Test it out

How to liveaboard a boat

21st April 2014
Quitting Facebook
Liveaboard boats feature
Liveaboard girls

How to liveaboard a boat

Can you live aboard a boat full time?

Liveaboard in paradise

So you think being a liveaboard on a yacht or a boat slowly cruising around the world is a dream. Do you imagine sailing from one exotic location to another with the sun shimmering on the horizon? Do you want glamorous naked models draping themselves seductively everywhere and cheap wine that flows like a firefighter’s hose?  You may just want to live aboard a boat in a marina or live on a canal boat all year round. To become a liveaboard you need to practice at home first and these simple practical tests will prepare you for life afloat with “real liveaboard knowledge”


Practical liveaboard boat tests

  • Accommodation

    Move everything out of your living room. I know it is bigger than a boat but we have to break you in slowly. You can bring the fridge back provided you lay it down face up and put everything you will need first right at the bottom under everything else.

  • Sleeping

    You are allowed a small mattress provided it is no thicker or comfortable than a slice of burnt toast. Spray it liberally with water to simulate condensation. Fire elastic bands repeatedly at any exposed skin to simulate a mosquito attack. Do not go back to sleep until you find the offending elastic band. Men should put their golf clubs on view in the front garden. This will simulate your anchor. It will guarantee that you are awake all night keeping watch. Set the alarm for 3am to simulate another boat coming in and anchoring on top of you. To make it more realistic go outside into the street wearing only a head torch, wave your arms around and point. It won’t make any difference but it looks good. This can also be done naked to prevent too much conversation.

  • Water

    Unless you have a water maker then water is your most precious commodity on a boat. If it comes to a choice between the wife or water I am afraid she will have to go, especially if like most women she likes to wash. If she is prepared to clean herself in seawater or the condensation from the windows this may be acceptable. If for some strange reason she needs to wash her underwear rather than wear them for a month then wait for rain.

  • Cooking

    All meals are to be cooked on a camping gas stove but turn it off half way through the meal to simulate running out of gas. Break out a tin of cold baked beans. You may eat the neighbours prized “Koi Carp” provided you can catch it.

  • Communications

    You are allowed a computer provided you use it on battery only and can pick up a dodgy internet connection from the bar a mile down road. Curse anyone who sends you a link to a “You tube video” or an image that is bigger than a postage stamp. If you have mobile phones turn them off. If for some reason you do forget it will be the bank trying to give you a loan you cannot have. The phone call price will be the equivalent of buying four beers. Expect them to ring again tomorrow.

  • Provisions

    Provisions are limited to what you can carry or drag back from a petrol station 2 miles away. This includes a cylinder of gas. All purchases have to be made by sign language to simulate your total inability to speak the local language. Let 20 people go in front of you to mimic those locals who will push in front of you or have just popped in for a chat. Check all produce for anything that can crawl, jump or eat you such as cockroaches and rats.

  • Toilets

    Every time you use the toilet throw at least two toilet rolls down afterwards and push them in with a plunger. You might as well get used to dismantling a toilet now as you will be doing it in the future… a lot.

  • Maintenance

    Take the car engine out and put it in the smallest cupboard it the house. It has to only just fit and the oil filter and water pump has to be impossible to get at. Change both at regular intervals and learn to curse loudly. Have a first aid kit handy.

  • Nudity

    Forget the big breasted supermodel. Get three old German men to spend all day naked outside your front window. They have to be able to touch their toes at random intervals for no apparent reason. Occasionally get a well-worn naked woman that needs a good iron and has boobs that she can throw over each shoulder to walk past to window.

  • Socialising

    The liveaboard has got to learn how to socialise. Go to a complete stranger’s house and invite them back to your house for drinks. You will either become instant lifelong friends or they will bore you to death and drink your year’s supply of alcohol. In either case once they have gone never see them again.

  • Power

    Use one light at once and only when absolutely necessary. Pretend your room thermostat is your battery monitor and casually glance at it every 10 minutes. Occasionally get the neighbour to run his petrol mower outside your window for a couple of hours to simulate a generator running. At these times you can use two lights but still continually check the thermostat.

  • Amusement

    Take deckchairs and a bottle of wine down to the local car park. Watch all the cars parking and comment how differently you would have done it. Tut or snigger when they cannot park first time. If there is only one vehicle in the car park, watch out for the French. You can tell them as they will come in at 40mph not knowing where the handbrake is and get out before the vehicle has stopped. They will also park within 2mm of the other car.

  • Living Together.

