The one thing we are good at is

How not to make money whilst sailing.

6th October 2015
The melting dinghy
Why drinking makes you a better sailor
How to make money


What can you do to make money whilst sailing?


Are you a sailor in need?

Can you make money sailing and being an idiot

I even dressed to make money sailing

The other day I was filling out a form which asked for my occupation and I was not quite sure what to put. Am I unemployed, a water gypsy, a liveaboard, a sailor, or am I just an idiot?

I had to think quiet a bit about it so I jotted down a few things which I think makes a sailor. I can say yes to each one but does living aboard a boat make you a sailor and is a sailor an occupation?

I don’t class myself as a sailor as they have to know all kinds of things whereas I am just here to hang on and enjoy the ride or get scared to death.


What makes a sailor?

  • When someone asks “What do you do all day?” your reply is “I don’t know, but it takes all day to do it!”
  • A throwaway line is rope less than six centimetres long
  • You think sugar was invented by Satan, duct tape by God
  • Three squares a day references toilet paper, not meals
  • Opening your fridge is like playing Jenga
  • You always buy extra beer because your neighbours will be over the minute they see you sitting in your cockpit drinking.
  • Having sex involves turning on a dehumidifier
  • You know the exact combination of computers, microwave, toaster, and kettle to run without tripping the circuit breaker on the dock.
  • Anytime you consider buying something you wonder what you’ll have to get rid of to make room for it.


Where there’s muck there’s brass

Now I am a northern man through and through although my wife says I am more akin to Neanderthal man without the manners or looks. Being a northerner means I like to look after our money and am loathed to spend it unless I have to. For us, living on a boat means that money is always an issue but the lifestyle sure makes up for it.


Making money whilst sailing.

Trying to make money whilst sailing is a whole different kettle of fish. In fact over the last five years not making money is the only thing I have become a real expert at. Believe me, I have looked at other websites that describe how you can make money whilst sailing and still managed to make nothing. They do give good advice on somethings you can do to add a penny or two to the sailing budget but usually you have got to have some basic skill. My previous occupation when I was a grown up means I don’t have diddly squat to work with.


How can you earn money when you live on a boat?


Rent out your house.

Rent out your house to make money whilst sailing

Good idea and yes it can bring in a substantial monthly income. We know of many people who do this successfully. We have also met others who have had renters who don’t pay, have totally wrecked the house and one whose house was turned into a cannabis farm.  The trouble with this is that you have to have a property to rent out in the first place. We sold ours to buy Cygnus III.


Practical skills.

Cutting hair to make money whilst sailingBeing a mechanic, electrician, hairdresser or having some basic skill means that from time to time you can find work amongst other boaters. Certainly in winter the mechanically minded amongst us, the diesel gods, get no rest. Their help and advice is constantly being sought. The same goes for all that electrickery stuff modern boats have. I have trouble putting batteries in a torch the right way so my advice is neither sought nor needed. I am however willing to cut hair. We have those electric clippers and I feel I have a bit of an artistic streak. My first victim however was my last.



Finding a land based job.

Working in a bar to make money whilst sailing

Who would you prefer to be served by?

In summer this is a bit impractical as we tend to do the odd bit of sailing. In winter you could always try to find some land based job such as working in a bar and it would suit me down to the ground. The trouble is most of the countries we spend time in speak in languages I don’t understand. A lot of the shops and restaurants are tourist driven so there is little work in winter. Also there are these things called females who are far more attractive to look at than me when being served.



BeggingI have the clothes and looks for it and you get paid for sitting around all day. Having a dog with a handkerchief around the neck doubles your income or so I am told. One beggar we saw in France had a beautiful boat just behind us. After a hard day’s work he would come back, change into decent clothes and go on the town living it up. Sounds like a good option to me. Besides that, being married means that I have had plenty of practise in begging but still never got what I wanted.


Writing Magazine articles.

Apparently some joker said you can make some money from writing. Submitting articles and photos to sailing magazines is one way. I tried it on a couple of occasions but found that they want pretty boring articles that could inspire an insomniac to hibernate. Most never replied and one wrote back to say the only word they could use out of the article was “and”. I am still considering selling my soul to the devil and changing my writing style to see if I could make money this way. We did have one article on a website but we did not get paid. It is a start though.


