9 Things To Consider Before Living On A Boat – Tips!

When it comes to living on a boat I think there is nothing better. Waking up on the water is a great feeling and there are many people that experience that feeling on a daily basis.

1. Location, Location, Location

When it comes to living on a boat, you have to store it somewhere. You may be thinking about a local marina, but does that marina have space? Does it have all the necessities you need such as a shower or laundry? Always think about where the boat will be when you are living on it. Can you move the boat to another location if needed or is this the only option?

2. Storage Space

As we discussed earlier in this article, this is a big thing to think about. How much stuff are you bringing with you and is it necessary?

3. Insurance

Insurance is a must when living on a boat. There is one thing to think about though besides just getting some boat insurance. Sometimes you are required to have liveaboard boat insurance not just regular boat insurance. It costs a bit more of course, but that is because you are living on it full-time. It’s kind of like car insurance when they ask you how much you drive each year. They need to know what your risk is based on how often you use it. Be sure to double-check with your insurance carrier.

4. Costs

This is an obvious one. Even though we know it will be cheaper than owning a house, you need to check the costs. I recommend doing a monthly budget to see what you will need to survive comfortably. Also, think about random maintenance to the boat or the boat’s engine. Those come up out of the blue and can be very costly. I recommend an emergency fund is started for boat repairs that aren’t scheduled.

5. Lake Or Ocean

When slipping your boat, it is important to think about lakes vs. oceans. Ocean slips may cost more, but lake levels vary. In Texas, lake levels can drop dramatically due to droughts. This is something to keep in mind depending on where you plan to live. I always recommend the ocean when possible.

6. Temperatures

Living on a boat in tropical areas can be great, but also hot. If your boat doesn’t have A/C are you okay with that? You also need to think about if you will get any cold weather. When you live on the water and cold weather comes in, it feels twice as cold as it would inland. Heaters are an option or small fireplaces. Think about the weather year-round so you are not surprised when it comes.

7. Workplace

A big thing to think about is your job. Do you have a job? Are you going to be working from home? Can you get ready in the mornings for work on a boat? These are important questions to ask yourself. If you will still be driving 30 minutes to work, does your boat slip come with a guaranteed parking spot?

8. Pets

Do you have a pet? It is a simple question and if you do, how will it be living on a boat with them? Pets can be a great addition to any boat. I would love to sail around the world with my cat but I am pretty sure he would hate it. Pets can get seasick as well so be sure to remember that.

9. Significant Other

If you are married, this is probably the biggest thing to think about. Is your spouse as excited as you to live on a boat? They may hate the idea. If they do hate the idea, the best advice I can give you is to try to convince them of all the great things about being on the water and not the negatives. If you can’t convince them to move to a boat full-time. I recommend maybe getting a boat and visiting it every weekend. That way they can still come home but experience life on the water as well.

I hope these 9 things help plan out your move to boat life.

Is It Cheaper To Live On A Boat Then A House? – YES!

On average, a month of living on a boat in the harbor will cost anywhere from $550 to $2000. While living in a house will cost you between $1800 to $5000. The size of your boat and home will determine the cost difference between the two.

These prices will vary depending on a few different factors. This article is going to discuss those factors and shows you how living on a boat will save you a ton of money.

Mortgage vs. Boat Slip Fees

When it comes to buying a house, you are probably going to be signing up for a 30-year mortgage. That is what most home buyers do in this country. The mortgage payments will consist of property taxes, insurance, interests, and your principal. Imagine spending $1800 a month, which was the average mortgage payment for Houston, TX.

You are going to have to pay that 12 times a year for 30 years, so 360 payments at $1800 become $648,000 in total! That is so much money and half of that would buy you the nicest boat ever!

If you were to buy a sailboat at 36 feet (paid in full) and slip it permanently, you would be looking at an average cost of $800 a month for storage, depending on the location. Location is a huge factor in price.

Let’s look at the numbers, $800 a month for 12 months is $9600, and over 30 years it would be $288,000 in total. So, $648,000 minus $288,000 saves you $360,000 over 30 years. That is insane!

I think it’s clear when it comes to the two costs, a boat is much cheaper. One factor that might affect this is the type of boat you purchase. If you plan on doing a boat loan, yes that will be an extra cost, but most people I have met over the years, always buy a used boat and pay in full, which is what I highly recommend you do.

