Originally Posted by LittleFlower
Hello everyone! I'm headed south for the winter on my boat, likely alone or possibly with a friend. I have no specific plans for locations (E. Coast, Bermuda
, Virgin Islands
, S. America) or length of the trip (3-10 months). Its all up in the air. Any suggestions?
More importantly, I'm interested in knowing an estimated cost of cruising/month. The total cost would include all expenses such as: food, supplies, gas, water
, occasional dock
, cruising guides
There are two reasons I ask: 1) so I know about how much money
I need to have saved 2) because I am splitting the cost with my friend and would like to let her know what to expect. We have agreed to share all expenses.
I understand that I will get a large range of estimates as people's experiences and thriftyness varies. Fill me in. I appreciate your help.
I understand your concern but your question is very general. It would help if you could provide some additional information, such as:
What boat do you have now?
Do you have charts
, cruising guides
, and other navigational items onboard?
Are you going to install a chartplotter/nav computer?
Is your boat ready to sail (good sails
, running engine
, good lines, anchor, dinghy....)?
Do you have enough anchors and rode
to outlast a storm?
Do you have storm sails
Do you have the proper safety
items onboard (flares, PFDs, EPIRB
, VHF, rain gear
What are your eating habits (eat out, eat aboard, limited food likes, allergies...)?
Do you know how to fish?
Do you drink alcohol or smoke?
Do you party hard?
How are your cooking
Are you water friendly (like to swim, snorkle, wind
How do your hobbies integrate with the adventure?
It appears your plan is "to head
south". Good direction, but can you be more specific? East Coast
to Bermuda?, Bermuda to Virgin Islands
without the Bahamas? Virgin Islands to South America
without the Windward and Leeward Islands
Food will be cheapest in the US
All countries have custom, immigration, and port fees
to enter and leave.
Some countries have very limited anchoring
times or require you to take a mooring
ball at about $15/night.
Some countries (Bahamas @ $300/year) require a cruising permit
Mail and phone
are much higher outside of the US. Do you have Skype?
If your boat is well prepared then 8-10 months should be fine for bottom paint
Gas will run you $4-5/gallon and diesel
about the same. Propane/LPG is about $25 to fill a 20# bottle. Going to the dock
to get gas/diesel is only going to add to the cost. Do you have jerry jugs so you can tote gas from a station (where it's generally cheaper than at the dock) to your tender
to the boat?
Local foods are enjoyable but can be either expensive, past ripe, or impossible to find. Can you live without fresh veggies and fruit or be willing to pay $3 for an overripe tomato, slightly brown head
Depending on how much you use your tender
, gas can be a big expense. Can you row/sail your tender/dink? Are you using a big or small outboard
? Big will allow you to get places faster, tote more stuff, and outrun bad weather
at the expense of economy.
Filling your water tank can be expensive. In some places you'll be charged $0.50/gallon. Do you have a way to catch rainwater to fill your tank? Do you have jerry jugs so you can find cheaper/free water in town and tote them to the tender and boat to fill your tank?
Can you live with free weekly, 3-minute showers or pay $5 for a 10 minute one at the marina?
Can you do your own laundry
or are you willing to pay $7/pound for someone to wash them for you?
Are you planning any land excursions?
Do you have medical insurance
and medair insurance
I lived in the Caribbean
from 1992-2000 on a 37' sloop
. I averaged $500/month on the hook. I spent the money on: food, water, gasoline, occasional trip to the dock to recharge batteries
, and diesel
. I had a wind generator
so my batteries
were in good shape but I had engine
. I had a rain catchment system that helped keep the water tank reasonably full. I also had $100 set aside from the $500 for emergency repairs
(which I didn't need until I was dismasted).
Before I left I had all the charts, cruising guides, and navigational info onboard. I used a cheap GPS and plotted out my route
on the charts. I didn't have air conditioning
, a clothes washer, chart plotter, or a generator
. I did have lots of fans, a bimini
over the cockpit
, 3 large hatches for air flow, a good fridge/poor freezer
, alcohol stove/oven, a new 100 gal water tank, new batteries, a good VHF and SSB
, sufficient safety equipment
(but no life raft), 10' inflatable
tender with a 15 hp outboard
, newish sails and lines, all chain rode
on the main Bruce anchor, and line of the spare Danforth and Fortress
anchors, and good weather
gear">foul weather gear (because you'll be surprised how cold rain can be).
I also stocked up on supplies so I could live out of the provisions for many months and supplement what I needed/wanted if it was available and reasonable in price
I didn't frequent the bars unless it was 2-1 and free muchies and then I was gone as soon as the prices went up. If I drank alcohol I bought a bottle and mix and drank aboard my or other boats. I don't smoke or do drugs.
During that time, you could anchor about anywhere. Moorings were just an idea to get revenue from boaters. There were no limits on stays in anchorages
. You could go from island to island and paperwork costs were low.
I'd plan on 1/2 gal of water a day/person for drinking, brushing your teeth; 1/2 gal/day for dishes; and 3 gal/week for showers. That's 10 gal/week/person.
If you eat simply with rice, pasta, and other cheap carbs as the base, light amounts of protein, and the occasional sweet you could get by for about $40/week/person. If you can catch fish, conch, or lobster you can save a bit but I'd plan on eating from what you buy. Meat can be expensive, chicken tough or freezer
burned, and pork hard to find. If you like cabbage then cole slaw will be a staple. If you can bake bread you can broaden your dining choices. I'm a big fan of PB&J but I after finding Nutella, it's now PB&N sandwiches or on toast.
Since there are few large population centers in your general direction, you'll be stocking up in the bigger locations for times when that fantastic, gin clear anchorage, small island captures your heart. You'll pay more down island simply due to economics - smaller populations, higher transportation costs, longer transportation runs, limited choices. If you see it in the market, buy it then. Many times you'll come back the same day to find it gone and nothing coming in for months. Find out when the supply ship docks and be ready to shop before the sun rises. The local's will; and most smart boaters.