5 Best LiveAboard Sailboats – Plus 8 Important Buying Considerations
Taking the plunge to live on a sailboat is usually a huge decision, especially as living aboard a boat is an exciting lifestyle choice. However, there are lots of things to consider before buying a boat that will suit your needs and also be nearly as comfortable as a traditional home on land.
Whether this is your first time choosing a liveaboard sailboat, or you want to upgrade to a better option, you will find useful information in this article. But before we get into the best liveaboard sailboats and how to choose one, let’s see why living aboard a boat is a great lifestyle choice.
We’ve reviewed some of the best liveaboard sailboats and listed them here to help you choose one that will suit you most.
5 Best LiveAboard Sailboats
How to Choose the Best LiveAboard Sailboats – Buying Guide
There are several things to consider when choosing a liveaboard sailboat, but perhaps the most important factor is the level of accommodation that will suit your need. A boat with useful features such as a fully functional kitchen or electric toilets are well and fine, but many traditional sailors don’t really care about limited amenities. Any stripped-down sailboat with basic interior would do just fine.
Most sailors are generally okay with any standard live about sailboats constructed after 1970 since these types typically have adequate ventilation, a usable kitchen, head, and shower. But whatever your preferences, you can be sure you will find something that will provide the level of comfort you need in most modern sailboats.
Here are 8 important factors and requirements we think are crucial when choosing the best liveaboard sailboats.
1. Standing Headroom
There’s nothing wrong with spending a couple of days in a week aboard a boat without standing headroom. However, if living aboard a sailboat is a lifestyle choice for you, consider one with standing headroom. Your body is not meant to crouch or crawl for months or years on end. With time, your back and other muscles will start to take a hit. For your overall health and wellbeing, it is best to choose a sailboat with standing headroom. Our recommendation is 5-feet 10-inch standing headroom or something within that range.
2. Basic Kitchen Facilities
A liveaboard boat without a kitchen can only mean one thing: you will be eating out every single day! While this is okay for some people, others will prefer to cook their own meals at least once in a while, regardless of their culinary skills.
We think a kitchen is a must-have for the best liveaboard sailboats, even if it doesn’t have all the modern facilities. Basic kitchen facilities should include a refrigerator or icebox, a sink, and a stove. If you find one with an oven, that’s a plus, too!
3. Toilet with Plumbing
The fastest way to spread diseases when you liveaboard a boat is to have improper human waste storage and disposal system. Sanitation facilities are among the top considerations when choosing the best liveaboard sailboats.
Using a porta-potty all year long is definitely out of the question. Besides, no one would like to live on a stinky boat or have guests come over a smelly abode. When you choose a liveaboard sailboat, look for one with a built-in and properly outfitted toilet. It should also have a safe sewage storage tank with a proper disposal system.
Many liveaboards prefer to use gym or marina facilities instead of their onboard showers. This is okay, but it doesn’t eliminate the need for bathing facilities on board. Choose a sailboat with a shower for convenience’s sake, even if you don’t use it all the time.
It is important to make sure that your bilge pump is always in good working condition, especially if you have a boat shower that drains directly into the bilge. Keep in mind that whatever goes into the drain will find its way below your floor.
5. Electric Lighting
Having kerosene lamps is okay. In fact, many sailors love to have them because it adds a certain feel and beauty to their boats. But you definitely want to consider the convenience and safety offered by electric lighting. If you plan on living aboard a boat for a long time, you will need some form of reliable electric lighting.
6. Availability of 120V AC
The best liveaboard sailboats come with 120V AC outlets for standard house electricity connections. The availability of electricity is a definite requirement for living aboard a boat. You want to have a way to charge your cell phones, computers, and use other electronic gadgets. A boat with only a 12V outlet is not good enough. It is best to choose a sailboat with 120V AC outlets if you want to enjoy electricity living aboard a boat full-time.
7. Seating Spaces
Apart from the main bed, the best liveaboard sailboats should have additional seating spaces. There should be separate spaces for sitting, working, navigating, and eating, especially if you plan on living aboard for a long time. You don’t want to be bored with the monotony of using only one space (the main bed) for all your daily activities. Having separate seating spaces has the added advantage of making your day-to-day activities more agreeable.
Perhaps the simplest requirement for liveaboard sailboats is ventilation. But it is equally essential, regardless. An opening porthole or a passive solar roof vent should suffice. The important thing to consider when it comes to proper ventilation is a boat that provides a way to let in fresh air without needing to open the main hatch.
Coastal Vs. Offshore Accommodations
And now, here’s one final factor to consider before choosing a liveaboard sailboat. How do you plan to use your boat? Do you want a sailboat that will serve primarily as a long-distance cruiser, or do you intend to use it mainly for coastal cruising?
Your intended use significantly affects the style of interior design that will be suitable for your purpose. Sailboat accommodations are greatly impacted by their cruising purposes. Coastal cruisers are likely to feature more plush layouts, complex interiors, and larger sofas. Also, these boats generally have several amenities, so it is common to have smaller storage spaces in these sailboats.
On the other hand, offshore or long-distance cruisers feature cabins that are designed and arranged to make the journey as comfortable as possible. These sailboats generally don’t have unnecessary furniture and other extras below deck to make room for increased sleeping and storage spaces.
It is easy to get carried away during the physical inspection of a sailboat, especially if the boat is equipped with modern facilities and fanciful, eye-catching amenities. But don’t get swayed by those, even though they are important for improved convenience. Your top priority should be how you intend to use the boat – for coastal cruising or offshore cruising. This should inform your choice of accommodation.
Benefits of Living on a Sailboat
Okay, why should you want to give up living on land and opt for an unstable address somewhere in the middle of the ocean? Is it even safe to do so?
Living aboard a sailboat is an exciting lifestyle that offers several benefits and challenges, too! Thousands of people across the world choose this lifestyle, and because these boats are constructed from high-quality, durable materials, you can be sure it is safe to liveaboard one.
This lifestyle offers liveaboards a cheaper alternative than living in a traditional house. This is particularly the case in waterfront cities where rental apartments and houses in the marina areas are even more expensive.
It is a lot cheaper to live in a boat if you enjoy traveling around the world on the water. And if you enjoy the marina lifestyle, you could take it a step further by owning and living in one of the several best liveaboard sailboats available.
And come to think of it, these boats require some serious investments. What’s the point of buying a “house” on the water without living in it, right? To many people, it makes more economic sense to live in their expensive boats, instead of paying extra rent for a house on the land when there is one idling away on the water.