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Rain Days Living on a Boat with Children

rainy days on the boat

rainy days on the boat

What do you do when the weather is just really CRAPPY out when you live on a boat?

Pretty much the same thing you do at home- stay inside and have fun! The weather has been cold and rainy for a few days here in St. Augustine as a cold front passes through this area. The boat is small at 33′ but the CSY is very spacious inside owing to its wide beam. Our salon is our living room, dining room, kitchen, office, and workshop

When the weather really turns lousy outside we hunker down with a hot cup of coffee or tea, turn up the XM radio, crank up the diesel heater, and play with toys, read books, surf the internet, organize, and enjoy our time together on the boat.

Finally!  Cocktail Hour!

Finally! Cocktail Hour!

Of course, at the end of the day, after a full day of pulling out every toy on the boat and reading every one of Emma’s books TWICE, there’s always cocktail hour!

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7 comments to Rain Days Living on a Boat with Children

  • BrokeNotBroken


    My wife and I are considering making the same lifestyle choices that you and your wife have made. We have two boys, 3 years and 1.5 years, and are seriously thinking of living on a sailboat. The question I have for you is, how do you make it work financially? Does the rental income provide enough to cover your living expenses? Personal questions I know, sorry. Also, are you planning on cruising for as long as possible or finding an area to settle in?

    If you make it to the other side of Florida, we’d love to chat with you. We’re in Fort Walton Beach.


  • big cheese


    Great, but tough, questions.

    For starters, we had to make some tough extended family financial decisions. My mother was a VP at a small pharma company and the company shut down abruptly leaving her up a creek after moving to Atlanta and putting her house on the market at absolutely the worst time.

    We pulled together and I looked at all the assets and compared the long term financial value and we also looked at which locations would be best to raise our daughter.

    We pooled resources and decided to save the house on St. Simons. I still own an efficiency loft in Atlanta outright that my mother lives in full time because she found a contract gig that pays very well.

    The idea being that when my mother wants to retire we should have the mortgage paid off and we’ll keep contributing to her for spending cash and she can live there. At some point the house will become ours and we can sell or raise Emma James on St. Simons.

    We basically split the cost of operating the house less the income from the vacation rental. I manage the vacation rental process online. So far it is hit or miss for rentals. But that may have as much to do with the economy as anything else. We have rentals signed up for April and inquiries for the summer. Our hope is that the vacation rental will cover 1/3 the total mortgage payments and we split the rest.

    We haven’t really found ‘our way’ yet to earning a living. I’m pretty diversely skilled- pilot, sailor, real estate broker, general contractor, project manager, superintendent, furniture maker, some retail sales, and some internet experience. But we haven’t put all the pieces together yet.

    I can tell you after almost 6 weeks on our boat, the cost of living is considerably less compared to the quality of life. We talked about it last night and decided we really enjoyed the lifestyle and don’t regret nor desire to head back to mainstream just yet.

  • big cheese

    The EASY answer is- No it does not compute!

    We have a few months grace period before we’ll have to stop to do some work or find a way to make some cash on the boat (internet, sales, marketing, jewelry, maintenance, construction- something!)

    But consider the alternative- I move back to the city and work my butt off and we still go deeper and deeper in credit card debt until finally I’m miserable and exhausted, my wife hates where she lives, and my young daughter doesn’t know who I am.

    Look at two books- “Your money or your life” and “Simple Living”. The later is by David Wann. In our case, 80k per year is a worse lifestyle in the mainstream than 24k on a boat.

    We are making a few bucks off “pay per click” ads on the right (hint hint) and we hope to build on that, but it doesn’t keep us in canned goods and diesel (Yum).

    Stay tuned and we’ll see what we come up with….

  • BrokeNotBroken

    Thanks for the candid answers. And I clicked on a few adds too :)

    I read, “Your Money or Your Life” and thought is was good. I will have to take a look at “Simple Living.”

    You nailed it here, “But consider the alternative- I move back to the city and work my butt off and we still go deeper and deeper in credit card debt until finally I’m miserable and exhausted, my wife hates where she lives, and my young daughter doesn’t know who I am.

    I like how Steven Covey said it, you work for years climbing the ladder of success only to find it leaning on the wrong building. We’re trying to make sure that our ladder is leaning on the right building. I had a moment the other night when I realized that I spent more time thinking about how to make money than thinking about how to be a great dad/husband. Kinda sad.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  • big cheese

    The startling truth for me was when, after a decade of solid work, everything I built was gone- through no fault or failure to safely plan or prepare of my own- and yet, I was ten years older and starting over again.

    I am wiser and I certainly could do (am doing) things differently the next time, but I realized deep down in my heart that I didn’t want to be tied down to one location and I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life measuring success by a dollar sign.

    I certainly don’t want financial success to be measured by poor health, poor relationships, and no free time.

    That’s a tough concept to get over in our society. The benchmark of success is your possessions and status.

    There’s always jobs, there’s always ways to make money- the big question is- How Much is Enough?

    I’m 38 years old and I have ONE daughter- that’s it! No mulligans (do-overs) if I mess up raising her. I can always make money, it’ll still be around when I’m ready.

  • Christine Wolf

    I’m writing a boat about a girl who lives aboard a boat (age 11 or 12) and am so curious about how life is going for you. Thanks for posting this blog!

  • big cheese

    Thank you for reading our blog!

    Life is good. Life takes on a casual rhythm on a sailboat. We are a little shell shocked when we step on land (not very often) in the midst of all the hustle and bustle. So much noise!

    Our little girl thinks that land is a big park because we try to visit parks with slides, swings, and other children for Emma James to play with on land.

    Time really expands living on a boat. Even simple things take a lot longer, but that’s ok because you have the time. Instead of multi tasking, you be singularly focused on a task. It means you can actually the process and experience as it unfolds before.

    Our little girl gets the full benefit of Mom and Dad being around. It won’t always be this way for her, so I’m glad that I can give her this gift.

    In many ways sailing and living on a sailboat is very rudimentary. You step back into fulfilling immediate needs like food, and shelter and spend less time (or no time) worrying about office politics, the commute, redecorating the den, or buying a new car. Mainly because we can’t!

    Western Civilization is still firmly rooted in place, but I’m enjoying the holiday from the darker aspects of commercialization and consumerism.