|Are they really as happy as they look in our photos?
You bet they are...
I celebrated my 70th birthday living aboard and cruising America's Great Loop. How much more
"senior" can I can and convince you?
This voyage, this life and lifestyle, is about as easy, relaxed and laid back as life can get.
Certainly, it is safer driving your boat 8 mph down the river than your car 80 mph down the
For sure, we Senior Citizens have health and health care issues. However, If you are in good
physical and mental health - then the rest comes down to your choice of cruising area, and choice
of boat. Some retirement couples simply find a wonderful cove, drop anchor, and live out the rest
of their lives on their boat in Paradise. Others plan to cruise and return to the mainland to live on
their boats. Some, plan to "stay out" as long as health permits, and then sell the boat and buy a
condo. It is truly a matter of what fits your philosophy, pocket book, and lifestyle.
Whether voyaging around the islands of the Caribbean or cruising around America's Great
Loop... You will be shocked and amazed at not only the numbers of "Senior Citizens" doing it, but
the numbers and ages of all people doing it. I will be 70 my next birthday and I am NOT the senior
of seniors out here sailing the Great Loop & Caribbean.
There are live a-board sailors "out there" much older then I am, and these retired or semi-retired
sailors range in ages from their mid 40's into their 80s. We in fact met one couple in their mid 80s
- and they were as active and happy beyond belief. Fact is, Senior Citizens are out there, still
sailing, still active, and still enjoying every minute of it.
I guess it is an question of how long is long enough? Maybe our physical health will dictate how
long we keep sailing, or how long we remain in Paradise, or possibly, our mental health will let us
know. I simply don't know the answer to this question - least not yet. Maybe it is just a matter of
when we can no longer raise the sails, we drop our anchor for the last time. Whatever it is. . . I do
know this: I am one that will have no end of life regrets. I will continue living a-board, feeling
blessed, grateful, and happy that God gave me the gift of life; and I had the opportunity to unwrap
I wish you the same opportunity.
The good parts of living a-board include the gentle movement of the boat, the wonderful smell of a
clean sea breeze, the solitude of leaving civilization behind, and the freedom of movement and life
that surpasses imagination. The sunsets and the sunrise will amaze you, so too, will the stars. And if
you are one of the lucky ones who can share this experience with the one you love - then I hope you
realize how wonderfully blessed you really are.
The list of benefits are as many as waves upon the ocean. Living a-board and retiring on your boat
is oceanside and waterfront living at its very best - at a mere fraction of the cost.
Despite all the benefits however, living a-board is not for everyone. For some, it is an experience
far outside their comfort zone; and while many make the decision to retire on a boat for good sound
practical reasons... some do it for all the wrong reasons.
I have been an eye witness to many "live a-board" disasters. Most come from those who move on
their boats as a result of financial disaster. Be it divorce, job loss, or whatever. I just know that
moving on your boat as a result of bad financial or relationship problems is not going to improve your
situation in life.
The allure of the romance of the sea, can also spell disaster. We are presented with it in movies
and television and we see the pictures and dream... but once you are living on your boat, it is no
longer a dream, it is reality; and the lifestyle has (along with its benefits) an equally amazing number
of challenges, surprises, and issues. It is something that must be considered with your eyes wide
The practice of safe boating and sailing demands knowledge and experience, not for the summer
days when the water is calm and the breeze fresh, but for those moments when things aren't going
as we dreamed. When out on the water, safety must always come first. Whether you are boating on
an inland lake, cruising America's Great Loop, or voyaging in the Caribbean - the difference between
a beautiful "dream" experience, and a "dreadful" life-threatening one, may be separated only by a
There are "issues" living on a boat. Most of these issues are common sense ones that can be
easily avoided or fixed. Some however are much more complex. The more complex issues are those
that come with experience. If not our own, then certainly the ones who have sailed these seas before
us, and have left behind their words of wisdom for us that follow.
While I have been a live a-board size boater most all my life, never have I found the words, the
books, the magazines, or any "advice" in any form - that explains the subtleties of the essentials of
living comfortably (on a frugal budget) on a boat, in the middle of Paradise.
So... this website is the best our experience, and that of our living a-board and voyaging friends
have to offer.
of living a-board your boat.
"Honestly Capt. John, Is living a-board really a good thing?"
An emphatic YES! Well, maybe. It depends...
It is an adventuresome romantic life, different then the norm, much more economical then
life ashore, and truly has some amazing benefits.
So what does it depend on?
Well. . . Are you doing this by yourself, or with a mate? If you are doing it with a mate,
then it depends on how much your mate wants to do this. Again, it takes two to tango, and
in my experience, it has proven time and time again that the unwilling mate is the most
significant reason why couples cease the live a-board lifestyle.
It also depends on whether or not the reality of living a-board is an acceptable lifestyle
once everyone realizes it is not all romance. The clothes still need washing, and the deck
still needs scrubbing. . . Unless you have a boat you don't want, or don't need to maintain
(which many live a-boards do), this lifestyle is not entirely about sitting on deck off of a
beautiful tropical island with an umbrella drink in your hand.
It also depends on whether or not you can handle the motion of the boat - and that
motion is constant. It comes when you are at sea, at bay, and even in a Marina. While much
of it is hardly noticed in a Marina, I can't even begin to remember the number of times I
have had my dinner and drinks thrown off the dining table and all over me and the floor, by
boats speeding by in a NO WAKE ZONE.
So then, honestly, why do you do it?
For me, the benefits far outweigh the downside and difficulties. I love being able to take
my home along with me - where ever I go. I love boating, fishing, nature, outdoors, sandy
beaches, deserted islands, a bit of solitude, meeting people and making new friends. Above
all else, I love the freedom. The freedom that comes with living on your own paid for boat
(even with a limited income as mine) is absolute freedom. I can stay put, or go where I want,
when I want. When I want to visit my (now adult) kids, I just point my bow in their direction
and go. Lucky for me, two of them live near the water and own their own boats, while my
third (oldest son) is actually living (full-time) on his boat - and he spends most of his time in
Living on my boat, I am totally independent in a self contained environment. I have no
need of government assistance, lawyers, salesmen, Walmart, or convenience stores. I also
have all the amenities of home, ie: central air/heat, TV, Stereo, high speed Internet, and a
I simply could not travel near as much, or live near as well, if I did not live on my boat.
|What about age?
Is it safe for a Senior Citizen to live and cruise on a boat?
|Retirement living on your boat.
|As with the Sea...
It is not the length of your life,
but the depth of your life,
that really matters.
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