A sailboat sitting at the bottom of lake.

5 Worst Things About Living on a Sailboat

Do pictures of a boat floating on calm, open waters have you considering the possibilities of living on a sailboat? The ocean can provide endless adventures. But, there are a few things you might want to consider before selling most of your belongings, hopping on a boat, and letting the wind and waves take you where they want.

Living on a sailboat isn’t only epic sunsets with rainbows in the distance. It can be a tough way to live life, and it has some rather intense challenges.

Today, we’re sharing five of the worst things people hate about life on a sailboat. Let’s get started!

After a few years living the boat life, these nomads reflect on what they got wrong with their initial expectations.

Can You Live on a Sailboat?

Yes, you can live on a sailboat! Some live on sailboats temporarily for weekend adventures or extended vacations. And, some adventurous folks live year-round on their sailboats. Life Of Sailing even estimates that there are between 50,000 and 100,000 people worldwide living on them.

Some areas don’t allow full-time living in sailboats. So make sure that there are no legal restrictions to doing so if you’re planning to spend a significant amount of time in a slip or at a marina.

Some have found that they can only stay for a night or two in their boats each week before running into resistance from the marina. Those spots set up for full-time boat living can be very expensive.

Is Living on a Sailboat Hard?

Life on a sailboat can be very hard, especially at first. No matter how small of a residence you’re downsizing from, it’s likely that the sailboat is much smaller.

Being confined to such a tiny space can be a bit overwhelming. Multiple people living on a boat can strain even the strongest of relationships.

Let’s talk about the realities of living on the ocean.

If you have to leave the marina regularly, sailing can require quite the learning curve. You need to know what you’re doing and be able to make adjustments on the fly.

Both the weather and water conditions can change in an instant. You can put yourself and your boat in a dangerous situation if you don’t know what you’re doing.

What Is a Good Size Sailboat to Live On? 

You’ll want a 35-foot to 45-foot boat, but at least a boat 30 ft long if you plan to live on it. You may be able to get by with a smaller boat if you’re traveling solo. If you’re traveling with a partner, you’ll want a bit of extra space.

You also have to consider what amenities or gear you’ll bring with you. If you want a boat with a washing machine or even a freezer, you’ll need to look at longer boats. The longer the boat, the more expensive it will be and the larger the space you will need to store it at a marina.

5 Worst Things About Living on a Sailboat

As we said, sailboat life has its challenges. Let’s look at five of the largest challenges to surviving while living on a sailboat.

1. The Threat of Sinking

What could go wrong when your house floats on top of the water? Well, for starters, you could sink! If your sailboat were to take a devastating blow or capsize, it would sink with all your possessions in it.

A sailboat at the bottom of a lake.

Once your boat starts to take on water, it’s only a matter of time before you’re watching it slip below its surface. You’ll be left crossing your fingers that help arrives in time for you to rescue some of your possessions. 

2. Tiny Living Quarters

Living on a sailboat is like living in an RV. The liveable space in them can seem large at first, but once you get yourself and all of your stuff inside, it can feel like it shrunk.

Living in a tiny space can be overwhelming. You may intend to spend as much time outside, but there will be days when the weather doesn’t cooperate, or it’s just not possible. 

Squeezing you and your possessions into a tiny space can take a mental toll on you. So don’t overestimate your ability to tolerate tiny living! If you can give it a try and work your way into the lifestyle, it can allow you to adjust and even avoid wasting space on things you don’t need.

3. Constant Motion (Seasickness Is Real)

Seasickness is real, and it can be a terrible feeling. The constant rocking motion of the boat can throw off your equilibrium and cause you to feel ill.

There are special bracelets you can wear or tablets you can take, but if you’re living on the boat, it can be rather challenging.

This may not be as much of a problem if you’re planning to dock at a marina most of the time. However, if you’re planning to spend your time out on the open waters or anchored off the coast, you’ll need to have a plan.

4. Internet Connectivity Issues

If you need to stay connected to the internet, it can be difficult when living on a sailboat. You may get blazing speeds when docked at your favorite marina, but the further you travel away from the shore, you’re likely to experience connectivity issues. Even if you can stay connected, you will have slower speeds and have to deal with data caps.

Improving your internet connection can require multiple data plans and expensive equipment. Even with multiple data plans and the best technology, there’s a chance you’ll still have connectivity issues when out to sea and away from cell towers.

5. Onboard Water Shortages

Despite having water all around you, you’ll still have to manage your water supply. You’ll have an onboard water tank for drinking, washing dishes, and showering. This is clean water that you know is safe to consume and won’t cause any health issues.

You’ll have to learn to manage your water usage, which means short showers and getting creative when making meals that don’t require many dishes.

What Are the Benefits of Living on a Boat? 

Many love living on a boat because of the freedom it can provide. They can see new places and enjoy an exceptional amount of privacy.

Many who thrive when it comes to living on a boat find the minimalist lifestyle is one they enjoy. Getting rid of items they no longer need allows them to have space for things that matter in their lives.

Living on a boat can also be cheaper than renting an apartment or house in some locations. In recent years, the housing and rental markets have soared, and living on a sailboat has become a serious consideration for many.

Is living in a van cheaper than renting an apartment?

Is Living on a Sailboat Worth It?

Living on a sailboat can be a unique way to live life. Is it for everyone? Absolutely not.

However, some people find that they unexpectedly embrace the lifestyle and wish they had leaped sooner. While every day won’t be perfect, living on a sailboat can provide plenty of epic memories to cherish for many years.

Would you ever consider living on a boat?

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