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Old 02-10-2016, 02:43 PM   #1
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Old and Decrepit

New to this group and hopefully living aboard full time soon. I can't make up my mind between motor-sailing or motor-yacht so I'm here to pick brains and learn what I can to see what is the best fit for me.

My current profession is photographer/graphic artist, I just turned 63 in January, love the tropical waters, marine life, fishing, SCUBA (PADI certified since 90), boating, hanging out, etc. and have had a dream for the past 25 years of retiring on the water, even though I live right in the middle of the U.S. My plan? Sell the house and hit the road running.

What I don't see a lot of is information on costs of running and maintaining a motor-yacht. I'm not wealthy and would like to keep living expenses under $1000/month. The kind of boat I'll be looking for is something that I can be comfortable living on as a single guy and afford to maintain and feed the beast. I have pretty good mechanical skills but not deep pockets and can live pretty minimally.

Is my dream really just a fantasy?
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Old 02-10-2016, 03:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by scurvy-yard-dog View Post
New to this group and hopefully living aboard full time soon. I can't make up my mind between motor-sailing or motor-yacht so I'm here to pick brains and learn what I can to see what is the best fit for me.

My current profession is photographer/graphic artist, I just turned 63 in January, love the tropical waters, marine life, fishing, SCUBA (PADI certified since 90), boating, hanging out, etc. and have had a dream for the past 25 years of retiring on the water, even though I live right in the middle of the U.S. My plan? Sell the house and hit the road running.

What I don't see a lot of is information on costs of running and maintaining a motor-yacht. I'm not wealthy and would like to keep living expenses under $1000/month. The kind of boat I'll be looking for is something that I can be comfortable living on as a single guy and afford to maintain and feed the beast. I have pretty good mechanical skills but not deep pockets and can live pretty minimally.

Is my dream really just a fantasy?
Nope - Your dream is not a fantasy... but... $1K per month may be - depending on many, many variables. $1K per mo is doable, however it's a skinny budget to say the least!

I advise you go to search feature at home page top bar and seek out the word costs as well as other applicable words/phrases. There have been plenty of threads with lots of posts over the years on TF regarding just about every cost for owning or living aboard a boat.

Welcome and Best Luck!!
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Old 02-10-2016, 03:16 PM   #3
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We spent the last year land yatching the gulf of Mexico, which most area the water is quite shallow so a deep draft sail boat would be limiting, or a deep draft power boat. A power boat over the long haul costs the same as a sail boat. Moorage, insurance, and maintenance is about the same. If you run at hull speed the fuel is also about the same. Lasting most sail boats motor most of the time, but there is the cost of maintaining them which off sets the cost of fuel.

A power boat as a lot more live a board space and allows a lot more light in. My wife bought the eagle because of the big windows to allow light in. Lastly you should be able to keep day to day under $1, 000. Thst is what it runs for the Eagle. However it's the surprices that get you, but if you can do most general maintenance and repair if helps. Is you do hire it done make sure you are there to watch, as question, and learn. Heck I was a metro sexual yuppie know nothing when my loving wife bought the Eagle.

Which brings up another important point make sure you let your SO female to have a big and final say. They tend to have a better understanding, you will be glad you did.
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Old 02-10-2016, 03:21 PM   #4
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There are folks who live on their boats for $1K or less per month. Janice on Seaweed comes to mind and there are others. If you have never done much boating, it pays to get as much info on how they do it as possible before diving in otherwise you may get disillusioned about life afloat. As far as type of boat, do you know anything about sailing? Pretty much all sailboats are motorsailers, just depends on the owners how much sailing they do. There is much debate as to which is cheaper to run/own between sail and power. on one hand, a sailboat can theoretically go much farther on a gallon of fuel but the wind is not always in your favor and the cost of rigging, sails, repairs to them add up. A smaller displacement/semi displacement trawler can get good fuel mileage similar to a sail boat and dispenses with the rigging costs. It all depends on what you enjoy most. I absolutely love sailing and even though my current boat is a trawler, I'm pretty sure at some point I'll go back to sail especially if my wifey decides she likes boat life full time as we plan to spend time in the Caribbean and Central America at some point.