Writing a sailing blog.

Writing a sailing blogYou could make money from writing blogs. Well after 6 years of writing a 3 legged cat would have more chance of burying his business on a marble floor than I have of making money. In fact I actually have to pay for a company to host this website. I could put adverts on it which would give me about a penny if someone clicked on them but I always said I would not put adverts on the website. Besides I don’t think Viagra and incontinence pants fits in with the website or maybe they do.



If a blog is particularly popular you may be able to get sponsorship or products from marine companies in exchange for mentioning them or writing a product review. We are still waiting to be offered anything and 99.3% of the companies I have written to didn’t reply. The only thing I every got was from the “Dyslexic Sailing Society”. I asked them about a sailing glove and they sent back a dog eared Karma Sutra on “making love”.


Making sailing videos.

We could make videos of some of our experiences of living on a boat on a tiny budget but then again I am told you need a video camera to make these. Some sites do this and can get contributions for making them. I fact one such site earns about 360,000 dollars a year and have just been given a million pound catamaran. I have morals though, I don’t mind wearing a bikini but there is no way will I be captured on film sailing a catamaran.


Help us button.

A dog is better than a wife for making moneyWe used to have a “Help Cygnus” button where donations could be made. It is like begging without sitting around or having the dog. In five years we received the grand total of just under £50. Most of that was from Terry, a wonderful 86 year old sailor who has forgotten more about boats than I will ever know. On this new website we decided to get rid of the button and stop looking for a dog although I did try a little experiment first to see what my wife actually thought of me.


Ideas please!

How to make money whilst sailingObviously I have not covered every way of trying to make money whilst sailing but with my skill set begging seems to be my best option. Of course I could put Angelina to work but then who would cook, wash, get the food and generally do everything aboard Cygnus III. Obviously that is not an option unless she could do it all after she has finished some paid work.

If you can think of ways we can make money whilst sailing or you have found a way yourself please let me know.



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  1. Is hunting Lionfish an option for some extra cash? I’ve heard one can get $5 a pound in Florida and there is great demand. Not to mention the environmental benefit.

  2. Have you thought of stand up comedy. Stand up comedians sell beer and they don’t need the extra “marketing” advantages of successful bar maids.

  3. This is a long comment, but hopefully you can use some of the ideas here to start making money. (p.s. stay away from the stock market, unless you were born a trader).

    You touched on the this… the answer is VIDEOS and PHOTOS and SOCIAL WEBSITES. You are in a position that hundreds of thousands of people could only dream of and that is having TIME and the life of ’No fixed abode’, so there must be something you can talk about in a video or photo or both. Start a weekly video Blog, where you cover five to ten yacht adventure related things. Get yourself a decent video camera, set up a YouTube account that pays per view and create a ‘Cygnus III’ YouTube channel, and link it back to your website and vice versa. You must get back into Social media, forget about Facebook because your family and friends are not going to make you money when they are trying to run their own lives with all the home, car expenses, instead concentrate on YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest. (Those five social websites cover billions of people). For every video you make, ensure you post a link to Twitter and Google+ and always include some key #hashtags. You can search google for key hashtags for video, photography. That way folk can always find you through keywords.

    If you embrace social media it can work for you. There is no need to try and keep up with everyone on twitter, gossiping with the masses is a waste of time, all you need to do is to ensure your links to your YouTube channel work. Reply/Comment when you must. Ensure your website social links are working. It is a fact that when a visitor clicks on a link and it doesn’t work, the likely hood is they will leave and never come back. (e.g. on this page I clicked on the G+ link and it says “403. That’s an error, We’re sorry, but you do not have access to this document. = NOT GOOD, if you don’t want G+ then remove the social icon link).

