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Old 13-11-2013, 07:39   #1
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Living Aboard, What does it Take?

Hey everybody,

I'm getting the boat ready to make a round-trip to the Caribbean from Europe. I'm having a blast with all the prep, but there's one thing that seems impossible to really learn from the books. I know what the boat cost and I know what a night at a marina here in Belgium costs, but that's just about all I can rely on to make an assessment of how big the monthly budget should be for the trip...

I understand that this is impossible to tell because it differs so much from person to person and from boat to boat, but all I'm trying to do here is get a rough idea. The boat is 29ft and completely renovated this and last year by myself. I'm not saying things won't break, but I'll know how to fix them myself. The engine has been completely revised by a professional, so that should be good for a few running hours as well. I'm not interested in any luxury or expensive comfort. Once every now and again a shower when we're out to get water/fuel/food is fine, so I imagine I'll spend most of my time behind the hook. I'm also planning on taking large quantities of dehydrated, vacuum packed foods from home as I can get them fairly cheap here.

What'd you guys think I should budget for monthly? Or maybe it's better to ask what you guys budget monthly and what that budget includes?

Thanks!
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Old 13-11-2013, 07:55   #2
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

You're right, the costs will vary greatly with your approach to cruising.

The best measure might be the published costs of other cruisers. Do a search for "cruising costs", or something like that, as I remember several members posting links here.
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Old 13-11-2013, 08:14   #3
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

There are also lots of bloggers that publish their costs. Most of what I have seen range in the neighborhood of $2000 to $5000 per month. on boats 28 to 40 ft...includes boat maintenance, insurance, food, some eating out and touring etc. Does not include any major overhauls or repairs on the boat. Of course some do it for much less and others much more.
If you don't have a water maker...that might be a good investment before your trip...there are several threads dedicated to peoples opinions on that as well...just do a search.
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Old 13-11-2013, 09:03   #4
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

WebWench is right on target! ++ Aim for about $3,000 USD per month for your boat's size; most likely budget. Good luck!

Mauritz
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Old 13-11-2013, 09:06   #5
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teknav View Post
WebWench is right on target! ++ Aim for about $3,000 USD per month for your boat's size; most likely budget. Good luck!

Mauritz
What the hell are you doing at $3000 dollars a month on a 29 foot boat?

I cruised for almost three years on my 47 foot boat and averaged that, including marina charges.
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Old 13-11-2013, 09:14   #6
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

I'm thinking if he is bringing his own food and all $3,000 is a little high,
but if he has plenty of money, he won't have to worry about his budget and can have a much better time.
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Old 13-11-2013, 09:22   #7
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

I have read a fair bit on the topic, and those numbers are what made me start this post in the first place... I'm having a hard time to believe that any average Joe works with numbers like that. When I bought the boat it had been a weekend cruiser its entire life of 40 years and had been in disuse (no maintenance at all) for 5 years. When I'll be done with her she will be brand new with all safty equipment you could imagine on a boat of that side (including SSB radio, JDS, EPIRB, raft,...). My total cost for the boat itself will not exceed 15.000€. The boat is very spartan in most ways, very simple and very easy to work on and inspect. The only big cost items that can require replacement so expensive as to get to your 3k/month figure is the engine (just had that revised this year), the mast or a sail or two a month.

Then, I live in Belgium in one of the more expensive cities here and not including my rent and internet bills my monthly budget at home is roughly 200€. Like I said, I don't need much fuzz. I know this seems steep, but when backpacking through Australia (one of the most expensive countries I have ever visited) I cooked my own food and lived out of the back of a van for 5$ a day (not including fuel) and I was one hell of a happy camper.

I understand that funds might not be a huge issue for some of you and 3000$ a month can easily be spent on a boat on a holiday of course, but that's not what I'm after. For that kind of money I can literally rent a 5 bed 3 bathroom mansion here and STILL have enough left to go out for dinner every night.

What I would like to know is what the shoestring budget might be for a simple, spartan boat like mine and a lifestyle like mine (compare it to living out of a high maintenance campervan). I'm trying to figure out what kind of money I should budget for the 1 year trip. I'll make sure to have a safe margin just in case, but I sure as hell can't wait 'till I made another 36.000$ on top of what I had to set aside for the boat itself.

