Essentials for Life Onboard

Essentials for Life Onboard
life onboard

The essentials you will need to live comfortably on a sailing boat are different than the things you need on land. 


You’ll quickly learn some things if you live on your sailboat. First, it can sometimes feel a bit cramped.  The second is that the space is limited and must be used efficiently.

The fact that you’re now living on a boat does not mean you should start throwing away things, it just means you need to think a bit more about what you need and buy. 

Factors to consider before living abroad 

Before you move onboard your boat, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Are you cruising for a short time? Or is it a lifestyle choice? 
  • Do you feel comfortable defending your decision to your family and friends? 
  • Do you live in an area that is year-round boat-friendly? 
  • Can you solve problems and be handy? 
  • Are you available to accept deliveries and shop regularly due to limited storage space? 
  • Are you ready to clean up constantly? 
  • Are you comfortable for your children to be in this new environment with you? 
  • What’s the point of Plan B if it doesn’t work? 

Moving aboard may require you to haul the laundry to the laundromat, or the groceries from the lot without a dock cart. Regular visits to the pump out station as well as the post office are necessary to receive your mail. Small doesn’t necessarily mean easy, so look at a typical week and think of solutions. 


First, ensure that there are always enough Lifejackets for everyone. You should have one for yourself, one for family members and friends, and one for everyone else.  It’s important to make sure that the items are in good condition, has been cleaned, are functional and appropriately sized for all passengers. They should be stored securely and easily accessible. 

It is important to ensure that the lifejackets are of the correct type. Some lifejackets don’t have to be certified. Learn the differences between Types I, II, III and IV PFDs (Personal Floatation Disables) so you can choose the right one. You will usually be able to use the traditional orange-boxy lifejackets. 

Essentials: Stowage and Comfort and Connectivity 

You will notice a difference in closet space and storage capacity when you move from a 2,000 square foot house to a 40-foot blog. You will need to organise kitchen tools, mementos, and clothing. If possible, keep winter clothes in an off-boat storage area and business attire at work. 

You should ensure that the boat is dry and warm with ample ventilation. You’ll need to buy new cleaners and tools for condensation and mildew. 

You should plan your connectivity requirements. You’ll need to plan your connectivity needs, whether you want to watch a TV show or have high-speed internet access through the marina WIFI. 

The Best Skills You Need to Live Onboard 

Boat maintenance may be more difficult than in a house, in terms of frequency and speciality. Boat systems are less reliable than those in a house, so you will need basic plumbing, electrical, and mechanical skills. You can also call a contractor to solve every problem. 

Cost of living on a boat 

You shouldn’t assume you will save money by moving aboard. These are some costs that you might incur when living on your boat. 

  • Boat mortgage payment 
  • Slip fees 
  • Boat Insurance 
  • Waste management 
  • Gas 
  • Water and food 

It is best to set a budget and stick to it to manage your expenses. Property taxes will usually be less as will electricity since you’ll not be heating/cooling/lighting as big a space. You’ll likely save money on gas, water, and waste management. It is important for you to have boat insurance to protect your vessel. For the best cover contact our team at Coast Insurance and we can help insure your personal vessel.    

Maintenance is where costs rise dramatically. Labour and parts for boats are often more expensive than their household counterparts, sometimes 20% more. If you are self-employed and take on the task yourself, each hour you spend on your boat is a loss. 

Safety and Security 

Install smoke alarms and propane detectors. Make sure you check the fire extinguishers on a regular basis. Keep an eye on basic information like bilge levels and battery levels. Consider the following: 

  • Are you able to safely walk from the parking area to the slip at night without being harmed? 
  • Your car will be safe outside the garage 24 hours a day. 
  • If your boat starts listing while you’re away on vacation, who will call? 

Daily Life and Socialisation 

It’s easier to socialise in a marina than it is in your neighbourhood. Marinas are a place where neighbours help each other, but it’s a two-way street. Be ready to help if you are needed. You can opt to live anonymously by choosing an end tie in a forgotten corner of the marina. Consider an end tie in the forgotten corner if you prefer to live anonymously. While there are some challenges to living on a boat you might find it an ideal fit if you’re ready. 



I have a boat in a berth in a marina, can I move aboard? 

To move permanently aboard in a marina, most require you to complete an application. Some areas prohibit liveaboards or have long waiting lists. If your boat is your primary residence, liveaboard fees can be higher. Your insurance rates could also increase. 

How can I live on a boat with my pet? 

Dogs, cats, and all other pets must adapt to new environments. You need to give them exercise, a private area, and food and water. It is important that they can safely use stairs and docks and they know how to get back on the boat or dock if they fall in the water. You should watch out for wires and small spaces that may trap them. Teach them about their new environment and be patient. 

Need Cover for Your Boat? 

Now that you’ve decided to move abroad your boat, it’s time to make sure it’s got the right marine insurance cover – so you can enjoy time on the water with peace of mind. If you need support with securing marine insurance cover that matches your needs and budget, our marine underwriters can prepare an obligation free quote for you to review. 


Head here to get started. 


Looking for a Quote?

Choose the best option below to find the Market Leading Products to suit your needs

customer quote

For Boats, Personal Water Craft & Sports Craft


For Boats, Personal Water Craft & Sports Craft

Various retail and commercial products including package solutions

general enquiry

Talk to the team at Coast Insurance for more options