If you ask most people how they got involved in boating, you might hear something like they came from a family of boaters, or they knew someone who had a boat. For me, I think it started when I had to do a book report on Treasure Island. However, I didn’t become a boater until much later in life when a friend taught me how to sail on a lake in Oklahoma. Little did I know how that experience sailing on a NACRA catamaran, flying a hull while tethered out would open the door to experiences that made “Treasure Island” just a fictitious story, and life a series of beautiful adventures.
Each of us has a unique idea of what we want those boating adventures to look like in the future. For some, living aboard is a lifelong dream. It doesn’t matter whether you’re living aboard a sailboat or a powerboat.
The benefits are the same. For me, it’s an opportunity to return to a lifestyle I thoroughly enjoyed. Here are some of the things I look forward to as a liveaboard.
I’ve made great friends over the years just by walking around the marinas I’ve stayed in over the years. Boaters tend to stick together and often offer to lend a helping hand. You are bound to run into folks in the marinas who have seen the same problem as you or potentially knows a person who can fix a boat problem on your boat. You can also get some of the best advice about the local waters, places to eat, shop, or drop the hook along your journey. You might find yourself part of a flotilla, a raft-up, or planning a trip to a surprise destination. Sharing experiences with others and making new connections lead me to adventures all over the world- I met friends who brought me to Greece and Tahiti, and I ended up doing a few charters overseas. I found so many helpful and friendly people in the boating community. I’m sure you will too.
Living on a boat has unexpected health benefits because it is inherently a more active lifestyle. It’s not all motoring or sailing from place to place, listening to Jimmy Buffett music. When you get to a port, you tend to walk or bike to get provisions. Sure, you can potentially go the easy route and get an Uber, but what if you’re in the Caribbean or the Bahamas?
Yes, you can ride in a Taxi, but I think you’ll find the walk or the bike ride is much more exhilarating. You’ll find there is always something to do or a project to be completed. I can count on one hand the number of times I watched TV while living aboard.
Becoming a More Knowledgeable Boater
The more time you spend on your boat, the more knowledgeable you become about your boat, the systems aboard, while at the same time becoming a better boater. Just like a pilot, the more time in the seat, the better navigator you become. Docking experience in current, with the wind, or in tight quarters becomes more comfortable because you’ve done it before and know how the boat will react.
Team Building - Good Communication
Many couples or families boat together, and excellent communication skills keep everyone safe.
It’s always a good idea to make sure everyone knows what to do in various situations. I know in some team-building exercises, the roles are changed, so everyone knows how it feels to be at the helm or crew positions. Talking through various scenarios gives everyone more well-rounded knowledge of the different crew positions, and more importantly, the other jobs that they might need to do if something goes wrong.
Charter Opportunities Around the World
Owning a boat opens the door to potentially charter boats all over the world. Some people have the time, the experience, and the budget to sail vast oceans or perhaps circumnavigate the globe. For most of us, however, this is not possible for a variety of reasons.
The good news is that with the right experience, one can charter in a variety of distant places around the world. Before I had a captain’s license, I chartered in the British Virgin Islands. I was able to charter a 43’ sailboat with only the experience I had sailing on Grand Lake in Oklahoma. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would lead to an eye-opening realization that I loved being on the water and sparked my desire to live aboard.
So many people say, “One day I want to sail to the Caribbean” or “I’ll do the Great Loop,” etc.
To those people, I say, “There’s no time like the present!”