I live aboard my boat, cost me $2k. $10k is a realistic budget for buyng a very small liveaboard
. Twice that would be better. Half that, and you need to be in the right place at the right time with cash in hand. To do that, you got to start networking now. Get involved with local boaters, preferably sailboaters. Offer to crew for them or help out with maintenance
just for the experience. If a local marina or club has races on Wednesday and Sunday, you can probably find a spot with somebody as "rail meat", sitting on the windward rail as human ballast. Then you learn to grind a winch
and actually handle sails
. When the skipper
finally lets you take the wheel
or tiller for a bit, you have arrived.
See if there is a Power Squadron near you... there are all kinds of courses you can take that will teach you a lot about rules and regulations
, in particular. Even powerboating classes
have a lot of transferrable knowledge. A leak is a leak. A fire is a fire. etc.
or day sailer could be an excellent introduction
to sailing. You can always resell it later when you are ready to upgrade. No marina slip bill! Just park it in your driveway.
YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD, consider every aspect of living. You gotta go potty eventually. Are there pumpout facilities near where you will keep your boat? Does the boat have a proper head
(sailorspeak for "toilet" and associated equipment) or are you stuck with using a portapotty? Is shore power
available, and does the boat have a proper smart-charger for the batteries? Is the boat wired for shore power
? Got GFCI breakers? (VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!) Water
tank? Working water pump? Shower
? Showers ashore? Heat? Okay, you got to sleep. Eat. Wash. Cook. "Go". Illuminate, for reading etc at night. Pump bilges. That's just for a "dock queen" that doesn't go anywhere. Sails
, those are other considerations above adn beyond simply living aboard. Make sure you have all the answers. Walk through the processes and make sure that a boat you want to buy meets your requirements.
One thing you will never have enough of is room. You will have to step outside just to change your mind, on any boat 30 feet or less. Can you get used to it? Not having stuff that you dont have room for? If there is any doubt, you need a trial run on someone else's boat.
Yes, a small boat can cross oceans. But your first liveaboard will probably not be the boat for it. Very likely if you get the cruising bug you will upgrade to something considerably longer than a basic 26 to 32 foot pocket cruiser
. The smaller boat will teach you more than anything else, what you NEED in a boat to do what you want to do with it. Watermaker
? Not every boat has an engine. Joshua Slocum sailed around the world by himself with no engine. Not that I recommend it. Plenty of others have done the same, since he did. Electronics
? Self steering gear
? How big? The first small cruiser/liveaboard will teach you these things as well as teach you to fix stuff, maintain stuff, sail safely and plan a voyage properly. Your first liveaboard will NOT be your ocean crosser, most likely. For serious transoceanic cruising, there is probably an upgrade in your future.
My advice is don't worry about crossing oceans yet. Learn from others, either by crewing
or taking classes. Get a boat. Move aboard. Take short sails, then longer ones. Your perspective changes and you get a more realistic attitude. The difference between a dream and a plan.
The actual practice of sailing is not necessarily difficult. A basic sloop
rig with a roller furling jib
, with all lines led to the cockpit
, and sufficient winches, is pretty easy to sail single
handed. I sail alone more than I sail with a crew. I enjoy the solitude. For longer trips of course I advise against sailing alone, though it can be done. One of the most basic Rules Of The Road is that a proper lookout must be maintained at all times. TBH, you are not keeping a proper lookout if you take a catnap in the cockpit
or go below for something. So if you have someone to split the watches with, you are much more in compliance and much safer. Just sayin.
"Rules Of The Road" and download a copy. This is something that needs to be memorized in its entirety. Serious. Seriously serious. And learn about all the stuff that you need on your boat to comply with the law and basic safety. Registration
, fire extinguishers, propane
and gasoline safety, (safest to simply have neither one) electrical
lights, waste disposal, fire extinguishers, (there... said it twice. That means have twice as many as required.) keeping everything up to date, all that stuff. Google
is your friend. A class is an even better friend.