• Taryn Pickard

What It's Really Like Living On a Sailboat


We recently put a video out on YouTube all about what it's really like living on a 32 foot sailboat in the Pacific Northwest. Like everything else we do, I (Taryn) tried to be as honest as possible. Living on a boat is a lot different than living on land for a myriad of reasons and the way we are living on a boat also happens to be just one of many possible ways of living on a boat. The video doesn't go into a ton of detail about other options for boat life, so I thought I would write a blog for all the boat N00Bs out there (like we were a few months ago!) to explain the different ways a person can live on a sailboat, and how each way changes the way you do things.


I'm going to start first with the uncomfortable differences and then list the ones that still make living on a boat much better than living in a house like we were before:


1) The first big change for us moving onto our boat was the bathroom. In case you didn't know, a bathroom on a boat is called a head. So, we went from a full bathroom with a shower and bathtub to a head with no hot water and no shower. Also, it is illegal to directly dump black water into marina waters and we are not currently hooked up to our holding tank. These things mean that we are going to the marina bathrooms for facility use. This is fine for the most part. It's just different than being able to use your own bathroom, and quite frankly I really enjoy having my own bathroom and public showers kinda disgust me. If we were living on anchor instead of at a marina, we could technically be just directly pumping our black water into the anchorage, but this is also generally frowned upon, although it is a common practice. We could also install a composting toilet which is an option we may be looking into in the future.

2) The second big change is Mr. Max. Before living on the boat, we were living on just under two acres, all fenced with deer fencing that insured that Max did not leave our yard. All we had to do was kick him out the door. Living on a boat means that he is bored a lot more because he is stuck inside. We also spend more time walking and exploring to give him exercise and allow him to use the "facilities." There isn't anything wrong with having to take him out. It's just different and means that the day starts on a different schedule that we have been used to.

3) No hot water. This isn't an every boat thing, but it is one of those things that I have taken for granted for ever and didn't even think about before moving onto a boat. So hot water is created one of two ways: using electricity or heating from another source. So, many boats heat water by running their diesel engine, which means that you only have hot water right after the engine has been running and has had a chance to heat the water. The other way is having an electric on- demand heater. In a house this is a great option, but on a boat, where power often needs to be conserved, this is often not a great option. We do not have either of these systems. We, in fact, have just been boiling water when we need it for dishes, and otherwise trying to shower on land where we can find showers- either in a marina or at Logan's parent's house.

4) No wifi, only data. Now, not all marinas have this problem. Many marinas have wifi included with your moorage fees. The marina were were in in Nanoose had wifi near their office. The other two marinas we have been in- neither of which are high end- have not had wifi available. This means that we either try to find public hotspots or steal it from friends and do all of our internet stuff at once. As someone who does a lot of her business over the internet, this has been a big change for me. It has also meant that my phone bill has increased as I have slowly added more data... but it's still less than paying for monthly internet ;)


Now on to the amazing things that are making this journey worthwhile:

1) So much less space to clean! We downsized from a 2500 sqft house on just under 2 acres to a 32 foot sailboat with one berth. I think you can see how that would be a lot less cleaning. And what do I loath more than any other basic life chore? Thats right- cleaning. Especially when it's space that we don't even really need or use. Living on a boat means that there's a place for everything and things get put away much faster in order to avoid clutter. When things do get dirty, which they do, especially with a dog, it takes about 5 minutes to vacuum the entire boat. The outside of the boat maybe needs to be cleaned more often due to salt water, but it's still less space than the outside of our house and yard were.

2) Close to the stars and the elements all the time. Logan and I both LOVE being close to nature. We go out of our way to do things outdoors and living on a sailboat forces us to do this even more. There is no way to avoid the elements and that is a beautiful thing.

3) Literally being able to move our home to a new location whenever we want. I don't have to worry about whether or not I packed what we needed for the next adventure because (almost) everything we have is already with us! We have so far lived in three different towns since March, visited numerous islands and I love every minute of that newness.


The end of this video discusses something else new for us- the fact that we are looking for a larger boat to more comfortably accommodate our lives and our hobbies. We have big hobbies that we currently can't fit onto our boat and we want to change that. We also would just be a lot more comfortable with more room to move around, so we are looking for a larger boat that fits into our budget and our list of needs.


I hope this was informative and if you have any questions or comments (but not mean ones- keep your trolling to yourself), don't hesitate to contact us! We love talking about what we are doing and why and would love to share more with you, as well as to learn from your experience!



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