Let’s look at some other costs between the two options.


Utilities are something we must all pay for no matter where we live. They are necessary things we must use to survive. Water and electricity are the two biggest utilities you need to think about.


Utilities are very dependent on things, such as the size of the house that is being heated and the number of people using water daily.

The average person in the U.S. uses 89 – 101 gallons of water per a day.

When you think of water usage on a boat in terms of the national average, most people living on boats would be in trouble because most houseboats are going to have a small freshwater tank roughly 50-60 gallons. If you have 2 or more people living on that boat what are you going to do?

If you have never showered on a boat before, it is much quicker and does use less water. You are not going to be standing in hot water for 30 minutes trying to relax from a long day, you are going to be getting in cleaning yourself, and getting out. A lot of boats don’t even have hot water heaters, so just keep that in mind.

Here is an article all about sailboat showers if you would like some more information on them.

I am talking a lot about water because it is one of the most essential things you need in life. That’s why we talk about it so much in this article.

Most marinas will provide fresh water. I have been at some that charge to fill your boat and others that give it away for free. Sometimes it is from a regular old garden hose and sometimes it is from a more structured setup to help filter the water.

If you do make the move to a boat full-time, make sure you know where your fresh water is coming from.


The other big utility you need to consider when living on a boat is electricity. Electricity for a house in Texas will on average cost you $150 a month. That isn’t terrible but compared to a boat that uses way less electricity you are looking at a savings of at least $100 a month.

A lot of marinas have electrical hookups and will charge a small fee to use them. A lot of boats also have solar panels though which helps keep the battery banks full and you may not even need shore power.

Check out this article, is all about how much solar power you need on a boat!

When you think about electricity for a house and compare it to that of a boat, it is very different. Your house will probably be 1500 sqft, and have heating and cooling available. This is a huge consumer of electricity. Your boat is probably not going to have either and if it does, it is such a smaller place it won’t use that much power.

Other appliances like a fridge and dishwasher are much smaller on a boat compared to a house. Everything gets smaller on a boat and that will save you money in return.

Two appliances to think about are washers and dryers. Most boats do not have these and a lot of marinas don’t either. If your marina does, it will probably cost you quarters to use it and won’t affect your electricity bill at the marina. If you do have a set on your boat they use a good amount of energy so consider dying your clothes out on the deck in the sunlight.

Below is a list of some other utilities you may be able to save money with if you move to a boat.

  • HOA Fee
  • Trash And Recycling
  • Sewage
  • Lawn Service
  • Internet/Cable

All of these utilities are usually included in your slip fees for your boat. If the internet is not included I recommend just getting a hotspot for your cell phone.

Let’s move on to the next thing that will save you a ton of money when you move into a boat.

Storage Space

Storage is a huge thing to consider when moving to a boat. The space on a boat will be a lot less than your average home. Some people see this as a bad thing, but I see it as a great thing.

I am sure all of us have junk in our houses we don’t need, we just keep it because the space is there. If you are living on a sailboat you will only be buying what is necessary to live and not a bunch of extra stuff. This over time will save you a fortune.

Here in Texas, I see so many people with their garages so full, that they can’t even park in them. That blows my mind! I understand if maybe both cars won’t fit, but if one doesn’t fit that is absurd.

The point I am trying to make is we have so much stuff in this world that we don’t even use. Living on a boat will keep you from buying things you don’t need.

Some examples of what you would not need to buy are a couch, desk, dining room table, or hot tub. Most of us also probably have two or three TVs in the house. These are not necessary on the boat.

Don’t Buy A Couch.

Sailing UMA (Youtube Channel) motto

If you are considering living on a boat, make a list of what is necessary for you to be happy there and make sure you have room for it.

If you are planning on living on a sailboat I highly encourage you to read this article 10 Pros and Cons of A Sailboat

Final Thoughts

Living on a boat is the best thing in the world in my opinion. You can wake up on the water every day and watch every sunset. There are some drawbacks such as space and things you can own, but I think the trade-off is worth it. If you have enough money, having a house and a boat would be nice as well. Those three-day weekends on the boat would be fantastic. As I continue to say on this website, do what is best for you. If this is something you want go for it and don’t look back! Cheers!


Boatlifehq owner and author/editor of this article.

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