Can You Live on a Boat in a Marina? [Video]

If you own a boat or you’re thinking about renting one the idea of living on it can be a whole lot of fun. But not everyone can afford to sail around on the open water 24/7. Or maybe you just don’t want to.

Either way, there are plenty of reasons you might want to live on your boat but not know where to put it. So, you’re likely wondering if you can live on a boat in a marina. It’s a safe place, it’s fixed and you don’t have to have a house. But is it legal?

Let’s drill into the details!

Can You Live on a Boat in a Marina?

The short answer is yes, you can live on a boat in a marina, but with several provisions. That’s because not all marinas allow it and sometimes you’ll need to go through a long process in order to be approved to live on your boat. Plus, it depends on your state, county, city, etc.

For those who are interested in living on their boat, it’s important to talk about this with the marina you’re considering before you rent space there. They will know if it’s allowed in the area and of course they can tell you if they allow it.

You may have to fill out an application in order to live there or you may have to join a waitlist (often they don’t allow all spaces to be filled with owners who want to live on their boats). You may have to pay more to the marina and you might have higher insurance costs to go along with it.

Can You Live on a Boat All Year Round?

Sure you can. Living on a boat all year round is the norm for thousands of people around the world and you can absolutely join them in this venture. You just might need to be careful about where you live so you can prepare your boat for the weather.

Keep in mind, if you do decide to live on your boat, that they’re not always as well insulated as the places you might be used to. Also, you need to be aware of the weather conditions outside as it is not always safe to be on a boat in certain situations.

Also, think about your own preferences and comfort. You might love living on your boat during the warmer months but not be so fond of it when the temperatures get cold.

What Kind of Boat Can You Live On?

There are many different types of boats that you can live on from sailboats and catamarans to trawlers and luxury yachts. If you have a smaller boat or a large boat you should be able to make yourself pretty comfortable.

If you’re planning to stay in calmer waters or in a marina you can find houseboats of all types as well. In general, you want to make sure that you have a boat with all of the normal amenities including a bathroom, bedroom (or sleeping area), and kitchen. Those would be the minimum standard that you need in order to live on the boat for an extended length of time.

Houseboats and sailboats are good if you live on a smaller body of water, such as a lake, stream, or river. On the other hand, you may want a larger boat such as a yacht, catamaran, or trawler if you are planning to live on the ocean.

What is a Good Size Sailboat to Live On?

The size of the boat you want will depend on just how many people are living on your boat with you. A single person, living alone will likely be fine with a boat between 30’ and 32’. This provides you with plenty of space to move around and feel comfortable but without having too much space that you have to keep up.

For those who intend to move onto a boat with another person or even a family, you’ll want something larger. You may want more than one set of sleeping quarters or you at least need larger sleeping quarters so everyone can sleep at the same time. The larger your family the larger the boat you’re likely going to want, though you can make it work even on a smaller boat.

Is it Hard to Live on a Boat?

Living on a boat is definitely going to be hard, especially if you’re used to a house of your own. You’ll be downsizing your space but you may actually increase some of the workloads. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before you decide to start living on your boat or buy a boat to live on.

Living on a boat is hard because of the size and because of all the maintenance involved. Different types of boats will require different types of cleaning and care, but no matter what type you live on you’re not going to get away without mold and mildew cleaning quite frequently.

Plus, there’s not going to be a whole lot of space for you, especially if you have other people living with you. It can be difficult to entertain and you always have to find a place to tie off your boat if you want to go ashore.

Is Living on a Boat Cheap?

The answer to this one depends. If you’re looking to get by with the smallest boat you can and a cheap place to dock it then you may be able to get by quite inexpensively. Not to mention you will usually pay less in mooring fees for a boat than you will on rent for an apartment.

If you have a large boat or need to purchase the boat still you’ll find that the upfront costs can be quite high. But once you get more established you’ll have less upkeep on a boat than a house and generally lower payments (depending on the size boat you buy). That will help you save some additional money.


Living on a boat is not only entirely possible but it can be fun as well. All you need to do is figure out the rules in your area and of course, get a boat that you (or you and your family) want to live on.


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