    Instagram & Pinterest accounts are very good for photographs. I suggest you use these services to show off your photos, and don’t rely solely on the photos on your website. I am not saying your website photos are bad, but you will find websites like Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest are geared for mass photographs, keyword tagging, emoticons and most importantly “mass followers” because these websites already have millions of folk signed up to them. Another key factor of these websites is speed, they have great big servers and bandwidth behind them, so it is best to use them to your advantage.

    For every social website you setup always create the same username, Avatar and link back to your website or YouTube channel, that way people get to know your name.

    As for what to show in your photographs? Share photos of every part your yacht life, views of sunrises, sunsets, storms, cloud formations, big waves, adventures, the sea life around you, harbour entrances, harbours, light houses, cliffs, landscape, destinations, under your yacht, from the crows nest, ship parts, sails, the basics of your existence onboard, the food you eat every night etc.

    Keep your videos about 5 minutes each, plan them, but make them appear to be spontaneous, show your excitement about the life you are living and the places you are seeing. If this doesn’t come across in the videos then there is no hope.

    As for video examples, there must be 1001 things you could talk about on video. Again start with the basics such as: getting read to sail, what you carry or don’t carry onboard? What tools do you have on board, how do you navigate, what tools do you use to navigate, what instrumentation do you have on board, how did you learn them, what websites did you use to figure it all out? How do you cope with sea sickness, what knots and rope types do you use or recommend, which ropes should others stay clear of, what is a poop deck? What are the heads? Sailing terms, sailing flags, Morse code, How to fire a flare, flare types, what type of life jackets you have? What sails do you use? Who do you buy your ship parts from? How do you choice your next destination? Which websites do you use for berthing, who would you recommend, or not recommend? The do’s and don’ts of the sea, that time we encountered pirates, if so why not talk about that? The best places to eat and drink when you arrive at your destination, where can other sailors find a good meal? What fish have you caught? What fish have made you ill? What does it feel like getting caught up in a storm with the Cygnus III is bobbing about like a cork? The best diving areas, the best caves, How to use a sextant? etc etc etc.

    If you want some inspiration take a look at a guy called Daym Drops on YouTube. This bloke visits fast food joints, and then goes back to his car and does a video review on what he is about to eat, he even comments on the packaging. That is all he does. He is the size of a cow (because he eats everything = ha ha) but his videos are natural and funny and he offering a service to those millions of fast food eaters. He tells it how it is and gets hundred thousands views per video.

    So think about what you are doing and how you can help those people like you who want to sell their house and buy a yacht to sail the world.

    1. Mike, you really do make some excellent points and I also enjoyed reading your website.
      I see it as two ways I could go. yes I could try and make money out of the site and spend hours behind a computer screen showing people all about what a wonderful life this is. I may even be able to make a bit of well needed money from it but that is not the reason we chose this life.
      We chose this life to see the world, to meet new people, to enjoy life and live as much of it as we can. We cannot do that if I am writing about it all the time and editing videos.
      I need a balance. I love writing so I will continue to do that and hopefully we will open a you tube channel and show some videos. (I am currently saving for a video camera).
      I also need to redesign a lot of the website to make it faster and easier to get to things.
      We really do love this life but it is surprising just how little time you have to do other things. At the moment there is just to much world to see, too many people to meet and just not enough time to do it all in.
      I get up each morning at 5am as it is the only free time I get to write. After 9am the day belongs to my wife so we can enjoy everything together.
      Again, thank you for some amazing advice, some of which I will take on board and I am sure it has helped so many other people who have read it as well.

  4. Did my comment vanish? – anyhow, don’t give up is what I was saying. It can take months and months (and longer) of hard graft to make it as a magazine writer. For me it was worth it. Study the magazines’s writers’ guidelines and yes, follow their requirements. Don’t limit yourself to the USA.
    I look forward to reading that book on your sailing escapades!

    1. Jackie, a lifelong career in the Police and my natural instincts will never allow me to give up. I know I will get there in the end and the graft continues. I do have a problem between writing what a magazine wants and using my own voice. Doing it their way makes an article sound bland and boring so do I sell my soul to the devil just to make a little extra money?
      By the way, the book is a detective novel .. I just wanted to write something totally different.

