Many people have thought about dropping out of the rat race and retire to a live aboard boat so as to experience the easier life and travel to exotic places. Once you’ve made the choice to live aboard a ship, then there are several more choices that you want to decide on.
Which sort of boat is it, a mono-hull or a catamaran? Just how much money are you ready to invest in the ship and where will you dock it? There will be so much less space than what you’re used to at a house, and storage places will come at a premium. Some boats have more space than others, and before long you’ll find that out when you begin attending boat shows around the country or planet. How much comfort are you willing to give up for a life of adventure on the high seas?
They have a deep keel in order to help as ballast and to keep the boat upright, which is highly useful when you are out on the ocean! But because of this keel, there will also be a great amount of rolling and rocking from side to side as waves hit the boat. If you aren’t used to this movement, 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 form of the hull is extremely conducive to that in regard to depth. You will immediately realize though, that the width or beam leaves much to be desired and can be thinner with regard to the complete length.
In my view the hull of choice is the catamaran, which is a much wider or beamy vessel, and a number of the bigger boats are so stable in rough weather that a champagne glass sitting on the galley table will not tip or fall over! By way of example, the typical 50 foot mono-hull may have a 12 -16 foot beam, but a 50 foot catamaran may have a 26 – 30 foot beam! This really results in stability in very rough seas, with a enormous reduction in the side to side rolling of the mono-hulls. This contributes to good visibility above the water, and a nice wide area for eating, cooking, and entertaining yourself and guests. Some models 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 either side of the boat, and based on the size can normally accommodate up to 4 couples.
The biggest drawback I’ve personally seen with catamaran boats is the”turnaround room” when standing down in the hulls. I always do an”elbow test” when down in the hulls, which means that I am standing with my hands on my hips and my elbows out and then I stand in one spot and turn around in a circle. If my elbows touch or knock anything, it is a really cramped space! Unfortunately, most 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 space on this ship that I call it a”condominium catamaran”! It was pure luxury, with up to six cottages on a usual layout, or for the owner they can have one whole hull just for them that is described as the”owner’s design”. This is the design that really appealed to me, and will provide much closet space and a very private living room for those long voyages with guests. I encourage everybody who is looking for the best vessel to go to as many boat shows as they can so they can personally check all the many factors involved and 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 sail or power. For those people thinking about doing an around the world trip, they may seriously consider buying a sailboat because it’s going to be much cheaper and there really are not as many boats that can carry enough fuel for all those trans oceanic voyages. For those people planning to stay closer to shore or mainly 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 are intended for long range expedition voyages that are less than 55 feet long, and they can carry enough fuel to transit the Pacific or any other extensive cruise. However, for a power boat of this size, be prepared to pay close to a thousand U.S. dollars or more for a brand new ship. By far the vast majority of around the world cruisers will opt for 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 because of the widths. In actuality, a good percentage of them may not match in some marinas due to how wide they are, and will need to anchor out in the harbor and use a dinghy to travel back and forth to the coast. This can be very time consuming and tiring, especially when travelling back and forth with many packages of food, beverages, or other items needed to restock the boat. These are the types of things you will need to think about before you decide on and purchase your live aboard ship.
Are you a seasoned sailor or boater, or will you need to arrange for some classes to find out about being on the water? There are loads of Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron centers around in the U.S. that can provide the appropriate training required to safely operate your new vessel. It’s essential to feel comfortable with the operation of your boat, and take it offshore for small excursions as often as possible before you embark on any lengthy cruise from shore. Be prepared for any circumstance, whether it’s medical or mechanical, and know what to do to fix it. Take a marine mechanic course, since if your boats engine breaks down far out at sea you’ll want to know what to do to correct the problem. You won’t be able to just bring the ship into the nearest shop at there!
There will be many decisions that you’ll have to make before choosing and buying your new boat and probably training you will need to be able to safely operate it, but the benefits of this lifestyle more than outweigh the negatives. You’ll have to be ready for a entire changeover compared to living ashore, due to the cramped conditions and inconveniences associated with boat living. Choose wisely, learn all you can before you buy, and prepare for the time of your life! It’s what you have always wanted, so get out there and take the plunge!