Cost

One of the biggest questions for new cruisers and wannabee cruisers, like us, is what does it cost to liveaboard and cruise (travel)?  Just like life on land there are many variables.  If you are trying to figure a cost estimate, as we are, here are some of the factors to consider:

 

  • Size of the boat- maintenance cost
  • Repairs
  • Dock, moore or anchor?
  • Fuel
  • Eat out or in?
  • Luxury items
  • Location
  • Insurance
  • Upgrades
  • Satellite tv
  • Car rental

 

There are several cruisers that have documented their cruising/liveaboard expenses while cruising.  I am putting together a list, as I find them.  Here are a few:

 

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S/V groovy

S/V groovy

S/V Groovy  2008 Hunter 44DS, 2 adults– “For us, keeping a boat in Mexico, living on it and sailing it 6 months a year, maintaining it, flying back and forth to it, insuring it and storing it when we’re not there costs around $13,000-$14,000 per year.  If we were on it full-time and didn’t fly back and forth or store it, our annual cost would be around $21,000-$24,000.”

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M/V Viking Star – 45′ Ed Monk Sr. / McQueen ‘trawler’ Here they give a “rolling spreadsheet of monthly expenses.  It is quite comprehensive.  This is the latest:

(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

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S/V Luckness Pacific Seacraft 37, 1 adult. Craig McPheeters describes his cost after his first year cruising. “I kept rough track of the money I spent, without spending too much time on categories or detailing every purchase.  I don’t know how much I spent on food for example as I would withdraw a wad of cash from an ATM every now and then and spend it on equipment, food, moorings, and whatnot until it ran out when I would go for a refill.  I spent $35,000 over the year.  My most expensive month was almost $7,000 dollars last November when I was in San Diego where I was in a marina for almost a month and I bought a bunch of equipment (such as a sextant, some machined parts, etc.)  The following month I spent around $900, as I had lockers bulging with food that I could live off for a while.”

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S/V Del Viento –  1978 Fuji 40, 2 adults and 2 kids. Michael and Windy have logged their cruising expenses. They have calculated their expenses as follows:

del viento

2010 TOTAL EXPENDITURES:  $77,644

2011 TOTAL EXPENDITURES:  $47,925

2012 TOTAL EXPENDITURES:  $71,239

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S/V bumfuzzle 1982 43′ Spindrift Pilothouse, 2 adults and 2 kids.  Pat and Ali have put together a detailed spreadsheet. Here it is:

jan 2012
feb 2012
mar 2012
apr 2012
diesel
117.77
0
0
426.64
walmart
514.46
294.51
358.44
47.65
food
600.29
576.12
690.54
738.67
marina/mooring
524.63
876.17
757.82
620.85
boat expenses
857.19
2,085.11
633.36
216.90
other
720.39
651.96
1,262.00
633.49
3,334.73
4,483.87
3,702.16
2,684.20
Jan: half month in marina; boat includes $450 deposit for new davits
Feb: month in marina; boat includes finished davits $667 and fridge compressor fix/new $568
Mar: half month in marina; boat includes fridge repairman $298; other includes three nights in condo for boat work $354 and 2011 Federal tax payment
may 2012
jun 2012
diesel
468.11
59.51
walmart
282.63
291.00
food
919.13
656.54
marina/mooring
302.29
773.94
boat expenses
211.83
765.93
other
513.78
543.79
2,697.77
3,090.71
May: Puerto Espindido for over a week; mooring fees $90, taxis to Loreto $104, Ouest to the E.R. $93
Jun: La Paz and Puerto Vallarta marina fees; new water pump

 

bumfuzzle

bumfuzzle

 

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S/V Ocelot 45′ Kronos catamaran, 2 adults, 2 teens

“We have no real budget, spending what  we must when we have to.  We think we spend about $3,000/month  or $36,000/year for the 4 of us, which is  cheap next to land-based life, but may be hard to generate from investments  only.  If we were to figure expenses for just 2 of us aboard, the total  would drop to about 23,500, (not 18K, or half) due to fairly fixed costs on boat  maintenance, boat insurance, navigation/legalities, and communication.”

Sue and Jon have created this chart:

Item Monthly Yearly Percentage
Food US$ 600 US$ 7,000 19
Boat Maintenance 5,000 14
Medical 4,500 13
Boat Insurance 4,200 12
Trips back to the US 3,000 8
Entertainment 200 2,400 7
Local Transportation 150 1,800 5
Fuel 125 1,500 4
Inland Travel 1,000 3
Navigation/Legalities 1,000 3
Souvenirs 500 1
Communication 500 1
Other 300 3,600 10
Totals $ 3,000 $ 36,000 100%

 

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S/V Brio Nor’ West 33, 2 adults

brio pic

“… here’s the big fat number of every dollar, cent and peso that we spent to go cruising this past winter, from December 2012 to May 2013, all in Mexico:

$22,787.86″

This is Leah and Jonathan’s spreadsheet:

(click to enlarge)

* Note that Leah and Jonathan are accounting for 6 months of cruising.

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S/V Camille 2001 Hunter 380, 2 adults

S/V Camille

S/V Camille

Verena and Mike’s monthly expense log:

TOTAL: (March 2012 – May 2013, 16 months): $35,547 ($2,222 per month)

May 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,497

April 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $4,372

March 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $5,470

February 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,320

January 2013, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,535

December 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,353

November 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,857

October 2012, California, Camping – Total $5,563

September 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,057

August 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1199

July 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $770

June 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $610

May 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $2,315

APRIL 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $1,405

March 2012, Mexico, Cruising – Total $2,080

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S/V Elizabeth 38′ Bristol Channel Cutter, 1 adult

Here are Ben’s expense graphs:

(click to enlarge)

 

(click to enlarge)

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S/V Crazy Horse  – 1964 Pearson Alberg 35, 2 adults

crazy horse

“During the cruise my expenses were about $10,000 a year, much of which was spent on boat gear and maintenance.”

