What Size Boat Should I Get?

What size boat should I get? This question get’s asked daily in cruising, live aboard, and sailing forums. It will usually get a hundred different answers ranging from the biggest you can afford, to smaller is better, to specific sizes, and everything in between.

What Size Boat Should I Get?

Only You Know The Right Answer

Most of these answers are really just opinions, though. No one can really make this decision for you. Only you can make it for yourself. We all have different wants and needs. We all have different comfort levels.

Some people need to have air conditioning and every imaginable piece of electronics. Some can’t even live without a TV aboard. At the same time, others take a very minimalist, less is more approach.

The Only Thing That Really Matters

Of course to some degree it depends on where you’re planning on living aboard and/or cruising. As long as a boat is seaworthy, and able to stand up to the conditions you’re going to expose it to, that’s all that really matters.

Of course, you need to be comfortable on the boat you choose in those same conditions. As they say, “It’s never the boat, it’s always the crew.”

Camping On a Boat

In my last post I wrote about the idea of downsizing to a smaller boat. As expected I got a ton of different opinions. Some said I should definitely move to a smaller boat, while others said I should keep what I have.

Some people even associated some of the boats I was considering, to be like camping. I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. I actually kind of like camping. Even more so the idea of camping in some amazing locations.

What Real Camping Is Like

I did a 1000 mile bike tour over the course of a month a few years back. We slept in a tent almost every night. That was real camping. Even living in a smaller boat is going to be much more comfortable than that. A small boat is still going to have much more room and more convenience than living in a tent.

I also did my first winter aboard up in NJ. After I saw my first electric bill, I switched to part time heat, that would get shut off whenever I left the boat. It was miserable! Even with all of the room I had it was very uncomfortable on the boat. Most of my time aboard was spent hiding in my sleeping bag to avoid freezing.

Why Do We Cruise?

The whole point of cruising is to explore all of these new places that you’re going to visit. You didn’t travel all that way just to sit on your boat like a hermit all the time.

Explore all of these new places

Less Is More

I remember on my delivery trip, there was a couple in Elizabeth City, who was moving their boat north. They were going to sell, because after a few years, they had enough of fixing their boat in exotic locations.

A small boat with less systems, means you’re going to have less to fix and less to work. That means even less reason to be cooped up on your boat and more time to explore.

Of course, this is all just my opinion. What do you think? On second thought, never mind. We all need to make up our own minds.

4 Responses to What Size Boat Should I Get?

  1. I love boats and really enjoy my weekend camping trips and taking my boat out to the lake. I live in the midwest now. I have a bass boat and I want to go bigger. I want to live the dream and live abroad. I only have 10 years left before I can go. Can’t wait to see a post on your sailing experiences!

    • Thanks Engen!

      I say go for it, and when you are ready, go smaller, and go sooner. If I decide to go with this downsize plan, you’ll get to read my sailing stories sooner…instead of more sitting at anchor and going to shore to work stories. Even if I don’t make the swith, once I get my rudder fixed, I’ll be doing some short cruises, when work is slow.

  2. Size of the boat? One which is spacious with a fairly reasonable price. Well, that’s just what I have in my head. A dream boat of mine.

    I see that comfort is the main factor in considering what boat a person should get.

    When you mean comfort, the one thing that has to be an assurance is health and safety I presume. I’m guess that’s the synonym here. no?

    • The best advice I’ve heard from a few people lately is, “the biggest you can afford to pay for in cash.”

      For most people who are cruising, comfort along with storage are big factors. Some will also put a lot of weight into sailing performance, even at the expense of comfort.

      Safety is a given. No matter the price, you don’t want to be floating on any boat that isn’t seaworthy, or has problems with the electrical system or the propane system. I’m not sure what you mean by health, though.

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