Sunday, December 7, 2014

How Much DOES Cruising Cost?

That's the big question everyone want's answered...  The answer you usually get is "It costs all you have".... and this could be true.

The numbers are in for our first year of cruising.  I totaled it all up and came up with a relatively accurate accounting of where all of our money went.  The total is a bit more than our income this year so we've had to dip into savings.  I'm hoping that our next year is not quite as "repair/replacement intensive" and we can live more within our means.

So, without further ado... a drum roll please.  The grand total is $50,674.11.

The breakdown is as follows.  Some items are approximate and some may be miscategorized because I can't remember exactly what I bought through, but this is close.

Auto  Repair Maintenance        551.97

Boat Bits  Major  - Larger single item purchases

Boat Bits  Misc. - Multiple little items

Boat Repairman - Repairs we paid to have done


Data  Phone iPad 

Dining Out

Dock Mooring

Entertainment - Tickets to shows, Museum/Attractions

Fees Registrations - DTOPS/Boat Registration/Auto, etc.

Fuel - Auto/Boat/Dinghy


Groceries Household Goods - Everything from the Grocery store including liquor and pet supplies

Insurance   Boat

Insurance   Car

Insurance   House

Liquor - Liquor Store purchases not counting what we had on hand already :0

Medical - Excluding Medicare premiums

Memberships - Towboat/West Advantage


Pet Expenses Vet Fees Other



Taxes - House

Technology - Apps/Chartplotter chips/GPS

Travel  Off Boat


Cash Spent

There you have it folks.  Don't judge.  There are a lot of things we spent money on that we hadn't planned to... docks/moorings for instance.  We thought we would spend a lot more on fuel than we did, especially considering that we've motored everywhere!

Groceries and food were big eye openers.  But I do have a lot of food and pet supplies (that are included in the grocery total) stockpiled.

Laundry was a total shock. It's very expensive to wash clothes out here...  

We are debt free, no car payment, no mortgage, no boat financing.  Just the expenses of keeping our home like insurance and taxes.

I'm hoping that our second year is very different. We are pretty much set on technology (although some of it falls in the second year numbers already).  Being in the Bahamas at anchor for a large portion of the year must have some impact, but then it may cost more in other categories...

I welcome your questions or comments and will do my best to answer them as candidly and accurately as I can. 

Cruising really DOES cost "All. You. Have".


  1. Thank you for posting actual numbers! We have all heard and said the whole "Everything you have" answer repeatedly but rarely does someone actually give us their numbers.

    1. They aren't perfect but I'm Cruising... I shouldn't be spending my days crunching numbers anymore! Thanks for reading the blog and for posting a comment!

  2. Thanks for sharing! It is so helpful to be able to see what it actually costs people to go cruising!

    1. There are so many variables, ways we could cut back... This first year we had no idea what to expect. I'm hoping that we can use this to do some things differently. Thanks for hanging out and for your comment!

  3. Thanks for sharing Tammy! See you in 2016 in the Bahamas !!

    1. Ahh another one's caught the Cruising Bug! Come on in... the water is fine! Thanks for posting Barb!

  4. Great post! It is always useful to see where the funds go to.

    1. I just wish there was a better way to allocate the grocery store items without spending my entire life doing that! It would be fund to know how much the cats cost us in total. Most of their supplies are bought at the grocery store and included in that bill. Thanks for posting... and for reading!

  5. Thanks for posting! I use Quickbooks to capture receipts with my phone and split the bill into several categories so I have better accuracy. $65 on Amazon. so far I'm liking the software cause I can see my rentals, investments and breakdown of expenses better. I'm sure next year will be much better especially since you are paying attention!

    1. That sounds too much like my old JOB!!! I don't think I need that much accuracy... But it does speak to the perfectionist side of me that I am trying to squelch! Oh, and paying attention doesn't seem to help... the boat wants what it wants!

  6. Hi! Sounds like cruising is so much fun! Thank you for sharing your numbers. I'm would like to move to a traveling lifestyle when boys graduate from school. May I ask how you create income for yourselves as you travel? Love your blog thanks again for sharing! Take care

    1. Cruising life is fun, but it's also a lot of work. Bruce and I committed to this many years ago and began working towards it financially. We paid off all of our debt and stopped buying things that did not further this dream.

