15 ways to save money whilst living aboard

Sailing can be tough, all kinds of accidents can happen, but luckily I’ve found the top 15 tips for saving your wallet whilst living aboard, all courtesy of liveaboard sailors themselves.

1. Stay on the boat

Money only gets spent on shore, when you go ashore, take only the amount you need with you.

2. Catch your own food

Food can be the biggest expense when living aboard, keep a fishing pole out and use the small fish as bait for the bigger ones.

3. Barter with others

Swap fish that you’ve caught for bread, a lobster for a bag of rice. Trade skills with other boat owners.

4. Drink rainwater

Collect rainwater and filter it before putting it in the drinking water tank.

5. Become a DIY legend

Anything you can do yourself, or learn how to do from a Youtube video, do it. Only pay for someone to do it if you can’t learn to do it in enough time.

6. Keep your boat in good shape at all times

The more often you do to keep those little tasks to keep parts up to standard, the less often you’ll have to invest in new parts.

7. Learn how to use the radio

Make yourself and your skills known on the local channel. Money flows like water around the boating world, you just have to learn how to divert some your way.

8. Offer your skills around

Offer to clean a boat of two for the local charter company, it can pay well and they might recommend you or ask you back.

9. Invest in solar panels

Ditch your monthly electricity bill, invest in solar panels.

10. Skip the marina fees

Live at anchor, skip the marina fees and use a dinghy to get to shore if you need to.

11. Avoid the adverts

The less time you spend on social media and watching television, the less you’ll be convinced that you need things.

12. The wind is free, use it.

Avoid motoring around if you can sail; the wind is free, fuel is not.

13. Make your own cleaning products

Vinegar and Teatree oil kills anything just like ‘Mould and Mildew’ and is better for the environment

14. Buy only what you need and have space for.

Don’t need it? Don’t have space for it? Don’t buy it.

15. Don’t eat out

Cooking on a boat is usually cheaper than eating ashore, but if you have to, have a late lunch not a dinner, as most restaurants’ lunch menus are cheaper than their dinner menus.


Want to hear more about the liveaboard lifestyle? check out my Q and A with a liveaboard sailor here!


Special thanks to members of the ‘Sailing and cruising’ and ‘Liveaboard lifestyle’ groups on Facebook for suggestions and contributions to this article.

Author: Rosa-May Bown

I study BA(Hons) Multimedia Journalism at Manchester Metropolitan University ⛵ my hobbies include listening to Norwegian pop, writing poetry, sleeping in and sailing whenever I can.

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