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Old 11-08-2014, 08:59   #1
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Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

As the title says, I want to know is it possible to live aboard on $800 a month or less. I am just getting into learning to sail but I am not new to boats or the water. Being ex-U.S. Navy I even know what it is like being on the water for long periods of time. But this is different than being on a ship. I am disabled and get a disability check each month. My disability limits my mobility somewhat but I can walk and stand up on a boat. Right now it is just me but later I hope to have someone special to travel and live aboard with me and to share the cost. Can you reasonably live on the hook for $800 or less a month? That way I can leave everything I get over that in the kitty for emergences. I'll be mostly traveling the ICW and staying along the Gulf and Eastern coast of the U.S. Nothing blue water till I can get a boat that will do it and I have enough training and experience for blue water sailing. Besides I need to keep myself close enough to where ever I make my home port that I can see my Doctor once every three months. Let me hear form you frugal live aboard types please.
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:09   #2
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

Hi,

You might want to read this existing discussion about living on board on a budget. Currently over 200 pages and over 3000 posts so I think they might have some pertinent information.

Cruising on $500 per Month . . .
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:14   #3
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

By staying of our expensive marina's....heck....you can live comfortably on $800/mo. People I know do it for less and then there are those that spend that much a month on their wine and resturante tabs. The KEY for cheap living aboad is finding a FREE place to anchor, once you nail that....heck....piece of cake.
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:20   #4
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

I know many people living on less and setting at a dock.. some older marinas will set you back as little as a couple hundred a month..
The biggest Item that we have seen as being on the boat for the last few years is that being land conected.. its the internet, phones, cars, gas, insurance, and the like that take your money.. while on the hook we've experanced months with expences as low as $250.. your on the hook and only spending money for food.
The issue you might incounter is having to stay within the area as you are locked into land based issues..
We've figured that we only have a small amount of funds avalable ourselves and can get by alright in living here but by being on the move, we can experance more at the same price..

Just a thought, you might be able to live south of the border where your money goes further and fly back to the states every 3 months as needed..
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:21   #5
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

To give a very short answer to your question and kind of summarize the other discussion. Yes you can BUT.

Think of it this way. Here's a comparable question. Can you own and drive a car to work for less than X dollars per month, say $200. Well if you don't drive too far to work every day then on a month to month basis all you have to pay is the gas and occasional oil change. However, after a year or so say the clutch goes or worse the transmission. So now the $200/month has a one month hiccup that could be $500-$2000.

So the answer to your question about living on a boat is the same. Yes you can live on $800/month if you are frugal. However on a boat, like a car or house you will have an occasional large expense. For this you need to keep a rainy day fund which will totally blow out your $800/month.

On a boat the most common big buck costs:

- new sails, 5-10 years typically
- new rigging, 7-12 years typically
- new engine, with luck never
- transmission, same

If you can do your own repairs and assume the boat is basically sound structurally, then most other occasional repairs might be a few hundred in parts at the most.

One thing to keep in mind, expenses on a boat (aside from food and water and other personal expenses) are related to the size of the boat. Bigger boats need bigger ropes, sails, docks, motors, etc. and these costs tend to increase exponentially with the length of the boat.
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Old 11-08-2014, 09:37   #6
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Hi,

You might want to read this existing discussion about living on board on a budget. Currently over 200 pages and over 3000 posts so I think they might have some pertinent information.

Cruising on $500 per Month . . .
I found that thread after I started this one. I'll be reading and learning from both.
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Old 11-08-2014, 12:50   #7
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

There is also part II of the $500/ month thread below

Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

For $800 a month I would be living large. I'm at about $500 a month and many others do it too.

Key is you want a smaller / older boat (1960's-1970's). Ideally solid glass hull and if you can find it a solid glass deck, but those are rare. Nothing larger then 35 feet, 30-32 foot would be perfect. With a low hour diesel. Diesel gets better mileage, so lower operating costs.

A sailboat rather then a powerboat as power boats use WAY too much fuel, even trawlers. I get about 12 miles per gallon running the diesel, which is very good.

Put $100 a month aside for maintenance/haulouts. Put 2-3 coats of bottom paint and you can go 3-4 years or more between haulouts. I'm at 5 years now and hope to get one more year or so out of my bottom paint. Do all the work yourself. Sails you buy will be used. not new. My last main sail was $300 and its still very good. Not a perfect fit, but close enough.