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Old 02-10-2016, 03:26 PM   #5
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While any type of boating can be done cheaply...I would say on average that most people existing on $1000 a month or less are doing it on small to medium small sailboats and living primarily off the grid.


If that $1000 is inclusive, meaning long term repairs, and external to the boat costs, health care and food, alcohol, pet needs, etc..... definitely you are going to be roughing it a bit (minimalist).

I am not judging and can live a lot simpler than most people I know...and there have been great discussions about doing it on $500 per month even (not sure that anyone that thinks they can really counts EVERYTHING).


Tallswede just beat me to it...but our resident expert on simple yet happy boating is Janice...find her blog and digest slowly.
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Old 02-10-2016, 03:27 PM   #6
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Art is right, there is much you can get from searching previous posts on this subject. Someone had once posted that when it comes to budgets, especially tight ones, it becomes a cost vs. trade off compromise. At some point the trade off becomes undesirable. Only you can say on which side of the fence 1k/mo will be once you know more.

For example, if you're going to be living on the boat, in a marina; it'll have to be one that allows liveaboards, not all do. Start looking around, what will dock fees be? how much will you have left. Chances are you'll have to have insurance. Again start looking around and working out the numbers.
You can avoid both by being a full time wanderer, but now you're off the grid, anchored most times and if a storm or other mishap causes the loss of the boat, you have nothing. Oh, actually you may have a bill for the removal of the sunken boat and environmental cleaning.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:11 PM   #7
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Does your budget include food and drink? I doubt it.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:27 PM   #8
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Thanks to all who replied. All great responses and no negativity. I like this place already.

I'd like to have access to a marina but won't be there every day, all day. Possibly month to month just so I have a base to return to for supplies and other necessities. I plan on doing some cruising to the Keys and possibly the Bahamas for a month or more at a time. I like to fish, snorkel or dive and can be pretty content just sitting on the water enjoying the sights, sounds and people around me.

I very rarely drink anymore so that's a huge savings right there. I don't smoke, another expensive vice and I'm an above average cook for a guy. I can make my own sourdough breads, english muffins, soups & stews, etc. so I can eat pretty good. I enjoy eating out but can do without it.

I'm single (3 times divorced) and have no plans of changing that so my only responsibility is myself. I work with a lot of women so for now, I'm happy but that could change someday.

I'm probably looking at a 32' to 36' boat with single or twin diesels to be where I want to be as far as initial purchase price. I do have friends that lived on a 51' Morgan motor-sailer for years and are prepared to help me select a boat that's not going to break me before I ever get it in the water.

I sent Janice a PM and hope she can steer me in the right direction.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:30 PM   #9
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Does your budget include food and drink? I doubt it.
I can cook and eat very cheaply and my drinks are water and coffee. A 6-pak of beer can last me a year and the occasional shot of tequila or a good whiskey is maybe 3 to 4 per year. I pretty much gave up all of my bad habits about 10 years ago.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:32 PM   #10
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Can be done, probably best on a sailboat. Take a look at the ssca.org/forum/index.php and riodulcechisme.com. Probably won't be able to live in the Eastern Caribbean on $1000 a month, but most certainly can in the Western. There are people living on the Rio Dulce River in Guatemala on less than that. Great cruising area, day sail to the reefs of Southern Belize and overnight to the Bay Islands of Honduras. Check boats for sale on the Rio Dulce website above, may find something suitable.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:36 PM   #11
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Great cruising area, day sail to the reefs of Southern Belize and overnight to the Bay Islands of Honduras. Check boats for sale on the Rio Dulce website above, may find something suitable.
Thanks Tomas. I'll do just that. I have a niece that lives and works in Honduras and would like to make that trip. Do you know of any people on here living full-time on a less than 32' boat?
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:37 PM   #12
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At one K/Mo I think you would do best with a older 34/36 foot MS or sail boat with a good diesel motor. A larger pure motor craft may eat up your budget in fuel. You may have to shun docks which are expensive and keep your boat where anchoring or mooring is easy and the weather is moderate. You would do best to keep things simple with a low electricity load which could be dealt with by solar and wind generation. good luck.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:45 PM   #13
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At one K/Mo I think you would do best with a older 34/36 foot MS or sail boat with a good diesel motor. A larger pure motor craft may eat up your budget in fuel. You may have to shun docks which are expensive and keep your boat where anchoring or mooring is easy and the weather is moderate. You would do best to keep things simple with a low electricity load which could be dealt with by solar and wind generation. good luck.
I've found some marinas around $350 per month for full time and less than $500 for transient. These are up the Gulf coast from Fort Myers northward. Electricity is a flat fee of $35 a month in some and others are per kw/hour used. The $1000 a month living expenses will increase as I begin to pick up photography work in the area.

