“Live aboard and you’ll definitely be scrambling back in a few days,” they say. They were wrong.
Have you ever dreamed of living aboard, or in simpler terms, living at sea? The kids in your neighborhood might think that’s cool, and the adults probably think you’re nuts. But gotta live the dream, aye? So I dropped my normal life and started chasing my dream. Now, I’m living aboard the Argo, my Bavaria 42 blue water cruising boat, for about nine weeks now.
I must admit, living on a boat is never easy. Nine weeks aboard is a real struggle, which made me miss the comfort of a non-floating home. However, the excitement of sailing the ocean and braving the fearsome unknown gets me going.
Whether you choose to live anchored in a marina or go ocean cruising, you’ll have to come prepared. Having that said, here are some tips and tricks I collected after researching and throughout my experience living aboard the Argo. You can even try some of these at home to simulate the live aboard experience.
- Create a checklist. Are you going to sail the seas or stay in a marina? Are you going alone or with some people? Will you fit on the boat’s headroom? Asking yourself these questions should help you determine what type of boat you should buy and what things you should bring.
- Search for a marina or mooring. One common mistake among live aboards is that they purchase a boat without looking for a marina or mooring first. This is important as you don’t want to get a boat and end up worrying where to dock it.
- Learn how to maintain your boat. This is already a given but can be neglected a lot. Always check the engine and the power on your boat. Prepare a generator because you don’t want the lights going out on you in the middle of the night in the middle of the sea.
- Fit everything in your living room (or any smaller room at home). From mattress to your fridge, try fitting your live aboard essentials in your living room. This should help you organize everything once you’re boarding your own boat. And yes, you can bring your fridge as long as you lay it face down.
- Sleep with a small mattress. Try spraying it with water to simulate condensation. Reality check: your stuff will get wet a lot when you’re at sea. Also, get used to insect bites because the sea is a cruel place to live.
- Cook everything with a single pot. Because you won’t need multiple pots at sea when you’re gas stove dies on you. Pressure cookers are also good travel buddies.
- Wash clothes in seawater or wait for the rain… Fresh water is essential when living aboard so don’t waste it on less important matters like washing clothes.
- …Or don’t wear clothes at all. Because the less clothes to wash, the better. However, mind the laws where you dock because you don’t want the cops asking you to explain why you’re naked on a boat.
- Start living a simpler life. At sea, there will be no “Walking Dead” or “Game of Thrones” new episode. You can watch movies or series on a laptop or listen to broadcasts over the radio. Say goodbye to your Facebook friends as well because you won’t have access to the Internet. Well, that last part you can have if you are lucky enough to dock on a marina with accessible Wi-Fi or good data connection.
Hopefully, these tips should prepare you for the hardships of the live aboard experience. Once you get past these difficulties, be ready to enjoy the adventure of living on a boat. Have a smooth sailing, mate!
For further reading, check-out Experiencing Milne Bay Live Aboard MV Spirit of Niugini