      1. Good to hear! You’ll find a magazine that lets you use your own voice, you don’t have to get involved with the devil anymore than you are already 😉 Look outside the USA if you haven’t already….
        I know your book is fiction – why not a non-fiction too? You’ve got lots of good material already.
        When’s the novel ready?

        1. Jackie, being a Brit my first thoughts were of the British market but they are so stuck in the past. I am searching for writing jobs at the moment and I will find the right place to buy my soul back.
          I do keep getting asked to write a book on our sailing exploits and I will at some point but as I say earlier I never give up so I need to finish the other book first. I am nearly there but then there is all the editing, re writing and marketing. I need anything I do to be the best I can do so there is still plenty of work before my mum buys a few copies.
          Thank you for the encouragement.

  5. I did look at it Sash sail but putting advertisements on the site or paying them for visitor is not something I want. I like to know that people actually come to the site because they enjoy it (although they probably found it by accident)

  6. Hi Mark, love what you are doing and the creative blog you post, have you had a look at ….. seems to work for other ocean wanderers !!?

    1. John, I have looked at Patreon but it seems like you have to do something to get sponsorship. What I could do I am not so sure. I was thinking about building a drone that could drop the contents of our holding tank on boats that are anchored too close and jet skis.

  7. PS – I have just bought the Cygnus Crew a few rounds of drinks with your donate button in anticipation/celebration of the new job I am about to get. Enjoy! If the new job doesn’t materialize, I will add a donate button to my site in hopes that you will buy me food 🙂

    1. Lisa, thank you so, so much. I would give you a huge hug but the last 12 judges told me that my extended hugs were actually abduction. Why can’t you hug someone for 5 days?

  8. Ahoy from Australia!

    I so love your posts. You never fail to entertain me!

    I’ve come to the conclusion that I can make the most money in the shortest amount of time by returning to a land based job for a period of time. Unfortunately, I do not look as hot as the woman pictured above, so mine will be at a desk in a far corner of some dark office.

    Currently looking for a six to twelve month gig here in Australia to replenish the cruising kitty. Fingers crossed.

    1. Lisa,
      You need to be careful spending all that time in New Zealand and Australia. Those people can do strange things to your mind. At least you get a desk. I get a seat in a cubicle in the mens room which is a pain when I have to keep moving. Good luck with the job although I am sure you won’t need it.

  9. Great post as always! I do have one thing that I disagree vehemently with you on. Sugar is not Satan’s work. I can’t imagine a life without sugary treats. Definitely God’s work. However, Satan is the one who added all the calories to it 🙂

  10. My plan is to rent my property and do covered calls in the stock market. 5 min a week can make you around 1% on your money a week. Very safe, makes small amt instead of going for the big lotto payout and losing it all. Must know or learn the ins and outs of option trading to do it safely.. Just 50k can make you 500/wk.
    Doing it now to perfect the process before relying on it for all income

  11. Some day I will reach the point where Google Ads and/or Amazon will hit their payout distribution minimum and send me a check for $100.

    I think I only need another $99.72 in Amazon link commissions, and about $97.12 more on Google.

    So there is something.

  12. Have you considered writting a book featuring the comical folly of sailing? I very much enjoyed your sense of humor and would enjoy reading more of it. I have just found your blog so I will subscribe and thumb through your previous material.

    1. Steven, Your comment on our facebook page was a real inspiration and I thank you for it. It does make me want to write a book but first there are another 1001 cock ups I can make. Then tomorrow I can make a lot more.

  13. Abandon hope, there is no money to be made unless you have a dancing cat or invented the ultimate anti-foul paint that can be applied underwater and never ever needs cleaning.

    1. Robin, It has been good to keep waving at you as we pass although you have never managed to send a beer across yet which disappoints me.
      I do use cats to put the anti foul on but getting them on the rollers and dipping them in the paint is difficult. I wonder if it would be easier to do it underwater.

  14. By collecting Charlie’s pocket change at the end of the day, I typically make 5 $ / TL/ Euro a day. When I need more money, I offer to pay for things with his money and keep the change. Maybe you can work those days I don’t shop with him or I’m too tipsy to remember to pick up the change.

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