top of page


Maverick Adams
Maverick Adams

Buying A Yacht To Live On Fixed

Is living on a boat cheaper? Yes! Living on a boat is cheap. We spent two years living on a sailboat in a marina in Vancouver with a full suite of amenities (power, parking, high-speed internet access, laundry, showers, workshop) and it only cost us $550 a month in liveaboard slip fees (our next best option would have been an apartment for $1100+).

buying a yacht to live on

If your partner is on the fence, the best way to find out if moving aboard will work for you is to test-drive the liveaboard lifestyle before living on a boat full-time.

Obviously, the size of your boat is an important consideration. As a single person, you may be able to get away with living on a small boat (e.g., a 24-footer) whereas the best liveaboard for a family might be 40-foot plus.

Sailboats are a bit like the basement apartment of liveaboards and often do not have fridges, showers, or hot water. However, they also generally cost a lot less to purchase than motor vessels and you can travel long distances without fuel cost.

Thanks for explaining that catamaran sailboats are going to be comfortable and provide a lot of living space. My husband and I had thought that we could only live on houseboats, but with your information, I would like to start looking into the catamaran sailboats. We'll have to find a luxury boat hire so that we can live on the water for a bit and decide what we would like to buy.

What if someone wants to live on a motor yacht as a live aboard, just moored at the marina. Not sailing around due to fuel consumption, just living in it. Could that be an option. I was thinking of looking into the 75 to 100' range for motor yacht but for live aboard moored. is it possible? Thank you for this article it was very informative. I am a Canadian from Ontario, currently living in Vancouver now. Thanks again.

Hi Jordan. Most live aboard marinas (the exception being floating home communities) have rules that the vessel has to be able to move under its own power. So as long as your yacht had a working engine, you would be fine. Having lived aboard in Vancouver, I think you might have trouble finding a 75 to 100' slip to moor your boat in. Most slips fall in the under 50 foot range. Thanks for reading and good luck in your search!

Keep up the hustle! It's can be tough to find a spot but so worth it when you do. I seem to remember there's a bylaw that requires all SF marinas open 10% of their spots to liveaboards. I could be wrong but might be worth looking into. Also, we loved Valejo Yacht Club - great community run yacht club and they had spots a couple of years ago. Keep us posted on how it goes. Lots of our readers are SF based. If you wanted to guest post on your experience finding a spot in SF, that would be a very interesting read.

When my husband, Al, and I bought our sailboat Carina back in 1993, we knew she was close to perfect for our planned life cruising the Caribbean. At 37 feet long, with a large center cockpit and aft cabin she was big enough for two, and the price was right at around $50,000. We lived aboard her for 16 years, sailed in five countries, and navigated hundreds of nautical miles before moving back on land and selling her in 2012.

You'll find "hot spots" where boats are concentrated, including Florida, Texas, California and Maryland in the U.S. Wherever boat manufacturers are located you will find a higher number of boats on offer. For instance, Catalina and Island Packet yachts are built in Largo, Florida, making it a "hot spot" for both new and used sailboats. Popular cruising grounds are also good places to shop, such as Rio Dulce, Guatemala, or Croatia in Europe.

1. What kind of boating do you want to do? The type of boat you need will depend on how you will use it. Will you do long-distance offshore sailing, deep-sea fishing, coastal or lake day-sailing, or tropical island hopping? Think about this and be realistic. If you plan to live aboard, size matters. A 38- to 42-foot sail or power boat is a manageable size for a couple, providing multiple living spaces and privacy at an affordable price.

3. Do you want a new or used boat? This is a big decision--think new car vs. used car. Of course, your budget will dictate a lot. New boats will cost much more, but you can order a custom yacht to get exactly what you want. The used boat market is huge, you will have more room to negotiate price, and most likely find what you want. To give you an idea of the difference in price, a new 2015 model 36-foot Island Packet starts at $357,000, while a comparable 37- or 38-foot model built in the 1980s will sell for around $150,000. That's a big difference!

Just like with any other big purchase, you can spend as much as you want on a boat. No doubt you will have a budgeted amount, at least a "ballpark figure" that you can invest -- at least, most of us will! In general the asking price is not the final price, so go ahead and negotiate. If you are buying through a dealer or broker, the seller typically pays their fee, but that can raise the price by 5% to 10%. If you buy a boat in a foreign country a dealer/broker can help you with the paperwork and documentation, which may be worth their fee.