Also I should have mentioned that this trip is mostly about the sights seen, the experiences had and the people met. I spent half a year backpacking through Australia, and the only activities I actually paid for was a scuba course and a sailing trip. Sure most backpackers arrive with full wallets and have a blast, but things like paying 600$ for a 90 second skydive are just not worth it to me. In that particular case those 90 seconds would have been equally expensive as prolonging the trip for 2 months... Just to give you an idea on my mindset.
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Old 13-11-2013, 09:38   #8
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

That is not what you asked for originally....you wanted an idea of what most people spend. There is a thread on here about doing it for under $500.00 per month...you should read that.
But you said you wanted to go to the Caribbean, in some places there it is $300.00 for a cruising permit! If you want us to tell you your can do it for next to nothing...let us know that. There is no way for us to know how much maintenance your boat needs or what your tastes are in food and entertainment. Most people want to enjoy the destination to some degree... you know eat the local food, get a drink at local bars, check out the sights etc....not just sit on the boat at anchor and eat dehydrated food. But to each his own! If that is what you are after it will certainly cost you less! But if you look at the blogs written by cruisers and go to noonsite to see what your entry fees and expenses are in different countries you can see where we get the numbers.
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Old 13-11-2013, 09:51   #9
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

Hiya Jeremiason! The $3,000 USD monthly travel budget includes contingencies for emergencies/travel insurance. If he gets sick and needs hospitalization/flight home...he needs to budget for that! There is much more than just sailing, eating and drinking...unless, he never plans to get sick while traveling.

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Old 13-11-2013, 09:56   #10
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

Orchidius

I am moored in Bonaire next to a 32 ft Belgium boat. The owner who is single handing says he will be pleased if you e-mail him for advice. He is very experienced.

Bob De Pauw
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Old 13-11-2013, 10:15   #11
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

The short answer is it takes what you need to live on. Baring the $300 entry fees for places like the bahamas, its possible to do it small for $500-$800 (375 -600 euro) a month in a simple boat, if you provision wisely.

So if you can live on 400 euro's a month on land, most of the time you can live on the hook for the same amount. Stay in marina's and that price will rise very quickly.
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Old 13-11-2013, 10:32   #12
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

take a look at our postings on costs -- we detailed it pretty well - and are in the process of updating it -- but with insurance we spend about $2 - 2,500 a month - and that includes a major upgrade a year - and we bought our boat new in 2003 and she is very well maintained and kept updated

big issues are bottom paint and haul outs - the warm water of the caribbean will really do a job on the bottom and paint is simply expensive down there -- food is fairly inexpensive but diesel is expensive - insurance is a big issue and if you have insurance where your insurance wants the boat for named storms - if no insurance how much of a risk are you willing to take with your boat - that will govern somewhat where you spend hurricane season and the cost -
sight seeing the islands is inexpensive as is the beer and rum -
your boat will break - if you don't think it will don't go - it will - and boat parts are expensive

but as before check our site and see the actual cost of 6 years out
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Old 13-11-2013, 10:48   #13
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

Livia of SV Estrellita compiled a list of cruisers who publish their expenses which is helpful I think. The Cost of Cruising ~ SV Estrellita 5.10b
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Old 13-11-2013, 11:16   #14
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchidius View Post
Hey everybody,

I understand that this is impossible to tell because it differs so much from person to person and from boat to boat, but all I'm trying to do here is get a rough idea. The boat is 29ft and completely renovated this and last year by myself. I'm not saying things won't break, but I'll know how to fix them myself. The engine has been completely revised by a professional, so that should be good for a few running hours as well. I'm not interested in any luxury or expensive comfort.
Based on all the above posts, all excellent and correct although widely varying in the details, here is my suggestion/summarization:

Think of a budget around $1200/month. At this rate you won't be "roughing it" too much, but you will be "tight", particularly if you are not very savvy in regards to getting things cheap or for free.

If you are very creative, extremely scrappy, and prepared to do without a lot of luxuries, you can go down from there - reading the "$500 a month" thread will give you some ideas, but you have to realize that thread (1) is quite old and costs have gone up, and (2) that many of those people are really living on the ragged edge (which is fine - for them - but perhaps not for you)

If you want to "live it up" a bit more, have more creature comforts (like heat and a/c), make use of more professional services on the boat, do a lot of motoring, etc then your costs will go up.

HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND AND EXIT PLAN, just in case it all gets away from you.

EDIT:
Backreading, I see I forgot about insurance. At this rate you will probably not have insurance. God help you if you are a U.S. citizen with no health insurance. If you wreck the boat, it's gone. You'll have to start over.
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Old 13-11-2013, 11:28   #15
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Re: Living aboard, what does it take?

What you will spend is directly related to how much you've got. I'm not being facetious but that's how it usually works out.
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