While many people may dream about living on a boat, few ever take the necessary steps to fulfil their dream. Perhaps most people think that living on a boat is just for eccentrics and oddballs, perhaps, it’s just not a practical option for most. If you love boats as much as I do, the idea of living on a boat on a full-time basis will keep cropping up.

I dream of the freedom, the simplicity, and the oneness with nature. I long to escape the trappings of land-living and imagine myself sailing off into the sunset, never to return.

Rather than visualising stunning sunsets and windswept looks, let’s be practical for a moment. For starters, there are lots of different ways of living on a boat. You may opt to live in a barge, bang in the middle of London, or live your life on a luxury yacht, docked in Florida. Either way, depending on your location, there are a number of things you need to consider.

Choose a Location to Suit Your Lifestyle

If you are in employment and your job is in reasonable proximity to water, find out what your options are. City canal barge living has become hugely popular in London, while cities located by the ocean can also provide you with boat living options. The most important thing is to explore your options and find out the cost and availability of docking stations.

Consult the People You Live With

If you have a partner or family, you are going to have to win their support. You all will have to give up lots of “stuff” simply because you won’t have much space. Bringing up small children on a boat is tricky, and even bigger kids may struggle with boat living.

Boat Choice

Your choice of a boat will largely depend on whether you intend to remain in one place or travel frequently. Barges are predominantly used for stationary boat living, while sailing boats are ideal if you have the time and opportunity to go on frequent excursions.


Everyday costs like heat, electricity, water, insurance and fuel resemble land-living costs. You also have to budget in docking fees and boat maintenance costs. All of these costs largely depend on your chosen location as well as the type of boat you opt for. You may also need to add storage costs for all the furniture and knick knacks you’ll be leaving behind!

Would You Be Happy Living on a Boat?

Living on a boat is not for everyone and unless you are able for a slightly more frugal lifestyle and are prepared to maintain your boat on a daily basis, I wouldn’t advise it. For those who love water and appreciate the power of the elements and nature, living on a boat will exceed all expectations. If you are lucky enough to have the option of living on a yacht and have the time and money to sail off whenever you feel like it, I would urge you to grab the opportunity with both hands. Immediately.