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Old 05-09-2016, 12:46 PM   #1
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Land Budget vs Cruising Budget

Been lurking for a few years, finally registered.

Wife and I are in the very early stages of planning an early retirement to do some extended cruising. (Possibly Great Loop, Bahamas, Inland rivers, etc.). If all goes well, we may be out cruising for a few years. If she can put up with me that long

For you extended cruising veterans, do/did you find your overall cruising spend more/same/less as your overall land budget? Any surprises?

My initial assumption from reading other sources, is that it you will generally spend about the same as you do on land.
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:17 PM   #2
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Two aspects, boat costs and general living costs.

The boat costs way more than our home to upkeep. The insurance is four times the amount. Normal living expenses are less because we go out to eat less, clothing costs are minimal and our entertainment is usually visiting with friends, hiking or sitting on the beach.

All in all the maintenance, storage and insurance costs of the boat make it a very expensive item.
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:34 PM   #3
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I think we need some more details, planning on staying at marina's, like eating out or cooking at home/boat. Planning hull or displacement. I think Bay Pelican hit on the key higher cost items, but the other part is how do you plan to use it. Not much cost in getting an old boat with gas engines and puttering to a low cost marina and staying there, but really look to travel and the demand on systems etc goes up.

Search on some sailboat blogs, some list their expenses, but they too can go from really cheap to expansive, all depends who you are.
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback.

Our plan is to sell the house, and most belongings. Move onto thje boat and cruise. Plan on buying a displacement (or semi) trawler with low HP diesel(s). Also not sure about marinas, but probably anchor out part time and marina part time.

I have read many blogs, and they run the spectrum of expenses. (One family of 4 sails and attempts to live on less than $20k/yr.)

The blogs don't really say what their lifestyle was before they started cruising. They may state they spend $50k per year, but was this how they were living before they started cruising? Do they spend more, or did they find they spent less than on land?
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:05 PM   #5
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You could start with $100.00 per day and go up from there.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:46 PM   #6
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You could start with $100.00 per day and go up from there.
I can't believe you can cruise on a power boat for less than double that. And that's probably on the cheap.
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:03 PM   #7
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You could start with $100.00 per day and go up from there.
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I can't believe you can cruise on a power boat for less than double that. And that's probably on the cheap.
Lots of variables. See lots of boats from Canada in South FL living on the hook for the winter. Guessing from appearance, that some are in the $100 per day category. Is it a sail boat or a power boat if they've removed the mast?

Personally I'm guessing an all in cost of a thousand a week would be my minimum. Want to have some fun along the way.

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Old 05-10-2016, 05:54 AM   #8
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Selling the house and moving full time on a boat and cruising gives you an opportunity to make a serious lifestyle change if you decide to do it. You can spend $100,000+ per year on land (excluding house mortgage, insurance, etc) and live nice: go out to nice restaurants often, take expensive vacations, buy new clothes, a new car every few years, etc.

Once you are on your boat, most of that can be the same. But it doesn't have to be. It is your choice.


You can live the same lifestyle as on land and spend that $100K annually, or you can anchor out mostly, cook aboard with an occasional night at a waterfront fish restaurant where you eat a fish sandwich and drink a couple of beers rather than a bottle of wine and prime rib like you would do on land, and live simply. You can do that for much less, easily $30,000 per year for a couple excluding boat costs.

And you can still have fun no matter which choice you make.

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Old 05-10-2016, 07:20 AM   #9
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$100 a day is possible....if you don't use the boat much. Use it and that $100 a day covers fuel and a homemade sandwich. Our budget is for living and running costs but not insurance, haul outs etc, which we budget another 15K a year for.

Extras so far this year...
Haul out $3800
Insurance $2600
Prop pitch change and balance $1600
Water pump replacement $1200

Marina's/fuel/oil-filter changes/misc running repairs $6300
Booze for Michelle $8000

Then there are the unexpected....generator replacement last year- 12K
Dinghy replacement 9.6K

Now hopefully those two major expenses will not be reoccurring but I would "like" to do some electronic upgrades, finish the saloon floor (which I started in January!).

So, as I said in the beginning, use the boat and things break. Dock in a $500/month marina and go for a 2 hr run every 2nd Sunday and you might make $100/day. 20K a year...no way.

I am sure people do it for a lot less than us but we do not eat out a lot (3x week) or live a lavish lifestyle but we also enjoy every moment of every day. You can't put a price on that!
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:38 PM   #10
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Thanks for the detailed info dimer2. How do these numbers compare to your land based budget? Are you spending more/same/less?
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Old 05-10-2016, 03:38 PM   #11
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About the same total spend, just spread differently. No mortgage on either....
Property Tax $7500
Electric and water $700
Insurance (Log home) $1200
Cars/Motor cycles insurance $2200
Maintenance on all the above (a guess) $3000?
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:33 PM   #12
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I can't believe you can cruise on a power boat for less than double that. And that's probably on the cheap.
In the last eleven years of cruising 2.5-3.5 months each summer on the BC coast and/or SE Alaska, traveling 2000-3000 nautical miles each summer, we spent between $64 and $90 per day on the water, including maintenance, and including food and booze (which we would have spent for anyway). The variation was due mostly to the price of diesel.

We go slow, we anchor out in some beautiful cove 70-90% of the time, I do almost all maintenance myself, and we eat on board (salmon, halibut, dungeness crab, spot prawns) 95% of the time.

As of 5 days ago, I'm the new owner of a much bigger boat, a Nordic Tug 37. Fuel costs will go up 20-25%, but just about everything else will stay the same.

P.S. I'm from Cincinnati too.
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