East Coast U.S. -- If you live in Ohio and you want to get out on the water closest to home before sailing farther afield then you can cruise the Chesapeake Bay and the eastern seaboard. For this it makes sense to shop in Maryland and Virginia. Visit to find sailboats all over the U.S., and you can search by state or manufacturer. They list a 1983, 46-foot Island Trader, which is the perfect live-aboard blend of a sailboat and trawler, for $155,000.

Asia -- Boats in Singapore or Hong Kong may cost more, but again, if that's where you want to sail, think of all the time and money you'll save because the boat is already there. is one site to check, and doing a search for "Asia boats/yachts for sale" will yield several more. You can still find good deals, such as a 2013, 40-foot Bavaria Cruiser sailboat in Singapore for $208,000.

If I bought a yacht could I just live on it in international waters? You can live on a yacht or superyacht on international waters. There is nothing legally stopping you from doing so. However, you may still be subject to some laws and regulations.

Sailors in areas with challenging winter conditions may choose to spend the summer months sailing from place to place spending time on anchor and in transient berths, and over winter continue living on their boats but permanently moored inside a marina. These semi-annual marina berths often cost less than berths in the summertime as many boats will be dry-docked and there is no demand for transient berths. Certain marinas have winter communities that return each year to wait out the winter in comfortable marinas with like-minded liveaboards.

Some seasonal liveaboards may live on their sailboat only for the warmer months, and haul it out each winter for cheap storage. In areas that experience disadvantageous weather in the off-season dry docking your boat for the winter can be a cost-effective solution. Dry docking involves pulling the boat from the water and storing it on the land for the winter. Storing the boat on land is far cheaper than mooring your boat in a marina. Dry docking also provides an opportunity to perform maintenance on the hull.

If you are an inexperienced boat buyer, you may be better served by having your own yacht broker to do the negotiations. However, if you want to go it alone, here are some guidelines to follow. Also read Boat Buying Tips and Charter Boat Buying Tips.

The yacht buyer will be required to sign a Florida Tax Affidavit that will confirm that the buyer will be moving the vessel out of Florida after purchase and no taxes are due. It is required to file this paperwork with the State of Florida within 5 days of the closing.

Live-aboards in Marina del Rey must comply with County Code 19.12.1110, which prohibits a person from using a vessel as an abode in excess of three days within any one-week period, unless authorized by the dockmaster where the boat is anchored, and issued a live-aboard permit by the Harbormaster at the L.A. County Sheriff Department. It is completely within the discretion of the local dockmaster as to if and whether a live-aboard situation will be authorized in any particular marina.

I live in San Diego. My company has offered me a promotion and a move to Santa Monica. I will need to find housing but in the meantime my husband and I would like to moore our 38-foot Hans Christian sail boat at Marina Del Ray and liveaboard.

Hi I am interested in buying a sailboat maybe about a 36 foot and keeping it in marina del Rey and learning how to sail. I live in Denver but would like to come out for like 5 days every 2 months and sail and stay aboard what about a yacht club there? Any help?

HiIs there such a thing as buying a slip in the Los Angeles area? I live in New Mexico and I would like to have a getaway place for a few days a month. Renting a slip is an option, but buying would be super cool.

Does anyone k ow if a Marina that will allow live aboard to someone other than the owner or immediate family? I have heard there is a big demand from people who would like to live on a boat/yacht? Thanks!

Boat owners will often move into the 50 foot yacht range when looking to do more than simple day boating excursions. While still typically owner-operated, a 50 foot yacht provides increased flexibility with regards to living spaces and can offer a wide array of amenities that suit your tastes and needs while on the water.

When moving up into the 50 foot range, yacht owners can begin expecting three stateroom layouts. With new technology and yacht design processes, owners can expect an impressive combination of interior spaciousness without sacrificing a sporty and sleek look.

Answers to these functional questions often leads to the consideration of a few different manufacturers and models. From there, the style and design of both the exterior and interior of the yacht will often speak to the buyer and move him or her toward a buying decision. 041b061a72




bottom of page