   #38
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

Can a prudent couple on a smaller, well founded boat with simple systems and modest personal tastes cruise on $1,000 a month? Many are out there now on a similar budget. I have met them and count myself as one, (although I will concede a six month Bahamian cruise is not fully representative of full time cruising).

I don't wish to start an argument here, but is it not just as unfair to an aspiring cruiser to frighten them with unrealistic expenses as to propose they could do it on $500 a month?

There is way too much diversity in the sailing community to advise someone you don't know very well what budget they will need to cruise.
In my circle of sailing friends the estimate (based on their boat, personalities, skill set and lifestyle choices) would vary tremendously. Some of the younger more skilled and self-sufficient ones on -30' boats could even possibly pull it off on $500 a month. A few on 40'+ boats would need substantially more.

No aspiring cruiser is going to know what it costs THEM until they actually get out there, for there are far too many variables in the equation.

Therefore, that is perhaps why we get the "cop-out" answer to the budget question of "as much as you have".
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Old 15-12-2012, 16:13   #39
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

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....................Some of the estimates of $500 a month are a joke and misleading............................
I totally agree and I trust that my comment of spending $500/month is not what your a referrencing. My $500/month is only put into the boat care and not food, cloths, medical, entertainment, laundry. Our expenses are close to Wing n wing's $2,500/month and then we add a yearly vacation by flight. This year we went to Macchu Pinchu, the Amazon & the Galapagos and next year we're off to New Zealand. We can only do this because our living aboard at less than 3K/month is so cheap.

I didn't understand that, "In America with free housing and maintenance" comment. Do you mean specifically USA or the general Americas and where is this free housing?

Overall, I standing in agreement with your post. I can see a short term ludite experiment with a total of $500/month, but not as a sustainable life with any quality; however, I do spend a few months away from the shore and docks each year when I am spending very little, but still consuming my expensive provissions.
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Old 15-12-2012, 21:42   #40
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

What is everyone doing about health isurance? If anything? I'm going to be sailing with my wife and child. Living aboard actually for a couple of years at least. So far what I've seen of health insurance is prohibitively expensive!
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Old 16-12-2012, 06:28   #41
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

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What is everyone doing about health isurance?............
Some, like my wife and I, carried our coverage with us from employment allowing a fairly good cost. We retired at 55 and after ten years of cruising went to Medicare coverage and a supplemental plan. This change at 65 presented us with a $400/month savings. I spent much time researching all the supplemental palns that are identified by a letter code such as Plan A....B....C, etc. All these plans are identical yet sold by different providers. Plan F was our choice because it best fit with it's opportunity for coverage at all our potential cruising locations. Having the health insurance is essential for us. We've had some basal cell carcenomas removed, I had a bout with pnemonia and Nancie has some mild glaucoma issues. Preventative care programs are helpfull too. I keep liability only on by old boat, but I want full protecttion for my old self!
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Old 16-12-2012, 06:38   #42
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

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NO it's not...

If you have enough to buy radar, you will have one. If you have enough for a great auto pilot, you will have one. When you have saved enough for a great chart plotter, you will buy one.

You will buy the biggest boat you can afford, no matter how wealthy or poor you are.

When you have enough to enjoy a nice marina with a pool and fancy restaurant, you will stay there.

If you only have enough to anchor out and enjoy cheap wine, you will be still be living a better life than the folks sailing the L-Z-Boy.
I don't think so. I think if you're the kind of person who will spend whatever you've got when you live on land, you will be the same on the water. And if you're the kind of person who spends their money on experiences rather than things when you live on land, you will do the same on the water. Conversely, if you are a "saver" on land, you'll design your boat life to have money left over every month ... you get the point.

That's why I was willing to publicize our detailed budget online, because I think there is a way to help dreamers and planners know what they can expect better than "it takes whatever you've got."
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Old 16-12-2012, 06:43   #43
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

Re insurance: still carrying the excellent, expensive coverage from our employed years. Dan is a 6-1/2 year cancer survivor and we're both on some pretty pricey drugs. Too young for medicare yet...
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Old 25-02-2013, 12:14   #44
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

Hi, I registered in this site a while back, but never really posted anything, so basically I’m new to this.
Now that I found a good deal on a boat, and I’ll talk about another time, I’m ready to get on the water after more than 27 years of not sailing. My plan is to get some skills back this year on the Chesapeake, take care of what I need to take care of on the boat, and next year go out to the Caribbean, with my wife, and may be another couple on their boat. And that’s why I started to read on this thread, to get a sense about what I’m going to need. I am no better than I was before I read anything, I realize that every body has an experience slightly different than the next sailor. But the theory still that you live with what you got. If what you have is under certain number, you can’t afford the cruising life, and if it is above another number, you don’t need to ask. Anything in between those numbers, and it is clear that you’ll need to make some adjustments.
So my question here is not how much the experienced sailors spend in their cruising life, but what do they spend on.
Has anyone developed a checklist of everything they spent on in a year? and what percentage of the total budget each item in that list was?
This is for me way more important than the amount of cash, because for example, my wife and I, normally go over two months before we consume a six pack of decent beer, and as much as I like good wine, we go for a year with a case of Malbec. But on the other hand I’m pretty obsessive with other stuff and I will change as many thermostats as I need until I get my engine to work at the temperature it needs to be.
So, if anyone knows about such a checklist, I would really appreciate the info.
Thanks
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Old 25-02-2013, 12:25   #45
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Re: How much does it cost to live aboard while cruising the Caribbean Islands ?

For what it's worth, my budget for full time cruising aboard a Crealock 37, singlehanded, was $1300 per month. That included everything, all maintenance and equipment replacements. I ate well but never in restaurants. I filled the quarterberth in Florida with most of what I would consume during the winter. I never stayed in marinas. There were many months I spent far less than my $1300 budget but then there months when I needed new sails, outboard or dinghy and went way over budget. It all averaged out in the end.
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