      We put a lot of our income into getting the boat and making it ready while I still worked. We were also saving during that time. After we made the final decision to go, we even stopped all Christmas spending! That was a MAJOR deal for our family and shows how determined and committed we were.

      Once I stopped working, of course my own income stopped. I am not of official retirement age, but Bruce is. We live on his retirement. I'm sure that doesn't help you much if you're looking for a way to get here, but there are plenty of people out here working still while cruising or cruising part time. I'm not sure I would have the self discipline to make that work.

      Good luck Lisa and THANK YOU for reading our blog and for your comment!

  7. Hi Tammy, Great post. This kind of information is great for newbie’s like us. Deb and I have been it the planning stages for 3 years. We have a three stage plan.
    Stage one” 2 year goal”: was to leave the land-lock City of Metro Atlanta Ga and move to the coast, Buy a boat and learn how to sail. Put 1,000 miles under the keel. READ READ READ. This Stage is successfully completed! Except for the sailed miles we only sailed 450 miles due to haulout and bottom work that would be required.
    Stage two:” 5 year goal” was to spend three years learning how to sail real good and refit the boat for coastal cruising. Spend weekend’s gunk-holing and doing some chartering in the BVI. Most importantly we will sail. Our goal was 1,500 miles per year. This was not met on it a lot harder to untie the lines than imagined. There is all sorts of reasons no to go sailing for the day or the weekend. Next we will discern if the boat we have will be big enough to suit us. It’s a 1981 C&C30 MK1. Length 30 Beam 10 draws 5 feet. A 30 footer is a small boat yet she is heavy and very capable and stable. She is time tested and one just like her has even been across the Atlantic. However the space is very small? I want my wife to be happy. READ READ READ.
    Stage 3: Quit our corporate jobs and do internet work where we can run web sites from a good “port wi-Fi” from the boat. We will begin to move on the boat and store or sell the furniture. We will rent the house out. My daughter and son-inlaw live close and will drop in on problems and check on the property for us while we are away. Our hope is to do a 5 to 7 year cruise depending on health and wealth.
    We are both 51 this year and hope to untie the lines in the fall 2018 or Spring 2019. The boat is paid for I have spent 3 years working on her getting her back up to snuff; however she is still needing a few thousand dollars in up- grades. Here are the 4 big ticket items still needed: Hot water, Solar panels, SSb for weather fax and radar, new dinghy.
    Hearing your story gives me hope. You had over 16 thousand just in the boat bits. I only spent $2,500 for the boat and 8,000 for the up fit, with another 5 thousand to go. I should do well. As long as the boat don’t prove too small for her? Thanks again so much for your post . Good luck of your adventure. Life is Good.

    1. Hey thanks for your reading and commenting! I'm adding your blog to my list to follow and look forward to hearing your story. Boat bits do add up when every time you go to West Marine (which is often) you walk out with a bag full of $50 to $300 worth of tidbits.

      Sounds like you are on your way to getting there. It seems like a long time from there to here, but time goes fast when you've got a plan and are ticking things off. Get the biggies off the list while you still have jobs!

      We knew that our previous boat would be too small (for me) but lots of people cruise on smaller boats and with far fewer expenses than we do. You have to know yourselves and what is important to the both of you. We do love our boat though and admit that our last boat would not have provided the life we live and enjoy. But it could have been done (not really)....

      Thanks for hanging out! Reading blog posts by successful cruisers is what got me here! I hope we can do the same for you!

  8. Just a quick "thanks" for the post. The cost of cruising is difficult to estimate and this really helps. And... its current. Some of the other ones I have seen are a bit dated.

    I plan to be in the Bahamas in 2016. Maybe we'll catch up for '5 o'clock" somewhere.


    1. Oh you're welcome Tom, glad to have readers for the stuff... I'm hoping that we can do better on next year's expenses but it already looks like we won't... Boats just want you to be poor! The more stuff you have, the more stuff you get to fix in strange places... Welcome to Cruising! We are glad to help.