Can You Live on a Boat?

Living on a boat can provide a one-of-a-kind experience that you can’t simulate anywhere else. It is possible to live on a boat and many people love it so much that they’d never go back to living on the land again. Living on a boat gives you the opportunity to not just live near the water, but to live literally on the water. That’s our dream here at Boating Buddy!

The most common type of house to live in is a houseboat. However, you could theoretically live on other types of boats as well. Many yachts have living quarters in them as well as some smaller boats with cabins. A houseboat is designed to live in and can have all of the comforts of a regular home.

When living in a boat, you can take the approach of getting a permanent slip at a marina and staying in the same location every night. Or you could simply travel around from place to place, living in the boat wherever you go. Both approaches can be done and they both can be extremely rewarding.

If you’re the type of boater that likes to move around in the water quickly and nimbly, a houseboat probably won’t be your favorite. They are big and don’t generally go that fast. They’re designed to primarily be stationary on the water instead of active like a ski boat or pontoon. Regardless of which boat you want to live on, be prepared for life on the water, because it’s a big change from living on land every day.

Is it Cheaper to Live on a Boat Than a House?

It definitely can be, but that’s not always the case. It really depends on how large and how nice you want the boat to be and where you’re located. For instance, a houseboat price can vary between $100,000 and $250,000. If you get an older used one, you could get one for $50,000 or less. So in this case, it can be less expensive. However, if you’re looking at higher-end houseboats, you’ll spend as much on one of those as you would a house.

The other factor to consider is you’ll still have ongoing costs too in most cases. Unless you own the land and the dock where the houseboat stays, you’ll have to pay some kind of rental fee every month to stay there. While it may not seem like much, it can really add up over the span of several months or years.

There definitely are ways to live in a boat cheaply though. If you got a smaller boat with a cabin, you could potentially get into it for a very affordable price. The rental fees for smaller boats are less than those for large houseboats also. Or if you bought some land on the water and dock there, that could help you avoid the ongoing rental fees completely. Regardless of which path you choose, it may not be substantially cheaper than living in a house.

Can You Live on a Boat for Free?

I don’t know…can you? Just kidding. It is possible to live on a boat for free, but there are a few variables to think about. Instead of renting a boat, this would require you to own one. So is it really free if you already paid for the boat? I suppose if you’re looking at it from a cash flow perspective, you’re not going to keep incurring ongoing expenses since it’s already paid for. So for example, if you had a chunk of cash and you wanted to set yourself up with a place to live for the long-term, you could buy a boat with it, and then you wouldn’t have to keep paying as you go.

The other variable to consider is, where will you park the boat? Are you just going to live out in international waters in your boat so that you don’t have to pay any docking fees? Most likely no. One way to minimize ongoing costs is to own a piece of property on the water. You can have your own dock right there on the water, and park your boat there. Again though, it’s not really free, but if you’re trying to minimize your ongoing costs, this is one way to do it. Of course, depending on where you own the land, you’ll most likely have to keep paying property taxes on the land, but that should hopefully be a minimal cost to worry about.

What is a Good Size Boat to Live On?

This really depends on how many people you have living with you, as well as your own personal preferences. If it’s just you and you don’t need much space, you could live on a small boat with a single cabin area inside. For most people, a houseboat is about the average size boat that you would want to live on for an extended period of time. Those fall in the 40 to 60-foot long category of boats. Of course, if you’ve got the money, buying a large yacht would probably be the way to go. However, those aren’t for everyone and can get very expensive.

Besides thinking about how much space you’d prefer on the boat, you also have to consider where you’re going to dock it. For example, if you are looking at 60’ houseboats, but there isn’t anywhere around where you want to stay with room for a 60’ houseboat, then you may need to revisit your plans. Look for both the place to park it, as well as a decent size boat that can fit there. Once you have the right match of docking space and boat, your dreams of living on the water can start to be realized. You’ll also have to make sure that it matches up with your budget both for the boat, as well as the ongoing docking and repair costs. If your means match up with your vision, then what are you waiting for?


two helm boat interior

Last Updated on July 12, 2021