    Take your better half into the bathroom and lock yourself in for a week. After all you need to find out if you can actually live with each other. It will probably be the most time you have spent together since you met and the main reason why so many bodies are found drowned in the bath tub!


Liveaboard dreams

Sometimes there are dreams


Liveaboard reality

Then there is reality and reality often turns out to be just perfect









So, now you are getting a real idea of what daily liveaboard and sailing life is really like. Can you think of anymore? Would you land lubbers be able to cope with the liveaboard dream? Why not leave a comment below or send us a message about the liveaboard life?




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  1. When people asked,I used to say “you have to WANT to live on a boat” ,but now I can just refer them to your blog, I live aboard and love my life. May the froth be with you xxx

    1. Tom, the chances are you may get wetter from the dog.
      If you want to know who loves you the most, the dog or the wife. Lock them both in a deep locker for an hour. See which one will be pleased to see you when you let them out!

  2. Hi ! Thanks for the wonderful posting , I love this post, i would be say about it , Natalie, I see that you are planning how to live aboard a boat the luxury way. If you want to practise being poor sailors like us you would have slept on the Koi carp and eaten the mattress. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  3. I feel we have so much in common. I was born at quite an early age too. A few years back, I used to work aboard cruise liner, and I’ve missed the sea ever since. This page has just made me more determined to find my live aboard dream. Thanks. 🙂

    1. Rob, for a long time this life for us was just a dream but before we knew it we had bought the boat, moved aboard and stopped dreaming and began to really live. It was the best choice we ever made.

    1. Gina, we make light of some of the things we encounter when living aboard a boat but this is only to put others off this wonderful life we lead. Thank you for your comment.

  4. That was so funny – I laughed so much as I dragged my mattress into the lounge room and fried the neighbours koi fish. Cheers Natalie :):)

    1. Natalie, I see that you are planning how to live aboard a boat the luxury way. If you want to practise being poor sailors like us you would have slept on the Koi carp and eaten the mattress. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  5. We’re about to take off and are loving your blog!! The space isn’t worrying me – we are moving onto a cat and he can always move to the other hull. But I am not much of an experienced sailor and the idea of docking scares me.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Susannah. If you enjoy your time afloat half as much as we have enjoyed ours then you will over the moon (but if you are your navigation may be a bit off). You will soon get the experience you need so don’t worry about that. There is no problem with docking. If you stop suddenly you are there. Just tie a nice bow in the line and you will be fine.

  6. Hi Mark, I, like you, was also born at an early age. I loved this read, and we are planning to sail for one year. We are totally realistic about this and may not even like it. We have been sailing for many, many years and the longest we lived aboard was two weeks. We love sailing and travel. In South Africa our normal lives could be like the way you described a liveaboard ,. Ha ha .

    1. Thank you for the comment Jannie. I am sure you will love the life. We spent two years with a South African couple and their boys sailing and we all had an amazing time. They have become life long friends and I am sure we will meet up with them again.

  7. Hi Cygnus 3, I have thoroughly enjoyed your site and the blogs (?). As my partner and I are currently looking to buy a 38ft Ketch to liveaboard and bugger about in, I wont be showing her your site for some while, yet. Hell she might change her mind, and who’d do the dishes then.? haha I’m looking forward to keeping up with your adventures………………………..

  8. As one who has ventured down the hobbit-hole and currently lives aboard a 50 year old, 24 footer, I think staging this in a iving room is a gross overstatement. They should clear out a large walk-in closet to simulate a 30 foot sailboat, or a small bathroom for those in the 20 foot range.

    1. Thank you to everyone for their comments. I really has been fun for us to read then and we have also discovered more sailing blogs to read along the way. Once again thank you.

  9. Dont forget coming back to your dinghy on a foul winters night to find it sunk to the gunnels one oar missing and bailing for half an hour until you realise that its just refilling through the centrecase,

  10. Amazing and so true. Adding here a section on injuries – move all the furniture in your house up against your bed and your kitchen table so that every time you try to get out of bed or eat, you stub your toe, bang your knee or trip. It will show you what it’s like to be sore and covered in inexplicable bruises 24-7.

  11. Lol.. this is hilarious.. love it…. Thanks for sharing this with the great descriptions that painted images in my brain that will take a while to get rid of.

  12. Sooo true! Don’t forget about the togetherness. I always tell people that you should spend the whole weekend in your bathroom with your spouse and then see if you could live together on a boat!

  13. Nice,
    now just you immagine doin all that in a 29 feet 70 year old wooden wreck.

    Now that is not an Oyster.

    gr OldBawley

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