One of the alluring things about going tiny is the ability to pick up stakes and move anywhere at any time. For many, the dream is to live near the water. But why not live on the water? The answer might be living full time on a boat!

Like living tiny in any tiny abode, tradeoffs must be made when adapting this mode of living. Here are some of the pros and cons of living full-time on a boat:

Pros of Living on a Boat Full Time

  • The View – Waking up every morning to a view of the ocean or lake DOES NOT SUCK! Seeing the waves, hearing the seagulls and smelling the salt air is a lovely way to start your day. And with a boat it’s easy to pull anchor and change your view at any time, so if your view isn’t to your liking, change it.
  • The Vibe – The pace of life on a boat is different. Flip flops, a bathing suit and sunglasses is the dress of the day every day – everyday. Life on a boat just has a relaxing feel and pace that you can’t find anywhere else. Corona for breakfast may be out of line anywhere else, but on a boat the saying is “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!”
  • Mobility – Being on a boat is the ultimate in flexibility. You can go anywhere in the world in a boat. Love Maine Lobster for breakfast? Sail to Maine! Like warm, sunny winters? Hoist anchor and head to warmer environs like the Caribbean.
  • Living the Dream – Studies have shown that people who live near the water live longer. Why? Because they want to. Having the ability to go fishing out your backdoor has an allure like nothing else. If you get a boat, you instantly become “that friend with a boat” which will raise your coolness factor exponentially!
  • Goodbye Insomnia! – You may never know a better night of sleep than when you’re lulled by the gentle motion and sounds of the water lapping against the side of your boat. Having a hatch open and looking at the open sky and stars has a very calming affect!

Cons of Boat Living

  • Expensive – Living on a boat is expensive. Fuel is expensive. Docking is expensive. Repairs are expensive. Even mundane things like having your black water holding tank pumped costs more than a comparable RV setup. Whatever you think something will cost on a boat, it will likely cost more.
  • Space – One of the great things about living in a tiny house is it forces you to get out and live outdoors. You can go out and hike, bike and garden. These options are different on a boat. Jet skiing or wake-boarding may have to replace hiking and gardening.  On a boat, you’re confined. You can’t add a porch or deck to boat like you can with a tiny house on wheels. Tiny houses are tight on space, and it can be even more accentuated if you’re on a boat where the shape of the vessel impacts how space can be used. Many marinas have lockers and extra storage and it’s always nice to have access to a full-sized head so you can stretch out in a normal sized shower from time to time.
  • Working as a Hobby – Boats, whether you like it or not, mean work. Having a boat requires continual care and maintenance so if you think a boat is purely about putting your feet up, you may want to think again! There’s always something to clean, polish, paint, scrape or otherwise work on. This is especially true of you are in salt water. Looking for a place to live while you’re in dry dock isn’t an issue with other styles of tiny living, but they are the reality when you live on a boat.
  • Weather – Weather can impact a tiny house on wheels. Severe storms may force you to hunker down, but in a boat, you deal with high waves, severe storms and even hurricanes. Trying to outrun a storm can be a truly harrowing experience.
  • Privacy – If you live in a yacht club, there are always a lot of people coming and going. This can make it tough to get the privacy you might want. You may want to invest in heavy curtain to shade your windows.
  • Security – Securing your boat can be a little more challenging than locking the front door on a tiny house. Many stock boat hatches are easily bypassed, so it’s always a good idea to keep valuables out of sight.
  • Logistics – There are some unique challenges to boat-based living: Docking your boat, finding a parking space for your vehicle. Stocking water. Disposing of gray water. Servicing of black water tanks. Even mundane things like getting internet access can be more challenging on a boat.

Living on a boat can be a refreshing change of pace. The wind, waves and the open seas can be the ultimate environment for relaxation. But living tiny on the water comes with pros and cons so think and plan ahead. Do research and try to connect with people who are living full-time on a boat to find out what it’s like. I recommend you check out my friend’s blog, she is currently transitioning to tiny living on a boat and is documenting her experiences here.

We’d love to hear from folks living on a boat, please provide your input in the comments section or connect with us on Facebook. So, for now, AHOY and THINK TINY!