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livin the dream

Livin the Dream 1984, 44′ Stamas ketch, 2 adults

John and Ann created this great spreadsheet:

2012
Category Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan
Boat Insurance 250  250  285   285   285
Boat Maintenance 669 53 120 79 490
Charts
Communications 78 91 121 96 96
Customs 21
Dockage 139 139 128 121 150
Entertainment 40 88 60 40 142
Fishing Supplies
Fuel 236 716 143 46 326
Groceries 615 758 941 780 621
Laundry 30 15 37 13 8
Medical 429 429 429 502 434
Other/Lodging
Restaurants 286 86 47 88 117
Transportation 30 16 14 17 68
Water
Grand Total                2,802 2,641 2,325  2,067 2,758

 

 

2011
Category Dec Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb Jan
Boat Insurance 285 800 285 285 285 285 285 285 285 285 285 285
Boat Maintenance 157 5,584 37 755 402 735 75 710 433 464 281 129
Charts
Communications 163 60 98 98 48 72 60 83 123 111 60 122
Customs 85 8 97 54 90 315
Dockage 234 947 516 499 516 219 10 98 68 30 89
Entertainment 53 7 52 24 202 229 54 31
Fishing Supplies 31 37 8
Fuel 447 103 222 582 62 305 446 642
Groceries 1,043 648 81 243 964 872 447 1,006 460
Laundry 17 18 22 11
Medical 458 435 429 429 429 443 387 380 385 380 412 391
Other/Lodging 70
Restaurants 48 230 118 20 255 172 238 100 62
Transportation 6 70 0 15 8 54 23 120 10
Water 0
Grand Total 2,978 8,893 1,365 2,066 1,680 2,071 1,451 3,466 2,667 2,543 2,891 2,544

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I pulled this blog post from How to Go Cruising…Now!!!

 

How much does it cost to go cruising?  We all know the answer to that… exactly as much as you have.  But that is not very helpful, now is it?  I’m going to simplify this question and tell you how much it costs myself and my husband to go cruising.  We have been cruising for seven years, far and wide, so I feel I can give you an accurate report.  Then, you can take my information and plug in your own numbers, how to gobecause it is different for everyone.  For example, the boat might cost $30,000 or $300,000.   Cost of Cruising aboard Puff…Boat:  $50,000Equipment and Gear (self-steering, new sails, fishing and diving gear, inflatable dingy, etc.):  $30,000  (spread out over several years as we acquired new stuff)Yearly Maintenance  (including annual haul out and bottom painting):  Average $4000 (how I got this average: some years this is around $2000 if we have no major repairs and some years it can be higher, like $12000, if you have major replacements or repairs like the engine.)Dockage, slip fees, marinas:  $1500/year (Explanation:  We live out at anchor while we are cruising or island hopping through paradise, but 5-6 months out of the year we live in a marina in the USA while we work, we have paid anywhere from $200 – $750/month for marina rent)Mail Forwarding Service:  $10 – $14/monthCharts and Guidebooks:  $30 – $50 for a guidebook or cruising guide; $100 – $300 for paper and/or digital charts of each area.  (We attended a Seven Seas Cruising Association Marine Flea Market and bought paper charts for the world from a guy who had just completed a circumnavigation for just under $3000)Provisioning:  $1500+ for a 6 month cruise  (This is all dry goods, rice, flour, canned food, nuts, seeds dried fruit, spices, etc.  We do it cheap, of course.  You can buy gourmet or organic everything or lots of sodas, liquor and beer and spend 5x as much.)  Grocery and Eating Out Allowance:  Ours is quite small, $30/week.  We don’t eat out except maybe once a month, very cheap burgers or something, and we work hard to catch our own food almost every day, fish or lobster.  We buy fresh local produce every week from local farms.Water:  $30 – $60/month (Usually, when you are cruising, you pay for freshwater to fill you boats tanks, .10/gal to .50/gal.)  Diesel/Gasoline:  $200/month (And that is being generous.  We sail all we can and try to use the engine sparingly.  We do use gas for our dingy a lot to go fishing and diving, and of course it is our only vehicle while cruising.)Medical Supplies:  $300/year  (We stock  up on basics like antibiotics, suture kits, emergency medical supplies about once a year so we are prepared while cruising.  We had our doctor show us proper procedure for everything.)Licensing and Documentation:  $150 one time fee usually (Make sure you get proper documentation for your boat in your country of origin or you could be facing fines and legal penalties)Customs and Entry Fees:  $0 – $300/per country (This depends on what country, your best source for current entry fees is Jimmy Cornell’s site, www.noonsite.com) I’ve probably forgotten some things, so I may have to do a part two of this article, but all the basics are here.     

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Captain John’s American Great Loop Cruising on a frugal budget

So, now – What does it cost?  (as of Jan 2013) I feel very confident that most any

safe frugal voyager (that wants or needs) can complete the entire Great Loop for just

under $10,000.00. This includes fuel and 2 nights a week in a Marina for a year – motoring

the entire way – in an economical cruising vessel such as our full-displacement hull as that

of a sailboat.

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Are you a cruiser? What are your costs? Are you a wannabee? How much do you think that you will spend? Know of any other cruiser logs that I can add to this list?  Leave a comment and your 2 cents!!!

 

 


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