A lot of people have thought about dropping out of the rat race and retire into a live aboard boat so as to experience the easier life and travel to exotic places. There are many benefits associated with this sort of lifestyle, and waking up in the morning to the smell of the salt atmosphere and friendly neighborhood tropical birds looking for their morning breakfast in your backyard are definitely in the top two! Once you’ve made the choice to live aboard a boat, then there are several more options that you want to decide on.
What type of boat will it be, a mono-hull or a catamaran? How much money are you prepared to invest into the ship and where will you dock it? There’ll be so much less space than what you’re used to at a home, and storage places will come at a premium. Some ships have more space than others, and before long you’ll find that out once you start attending boat shows across the country or world. How much comfort are you willing to give up for a life of adventure on the high seas?
They have a deep keel so as to assist as ballast and to keep the vessel vertical, which is highly beneficial if you’re out on the sea! But due to this keel, there will also be a fantastic deal of rolling and rocking from side to side as waves hit the ship. If you aren’t used to this motion, you might well wind up with a bad case of sea sickness that will spoil your cruise. Mono-hulls do tend to have more space onboard for living and storage however, because the shape of the hull is extremely conducive to that in regard to depth. You will immediately realize however, that the width or width leaves much to be desired and is often narrower with respect to the complete length.
In my opinion the hull of selection is the catamaran, which is a considerably wider or beamy vessel, and some of the larger boats are so secure in rough weather a champagne glass sitting on the galley table won’t tip or fall over! The ideal length for a cruising catamaran to comfortably accommodate a married couple is anywhere from 36 feet to 55 feet, and the price goes up quite a bit each foot that is added on. For example, the normal 50 foot mono-hull might have a 12 -16 foot beam, but a 50 foot catamaran may have a 26 – 30 foot beam! This really leads to stability in very rough seas, with a huge decrease in the side to side rolling of the mono-hulls. A catamaran has two hulls with an open space between them for the seas to pass through and normally the galley and living area sitting out of the water between the hulls. This contributes to good visibility above the water, and a nice wide area for cooking, eating, and entertaining yourself and guests. Some versions will have the galley found down in one of the two hulls to make more living space above. The sleeping areas, cabins, and heads are located down in the hulls on both sides of the boat, and based on the size can normally accommodate up to 4 couples.
The biggest drawback I have personally seen with catamaran ships is the”turnaround room” when standing down in the hulls. I do an”elbow test” when down in the hulls, so that I am standing with my hands on my buttocks and my elbows out and then I stand in one place and turn around in a circle. If my elbows touch or knock anything, it’s a really cramped space! Unfortunately, the majority of the vessels I have examined had this drawback, but I did find one 52 foot South African boat that passed this test. In fact, there was so much living area and storage area on this boat that I call it a”condo catamaran”! It was pure luxury, with up to six cabins on a normal design, or for the discerning owner they could have one whole hull just for them which is called the”owner’s design”. This is the layout that actually appealed to me, and will offer much cupboard space and a very private living room for those long voyages with guests. I encourage everyone who is looking for the perfect vessel to go to as many boat shows as they could so they could personally check all the many factors involved and also to see if it’s something you can live on. The Miami International Boat Show will usually have plenty of both mono-hulls and catamarans for viewing and comparison.
Another factor or decision that you’ll have to make is whether it is going to be power or sail. For those people thinking about doing an around the world trip, they may seriously consider buying a sailboat because it is going to become much cheaper and there actually aren’t as many boats that could carry enough fuel for those trans oceanic voyages. For those people planning to stay closer to shore or mostly coastal travel might look for power boats, even though the fuel will still be a problem for most trips. There are a few boats that have been intended for long range expedition voyages which are less than 55 feet long, and they can carry enough fuel to transit the Pacific or some other extensive cruise. But for a power boat of this size, be prepared to spend close to a million U.S. dollars or more for a brand new boat. By far the great majority of round the world cruisers will decide on a sailing boat, either catamaran or mono-hull. Catamarans tend to be more expensive due to the size and desirability of them, and they also may have higher marina fees associated for the widths. In fact, a great percentage of them may not match in some marinas due to how wide they are, and will have to anchor out in the harbor and use a dinghy to travel back and forth to the shore. This can be very time consuming and tiring, particularly when travelling back and forth with many packages of food, beverages, or other items required to restock the boat. These are the sorts of things you will need to consider before you decide on and purchase your live aboard boat.
Are you a seasoned sailor or boater, or will you will need to arrange for some courses to learn more about being on the water? There are plenty of Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron facilities around in the U.S. that could offer the appropriate training required to safely operate your new vessel. It’s essential to feel comfortable with the operation of your ship, and take it abroad for small excursions as often as you can before you embark on any lengthy cruise from shore. Become an expert, after all, your life will be at stake! Be ready for any situation, whether it’s mechanical or medical, and know what to do to repair it. Take a marine mechanic training course, since if your ships engine breaks down far out at sea you’ll want to know what to do to correct the issue. You won’t be able to just bring the ship into the nearest shop at there!
There’ll be many decisions that you are going to need to make before choosing and purchasing your new boat and likely training you will need in order to safely manage it, but the benefits of this lifestyle more than outweigh the negatives. You’ll need to be ready for a total changeover in contrast to living ashore, due to the cramped conditions and inconveniences associated with boat living. Pick wisely, learn all you can before you purchase, and get ready for the time of your life!