Avoid marine stores. My Fridge is a $140 3.5CF 120V dorm fridge running on a $50 inverter. Uses no more power then a 12V unit, per day. Add a few solar panels for power, a propane stove/oven from an RV store, Mine is 42 years old and still working fine.

Never pay more then $1 watt for solar. A PWM charge controller is cheap and works fine with 12V solar panels.
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Old 11-08-2014, 13:34   #8
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
I know many people living on less and setting at a dock.. some older marinas will set you back as little as a couple hundred a month..
The biggest Item that we have seen as being on the boat for the last few years is that being land conected.. its the internet, phones, cars, gas, insurance, and the like that take your money.. while on the hook we've experanced months with expences as low as $250.. your on the hook and only spending money for food.
The issue you might incounter is having to stay within the area as you are locked into land based issues..
We've figured that we only have a small amount of funds avalable ourselves and can get by alright in living here but by being on the move, we can experance more at the same price..

Just a thought, you might be able to live south of the border where your money goes further and fly back to the states every 3 months as needed..
The internet cost is what worries me the most, right now I have a bundled satellite internet and VOIP phone service that cost me $92.12 a month total. After looking up a marine use type of the same services it would cost over half of my total budget. I don't watch TV much at all now and have lived without a TV for years before so I don't need that as long as I have something to read and with my kindle I have plenty of books to read on there and e-books on my laptop to keep me reading for years to come. But having some type of connection to the internet while outside a good cell or wifi area just looks too darn expensive. If I go back to my old type system of using my travel wifi router and the usb device I will be able to get 20 gigs of data a month anywhere I can get a cell service. It is not fast enough for VOIP but it would give me an internet hook up when I was in cell range of shore for $50 a month. I would also have my cell phones with me for phone calls when in range of a tower. I know I said phones, my smart phone is setup to cost me $2 a day for the days I actually use it and on those days I have unlimited talk and text. I put a $100 on it at the beginning of the year and if I have anything left over at the end of the year it rolls over as long as I put more money on it before the time runs out. My other phone is just a basic phone that doesn't cost me anything. It is my lifeline cell phone. Here at the house if I don't buy extra "snacks" I spend about $200 a month on food most of which is meats including fish that I eat about three times a week. If I catch fish as I go that means I don't have to buy fish which saves on the food cost. I have been homeless before so I know how to live on the cheap when it comes to buying food and living in small areas. Shoot about the only time I leave my room here is to go to the doctors office, the store, the kitchen to eat and to go to the head. I basically live in my small room here which is 8 foot wide at the widest point but the closet takes up about two feet of that in depth and four feet in length of the ten feet that is there. The room is 8x10 in other words. Since this first boat will be a small coastal cruiser I figure I'll have a little less room than that in the cabin at least in width. The boats designs I am looking at are both trailerable as well as beachable so it will give me more options on anchorage since with the keel up I can float the boat in about a foot of water under the hull. As for emails I plan on getting my HAM licence and using Winlink Global Radio Email for that, so I can get emails and weather reports from the radio gear that I will have on board the boat.
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Old 11-08-2014, 13:40   #9
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

I run my business and have for the last 4yrs with a cell phone and WiFi Air card from Verizon Wireless. Pulled it off in Mexico as well as it does not on a Mooring Ball in Morro Bay. In Mexico we used a local WiFi card but are using a Verizon card now.

I've used my W6GKY@Winlink email address but remember you can't use it for "work" emails, as commercial emails are not allowed on Winlink.
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Old 11-08-2014, 13:49   #10
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
There is also part II of the $500/ month thread below

Shoestring Sailors (Cruising on $500 per month - part II)

For $800 a month I would be living large. I'm at about $500 a month and many others do it too.

Key is you want a smaller / older boat (1960's-1970's). Ideally solid glass hull and if you can find it a solid glass deck, but those are rare. Nothing larger then 35 feet, 30-32 foot would be perfect. With a low hour diesel. Diesel gets better mileage, so lower operating costs.

A sailboat rather then a powerboat as power boats use WAY too much fuel, even trawlers. I get about 12 miles per gallon running the diesel, which is very good.

Put $100 a month aside for maintenance/haulouts. Put 2-3 coats of bottom paint and you can go 3-4 years or more between haulouts. I'm at 5 years now and hope to get one more year or so out of my bottom paint. Do all the work yourself. Sails you buy will be used. not new. My last main sail was $300 and its still very good. Not a perfect fit, but close enough.

