14 June 2009 | Annapolis, MD
11 June 2009
10 June 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
04 June 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
31 May 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
29 May 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
26 May 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
25 May 2009 | Little Creek Marina, Norfolk, VA, USA
13 May 2009 | through 21-May-2009
13 May 2009 | through 21-May-2009
12 May 2009 | St George's Town, Bermuda
11 May 2009 | St George's Town, Bermuda
07 May 2009 | St George's Town, Bermuda
04 May 2009 | St George's Town, Bermuda
21 April 2009 | through 02-May-2009

The Cost of Cruising

11 July 2008 | Dewey, Culebra, Puerto Rico
CURRENT LOCATION: Anchored in Ensenada Honda
18 18.318' N, 065 18.008' W

We are often asked the question, "How much does it cost to go cruising?" I'm sorry, but we really don't have an answer to that question. You see, there are so many personal choices one faces when preparing to cruise and while living this lifestyle (or any other, for that matter) that any absolute figures we could provide would be of little use to anyone but ourselves. For example:
-How big a boat do you need?
-What type of food and drink do you prefer?
-Do you prefer to stay in marinas or tie to mooring balls vs. anchoring?
-Where do you plan to cruise?
-What kind of dinghy will you require?
-How much fresh water do you need on a daily basis?
-Do you like to explore new places by taking organized tours or prefer activities which cost money?
-Will you elect to purchase health or boat insurance?
-How much work and upgrades do you plan to do or need to do on the boat?
-etc., etc., etc.

All we have to offer is our own unique approach to all of these options. In addition, the amount of money we spend each month is a personal matter we prefer not to make public. However, I can say that our average monthly expenditures are exactly in line with what we had expected before departing. A lot of that comes from trying to approximate as much of the cruising lifestyle as possible long before we ever left the docks. The graph below shows the relative expenses we have incurred since departing the United States:


You can see that the bulk of our budget is devoted to nourishment. We don't eat out frequently, so the majority of that money is spent at the grocery. Since paper products, toiletries, and other expendables are often purchased at the same store, they are grouped with the Food category.

Equipment takes the second biggest bite out of the kitty. This category collects anything we have purchased for use on the boat (again, only those items purchased since we departed the US). This includes everything from spare fuel pumps to our used Porta-bote. The category Fees refers exclusively to customs, immigration, and cruising permits required by the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and Dominican Republic. As you can see, those fees amounted to almost as much as we have spent to date on Fuel (both diesel for the big boat and gasoline for the little one).

We have grouped a large number of expenses under the category Utilities. We don't stay at marinas, but we occasionally grab a mooring ball which costs money. Expenses for laundry are folded into this category. Also, internet access is usually not a free commodity. For lack of a better place to put them, costs of occasional ferry rides and rental cars have been placed under the Utilities umbrella as well.

Clothing and a Miscellaneous category to capture anything which could not be fit into the above groupings round out the list. Hopefully, that gives you some idea of the relative costs of living simply aboard a sailboat.

If you are truly interested in a much better answer to the question, "How much does it cost to go cruising?" (as well as lots of other extremely useful information about cruising), Beth Leonard has done a wonderful job of collecting data, organizing it, and relating it in her book:
The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising. Check it out at a bookstore near you.

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Vessel Name: Prudence
We are Doug & Sheryl, owners and crew of the sailing vessel Prudence.

This blog starts in 2005, when we initially had the idea to quit our jobs and live on a sailboat while we cruised to the Caribbean. At that time we had never owned a boat and had no experience sailing. [...]