I like the idea of a sailboat but it looks like sailing can be a lot of work.

What is one K/MO? Never mind. I got it. $1000/Mo.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:50 PM   #14
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...
I like the idea of a sailboat but it looks like sailing can be a lot of work.

What is one K/MO?
Most all sailboats have engines, known as auxiliary sailboats. But then again, sailboats tend to be low and dark.
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Old 02-10-2016, 06:52 PM   #15
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"...low and dark." Good for developing film.
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Old 02-10-2016, 07:18 PM   #16
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If you could find a decent Nauticat, that may meet his budget, being a motor sailor would be cheaper to operate when sailing is an option.
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Old 02-10-2016, 07:21 PM   #17
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Boating ain't cheap. I recently did a per month breakdown, it was kind of shocking. We're not extravagant, we're in a marina in low-tax South Dakota, not the Hamptons, and we bought a used boat at a fantastic price, but still shocking. 40 foot slip, $3200 per season. Fuel, say $1000. Boat registration (state), federal registration (documentation -- kind of pointless here but I don't want to let it lapse), boat insurance, dingy registration (state), about $1000 per year for all those; pulling the boat at the end of the season, winterization of two A/C units, two heads, two engines, the fresh water plumbing, two holding tanks, two water tanks, oil change both engines, shrink wrap, jack stands, winter storage in the yard, launch in the spring, routine maintenance and service, another $3700 (we have the marina do the work. I could do it myself and save a few bucks but then if I miss something and crack a 454 engine, that's thousands more); and then we financed a relatively small amount of the purchase price and financed it for a very short time, but that's $700 a month, $8400 a year -- of course you may or may not have that ongoing cost if you buy the boat with cash. Our marina is inside a state park, so the park passes are another $45, yacht club membership, $45 a year (yeah, just for fun) but it all adds up. Last year we did a SeaTow and a BoatUS tow policy for our East Coast trip, a couple hundred there, but we'll probably let that lapse now that the boat is back in our home marina. MarinaLife membership, $140 per year, but I think the BoatUS policy came with it. Gas from home to the marina (a little over an hour away). And I'm not including any major repairs and no transient marina charges since we're trapped on a lake on the Missouri River above a dam. I figured somewhere around $1500 a month year round just for the boat, no other living expenses, no food, just the boat itself, in the water half of each year.

If we didn't love it so much we'd never tolerate this money hemorrhage.
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Old 02-10-2016, 07:28 PM   #18
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Welcome aboard, from one photographer (mostly nature) to another
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Old 02-10-2016, 07:42 PM   #19
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"...low and dark." Good for developing film.
Do they still make that stuff?

LOL.... Great idea but it's been about 16 years since I've shot film.
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Old 02-10-2016, 07:43 PM   #20
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Like most folks here, you can spend as much as you want, and then brag that you can. Or you can do it on the cheap and have as much or probably MORE fun. YMMV
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