How Much Does It Cost To Live On A Boat?

Buying a boat is already considered a major lifestyle change for many, but one couple decided to take it up another notch. They chose to live on a boat— literally.

Naval officer Sam Train shared how he brought up the idea to his wife, Francesca Spidalieri, when he was stationed in Newport, Rhode Island. Surprisingly, she agreed to it right away.

Now, they are sharing details about how much money they needed not only to survive but also to really live their days aboard a pre-owned 40-foot Catalina cruiser they bought in 2013.


Having a home of your own is a dream come true, but it costs a lot of money. Fortunately, living on a boat is arguably not as expensive as owning a house or renting an apartment.

Sam and Francesca stood witness on the latter as they revealed that they saved as much as $50,000 on rent when they decided to reside on water.

Basically, they pay approximately $800 monthly for the boat’s amortization that sums up to $150,000.

If they decided to rent an apartment in San Diego, they would have to pay a rent of about $2,500 to $3,000 on top of the vessel’s amortization.

On the other hand, living on the boat costs about $2,200 monthly based on Sam’s calculations.


Included in the $2,200 monthly cost of living aboard is the $1,050 fee for the marina. According to the couple, this comprises the biggest chunk of their monthly expense in their unusual lifestyle.

Also, since storage spaces aboard the Catalina cruiser are limited, they had no other choice but to rent a storage unit that costs $100 every month.


Maintenance is another important thing to consider when living on a boat. For Sam and Francesca, they opted for a monthly washing and waxing service for the boat’s exterior that is set at $80. They also hire someone to clean the boat’s bottom, also called the hull, every six months. This costs $50 per session.

They also set aside $1,000 for unexpected or emergency maintenance of the boat. After all, owning a boat is just like owning a car— you won’t spend a penny for a long time until it breaks down and forces you to use up most of your savings.

Other potential expenses under this category include brightwork as well as a regular change of oil, filters, and zincs.

Fortunately, Sam’s experience as a Naval officer enabled him to take care of maintaining the mechanical system of the Catalina cruiser.

Other “Living Aboard” Costs

Aside from expenses Sam and Francesca experienced while living on their Catalina cruiser, there are other costs on living on a boat.

Since it is basically still residing under a roof, the couple’s chosen lifestyle entails spending on utilities like electricity and water. For the Sam and Francesca, they only have to pay a $250 “live aboard” fee which already covers these and more.

They are also allowed to park their vehicles and use the marina’s other amenities and features, including a swimming pool, laundry service, and mail and packages facility. They also pay $25 once a week to get rid of the waste in their sewage tank.

Of course, these should be added to the usual expense of having a family: food, clothing, water, and others.

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