The desire for adventure is a romance that can strike fast and strike hard. All it takes is something as simple as a ferry ride to trigger a deep yearning for life on the salty seas.
Way back when the life of a sailor was a treacherous one with a bleak life expectancy. However, if you’re reading this then you happen to be on the right side of history as far as living on a boat is concerned.
Moving onto a boat can be an exciting and fulfilling experience, it’s shopping for boats you can live on that can give you a headache. If you plan to never leave the dock, then your boat choice can be based purely on aesthetics and comfort.
If you plan to actually, you know, boat, there are considerations to take into account. We’ve compiled five great choices for boats you can live on from different categories. This way, even if the choices aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll come away knowing what type of boat suits your dream.
The Power Boat
Powerboats offer more living space in relation to boat length than some of the other types. Depending on who you plan to share the boat with, or your own wants and needs, this can be a rather important variable to consider.
Unlike sailboats, where every nuance of the design is aimed at functionality, powerboats give you more leeway. Things you may not have considered like walking around the deck, being able to power certain electronics, etc. are easier to achieve on a powerboat.
The big choice comes in how you want to motor. For longer, more relaxed outings you’ll want a displacement boat. These offer greater fuel economy but don’t boast exciting top speeds.
Planing boats are better suited for a short afternoon cruising the waters. The drawback is the fuel that will be consumed getting the boat fast enough to get on top of the water.
Check out the popular Sundancer by Sea Ray if you think a powerboat might fit your vision.
There’s something extra romantic about sailboats. It could be the rustic minimalism they ask of their crew or the picturesque white triangle of a mainsail billowing in the wind.
Whatever the draw, a sailboat can offer an intimate living experience and the flexibility of longer trips as long as you’re willing to learn the ropes.
When considering sailboats you can live on there are two distinct hull setups:
The monohull represents the classic single-person boat living adventure. They require the most getting used to as far as living space (the shape of the boat has a lot to do with this). But where else can you get the unique experience of sailing?
Generally, you would have to avoid shallow marinas because of the deep keel on most monohulls. This isn’t hard because sailboats are meant to be taken out, and fare well in open waters.
If you need a little more space, but still want the sailing experience, getting a sailboat with two or three hulls would do you well.
Not only does the design give you more liveaboard space, but it also provides a shallower draft, which means you have more options for mooring. Keep an eye on your budget. Slip fees are part of the expenses of boats you can live on, and multihulls require expensive slip fees due to their size.
The Islander 36 is a monohull cruiser that is still popular today and is rather spacious compared to other sailboats its size.
For when you would really just love to live on the water, Houseboats are the way to go.
Huge living space, shallow bottoms, and super comfortable, there isn’t much to dislike about them.
A houseboat is ideal for calmer waters such as some rivers and lakes due to their flat bottoms. There’s a good reason you’ll never see something that comfy on the ocean or in a large lake, you’re better off just taking a cruise on something like what Wayzata Bay Charters provides.
Since houseboats can’t always be sailed from one place to another, it’s best to look at ones that are trailerable. Catamaran Cruisers makes some of the more popular models.
You can always get your sailing and powerboating fix all in one if you’re willing to have something that doesn’t excel at either. Motorsailers usually boast larger space than regular sailboats which is another illustration of the tradeoff between comfort and performance.
The big hurdle with sailboats is that it’s hard to be just a “casual” sailor. A sailboat is designed with the idea that sailing is the primary and preferred method of movement.
With a motorsailer, you can get your sailing fix, but switch over whenever you run into trouble or are tired of it. Because the boat is also specifically designed to run this way, there’s no trouble.
Motorsailors also give the opportunity for some serious long distance traveling. If you have any far-off dreams of passage making or even circumnavigation, a motorsailer can do that for you. The Huffler line is a great place to start if a motorsailer appeals to you.
The trawler is kind of your functionality renaissance boat. It’s great for frequent cruising and longer distances. It’s more economical fuel wise, while not sacrificing as much space as you would on a sailboat.
Trawlers are solidly built. It really comes down to what you want to do with the boat, and if you like the look of it. The Nordic 32 is a trawler that tends to hold its value more than most.
Boats You Can Live On: Achieving the Dream
You can’t make the dream happen if you aren’t willing to even look at some of these boats! You won’t always be able to find the right boat locally, so make sure you travel safely when going to check out a potential liveaboard.
Once you secure a liveaboard, you might as well use it to its fullest. Check out our blog for some excellent travel guides to get ideas for your next voyage.