Avoid marine stores. My Fridge is a $140 3.5CF 120V dorm fridge running on a $50 inverter. Uses no more power then a 12V unit, per day. Add a few solar panels for power, a propane stove/oven from an RV store, Mine is 42 years old and still working fine.

Never pay more then $1 watt for solar. A PWM charge controller is cheap and works fine with 12V solar panels.
I guess I will be doing good on repairing the boat since most likely I will be building the boat unless I find one that I can afford that is in turn key shape for lest than what it is going to cost m to build. As for the solar panels I know how to get them for free at times. I just have to time it right and get them before they scrap them. I have an old electric cooler that I used to use in my truck when I drove a big rig that would probably work great for a boat too. It plugs into the lighter plug. When I first got it I learned to make sure I keep it full. I put two two little sodas in it, plugged it in and went to sleep. I woke up to slushies. As long as I kept it over half full it didn't freeze everything in the box.

I wonder how big of a boat I would have to build to be able to use the diesel engine and fuel tanks on the old truck we still have. It has a 350HP Cat with twin 90 gallon fuel tanks and a 10 speed transmission.
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Old 11-08-2014, 14:21   #11
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

Just curious... you have stated several times on a couple of threads you started that you are disabled with back, spine, weight an diabetic issues. Really... how you you expect to make the ongoing necessary repairs to your future boat? Operate the systems including anchoring safely on a daily basis (anchors are heavy and the task requires bending over and sometimes rapid movements). Marine mechanics charge $85-$115 per hour. You have a stated internet and phone requirement that might take up as much as half your budget... and you plan on doing all this on $800 per month?

No, I don't think $800 is nearly enough IMHO.

But I will add an idea which might work out better for you. A former tenant and close friend purchased a used house boat in Salem harbor, MA for $5000 two years ago. He lives on a mooring 4 months of the year and then at a reduced off season dock during the winter. He loves it. Much less to go wrong. But he is a very fit and able bodied 62 year old. Maybe a situation like his might work out better for you.
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Old 11-08-2014, 14:28   #12
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

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Originally Posted by SV THIRD DAY View Post
I run my business and have for the last 4yrs with a cell phone and WiFi Air card from Verizon Wireless. Pulled it off in Mexico as well as it does not on a Mooring Ball in Morro Bay. In Mexico we used a local WiFi card but are using a Verizon card now.

I've used my W6GKY@Winlink email address but remember you can't use it for "work" emails, as commercial emails are not allowed on Winlink.
Wouldn't be using it for any type of work. I am on disability so I get a check every month from when I could work. The USB device I have here at the house that I used before I got satellite internet used Verizon too but it didn't go through them for the billing. I got 20 gigs a month for $49.99 a month flat fee. It was allot higher if I went through Verizon and would get half the bandwidth I did with them. I just checked their website and it looks like the cost has jumped some in the last two years. It is now $89.99 per month for the plan I had. The international plans are higher. If you are staying in U.S. Waters it is still cheaper than Mobile satellite par month though I would think adding a data plan to my phone and using it as a hotspot would be cheaper still. Here is the link if anyone want to look at it. Plans | Millenicom
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Old 11-08-2014, 14:34   #13
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

Short answer, Yes, no problem IF the boat is paid for and has no deferred maintenance.
Docking won't cost much as you will live on the hook being on a budget and all.
Haul outs can be delayed and or cancelled if you dive and clean the bottom yourself. I have been as far as 4 years between bottom jobs, but sooner or later it will cost a couple of grand.
Problems with blisters, rigging, sails and the engine will set ya back $10k a pop easily. As other sailors mentioned, keep a savings account and add to it every month as sailboats are expensive to maintain if you want a sea worthy boat.
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Old 11-08-2014, 15:20   #14
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

I find these posts funny, I could live out of my car for 300 maybe but than why would I want to. If you're going to be a derelict boat and just live on the anchor what's the point of living in a sailboat. See the term is sail-boat. You sail.

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Old 11-08-2014, 15:22   #15
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Re: Possibilities Of Living Aboard On $800 Or Less

It is doable allright. I am a walking proof. And we are a couple. If a couple can live for 800, a single should be allright able to do the same.

But start with how much berthing will cost you in your area. How much you pay for your berth or for your anchorage will greatly influence how much of that 800 will be left for boat maintenance.

Once you deduct maintenance and running costs, you will know how much is left for soap, books and, finally, food.

Others do it. No proof you can. Try and see if that's what you want.

To completely piss off any naysayers, we sailed a rtw 2003-2007 and last season we made a trip to the West Indies and back.

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